Lead with your heart…your head will catch up

February 20, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog contained this bit of advice –

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”  (Donald Laird)

It is always good advice to use your head to maintain control of yourself, especially before you do things that you might regret, like speaking when listening is what is best. We tend to associate things like logic and intelligence with the head, while the heart isvisualization associated with empathy and emotions. Where things like prejudices and hate come from is a mystery, since they defy real logic and certainly don’t express empathy. They are perhaps closer to emotions that are based upon imagined fears.  Those feelings live in a dark place in our heads and had to be put there by someone, since they are not innate within people. Fears and prejudices cause us to avoid or hate the things or people associated with them for no logical reason.

The first step to overcoming one’s fears and prejudices is to use your head to acknowledge that you have them; then let your heart take over to deal with them in the predjuicesspecific instance that you are facing. We tend to hate or fear people in large, blurry groups that we classify as “they” or “them”. It is somehow easier to lump large numbers of people into those prejudiced categories in those dark places in our minds. We think that “all” of a certain type of people present a danger to us; and thus, are to be avoided.  We immediately think that everyone who displays certain characteristics of appearance or behavior is one of “them” and by association inherits all of the other characteristics that we have loaded on that group in our minds.

When circumstances bring us face to face with someone from one of our feared/prejudice groups the outcome is most often very different than we initially image.handshake We discover the individual, rather than the group. Our heart takes over and allows us to see the fellow human being that is there, rather than the group characteristics that the prejudices in our head may initially associate with them.  That pause allows the head to kick in again and to begin having an intelligent interaction with the person, rather than one driven by fears.

Perhaps the best advice is that in the headline for today’s post. Lead with your heart when dealing with others. Let’s your heart’s natural instinct for empathy and listenfriendliness initiate the encounters that you have with others during the day. Let your heart tell you when it’s best to just listen and commiserate, rather than letting your brain start running your mouth. Your brain may come up with all sorts of things to say that it thinks will be interesting, but your heart will tell you that what the other person may need  right now is someone to just listen.

So, resolve to lead with your heart today. Give everyone you encounter the benefit of the doubt, rather than automatically categorizing them into some prejudice group based upon their appearance. Start off with the attitude that this person you just met is this-is-mesomeone who may become a friend, rather than someone to be feared and avoided.  Lead with your heart. Don’t worry, your head will catch up.

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Start your day with love and the rest will take care of itself.

February 18, 2019

Think about how much better your days will go if you take the time each morning to refresh your feeling of God’s love for you and your love for yourself. Start by remembering that God loves you unconditionally and is always with you. Then take the time to reinforce your love for yourself, who you are, what you are where you are and where you are going. You must first love yourself, before you can love others.

One of the better self-help books ever written is the 1967 book I’m OK You’re OK by Thomas Harris. Harris wrote the book as a practical guide to transactional analysis as a method for solving problems in life – how to get along with others. The key to the advice in Harris’ Book may be found in the first two words of title – I’m OK. That part is saying, “I love myself”. Only then can you move on to the “You’re OK” part. The book, and the courses that are taught from it, teach how to accept and interact with others in or day-to-day world, by recognizing and accepting where you and they are coming from in any interaction.

So, it is important, before you go out in the world and start encountering others and situations that you must deal with, that you establish in your own mind that you are OK; that you love yourself for who you are and are therefore able to love others for who they are. It is much easier to love yourself, if you are not carrying around a big load of guilt – guilt that you feel for something that you did or left undone. That is why acknowledging all of your sins, transgressions, omissions or whatever and asking for God’s forgiveness will give you the foundation upon which you can then build your love of self and face the new day with confidence and a positive attitude.

There is, in that moment of prayer, a point at which you feel the load of your sins being lifted from you and you feel the sense of self-loathing being replaced by self-loving.  That is your “I’m OK” moment. Keep that feeling with you throughout the day and the rest of the day will be OK, too. It all starts with love – love of God and God’s love back to you.

Try it. You will be OK.


Are you thinking positively?

February 13, 2019

From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought – “Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment.”  (Lori Schneider) Are you thinking positively?

There are tons of books and thousands of motivational speakers all of which talk about the power of positive thinking. I’ve even posted bout it here a few times, usually following a theme of having a positive attitude. As I looked back over a few of those posts and as I look at today’s quote, one word stands out across them all – “accepting”.

One of the key sources of frustration, anger and even depression in people is the inyoung-woman-furious ability or unwillingness to accept things as they happen. We rail against the storm and refuse to accept the outcomes of life. We question why they have happened to us and why our God would allow them to happen. The really pathetic thing is that we allow small setbacks or issues in life to become the things that drive us to take actions that mostly make things worse.

