I welcome your comments or questions: email@example.com
Note 1: You are welcome to print these pages for your personal use.
Note 2: (JE) means Journal Entry and indicates that these items will be referred to in the Personal Aspirations Questionnaire at the end of this site.
A. It's Your Turn: Start Loving Yourself and Your Life
B. Living in the Present Moment
C. The Power of Positive Thinking
D. Creating More Time and Money (and Getting Organized)
E. Relax, Have Fun and Enjoy Life
G. Illness and Grief
H. Your Family, Children and Young People
I. Bad Habits
J. You and Society
L. Journaling and Your Personal Aspirations Questionnaire
A. IT'S YOUR TURN:
Start Loving Yourself and Your Life
1. Whose Life is This, Anyway?
It's time to define your own reality and create the life that will make you happy. This is your life. Create your own standard to measure your success. Many of us have been brainwashed into believing society's definition of success: lots of money, a high-powered job, a picture-perfect family, a big extravagant home and a beautiful body. This might work for some people, but all too often we are left feeling dissatisfied, restless and sad. We can't all squeeze ourselves into the same mold, and we shouldn't want to. Take some time to figure out what you really want out of life and then develop a strategy to achieve it. Now let's begin with a few basic premises.
2. You Are a Unique Human Being. You Matter.
No one else is more important, worthy, or special than you. Just because someone is richer, more famous, or more attractive does not make them more valuable than you are. There is goodness and love in you. Do not treat your own physical, emotional, and spiritual health as an afterthought. Make your own well-being a priority. You deserve all the bounty this world has to offer. You are worth it.
3. Erase Negative Programming.
Do away with all the old, negative messages you were given about yourself. If someone has told you that you are worthless, undeserving, dense or unattractive, that is their problem. No one has a right to judge you or belittle you. We are all struggling to get by in this world, and no one else has all the answers. Honor your own truth. In your own heart, you know who you are . . . don't let another take that power away from you. Love yourself. (JE)
4. Forgive Yourself . . . and Move On.
Okay . . . so maybe you did screw up on a few things, maybe even on most things. Some of us have to learn the hard way. There are really no failures or mistakes, just opportunities for growth. Usually something good does come out of our mistakes. So learn from them, don't repeat them, forgive yourself, and move on.
5. Make Amends.
If you've hurt someone else in the process of learning your life lessons, make it right. Reach out to them, and tell them you are sorry. Or just start being nice. You are accountable for your behavior. Own up to it.
6. Nurture Yourself.
Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. If you are hurting or sad or lonely, honor that. Make time for yourself. Let yourself heal. Don't expect so much of yourself. Life can be downright brutal. Let the love within you and others carry you through. In time, you will see how much you have learned. It is worth the journey.
7. Everything in Life Happens for a Reason.
Life is full of peaks and valleys. Even though they are more difficult, you learn more during the valleys or the challenging times. When you are in a valley, you might not see the value of it; but later, when you look back, you will realize that you have learned a great deal. Know that nothing you experience is an accident. Everything you experience and everyone you meet teaches you something or holds a lesson for you.
8. Know That When One Door Closes, Another
Change is good. This is how you grow. Eventually you will see that sometimes you have to lose something to gain something else. Even illness, death, and financial loss have a purpose. Did a tragedy bring you closer to your family and friends? Did the community reach out to you? Were you forced to switch gears? Faith is knowing that everything is okay and works out. You will grow stronger from all that you experience.
9. Trust Your Instincts.
All your life, you have been taught to invalidate your feelings. This is wrong. Your subconscious mind continually picks up and processes cues from your environment and from other people. This is valuable information that you should not disregard. Don't let people talk you into doing something that doesn't feel right to you. Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right to you, then it probably isn't. And you don't have to justify how you feel. Just say, "No thank you," or "I'd rather not," or "I'm busy." Everyone else does not know more than you.
10. Being Alive Is Enough.
Just ask people who almost lost their lives and they will tell you that most of the stuff we fret over isn't that important. Being alive is a great gift. Don't define yourself in such narrow terms as your work, your body, your house, your kids, or your relationships. Learn to see what is precious around you each day. Do not take your good fortune for granted. Be thankful and humble. You do not have to justify your life with a big list of accomplishments. Try to experience just being alive.
11. Love Your Body.
It houses your spirit; it gets you what you need. Appreciate what your body can do and stop focusing on what it can't. No one else's body would be better for you. (Being thinner or better looking is not more valuable.) If you are not the most stunning person in town, then perhaps this makes you more approachable to others. Even if you have a physical disability, there is a reason for this. It is not to cause you suffering, rather it is an opportunity for you to grow or to understand or appreciate something in life. Perhaps this will be the vehicle through which you meet a kindred spirit or discover some hidden talent within you. Be at peace and trust that your soul is beautiful and so are you. (JE)
B. LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
12. Enjoy the Beautiful Day.
What is the weather like? Is it hot? Rainy? Windy? Enjoy getting where you are going. Are you walking, driving, riding a bus? Are people talking, music playing, birds singing? Take notice of the colors, smells, textures, buildings, sounds, people . . . everything around you. Take pleasure in the freedom you have to go from place to place. Stop and smell the roses. This day will not happen again. Experience it. Take pleasure in the moment. It's great to be alive. (JE)
13. Enjoy Feeling Fine.
Remember when you had a toothache, the flu, or a migraine. Remember the relief you felt when you first started to feel better? Until we are sick, we rarely appreciate how good it feels to feel well. Be glad you are well.
