Bob Dylan was wrong on this…

November 15, 2014

“What’s money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to.”  (Bob Dylan)

I’ve had a tough time with that Bob Dylan quote ever since I saw it on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Dylan was a pop-culture giant of the era that I grew up in and had a massive influence on the music of the time; but he was a crappy philosopher if he believed that quote. One can make a quote like that only if one has enough money already to have become a cynic.

If I were to modify Dylan’s quote, so that it makes more sense to me it would read, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he can to make others’ lives better.”

Success isn’t about money. That part I think Dylan had right. It isn’t about possessions or titles or power. Success is about being well thought of by others because you cared and you helped. Success is man winning raceabout being happy with yourself at the end of the day because you know that you gave it your best effort and got as much done as you could. Success is seldom measured in the miles that you’ve traveled, but rather in the few inches of progress that you’ve made. Accolades and applause are external things that sometimes come with it, but success really is an internal thing in which you take your own measure of what you’ve accomplished verses what you set out to do. If you’ve set the bar high for yourself, successes are just progress reports along the way to that higher goal.

reaching goalSometimes we take on things that we know going in we cannot beat. Worthy causes like overcoming world hunger or finding the cure for cancer or ending domestic violence are just too big for any one person to be able to claim success; however, if you define a reasonable role for yourself – maybe in terms of fund raising for a charitable organization that is fighting the fight, or maybe in terms of personal service to the cause; you can reach your personal goals and justifiably declare yourself to be a success.  It is important to pause after those little successes and celebrate, before taking on the next goal. Just as I have opined here in the past about liking yourself; it is important to reward yourself for success in achieving your goals.

So, every night, as you end the day, reflect on the little personal successes that you’ve had.  Successes don’t always have to be defined in terms of external things or causes; they may be as small as not eatingman thinking that second donut in your effort to lose weight or maybe making that extra little effort at the gym. Acknowledge yourself and your efforts. Celebrate your little successes and then plan to build on them for tomorrow. There is an old saying about success building upon success; and that can become true in your life.

Many times, if your focus is on things other than yourself, it may be hard to see anything of any significance that you accomplished during the day towards that bigger, external goal. Maybe you didn’t collect a single dime of donations or help a single needy person; however, if you were out there spreading the word about the need you have been successful.  If you educated one person who didn’t know about or understand the cause or the need, you have been successful.  If, through your actions and deeds, you have influenced one more person to join the cause, you have been successful.

So, how do you define being successful? Are you still measuring your success against some monetary goal? Is getting that new car or that bigger house the key to your success? Is getting to that executive level job the only way that you will be successful in your mind? Is having power success for you? So, why are you not smiling? Did that last raise or promotion bring you the feeling of success that you strugglewere seeking; or did it just leave you with that empty feeling that there must be more to life that just those pursuit of those things.

The good news is that there is more to life and it has little to do with most of what you may have been chasing in your pursuit of success.  The other good news is that there is a great book for you to read as a guide to achieving the success that you long for – it’s called the Bible. The bad news is that the author of most of the advice in that great book was not impressed with material things. In fact he advised those who would follow him to sell all that they had and give the money to the poor. You may not have to go that far, but you do need to do a radical reset of what you define as success in life.  A favorable side-effect of doing that is that what makes you happy in life also gets reset. In the end, you may well be living your life by this philosophy –  “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he can to make others’ lives better.”

Strangely enough,your life will get better, too; and you will feel like a success.


Embrace your little happy’s

November 14, 2014

“I’m happier now, because…”  (Nataly Kogan)  – from a recent post at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Kogan’s book – 3 Minutes A Day tells about Nataly who founded “Happier, Inc.”  After discovering that chasing the “big happy” wasn’t working, she began to look for the little happys in her life, like making a smilely-faced pancake for her young daughter…the things that brought her joy.  Her Happier website invites people to share their small, tiny, positive moments.

man mad at himselfFor most people the realization will eventually set in that chasing the big happys often only results in disappointments or frustration in life. Learning to be satisfied with life’s little everyday happy moments is a much better path to take.  Happiness is often accompanied by a sense of contentment, at least for a little while. But, life goes on and it is all too easy for one notice out on the horizon the next big happy that could be chased.  Once that next big thing becomes the thing to chase in order to be happy, the feeling of contentment with the current fades quickly away.

