Look within first…

April 25, 2019

Do you know someone who is always seeking your approval or the approval of others? Maybe that describes you.

There are many things in life that require someone’s approval before we proceed; but just being yourself is not one of them. Yet, far too many people are so unsure of themselves that they constantly seek the input and approval of others. They need constant reassurance that they are OK; that they look OK (maybe beautiful); that what they are doing is OK (maybe trendy). This insecurity and constant need for approval is a sure sign of low self-esteem.

Perhaps parents or siblings who constantly tore them down as children – telling them that they were ugly or dumb or bad –  causing their low opinion of themselves. Maybe cruel people at school made fun or you or shunned you. Maybe you were bullied at bully.pngschool or at work. Maybe you have fallen into an abusive relationship where control is achieve by constantly tearing you down. Maybe some or all of that has happened to you.

No matter what the root cause, the path to a better, more productive and satisfying life starts by first looking within and becoming comfortable with what you see. You must accept yourself and love yourself, before you interact with others. A key to that self-acceptance is to understand that God accepts you and loves you as you are. God does not judge you. You are beautiful in God’s jesus-as-lighteyes. He forgives you whatever sins you may have committed and opens His arms to welcome you.

Once you accept God onto your life and understand that He accepts you just as you are, you will find that your need for acceptance and approval by others is gone. Once you realize that God loves you, you can love yourself and that is the bedrock of self-confidence. The approval of others is no longer required and the control of you by others is no longer possible, once you embrace God and learn to love yourself.

Some who lack self-esteem may fall into the pit of depression. It is important to realizedepression3 that no matter how dark it may seem or how deep the hole is that you find yourself in; you are not alone. God is there with you and He is always ready to help, if you will only let Him in. The way to do that is simple – surrender yourself to Him. I have written here many times about the simple, short prayer that I’ve used in times when I needed God’s help – “Not my will, but thy will be done.” The results can be immediate and dramatic.

You do not need the constant approval and reassurances of others. You only need the peace that comes with your acceptance by God. Who else really matters? What else really matters? Start by realizing that God loves you and then you will find that you can love this-is-meyourself and that is the ultimate in self-esteem.

Start your day by looking within and liking what you see. If you don’t see it, ask God to had you a new mirror. There’s a you in His mirror that you’re really going to love.

Have a great and confident day. You are OK.

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Use your powers today…

April 24, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this quote – “Kindness is within our power even when fondness is not.”  (Henry James)

As I thought about that quote, and contemplated writing something about it; other, similar thoughts came to mind –

Compassion is within our power even when sharing is not

Forgiving is within our power even when forgetting is not

Believing is within our power even when understanding is not

The point of all of this is that we have it within our power to deal with the events and circumstances that life presents even if we cannot change them. The key is being able to accept that we cannot change them and moving on by dealing with life as it is and not as we would like it to be.

I’ve posted here in the past about the amazing stories that have come out of some of the most terrible hate crimes of recent times. I recall one in particular which involved a mass killing in a church. Sometime later, several survivors of that atrocity were interviewed and shared that they had forgiven the shooter and were now praying for his forgivesoul. They will never forget, but they had forgiven.

Perhaps the issue for most of us is focusing too much on the part that comes after the “even when” in those sentences. It takes a conscious effort to be kind to someone that we may not “like” or of whom we may not be fond. Having compassion for the plight of someone is possible, even if we cannot imagine or share their situation. It is especially hard to move on to forgiving someone who has wronged us in some way when we cannot get the act out of our minds and forget it.

For many, the final saying above is the hardest because they cannot let go of the need to understand everything and just believe. Yet, at the very core of faith is believing. It is the surrender of the need to understand that frees us to accept God and have faith. Thatwoman-praying need to understand is man’s ego coming out and the need to try to control things. Faith is admitting that we are not in control and putting our trust in the one who is – God. Faith starts with the little prayer “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

Start by believing even when you don’t understand. I think you’ll find that the rest of those things that are within your power – kindness, compassion, forgiveness and more – will come more naturally. Use your powers today.

believeIt’s going to be a great day.


Living in the Discovery Channel…

April 17, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this quote – “Life is based on growth and finding new challenges to face and overcome, new contributions to make to society, and constantly coming to a better understanding of yourself and the universe in which you live.” –  Denis Waitley

Life is like binge watching the Discovery Channel, only better, because you get to be in the show. Life is the ultimate reality show. Waitley sums up a lot of things in that quote, most of which boil down to the constant discovery and learning that living a full life entails.