14. Having a Rotten Day?
Things not going as planned? Try another approach, or do something else for a while. Have a good laugh over it. It's the wacky days that make the best stories, not the smooth days. Often, something more valuable comes out of unplanned experiences. Maybe this is the day you will meet a special new friend, gain a new insight, or learn to relax and not have to be in control.
15. Lighten Up and Put Things in Perspective.
Having a mini-crisis? Is the world crashing down around you? Hey, relax. First of all, panicking never solved anything. Second, most things are not that bad in hindsight. You're tougher than you think. You'll get through this, and you'll probably learn something valuable in the process. You'll be okay!
16. Take Action to Make Your Dreams Happen.
What do you want to do that you haven't made time for? Do you want to take a painting class, write a book, dye your hair, take a trip, run a marathon? What's stopping you? Probably you. Too busy? Hey, with that attitude, you'll never get around to it. So make time. Make yourself a priority for once. Make a list of things you'd like to try, and sign yourself up for something or call and make reservations. Just do it! Now get going. (And if you think it's too late to start something new, Grandmas Moses was in her eighties when she started painting. But don't you wait that long.) (JE)
C. THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
17. Is Your Cup Half Full or Half Empty?
If you approach each day with a smile, see the goodness in people, and make lemonade out of lemons, then you are a "half-full person." You don't care if it's going to rain because the clouds are so beautiful. If you're stuck in traffic, you enjoy the music or your passenger's company. But if you approach your day with a negative attitude and notice or experience more bad than good, then your approach is half empty. You are your own worst enemy: you sabotage your own fun and your own joy of life. So cut it out. Retrain yourself to notice only the good things in any situation until you rid yourself of this horrible habit. Don't be a dream killer . . . for yourself or anyone else.
18. Let Yourself Be Happy. Count Your Blessings
There is always someone else worse off than you. Look around you: your life is full of blessings. Make a list of things you are thankful for: your sight, health, family, food, shelter, a pet, your kids, friends, a good book. If you could even get out of bed this morning, then you are blessed. Do not take all this good fortune for granted. Be thankful for all these blessings. (JE)
19. Use Positive Language. Think Positive
Try not to use negative words too much like hate, disgusting, sick, ugly, etc." Notice how things have improved in the world, in your town, in your life. Look for beauty. Try not to be sarcastic. Sarcasm is a "put-down"of something or someone. The way you act in the world is basically a habit. You can retrain your behavior and your thinking, and you will benefit by doing so. Being considerate, kind, and positive is contagious and worth the investment.
20. What You Give Is What You Get.
If you give love and kindness to others, you will probably find yourself overflowing with love and happiness. But if you give bitterness, cynicism, and negativity, that is what you will attract. In the mirror of life, you are reflected back, so let your goodness shine out. (JE)
21. Notice the Positive Side of Life.
Even though we are surrounded with love and positive things every day, the negative side of life seems to get a lot more publicity. Too many negative images sap us of our optimism. So don't make a constant diet of negative people, newscasts, angry music, violent movies, and conflict. (Kids do not benefit from watching too many news shows and violence on TV.) Surround yourself with happy, positive people and situations whenever you can.
22. Be Funny. Laugh. Laugh Out Loud.
Laugh at yourself. Send funny cards to people. Watch funny movies. Enjoy yourself and have some fun (just not at anyone's expense). Laughter can cure what ails you and make life fun. It's very good medicine.
23. Sing Out Loud. Dance Wacky. Get Moving.
Kids love this one! Turn on some upbeat, peppy music nice and loud. Disney movie soundtracks and oldies are great for this; anything you know the words to. Not only will you release a lot of stress, you'll get your exercise, too.
24. Smile at Strangers and at Yourself.
Everyone is attracted to happy people. They make us feel better. You can be one of those people. You'll cheer up both yourself and those around you. Besides, frowning makes wrinkles.
D. CREATING MORE TIME AND MONEY
(AND GETTING ORGANIZED)
25. Create the Life You Want.
Don't just let life blow you around like a leaf in the wind. You can manage your time, money, and activities. First of all, who isn't overbooked these days? We fill our lives with so many activities that we practically live in the car, en route to one more event. So how does it feel? Exhausting? Unfulfilling? Frantic? You can change this pattern. You got yourself into it, now get yourself out. Take control and be deliberate. If you are thinking "How?" keep reading.
26. Reprioritize Your Time.
Start to keep track of what you do in a typical week. Do you work outside the home? Commute? Taxi kids back and forth? Chair or participate in committees, clubs, organizations? Take classes? Volunteer? Provide elder care or child care? Do you have shopping, menu planning, laundry? What are your obligations and commitments? What could be dropped, and what can't.