I suppose that we could all say, “I’m happier now, because it’s Friday”, but that isn’t the point that Nataly is trying to get across. I suspect that we all fall into the trap of chasing what she calls “the big happy.” In my mind that is when you have this big thing out there that you just feel sure will make you happy if you ever get it or achieve it. Maybe that thing is a possession – “I’ll be happy of I get that new car”; or, maybe it’s achieving some goal or accomplishing some task, like, “I’ll be happy if I get that promotion.” For some people the key to their happiness is supposedly to travel to some exotic place. For many the belief is that happiness will be theirs when they meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

The point that Kogan seems to be making is that we can all be happier if we focus on all of life’s little smiling manvictories and happy moments that we experience every day, instead of becoming obsessed with chasing a few “big happys.”  What are the little things that make you happy? Would you smile and be happy, if only for the moment, if someone gave you a pancake shaped like a smiley face?  The fact is that we get lots of smiley faces every day, if we just know how to look for them. Sometimes they are gestures of thanks for something that you did, like holding a door open for someone or helping a stranger carry something. Many times they are the small, sometimes hasty, thank-you’s that we get from significant others or children for something rather ordinary that we did for them. Learn to accept them as little smiley faces in your life and be happier because of them.

bathWhat little things in your daily life make you happier? These are your little happy’s. Accept them and embrace them. They are what takes life beyond tolerable and makes it worthwhile. You may find that a strange side-effect of being satisfied and content with life’s little happy’s is that life’s big happy’s just naturally happen, too. It’s all part of living life with a positive mental attitude.

So, listen to the words of Bobby McFerrin’s song and Don’t Worry, Be Happy. As you listen complete the sentence in this post title for yourself –“ I’m happier now, because…”

 


Smile your way to a great day…

November 12, 2014

“Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn.”  (Unknown). I saw that little saying on the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently. It certainly makes sense. Have you met people who always have a frown on their faces? Speaker of the House, John Boehner, immediately comes to mind. Boehner always looks pained and unhappy, like his underwear are riding up in a permanent wedgie. I can’t recall more than one time seeing him look happy in news coverage.

I do know some people whose normal mien is a down turned mouth. At best, with a full smile on their face sad looking manheir mouths may reach a neutral position. You kind of get used to looking for other facial clues with them – a twinkle in the eye, for example. Most people actually have “at rest” facial expressions that might initially be taken the wrong way. I know that I do. When the face is completely relaxed, it does tend to droop a bit and the lips turn down. One has to work at it a bit to appear to be happy, with a smile. I think that comes fairly naturally if you are happy. The completely at rest face is an outward sign of a somewhat blank mind, but for many that results in a look that can be too serious  at best (I get that a lot) and angry at worst. The old saying, “he looks down in the mouth” might have been uttered about someone who really wasn’t sad or angry, but just looked that way to others.

So, the solution is to be cognizant of what your face looks like if it is in its normal rest position and make the effort to put a smile on it. It doesn’t have to be a big, idiotic smile; just enough so that people who meet you get the impression that you are happy or content or at least someone that they might what to get to know. Don’t be the guy or gal that others avoid because you look like you’re ready to bite someone’s head off.

It’s a much better start to a conversation if someone says, “you look happy, what’s the occasion?” than if they note, “you look mad about something, I hope it’s not something that I’ve done.” People are much moresmiling girl comfortable being curious about something good than inquiring about what appears to have you so upset. Co-workers and bosses also prefer to deal with people who seem to be in a happy frame of mind; as opposed to someone who looks like they are about to be fired.

Resolve every morning to make your day the way that your mouth curls and then make sure that it is curled up in a smile. Have a great day and a great rest of the week. It’s hump-day, which is something to smile about.

 


Businesses supporting worthy charities…

November 10, 2014

Recently, at one of our Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce Coffee Club events, there was a speaker from an organizationvista-maria-logo called Vista Maria. Vista Maria is a safe harbor for girls who need help. There are a great variety of reasons that a girl might end up at Vista Maria, but the bottom line is that does provide a place where they can go to be safe, get help and start the journey back to a more normal life. Vista Maria provides a physical shelter and a range of programs and services to help girls get back on track and prepare for life.

One of the issues that the representative from Vista Maria discussed was human trafficking. In our supposedly modern and sophisticated society one would seldom think of that problem as happening here, but it does. Michigan has a human trafficking problem and its location next to Canada makes it an easier target for traffickers. We are not one of the top four states for human trafficking, but likely are in the top-10 list. The top states are California, Texas, Florida and New York.