It is probable that none of us ends each day by reflecting on the challenges that we facedinsight and overcame or the things that we discovered about ourselves or about life in general. Yet it is that collection of insights that comprises what wisdom that we have accumulated in our lives. It is our ability to tap into that pool of wisdom that helps us get through life and face new challenges.

One way to turn life’s events into wisdom is to pause at the end of each day to reflect in prayer on how things turned out. Events may still be unfolding or perhaps you just didn’t have time to internalize what occurred during the day. We use phrases like “it didn’t hit me until later” or “I didn’t have time to think.” Pausing to pray can give you that time, as well as time to either thank God for helping you get through woman-prayingthe events or asking His help tomorrow when you must face them again. That pause also allows you evaluate how you are spending your life and may force you to re-evaluate your priorities in life.

I have posted here in the past about saying a little prayer in the morning to ask God for His help in making the right decisions during the day by praying, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Perhaps the little prayer at the end of the day is a check of how well you were able to implement that morning prayer during the day. If nothing else, maybe it will allow you to accept what happened during the day as God’s will and let go and move on with life.

So, as Waitley might have put it, tune in and turn on to life; experience it and learn from it; seek out new challenges and opportunities to learn; become more aware of yourself man prayingand those around you; be conscious of how you can contribute to society. However, in all of these things, be aware of your relationship to God and His role in our lives. God watches us all…we are His reality play. Don’t write yourself out of the play by forgetting to pray.


Make things better…start with you

April 11, 2019

Today’s post t the Jack’s Winning Words blog uses this quote – “Improvement begins with I.”  (Arnold Glasow)

How often do you find yourself thinking or saying something about how someone elsebored could improve or maybe how something could be improved? Do you stop to think in those moments how you might improve? For some, it is never about them and always about others. Maybe they (you) could benefit from heeding Glasow’s advice.

Many things in life that may bother you, or which you may feel could use improvement, are things that aren’t really bad or broken; but, rather, just things that you are reacting to in a negative way. Maybe it is someone you’ve met who is dressed differently or who talks differently; maybe it is a situation at work that is not going as you had hoped it Perfectionwould; maybe it’s a relationship that has not progressed as you had imagined it. Any and all of those scenarios represent things/situations that you may feel could be improved; however, all of them also represent instances where your reaction may be the real problem.

If you start each day as Glasow’s quote suggests, with an attitude check and a quick reset to “positive”; you may find that there are fewer things that you feel need to be improved.  With the right frame of mind, you may become more accepting of differences in people and more flexible in situations at work. Starting with a good feeling about yourself will also help with relationships by removing the need for constant assurances and reinforcement of your position in the relationship – it helps you stop smothering the other person out of your own insecurity.

Perhaps you can really take the quote to heart by starting each day with a quick prayer, “Lord, help me make good decisions today and be a better person.” That might get youwoman-praying thinking about how to be a better person or about what improvements you can make to yourself today. Just becoming more self-aware will help. Maybe that will prevent you from blurting out some insensitive remark about someone else or maybe cause you to pause before you jump to some judgement about someone else, based solely on their appearance.

An interesting by-product of making yourself a better person is to be found in the reactions of others to the “new” you. As you become more pleasant to be around, you may find that more people gravitate to you and you become more popular. In general,this-is-me people prefer to be with other people who are upbeat and positive, rather than with a “negative Nellie”. That acceptance by others feeds upon itself to build your self-confidence and things just continue to get better.

So, the message is to focus on the “I” in the word Improvement and let the rest take care of itself. Make the conscious effort each day to be a better, more accepting and less judgmental person and see if things don’t improve in your life. Improve your life by starting with the “I” in it.


Stop faking it…get real

April 8, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog cones this bit of advice from Ice Cube – “I think, to me, reality is better than being fake.” 

At first I thought that the word “fake” might be a little too harsh when talking about people; but, then I considered that it really just means trying to be something that you aren’t. Who hasn’t tried that at some point on our lives? In my youth, we all tried to beJames Dean “cool”. In those ancient times, being cool was associated with the “beat generation” and role models in Hollywood included James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Being cool meant combing a duck-tail into your hair and wearing jeans and black leather. It was all just fake and we weren’t really cool; but, most of us tried anyway.