Now, get brutal here. Are all these activities enhancing or burdening your life? Some things you can't change, but most you can. Maybe you need to start out small, or maybe you need a giant life makeover. You decide. In any case, if you are not living the life you really want, then you have to make some changes, now. (JE)
27. Simplify and Be Deliberate.
Decide which activities in your life are valuable and which are not. Eliminate all the extra activities that take your time but do not enrich your life. Set limits for yourself and your family. SAY NO to burdensome committees or engagements. Allow your kids to each have one extra activity during the school year (unless they can get themselves there). If you have ten kids, then they will have to do an activity together. For example, they can all take the same art class or go swimming together. Kids suffer just like you do when every minute is booked up with activities. We all need more "down time," or unscheduled time in which to take up a hobby, read, or relax.
To put it all in perspective: if you moved away, would your community cease to function? If you quit your job, would your employer go out of business? You are not indispensable, and you are free to make choices for your own good. (JE)
28. Save Time with a Strategy. Get Help.
Can't get it all done? Did you eliminate some activities yet? Here are a few more suggestions: if you spend hours commuting to work, why not move closer to your job, or get another job closer to home? Hire a housekeeper, cleaning service, or gardener. Order your bulk groceries over the Internet. Have your kids take the school bus. Arrange carpools with friends. Hire an enthusiastic teenager to watch your kids while you clean the kitchen. (Pay these kids well,they deserve it.) Join a dinner co-op, or swap dinners with friends. Double recipes and freeze half for later. Figure out what chores you least like, and find a way to minimize them. All kinds of services are springing up out there to help families. For example, laundromats often wash and fold. Maybe you just need some help on occasion. If your job is not worth it, maybe you can provide a service for others who work outside the home. Child care providers, dog walkers, housekeepers, and elder caregivers are in big demand. How about home-delivered dinners? All those frantic working people out there need help. (JE)
29. Don't Burn the Candle at Both Ends.
You can't do it all, and you don't have to. Others will probably pick up the ball if you drop it. And if they don't, it won't be the end of the world. Keeping up a frantic pace puts people in the hospital, or else their relationships suffer. Something or someone will pay the price.
30. Budget Time to Do Nothing.
You don't have to fill every minute with some activity. Nothing spontaneous can happen if you're all booked up. Sit outside for a few minutes, or listen to some music. Let your mind unwind. If you're a real control freak, schedule some time to do nothing.
31. Turn Off the TV.
Some people find they have more time and can be better organized when the TV is off.
32. The Stuff Trap.
Most people have too much stuff. Some of us have it lying all over the place or stuffed in our closets. Others have it boxed up for future use (never to be seen again). Saving it just in case we might need it sometime is generally a bad reason. We usually don't need it, can't find it, or don't even remember we have it. So don't buy another thing until you read #33. Okay? (JE)
33. Dejunk, Unclutter, Weed Out, and Organize
You'll have more room, spend less time looking for lost stuff, and your home will be much easier to clean. You'll feel more rested, tranquil, and happier. When people drop by, you won't have to hide. You might be shocked when you start to realize how much money you have spent on useless stuff you don't even want anymore. Give it away. Your old stuff might be useful to someone else.
34. How to Get Started at Dejunking.
First of all, do not be intimidated by a huge mess. There's an epidemic of junk junkies out there, so don't feel bad. Plan to spend a considerable amount of time on this project if your mess is big. You want to keep at it, too. Be determined; your sanity is worth it. Play the "Rocky" theme song if you have to.
Some people start with their junk drawer or closet. I say start with your living room and public rooms because you will see results faster. Get three big boxes (or trash bags). Mark them: "Give Away", "Throw Away", and "Undecided." Now put all items in their proper place in your house or in one of your boxes. You can have a garage sale and make some money. Start giving more stuff away all the time. Some people make a trip to their local charity every week. People will love your generosity. You'll feel freer and freer as you start to see some space returning to your home. And your stuff will no longer own you . . . you'll own it!
About that undecided box . . . time to get rid of that stuff. too. (JE)
35. Want More Money? Quit Buying Stuff.
Get out of the materialism rat race. Advertising has convinced us that we need a ton of stuff. Then, when we have it, all we do is trip over it. "In fashion" is a big hook for a lot of us. Be much more selective. And sort first. For all you know, you might have one of those in the closet already.
36. What Do You Really Need?
Besides some self-control . . . do you really need a new, expensive car; a big new house; a new CD player; and all the latest electronic gadgets known to humankind? You really can live without most of those things, especially if you are trying to save money. Eating out and vacations (try camping) are big money pits, too. So if you spend all your time working and not enjoying life, just so you can buy stuff, then whoa--- slow way down and reprioritize. Work less, spend less, enjoy more. (JE)
37. Are You a Shopaholic?
This sounds funny but really isn't. You know how much money you are spending, and you still feel miserable. You are trying to fill up a hole in your soul. It's like any other addiction, so feed your spirit. Seek professional help if necessary. Get help because you deserve it and you've suffered enough.