In the U.S. much of the human trafficking is for the sex trade, but a significant amount is still to be found in forced labor amounting to slavery. We’ve had cases of both in the news this past year in this area. To read a report from the Polaris organization that tracks this problem and works to get state laws enacted to combat it, click here.

Drug addiction, either directly or associated with the girls’ parents is one of the biggest problems that lead girls to Vista Maria. Many come from broken families or families that have been forced into homelessness. Some come to the shelter as children with children of their own already. Most have been forced to drop out of school due to their circumstances. Vista Maria offers shelter, services, educational opportunities and programs to get them back on their feet and headed in a better direction. You can find out more about Vista Maria at its web site – www.vistaaria.org or call 313-271-3050. Vista Maria is located in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, at 20651 W. Warren Ave. 48127.

Vista Maria was at the Coffee Club because they are one of the causes that are supported by the Affinity Foundation for
Affinity Group logoMichigan Kids (see www.agcu4mikids.org ), the charity foundation of the Affinity Group of Credit Unions – www.myagcu.org – which was the host for the Coffee Club. Affinity Group Credit Union is a group of 6 credit Unions in Southeastern Michigan. This Coffee Club was held at the Kensington Valley Community Credit Union location on John St in Highland, Michigan.

Another children-oriented program that the Affinity Group has going on right now is aimed at making a local Kid’s Holiday Brighter by filling a stocking for Christmas. One may donate $5 or any of the items on their list of things for children of various ages. Click here to view their flyer on that program.

The Affinity Group is just one of many area companies and organizations that support local or national charities. The company that I work with – Real Estate One – is a big supporter of the Michigan Special Olympics and the American Cancer Society, among others. Our company encourages employees and its associates to run local fund-raising events by matching the monies collected from those event 50 cents on the dollar, through its Real Estate One Foundation. Does your company have a charity program? Find out how you can help.


Just be yourself…

November 9, 2014

As a rule I don’t listen to much music anymore. I have lots of it from my past interest in it and I have an iPhone and an iPad and iWhatever’s that I might need to download and listen; but I have other things that are more interesting to do and which take up my time. Listening is unavoidable at the gym that I visit every morning, since music is constantly on in the background. On Zumba days at the gym and on days when there is a group exercise class going on the music is an integral part of the sessions, providing the past-paced beat for the classes.

So, this morning I was going through my workout routine at the gym when a song came on in the background that caught my attention, mainly for its message. It is Joey McIntyre’s song “Stay the same.” The song resonated because that is topic that I have written about in the past, or at least I’ve written about being yourself and liking yourself ( see my three little words post on I like me or the post on “First believe in yourself”). In this song Joey sings about staying the same and not trying to change yourself; but, rather liking who you are.

look in mirorThe journey from childhood to adulthood sometimes takes a tortuous path through the badlands of self-doubt, self-denigration and sometimes self-destruction as developing youth struggle with finding their identity and being happy with what they find. We are surrounded by media images of perfection – the perfect face, the perfect hair and perfect bodies – so, it’s no wonder that many impressionable young minds come to the conclusion that they are not perfect and need to change something, maybe everything. They become enamored with the surface, with what they can see in the mirror, not what other “see” in them.

It is perhaps one of life’s greatest lessons to learn how to “see” beyond the superficial surface in people and find the true beauty of the person within. Equally important is learning how to be comfortable and confident with your own inner person and finding ways to let that part of you shine through. You can easily recognize people who have mastered that life lesson because of their smiles. Confident people often smile, not just because they are happy, but also because they are happy with themselves and they are unafraid of what others might think. It’s not that they don’t care what you think about them; it’s that what you think about them is not going to define them. They do not need your approval to be comfortable with who and what they are. They may seek your friendship; but, not because they need you to validate them.

Many struggle with establishing their own identity during those formative years. Some choose to run with a crowd full of people that they can emulate. The members of their crowd may dress alike, talk alike and act alike. Sometimes that is a at the gymbad thing, if the crowd becomes a bullying clique at school or elsewhere. Sometimes youth become fan-atics, following a particular performer or star in ways that can become obsessive. They may dress like their idol and change their appearance to look more like them, too. Fortunately most youth grow out of both of those options and eventually find their own identity. Somewhere in that transition is where they learn to like themselves, to accept what they look like, sound like and act like.