A snub at a social event or the rejection of a romantic invitation may become the spark that ignites a bitter feud or causes a friendship or relationship to dissolve. Being passed over for a promotion at work may cause a funk that leads to depression and hurts our bored2home life, sometimes leading all the way to divorce.  Maybe the death of a loved one causes us to question our faith instead of leaning on it for strength. We just can’t accept these things or other happenings in life. We can’t figure out the answer to the question, “Why?”

By using the word “accepting”, I’m not advocating that you give in to a temporary setback or defeat in life, only that you accept that it happen, put it into proper perspective and move on with life. I wrote a post here last August titled “Did anybody die?” that focused upon dealing with many of the smaller issues in life that we tend to obsess over in our day to day lives. That post was aimed at people who tend to let the small failures that occur in their day to day lives get to them – being late for a meeting, missing a small milestone or perhaps even a small rejection or snub. Positive thinkers don’t dwell on the last failure or snub, they focus on what needs to be done to make the future better.

The thing that holds us back from accepting things and moving on with life is our need mystery personfor closure, our need to try to understand, our search for an answer to why things happened or perhaps our search for someone to blame for what has happened. I wrote about that back in 2016 in the post “Are you moving on?” If we are to become positive thinkers we must be moving on and not let ourselves get stuck in the past or present, mired down by doubts, anger or fears.

One of the most powerful tools that you have at your disposal for overcoming life’s curve balls and setbacks is your faith. Faith makes you strong enough to absorb the blows that life lands on you and allows you to keep focusing upon the future. Ralph Abernathy once said – “I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

Faith allows you to accept things by saying/praying to God, “I don’t understand why this woman-prayinghappened, but I accept that is part of your plan for me. Give me the strength to get through this and to go on in life.” If the pain that you are enduring is caused by the loss of a loved one, refocus on all of the good times and good memories that you had with them. Those times were God’s gifts to both of you.

The bottom line on all of this is that positive thinking is not starting each day with the attitude that everything is going to come up roses and that no bad things will happen in your life. Rather it is starting out each day with the attitude that you are ready to deal with anything that life brings you way today in a manner that give you the best possible outcome. Sometimes that is just being able to put it behind you and move on.

gods-hands-2Have a great and positive day today and remember what Ralph Abernathy said about your future. You are in good hands (not an Allstate commercial).

Think positively.


Seek wisdom within…

February 12, 2019

Today may end up being another of those days when one ends up with time for introspection. It’s either that or go shovel the snow and ice; and I’m not ready to shovel, yet.

Perusing through some quotes about wisdom, I happened upon these two –

 “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  ― Aristotle

There were also a number of quotes on wisdom that pointed to the same conclusion – namely, that realizing that you know nothing is the start of wisdom.

protestersI suspect that many of us when through a “change the world phase” in our lives, maybe more than one. It is only later in life that we realize that we were trying to make the world over into something of our own desires and not necessarily for the betterment of humankind. Of course, at the time we firmly believed that what we wanted was for the good of humankind. Hubris always seems to precede humility in life.

As one ages, there is more time spent on the topic of knowing yourself and hopefully on becoming comfortable with that self-knowledge. I’ve posted here a few times on the topic of knowing, accepting and loving yourself before you can love others – see I Like Me and Just be Yourself, both of which I wrote back in 2014.

Maybe you can turn this snow day into a know day. Spend some time just with yourself,bored with your thoughts and dreams and with your fears and fantasies. Get to know yourself and try to better understand how those inner feelings influence how you react to the people and things going on around you.

The more honest insight into yourself that you can achieve, the better equipped you will be to deal with the things that happen in life; and, the more that you selfie stickan come to love yourself, the more able you will be to love others. I posted “Take a Life Selfie” here back in 2017 and maybe it’s worth a re-read today, too. It’s certainly a day when you may have time for taking that life selfie and reflecting upon it.

Have a reflective day.

I hope you end up happy with what you see in your life selfie.

 


Have great day…it’s your choice

February 11, 2019

We tend to toss off the little phrase, “Have a great day”, without giving it much thought. When you stop and think about it; no matter what happens, it is up to each of us to make it a good day. That has as much to do with our initial attitude and our reaction to events, as it does with the things that might occur during the day. It’s your choice.

There is an old saying, “he/she must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning”. That saying is use to describe someone who starts their day is a bad or down mood. When you wake up in the morning, do you have some immediate reaction to the bored2day? Are you happy? Are you apprehensive? Are you still mad about something that happened yesterday? Are you sad about some loss? IF any of these or other negative moods describe how you woke up, it’s time to do an attitude reset before you face the day. Maybe you should take a moment to thank God that you woke up to another day. Whatever it was that put you in this mood, didn’t kill you; and that’s a good thing. So, thank God for being alive. It’s your choice.