38. Don't Spend More Money than You Have.
Cut up those credit cards. You know that the instant gratification is not worth the stress. If you keep one credit card for convenience or emergencies, charge only what you can pay off each month.
E. RELAX, HAVE FUN, AND ENJOY LIFE
39. Take a Nice, Hot Bath.
If you like bubble bath, special soaps, or candles, indulge yourself. This quiet time is great for your spirit and your brain. We all crave a bit of serenity, and in this hectic world, it is a rare commodity. A tub can be a wonderful place to read (just not a library book). Your muscles will love it, and so will your blood pressure.
40. Climb into Bed Early and Watch a Movie.
Make popcorn, pile up the pillows and relax. If you want to, you can let your kids join you for a family movie. How about a comedy? Just don't make it too scary; since you'll want to sleep sometime.
41. Use or Display Your Good China, Heirlooms
and Treasures Daily.
Are your most beautiful and special things packed away? Do you use them only on special occasions? Why not use them daily and really enjoy them? So what if they get broken? They won't do you any good packed in your attic. If you are always putting off the special things in life, you might miss the opportunity ever to experience them at all. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things will lift your spirits, and remind you that your life is a special occasion. (JE)
42. Make Time to Take Up a Hobby or Be Creative.
Make birdhouses, draw, play music, learn a language, build models, doodle, take a class, take up a sport, try out for local theater, write poetry, make mosaics, rebuild old cars, string beads. Some adult education classes cost $10 or less. Everyone has a hidden talent. Developing it is cheaper than therapy and a lot more fun. Consider joining a club for your hobby or interest. It's a great way to meet people, too. (JE)
43. READ, READ, READ!!!
Mysteries, novels, self-help books, inspirational books, humor, travel, poetry, adventure. There is a book for every age, taste, level, and person on this planet. If you are already a reader, then you know how great it is. If you aren't, then you simply have not found the right type of book. Books relax you and transport you to another world right in your own living room. Hooray for books! (JE)
And definitely read out loud to your kids. (See Section "H" regarding this topic.)
44. Did Someone Turn You Off to Reading?
The old school approach to reading could have killed anyone's love of it. Boring, tedious, and difficult books do not inspire reading. If you were a slow reader or felt pressured, you certainly wouldn't have learned to love books. So deprogram yourself, starting today. Start with an easy, funny, or exciting book. Pick a subject you enjoy. Give yourself all the time in the world, and start to read for pleasure. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton was one of the first books that turned me on to pleasure reading. Dave Barry's Guide to Guys is fast and funny, too.
45. Beautify Your Home.
Your home should give you a lift, boost your spirits, and express your uniqueness. It is a very important refuge and anchor for you (and your family) in these hectic times. Let it reflect your sense of style and the colors you like. Even if you are on a budget, you can paint the walls, hang up some curtains, and put up some art or posters. You can find lots of great stuff at garage sales. Look at books and magazines for ideas, or ask a creative friend to help if you're lost. "Interior Motives," hosted by Christopher Lowell on the Discovery Channel, is full of clever tips. (JE)
46. Move Your Furniture.
This will give you an instant change and won't cost you a penny---unless, of course, you throw your back out---so be careful.
47. Create an Outdoor Retreat.
Whether you have a tiny deck or you have ten acres, set up a spot with a comfy chair or two, a small table, and a few flowers or plants. Take your coffee, soda, journal, paper, or book outside. Soak up the day. Give yourself permission to relax. If we pay a lot of money to go on a vacation just to sit around by the pool or beach, then why can't we enjoy an afternoon at our own home for free? Tip: Many of the bigger chain stores carry reasonably priced vinyl Adirondack chairs, and other outdoor furniture.
48. Get Outdoors into Nature.
Nature is a natural destresser. Go out to the woods, lake, or sea. Go for a picnic in a park, take a walk, sit under a tree. Go anyplace where it is not too crowded and noisy. Let your mind wander away from everyday problems.
49. Go Camping.
Camping refreshes your spirit. Being surrounded by natural beauty from morning to night and the relaxed pace can transform anyone who will surrender to just being. If you are a high-strung control freak, you will probably consider camping torture, but chances are you will benefit from it more than anyone else. It takes about three days to get used to having no TV, computer, phone, etc. You will slowly start to unwind and relax, and soon you will find yourself just sitting in a chair and not missing any of it. Many kids will go through withdrawal from the TV, but after a few days, they will become camping converts. Kids love to roast marshmallows and sticks. A campfire is great for this. Camping is also great for stargazing When else do you get out into the night air? It takes some practice to learn about tents and stoves and other camping details, but after a few tries you'll become an expert. Family bonding magically happens in nature.
50. Plant a Garden.
Working in the garden or yard is very therapeutic. It doesn't matter if your garden is ornamental or vegetable, big or small. Just the acts of digging, raking, and tending take your mind off daily problems. You can get creative and start to add paths, ponds, fences, decks, benches, art, birdhouses, bat-houses, etc. Rocks are a wonderful feature, too. The wonder of nature can reveal itself to you in your own mini-universe, which unfolds every time you work with plants. Container garden-ing is just as satisfying. If you feed the hummingbirds, get advice from the experts, as feeders can become contaminated.