Both boys and girls (and many adults) may still go through a period of acting or disguising themselves to some extent while they are dating. They may take weight off, learn to make themselves up a bit more, dress a bit nicer, act a bit nicer, go to places that they would not normally frequent and perhaps do things that they would not normally do, all in search of the perfect mate. This is another phase in which just being yourself is actually the better strategy. Too many marriages later dissolve because the charade is dropped after marriage and one or both partners feel somehow cheated with what they are left with, especially if things progressed very fast and the opportunities weren’t taken to reveal the underlying people that were there all along. Marriage is a bond and commitment which should be made between two people who both “see” the other person for who they really are and love that person that they “see.”

accept me as I am So go listen to the song “Stay the same” and then get comfortable and confident with who and what you are. Learn to like yourself. Learn to love having time alone with just you. It will make it much easier to lile or love others.

Have a great week ahead!


Mathnasium comes to the Huron Valley

November 7, 2014

Mathnasium_logo

Coming soon to the Huron Valley – Mathnasium of West Huron Valley!

So, what the heck is a Mathnasium? It’s a facility and staff for tutoring young people in math and math alone. There is quite a story behind the founding of this focused tutoring operation, which now has franchises all over the world. You can click here to go to the headquarters site and view the video by founder Larry Matinek – click on his picture to view the video.

I’d equate this to a gymnasium with personal trainers. First they evaluate where you are starting from, what your current math skill level is; and then they design and implement a custom tutoring program to get you up to where you need to be or want to be. Most students start out testing below their current grade level, so an initial goal is to at least get there. There is no reason to stop there and getting ahead of your grade level might open up opportunities for advance placement programs and more. Once you get started on the program your “personal trainer” is there with you to implement the program and provide the tutoring and the motivation to succeed.

In this area, with the automotive industry’s heavy need for math savvy workers and engineers, a program like this is a must. It is also a must for those who wish to go on to college after high school. The Mathnasium will prepare the student for that step. When should a student start at the Mathnasium? As early as possible. There are programs for preschoolers to help build a foundation for math learning throughout their education; as well as programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The High School Mathnasium programs don’t go into the college- level subjects like Calculus; but rather students focus on higher math, mastering algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and probability in preparation for high school exit exams, college placement exams, and standardized college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.

Who can benefit from a Mathnasium?

  • Any student who has fallen behind their grade level in math or who struggle to just to keep up.
  • Any student who dreams of a future in engineering, science or other math-intensive or math-based careers.
  • Anyone who is doing OK, but just OK in math; and, who would like to do better.
  • Those going into the sciences where math skills are a base-level skill that is assumed before actually studying the particular science.
  • Those planning on going on to college after high school.
  • The Mathnasium of West Huron Valley is located in Milford at 512 Highland Avenue, Milford, MI 48381, in the Prospect Hill Shopping Center (the Kroger Store shopping center) between Suzanne’s Main Street Dance Centre and the Henry Ford eye glasses place.

Jeffery LevinJeffrey Levin is the Owner and director of the Mathnasium. Give him a call and ask about the free evaluations they he is offering during the opening of this location. Jeffrey tells me that they will be open soon, so now is a good time to get lined up for that evaluation.

To visit the web site for the Mathnasium of West Huron Valley click here or you can call them at (248) 676-2971. tell Jeff that you read about it here.


What you “see” is what you get…

November 6, 2014

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  (Henry David Thoreau) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

We are a visually oriented society. We use phrases like, “see the inner beauty”, “I see where you’re going with that”, and “I can see you point of view.” Those all indicate things that can’t really be looked at, but which are “seen” in our minds eye. Thoreau’s little quote was talking about just such a thing.

We humans have the ability to look beyond the surface of what we see and “see” something different, perhaps deeper that women dreamingwhat appears on the surface.  In fact, sometimes we don’t have to look at something in order to “see” it. Love can’t be looked at, but you can “see it in someone’s eyes or how they interact with someone that they love. In the movie Avatar the phrase “I See You” took on added meaning, because for the creatures of that planet seeing one another went well beyond just looking at the other person. Mark Twain put it well when he said – “The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.”

Do you look at people with a “seeing eye” or do you dwell upon their surface, studying their features, body, hair and such. What a pity to never really get to know them, if that is the case.

In the Jimmy Cliff song, “I can see clearly now,” the act of seeing takes on a more metaphysical meaning and relates to clearing away depression and dealing with life from a more positive point of view. Seeing is often associated with one’s perspective and that perspective may be influenced by many things, including one’s background and education. Two people can observe a destitute man/woman on the street; one may “see” a bum to be avoided and the other may “see” a fellow human being who needs their help. They will react differently to what they “see.”