The next step may be to stop and recognize that you are feeling sad/depressed/hurt/anxious – whatever, and ask yourself why. What is it that happened yesterday (before) that put you in this mood? Whatever it was, it is now behind you and continuing to dwell upon it is not doing you any good; so try to put it in perspective and move on. Yes, that loss was painful but you still have your happy memories of that crying-4person and they will live on forever. Sure that comment that someone made was hurtful, but it didn’t reflect the real you and how you feel about yourself, so let it go. They just need to get to know you better. Yes, that big presentation that you have to do today is important and your performance will be evaluated; but, you are ready and confident in yourself and you will get through it just fine. Maybe you did let yourself slip into the dungeon of depression for a while, but you are not trapped there, the door is open and the way out is right in front of you…it’s your choice.

So, take some time this morning and every morning to stop and consider that how the day turns out will be based upon your attitude when you start and your reaction to the man prayingevents of the day. You do not have to face the day with a victim’s mentality. Face it instead with the positive attitude of someone who is ready and able to make of the day what you want it to be. Perhaps you can begin with a little prayer – “Thank you God for letting me have another day. Let’s go out together and make this a great day.” With God at your side, I don’t think you can have a bad day…it’s your choice.

Have a great week ahead…it’s your choice!attitude-2


Try one more time…

February 8, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “When the world says, ‘Give up,’ hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’”   (Unknown)

One can draw inspiration to overcome adversity or chase away the blues from many different sources, but they all boil down to the same thing – to try one more time.

Perhaps you have exhausted yourself trying to accomplish a seemingly impossible task woman-prayingat home or at work. Maybe it looks like failure is the only path ahead. Perhaps you are ready to give up. If you take the time to pause and seek the help of God, that small whisper that you hear may be Him telling you that you are not alone and that you should try one more time.

Sometimes in that pause to seek help, you also conclude that you should try something different this time. That is the voice of wisdom breaking through. There is a definition of insanity that talks about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Great athletes who perfect a skill through repetitive practice will always be trying something different as they practice, because they are always trying to get a better result, not the same result. When they fail, they always try one more time.

Sometimes depression can creep into the lives of people with seemingly sunny dispositions. It may sneak in through the door of self-doubt or perhaps be thrust upon depression4you by an insensitive or hurtful comment from someone. Perhaps some physical event in your life has left you feeling different, maybe with less energy or even in constant pain. You might begin to think that you should just give up or give in to the feeling or the pain; but then something happens – perhaps a kind word or deed from a stranger or some small sign, like a rainbow after a storm appears– and you know at that moment that you’ve got to try one more time.

I recalled, while writing this, that post that I wrote back in  January of 2014 about the single candlestory of the four candles. In that story the candles represented peace, faith, love and hope and the story told how the first three may have been extinguished by circumstances in our lives; however, if hope was kept alive,  the others could once again burn in our lives – https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/01/27/where-there-is-hope-there-can-never-be-complete-darkness-2/ 

If you visit my blog do a search using the word “hope” as the key word and you will find that I have written many times about it, usually also linked to faith.  Try one more time.

So, don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t quit. Listen instead for that whisper from God, hold tight onto your hope, and try one more time.

 


Get your reward…give joy to others

February 2, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”  (Gibran)

The newspapers and TV news organizations often cover stories about people volunteering to help others, whether it is at a homeless shelter , a soup kitchen or maybe just a phone bank where volunteers are answering calls about things like drug addiction. Whatever the story, there are always a few who show up on camera, sometimes they aresewrving soup interviewed and sometimes the camera just pans around and you see them. For some of those people, that is their joy. In fact, for some, that is their reason for being there – to be recognized and acknowledged for their work.

But, in most cases, there are many more people involved who do not make it into the picture or on the screen. They are busy working away in the background, doing the tasks that must be done in order to allow those on camera to do their part – cooking food, packing food, delivering food or other tasks that don’t make it on camera. . For them the joy is found in just doing for others, and it can be a much more profound joy, because it comes from within.

I’ve written here before about serving at our church’s annual Lenten Soup Supper. I bowl of soupalways try to volunteer to do the job that no one else seems to want, busing tables, washing dishes, collecting the trash, whatever. There are other jobs that seem to get more attention and praise, but none that gives the satisfying sense of joy that doing those unglamorous jobs that need to be done provides. Sure, a few people at the tables may say “Thank you” when I bus the table, but most of the joy for me comes from within – from doing a job that needed to be done and which added in some small way to their joy in the event.

There is an old saying that “It’s better to give than to receive”. It turns out that, by giving joy to others, you will also receive joy in return – from within. Therefore, the next time that you ask yourself how you could be happier in life; answer by deciding to give joycaring and happiness to others and your life will take care of itself. There are ton’s of opportunities in every community to volunteer to serve worthy causes and to help others – to bring joy into their lives. Guess what will also come into your life? Find your joy in service to others.

Have a joyful weekend – find a way to serve others.