51. Stretch a Bit.
We all get in a rut; it's invigorating to try something new. Re-invent yourself. Try a new food or restaurant. Get a new haircut or glasses. Take up in-line skating. Teach yourself to use tools and make some of your own repairs. Build. Try on some new ideas. Don't stereotype or limit yourself. You are capable. Become empowered. (JE)
52. Who Cares If You Have a Messy Kitchen?
Clean is nice, but don't let it rule your life. Reading to your kids is more valuable. Establish priorities for a full life. Don't let the business of maintaining your life become your whole life.
53. Enjoy the Trip.
When traveling as a family, make the journey fun and also part of the vacation. Play music loud and sing. Kids love Disney soundtracks. Play a different one for each trip. Stock up on yummy drinks and treats. Play animal guessing games. Make stops along the way to eat or see something interesting. In this busy world, it is rare to get all your family together in one place. Enjoy it!
54. Start Your Own Traditions.
Create your own special occasions. Have an annual Christmas luncheon for all your friends. Throw a beach party. Have a ladies' (or gentlemen's) night out. Have a family reunion with your siblings every year. Serve Thanksgiving dinner in September. Ask your friends what they do. Borrow their ideas. (JE)
55. Pamper Yourself.
Get a manicure. Take a nap. Get your car washed. Treat yourself to a latte. Buy a new pen. Look at funny greeting cards and buy a few to send later. Take a walk. Visit a museum. Write a letter. Read an inspirational book. Write in your journal. Buy some beautiful flowers. You deserve it. What do you do for your own enjoyment? (JE)
56. Do Not Expect Others to Bring You Happiness.
All by yourself, you are a complete and perfect creation. All the answers you need are within you. Do your spirit work. Nurture, cherish, honor, and feed your spirit. Another person cannot fill a hole in your soul that exists if you do not love yourself. Reach out to help others. Extend love to them. Give, and you will receive. (JE)
57. Make Friends and Be a Friend.
Don't sulk because your friends don't call. Everyone is busy. Call them; they will really appreciate it. Make different kinds of friends. And they don't have to be friends with each other. Join a book club, PTA, church group, sport, volunteer group. Just get out there and meet people. (JE)
58. Extend Yourself (Go Out of Your Way
Call someone who is lonely or sad. Take a friend to lunch. Bring flowers to someone. Open the door when a person needs help. Let someone go in front of you in the market when they are in a hurry. Stop for pedestrians. Be patient and considerate. Don't take it personally when another person is a grump . . . maybe they just got bad news or they are sick. Be the good guy. You'll love yourself.
59. Be Friendly and Kind to Teenagers.
Teenagers are unfairly treated by the media. Most of them are just little kids in really loud, big bodies. Because their bodies are growing and changing so fast, they often feel depressed, confused and out of control. Teens need more love and reassurance than any other age group, yet as a society, we treat them like they have some contagious disease. They don't want to be teenagers . . . that's just life. So why not show them some support? Give them the benefit of the doubt. Be pleasant to them. Say hello, and give them a smile or kind word. Most of these kids are really wonderful even with a nose ring. One more thing; when your little, darling six-year-old son or granddaughter is sixteen, would you like them to be treated inconsiderately? (JE)
60. Do Not Gossip.
We all do stupid things. Your importance is not increased when you belittle another. Gossiping is petty, hurtful and low. Try doing something nice for someone else instead. You'll feel better about yourself.
61. Do Not Carry a Grudge.
Generally speaking, most of the bad things people do to one another are just a little thoughtless or careless. Some people are on automatic pilot and do not even realize that they have hurt another. Most of the time, it is probably not intentional. Do not take it to heart. Be the bigger person; sometimes you can actually end up becoming friends. Realize that you have done dumb things before, too. In any case, it is destructive to your own peace of mind to carry negative thoughts around in your heart. They will eat away at you, and eventually, you will pay a dear price. (JE)
62. Look Out for Toxic People.
You know the type. They complain, are negative in their outlook, are unkind, depressed, mean, and self-centered. They will suck the joy right out of you, and you can't fix them. They are the only ones who can resolve their issues. Protect your own well-being by avoiding their destructive and negative energy. Don't be a victim.
63. You Cannot Solve Other People's Problems.
People will come to you with their tales of woe. You can offer them kindness or be a sounding board for them, but they are really the only ones who can solve things for themselves. You cannot travel their journey for them; we must each walk our own path. (JE)
64. Do Not Let Another Person Crush Your
Some people are hostile, negative or angry all the time. If you live or work with someone like this, it can destroy your spirit. You begin to feel hopeless and defeated. You deserve better. Do not let these people trick you into thinking that you are the cause of their difficulties. Negative people need to take ownership of their own emotional baggage, problems, and issues. You have a right to be happy. You deserve it. You will reflect God's grace when you are happy. You will spread joy and radiate love. Don't let anyone take that away from you.