Today’s society in America is much less homogeneous than it was back then (and that’s a good thing), so the roles models that today’s kids are faking it to try to emulate are all over the place. Each generation adopts its own set of role models and goes through its own phase of faking it. It’s part of the journey through childhood. Eventually, almost everyone accepts the reality of who they are and makes the best of it.

It is a key to happiness in life that you stop faking it and accept and get comfortable with who you are – that you “get real” as Dr. Phil would say. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can love others – see this post on starting your day off right.  A part of getting right with yourself is getting right with God. You can’t really fake it when talking with God. You know that He knows. So, instead of asking God to “let me woman-prayingbe like him (or her), ask instead that God help you accept yourself as you are and for His help to make the best of that – “help me be the best me that I can be”. That is the premise of the self-help advice in the 1967 book, “I’m OK, You’re OK”, by Thomas Harris. The gist of that book and the training that was built upon it is understanding and accepting where you are coming from and being comfortable with that when you interact with others.

So, instead of being fake today; be yourself and be OK with that. Accept yourself first and you will find that others accept you, too. Rather than waste your time and energy on trying to be something or someone that you aren’t; put that energy into being the bestthis-is-me you that you can be. You will be pleasantly surprised how many other people like that you, too.

Have a great and real day and week ahead.


Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way

April 4, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this little quote“If only God would give me some sign, Boris says, If he would just speak to me once.  Anything.  One sentence.  Two words.  If he would just cough.”  (From the 1975 movie, Love and Death)

I suspect that another quote that’s I’ve used here from Pinterest applies in this case –“ Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.”

Many of us (maybe most of us) tend to call on God during loud times, times of trouble or desperate need, times when the world is especially loud. Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

It is especially true during those times that we need take the time to make a quiet woman-prayingmoment for God. Just having the self-discipline to quiet yourself in moments of crisis, while all of those around you panic, will allow you to think clearly and to listen for the whisper of the voice of God in your life. Some may attribute it to their “conscience” speaking to them. Others may describe a calming feeling that came over them. No matter how one “hears” God’s whisper when we stop and ask for His help, it is there. Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

Every now and then, we face situations in life where the choice between doing what it right or wrong is presented to us or forced upon us. It is in that instant, when you realizeright-and-wrong in the back of your mind that you have that choice to make,  that may be thought of as God coughing to remind us that He is still there and to help us make the right decision. Don’t hear it?  Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

man prayingSo, take the time in your life to make those quiet moments when you can speak to God and then listen for the whisper of His reply. Some find those moments in meditation, some take the time to quietly pray. Whatever you think will work for you, just do it. If you haven’t heard God’s whisper in your life until now, don’t give up…maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.


Be a breath of Spring to those around you…

April 1, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “An optimist is the personification of Spring.”  (Susan Bissonette)

Spring is the season most anticipated and waited for by most during the year (unless you are into winter sports), because it represents the reawakening of Nature’s beauty and is a harbinger of the warm days of summer.

flowers in the iceSpring is all about hope for the better days ahead. So it is with the optimist. Hope for, and anticipation of, better days to come are the central driving forces of optimism. Rather than linger in the darkness of winter or the depths of despair, the optimist is ever hopeful for the future and ever sure that it will bring relief from whatever is trying to drag you down.

There is no direct link ever mentioned between optimism and faith in God, but it is there nonetheless. How can one be optimistic about the future without having something in the back of their mind upon which to base those feelings? The optimist doesn’t usuallythis-is-me say, “I will make it a better day”; but rather expresses the belief that, “A better day is ahead.” That feeling, or belief, is based upon an unspoken faith that good will prevail (remove one “o” from that to see the root belief). In sharing that spirit of optimism they may actually make it a better day for others.

So, one may conclude from this that the person who is seen as an optimist personifies not only the spirit of Spring but the spirit of God in the world. God is not a pessimist. In the Bible, optimism is expressed most often as hope. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

People who are optimists are seldom shy about sharing their positive point of view. They animated-light-bulb-gif-22want people around them to join them in their happiness, so they share their optimism. There is a gospel song that expresses this need to share titled, “This little light of mine.” Needless to say, optimists let their little lights shine. Even the most hardened pessimist is in some small way influenced in a positive way upon encountering an optimist.

So, if you are optimistic about the future (even if you don’t call yourself an optimist), let your little light shine on others. Let the God who has given you the peace and happiness that fills your heart work through you to help others. Be the Spring in someone’s life today.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.