Life’s challenges are oft “seen” in different ways too. Some cannot “see” past the challenge or “see” a solution to the butterfly 2problem; but for others the words of Jonathan Swift apply – “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” How’s your vision? Do you just see the problems and not the solutions? Open your eyes and your mind to the possibilities and think positively. You will “see” things in a different light – the light of positive thinking. Remember these words from Anais Nin – “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” You have the power to change your attitude and then the things that you see will change, too.

Look around you and ”see” the world as it can be for you and the people in it for who they really are. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru.

 

Open your eyes and “see”.


Who made your banana pudding?

November 5, 2014

From today’s Jacks Winning Words blog come this – “I’m telling you, that banana pudding, really—it’s life changing.”  (Malcolm Livingston II).  Jack went on to write – Malcolm is a chef who has recently been named to work at Noma in Denmark, said to be the best restaurant in the world.  How did this come to be?  His inspiration for cooking came from Aunt Alice who would make “goodies” for him and his young friends, and their favorite was banana pudding.  As you think back, who had a life-changing influence on your life? 

We’ve all heard, or seen on TV, stories about someone in the life of a famous person who changed the course of their life. Perhaps it tutoringwas a relative or a favorite teacher who inspired them to go on to greatness in their life. Most can remember the person in their life who made their banana pudding, life- changing difference. I have heard many stories about teachers who early on in the lives of great scientists turned them on to the wonders of math and science and got them started on a life of discovery and wonder.

Many of us have also read or seen the stories of stars of stage or screen who were encouraged at a young age to express themselves through their flights of pretend fantasies. And most successful singers can point back to someone who public speakingencouraged and supported them as they developed. Those early supporters were supplying the banana pudding in the lives of those famous people.

For most of us it make be hard to put your finger on a specific person in your life who was there with the banana pudding that you needed to encourage you to succeed. Many might point back to a mom or dad who was there to gymnasttake them to dance lessons or to ball games. Many athletes can relate stories of the long hours and travel to and from practices at which mom or dad (or both) were always there. Their sacrifices were the main ingredients in the banana pudding that led to an Olympic success or to a professional career.

For those not in the limelight of athletic or professional success, it is perhaps the wholesome banana pudding of your upbringing that has made you the good person that you are today; able to tell right from wrong and make the correct choices in life. The fact that you can find happiness without having to be in that limelight points to a steady diet of preacher with childrenguidance and teaching as you were growing, to help you develop character and an principles to live by – the banana pudding made up on faith, hope and love that your parents and maybe your teachers shared with you. For many there was also a pastor, a minister, a priest, a rabbi or other religious figure (maybe a Sunday School teacher) who made a major impression on them and changed the course of their life.

So, thinking back on your life; was there someone or something that you can see now was your banana pudding? What or who has inspired you to take the path in life that you are on? Share your banana pudding person or event here.


Don’t make yourself the dumb-ass…

November 2, 2014

One of the people who “liked” one of my recent posts has a blog called talktherapies.wordpress.com. The blog actually has the title Happiness, Health and Hypnosis when you visit. I went there, as I often do when someone new starts following me or “Likes” one of my posts. The blog owner, Sue Griffin, a UK-based hypnotherapist, had one post in particular that resonated with me – “Do you bully yourself?” 

I suspect that I’m like a lot of people who do get down on themselves if they realize that they just made a mistake, screwed something up or otherwise did something dumb. Like most I immediately criticizeman mad at himself myself, usually with the self-inflicted label “dumb-ass.”  I think that is somewhat human nature and the feeling usually passes fairly quickly; unless of course what I just screwed up is a costly mistake that I will now have to replace or redo. Then I revisit the dumb-ass dungeon often until I get things right. Perhaps, that too, is human nature.

What I think Sue was writing about are those people who take this self-criticism beyond a momentary reaction to something that we’ve done and “institutionalize” it into an ongoing self-image problem. These are people who have progresses well past some temporary anger or reaction and into self-destructive behavior that then also becomes self-fulfilling. Left uncorrected it can eventually lead to depression and despair.  As a hypnotherapist Sue can help with that, as can my local favorite hypnotherapist – Nicole Merline (visit MTUHyponosis .com).