65. Keep Your Own Free Will.
We all have responsibilities and obligations. We can't always do exactly what we want or get our own way. Some of this is good because we are growing and learning how to cope. But if you feel your own needs are never being met, or you are feeling devalued, or if you have to give in to another's wishes more than to your own, then that relationship is probably destructive to you. You do not deserve to be mistreated by anyone.
66. Look Beyond a Person's Actions and Try
to See Their Goodness
Some people are hurting and sad, and they act like jerks. Most people don't want to act jerky; in fact, they probably hate it and themselves. If you can see that spark of goodness in them, then you will be free of being hurt by them. Can you reach out to them with kindness and see how far it gets you? Maybe there is a wonderful person inside of them struggling to get out, and you just might help open that door. (Note: If a person is abusive to you, that is not okay. Leave that situation immediately.)
67. Don't Let Anger Take Over in an Argument.
You'll regret what you say; and you will resolve nothing. Everyone will shut down. So keep a cool head. If necessary, detach yourself. Don't take anything personally, and try to reach a resolution or compromise. "When anger enters, reason flies out the window." (JE)
68. Women: Don't Expect Men to Think Like
They can't. Don't take it personally.
69. Tips for Men about Women.
Women love to talk and analyze. Force yourself to talk to the woman in your life. Make conversation. Try not to shut down or leave when you feel uncomfortable or upset. Talk about it; don't be so afraid of your feminine side. Having a macho attitude does not work as well as being better balanced. Hint: Women love to receive flowers. (They don't have to be roses. Most women like all flowers.)
70. Have People Over.
We're all so busy that we don't entertain much anymore, but we need to maintain our friendships. We all need a support system and friends provide this. So have a potluck once in awhile. Everyone else will thank you for the effort, but they actually will be bringing all the food! It's not that hard. (JE)
G. ILLNESS AND GRIEF
71. Why Are You Sick?
It seems fairly predictable that certain conditions bring on illness. Sure, sometimes the whole office has the flu, and you get it. But other times, it's not that simple. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling really stressed out, you're inefficient or make mistakes? If you could just calm down and start over, you'd be more productive, right? Well, illness can work the same way. When you burn the candle at both ends for too long, something gives. You get sick or injured. If you have unresolved grief or emotional issues, you get sick. If you won't slow down, you break your leg, and then you have to. In other words, if you have some emotional, spiritual, or personal issues that you need to attend to and you aren't doing it, then often you will become sick so that you will be forced to re-examine your priorities and deal with those issues. Or maybe there is just a very good lesson that you will learn from this experience. Sometimes that lesson is for someone else in your life (a loved one or friend). You might not see it now, but you'll discover it soon enough. (JE)
72. Find the Hidden Blessings in Illness.
If you can possibly look for the positive side of being sick, then you might see it as a blessing instead of a curse. It's not fun to be sick: Who are we kidding? But it does have its advantages. Sounds crazy? For example, if you are stuck in bed with some rotten virus, you might find yourself having meaningful conversations with your kids because you finally slowed down and started to listen to them. Then you could probably see the good side of a bad thing. If you have a heart attack and your life passes before your eyes, and you have a renewed appreciation for the preciousness of life itself, then you see the benefit of your illness. If you have a disease and tons of friends show up to wish you well, and you realize how precious all these pals are, then you see the plus side. Every cloud does have a silver lining. (JE)
73. Your Attitude Can Help Cure You.
If your brain can keep your heart pumping for 80+ years, you can be sure it can help you fight disease. Your attitude toward getting well is critical. Be determined to fight whatever you get. Don't lie down and die. Don't give up, and don't think you deserve your suffering. Look for the lesson in your illness. Try to correct the contributing factors (lifestyle, emotional, etc.), and then get out there and fight. Get mad at your disease and believe you have the power to win over your illness. (JE)
74. Lean on God.
You are not alone in your hour of need. God is there for you. God has a plan. You don't have to understand it yet, but if you can have faith that you will get past this, you will. Talk to God; pray. Then open your heart and be observant. God might not appear to you as a big head in the sky; but if you are watchful and look for signs, answers will reveal themselves, often in unexpected ways. You'll hear a radio show, find a book, or meet a person who has your same illness. Just as you cannot see the whole flower until it opens, it is all there waiting to be revealed. So are the answers to your problem. (JE)
75. Grief Work Takes Time.
Grief is powerful, overwhelming, and all-consuming. No one else can feel your pain. When someone you love dies, you feel as though you're floating at the bottom of a lake or are partly dead yourself. You're numb, and things don't matter like they used to. And even if the person who died was old, and it was their time, it still feels bad. These feeling are normal, it's okay to have them, and you need to honor them. Don't rush yourself, don't expect so much of yourself, and don't blame yourself. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to cry. Cry an ocean. This life is hard. Grief is work. It's like moving a big pile of gravel with a teaspoon. But just as you can eventually, and actually do, move that gravel . . . so you can start to heal. Sometimes it takes a long time, a year or more for some people. Give yourself that time. Grieving is like recovering from a serious operation. You don't jump right out of bed and expect to conduct business as usual; it takes time to heal. You may not be ready yet, but you will feel better. Really. There's still a lot of living for you to do. Your time is not up yet. Console yourself with the fact that you will see your loved one in what seems like the blink of an eye. In the meantime, there are lots of others who need and want you as a part of their lives here on earth. Life is for the living. Get back in the game. (JE)
76. Grief Is Not Always about Dying.
Sometimes in life, we need to grieve, and it's not because someone died. It's because we are experiencing a major change in life. Some of these big life changes feel as bad as if a loved one has died. When our kids move away from home, we get a divorce, we have a health problem that changes our way of life, our parents get a divorce, we lose a job. a pet dies, we have a miscarriage, a friend moves away . . . these (and other changes) can be biggies for many people. You are experiencing a loss. Your feelings are valid. Honor them, and allow yourself time to adjust and heal. It's hard and it hurts, but you will feel better, and you will learn from these experiences. This is soul work; this is how you grow. (JE)
77. When Someone Dies Young.
This always seems so unnatural that we feel even more confused, upset and sad. But have you ever noticed how heroic, and brave some young people seem? It's almost like they are stronger and have more faith than we do. Maybe that is their purpose here in life; to teach us something we need to learn. Maybe they are angels who bring us a much-needed reminder that life is precious and not to be wasted. (JE)
78. Find Support.
Join a support group, read lots of books, go see a therapist, visit with your minister, attend an informative lecture, go out to lunch with a friend or loved one and talk. There are many vehicles to help you in your time of need. Let yourself be helped. Do not shut people out. You need them and they need you. Lean on God. (JE)
H. YOUR FAMILY, CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
79. The Hardest Job You'll Ever Love.
Anyone with kids will tell you that it is a whole ton of work and that they had no idea the reality of it until they had their own little darlings. No one told us. Could you tell a single, childless person what having a family would be like? There'd be no kids in this world. Babies are tough if they are criers. Tots are strong-willed. Teens drain you. Face it . . . it's tough. Go ahead and have a pity party. You've earned it. But keep in mind: what would your life be like if you didn't have those kids? You can't imagine it because you've got them, and your life is changed forever. They are a part of you. So cherish them, love them, talk to them, hug them, nurture them, mold them, give them your best. Give them your all. They need you, and you need them.
(Hey, marriage is no piece of cake, either!)
80. Celebrate Your Unique Family Style.
Families of today do not fit the neat and tidy 1950's stereotype of two parents, two kids, and a dog in a happy little place called Suburbia. Maybe that has been a myth all along. And that is okay. Don't beat yourself up over not sitting down together as a family for dinner every night or not having a perfectly neat house or a sparkling clean kitchen. Maybe you're a single parent, a blended family, or live with an extended family. If what you are doing is working and makes everyone feel loved and nurtured, then hooray for you! Congratulations! You must be doing a lot of things right. Of course there is always room for improvement, and you probably know where; but don't let the "June Cleaver" model ruin the good thing you have going because that is fantasyland and probably never existed anyway. Don' let the fantasy ruin the reality. (JE)
81. Go Ahead and Tear Your Hair Out.
Do your kids whine, stall at homework time, build traps out of ropes and junk, and freak out about bugs, dogs, or doctors? Are they picky eaters, TV addicts, and video game junkies? Do they want to get tattoos or body piercing and dye their hair? Relax . . . it's all normal. They're just trying to find their place in the world, and see how far you will bend. Try not to spoil them too much. Go take a nice bath! (JE)
82. Make Your Kids Your Number One Priority.
There is nothing else you do that is more important than raising your kids. They need you, a secure home, and a balanced life. You are drawing the blueprint that they will build on for their whole lives. Be available for them. Talk with them. Get to know them. Spend time with them. Before you know it, they will be packing up and moving out, and you'll wonder where the time went. No amount of money can make up for a lost opportunity to be with your kids. Don't bury yourself in your work, your housekeeping, or your TV; do those things later when they move out. Take vacations with your whole family. Plan them together. Have some happy times together. (JE)
83. Never Use Your Kids in a War with Your
If you are divorced or separated, your kids are feeling very vulnerable and insecure. They need to know that your dedication to raising them will not be compromised. They want to love both of their parents. Try to make your kids feel loved and nurtured, and help them feel in control of their new life. Kids should not have to take sides. Don't bad-mouth your ex. Try to find common ground with your ex when it comes to parenting styles so that the kids have some sense of continuity. Do all you can to create agreement instead of conflict. You should be ready to make as many personal sacrifices as necessary to keep your kids' lives running as smoothly as possible. (JE)
84. Do Stuff with Your Kids.
Take them to the park. Read to them. Go to the movies. Teach them to cook. Go bowling. Play a board game. Wash the car together. Plant a garden together. Build a fort. Let them help you with chores or projects. Yes, it will take twice as long and might turn out weird. So? Kids need to learn and want your company. The process is always more important than the product. (JE)
85. Read Out Loud to Your Kids.
Pull a chair up to your children's beds and read to them every night. It will help them fall asleep, they will develop a love of reading, and you will both treasure this special time together. Many teens and adults will confide that their happiest memories are of a parent or relative reading to them as children. Go to your library and pick out books you both will enjoy. Your children's librarian has lots of great ideas.