Hopefully, whatever level of self-bullying or self-criticism you currently engage in hasn’t progressed to the point where you need their intervention. I find that soon after I’ve reacted to the event and called myself a dumb-ass, I usually can’t help laughing at the whole thing, especially the dumb-ass part. looking at selfWhatever just happened, it’s almost always because I failed to completely read the ad or the instructions or something like that, which is pretty lame and leaves me no one else to blame; however, it hardly warrants a continued reaction and most often serves as a teachable moment for myself.

From what I have read on the topic, many people who now bully or denigrate themselves are just carrying on what they heard as children, unfortunately much of it from their parents or perhaps from siblings. The kidding that we take as children can quickly turn into bullying, even if the party doing it doesn’t realize it. Most of the time they actually do understand what they are doing, but just don’t realize the potential long-term consequences. Sometimes it results in people who grow up bullying themselves later in life; but, many times it just creates another bully who goes looking for his/her own stooge to act as their victim.

While it may not be possible to catch yourself as it happens and stop; I’d certainly recommend stopping as soon as you can to reconsider just how much self-inflicted flogging you want to meet out and for how long. The sooner that you can get a smile or laugh out of the situation, especially the inward directed anger parts, the better. I’ve found that if I go to a mirror and make a really stupid looking face
funny face at myself, the feeling quickly passes; because, I’ve seen the face of the dumb-ass and I don’t want to be him. I usually can laugh at myself at that point.

So, don’t beat yourself up. You may have made a mistake, but you’re still standing and the world did not come to an end. Don’t be the dumb-ass. Instead go back and read (re-read) my post on “I like me”. It was one of my posts in the Three little words that will change your life series.

Have a great day and a great week ahead!


Be there for someone today

November 1, 2014

As seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Be kind.  Remember every one of you is fighting a battle.  Everybody’s lonesome.”  (Marion Parker)

At first, I did not get this quote. Then I thought about it and it is true that even the most popular people often have secrets that they don’t share and with which they struggle in lonely isolation. Most of the world was shocked recently when Robin Williams took his own life. Here was a guy that most of us probably thought had it all – popularity, success, money, al l of the things that we believe lead to happiness – yet he struggled with depression and eventually lost his personal battle and committed suicide. He was lonesome in that battle.

I’m sure that there may have been a few close friends of Robin Williams who knew about his struggles, but perhaps he shut them out or they just weren’t there when he needed them the most. Many of us are caringthe same way. There are people with whom we may have shared our fears or concerns or anxieties. They wanted to help, but we pushed them away; refusing their help. Why? That’s one of the hallmarks of depressed behavior – the need/desire to be left alone. It is something that true friends need to fight their way through. They need to make sure that we are not alone and not allowed to feel alone in our fight. Everybody does not have to be lonesome.

If you know of someone that you care about who is struggling with a personal demon, the best thing that you can do for them is to make sure that they are not alone in that fight. Be there for them. Make them share it with you. Provide support and comfort or just lend a shoulder to cry upon. “You are not alone” is perhaps the best thing that you can say to them. Make sure that they do not retreat into a shell of loneliness. That only leads to despair and beyond.

It may be hard sometimes to force yourself into that person’s life and you may initially encounter anger and heavy pushback from them. Don’t let them discourage you from doing the right thing; and that is not leaving them alone to wallow in self-pity. You may have to become very pushy yourself, in order to break through that defense; but, keep at it until they either seek the help that you are encouraging them to get or completely break down and share their pain with you. That is the cathartic moment that is necessary to begin the healing process.

listeningOnce they realize that they are not alone; that you won’t leave them alone; they can begin to deal with the issues outside of just their own mind. Talking things out can make all of the difference. Just hearing someone else say “It’s OK. Let it out. You’ll be OK” can make all of the difference. In fact, just hearing themselves, get it out to someone else does wonders. It takes the huge burden of hiding the pain off their shoulders.

When you were a child you’d run to Momma with your pain and she would make it all better with a kiss and a hug and maybe a Band-Aid for your boo-boo. As adults we need to be able to turn to our loved ones or friend for that hug and Band-Aid for our emotional boo-boos. That’s what friends are for, if we allow them to play the role. True friends make us let them play that role.

So, there are two bottom-line thoughts here. One is to not to become lonesome by trying to hold girls huggingeverything in; but, rather to seek out a friend or loved one to share the pain with. The second is to aggressively be that friend who is there for others, so that they can’t become lonesome in their misery. I’ll end today on this note –

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift”

― Pablo