86. Be a Good Role Model.
Kids learn from you . . . both good and bad. If you gossip or are sarcastic or negative, your kids will act the same. They are an excellent mirror, and sometimes we don't like what we see. So choose your words and behaviors wisely. If you don't want your kids to drink, smoke, or do drugs, then don't indulge in those behaviors yourself. (JE)
87. Don't Let Your Kids Grow Up Too Fast!
The media is constantly deluging kids with images that promote them growing up too fast. Little kids should not dress, act and think like teenagers. They do not need to watch music videos intended for teens, scary movies, bad language sit coms, or negative news shows. Use the TV and movie ratings and watch out for violence. Play kid's music. Watch little kid's programming. Let your kids be kids. Cherish their innocence.
88. Your Kids Are Different People From
Respect the fact that everyone is different and unique. What works for one person won't work for another. People with more than one child will tell you they all come different. So don't assume your child thinks or sees the world the same as you do. Try to help them develop their own unique talents and abilities. Respect their way of doing things. You can learn a lot from looking through their eyes for a change. (JE)
89. Never Call Your Children a Mean Name
or Label Them.
You cannot take your words back and it might affect them for the rest of their lives.
90. Fathers: Spend Time With Your Daughters.
If you do not pay enough attention to your daughters, they often will have boyfriends before they're mature enough to deal with that kind of relationship. And that is not always so terrific.
91. Kids and Teens Want and Need to Talk.
Promote this healthy habit early, and your kids will keep it up as they get older. Ask younger kids about what they did in P.E., who they played with at recess, what they played, what special things they did in school, how they feel about their classmates, etc. Ask bigger kids about their teachers, their assignments, who they hung out with at lunch, what they think about the different groups or cliques, etc. Give them support and validate their feelings. Talking things out helps young people put things in perspective. Remember, sometimes kids and teens think something is a crisis, and to them it is. Don't trivialize it. Show them options, and try to show them some balance; but if you make fun of their feelings and dilemmas, they will not turn to you again. Keep communication open. Be sympathetic and make helpful suggestions. (JE)
92. Help Teens Use an Assignment Organizer.
When teens start having a different teacher for each class, their homework and test schedules get very complicated. Many students lose track of important dates. Buy them an assignment planning calendar. This is basically a calender designed for students that is organized week by week, followed by a whole month. The student should take this to every class and fill in all assignments due, test dates, holidays, papers and projects, etc. When they get the hang of it, they often start writing in games, dances, and more. This one item can help any student be better organized and feel more in control. (JE)
93. Help Girls Develop a Positive Body Image.
Girls today are bombarded with images of excessively thin, unrealistically beautiful models. Most of these women and girls are not an average body type and are actually underweight for their height. Although these women may make clothing look attractive, they are not a realistic ideal for young, healthy girls. Stress that "real people" come in all shapes and sizes and that being emaciated is not healthy, desirable, or beautiful in real life. (Mothers: Don't constantly say you are fat or hate your body in front of your young daughters.)
94. "Boys Will Be Boys" is NOT
Males have been forced into unhealthy stereotypes for too long. Telling males to "not be wimps" and "to tough it out" leaves them without a constructive emotional outlet. Hence, anger and rage is often a problem for them. Boys and men need to be taught how to manage their anger. Boys who act macho, tough, and cool could end up in real trouble. Boys also need to learn to identify and honor all the varieties of emotions that we as human beings can and do feel. Being well adjusted and well rounded will be critical for success in the new millennium. Teach your boys to identify the real issues behind their negative behaviors so that they can find solutions. Teach them to say: I feel sad, rejected, lonely, hurt, embarrassed, humiliated, etc. (Crying is normal.) Then encourage them to talk through their hurt. Communication is key. Be sure boys have creative outlets that allow the expression of their inner needs. Teens also benefit from physical activity, such as sports or fitness training, that help to keep their stress levels down. Help your sons develop their humanity, compassion, and minds as well as their muscles. (JE)
95. Promote Sibling Loyalty.
Promote the idea that families support and uplift each other. Remind your kids that even when you are gone from this world, they will still have each other to turn to. They can be a safety net for one another in this often insecure world. Family is forever, and kids will respond to this concept wholeheartedly if they are taught early to respect each other and themselves as part of a united family group and as loyal and dedicated to their siblings. They are a permanent team, and they will embrace the idea if you promote it. When you use catch-all phrases like "siblings always fight," you are basically condoning disagreement. An occasional squabble is okay; but this should not be your family's regular diet.
96. Turn Off the TV.
Many people actually become addicted to TV and will go through a type of withdrawal when it is turned off. There are a million other great things for kids to do that they won't try if the TV is on. If possible, restrict viewing to certain designated times or have "TV off" periods. Kids will rediscover playing, going outside, being creative, doing their homework, reading, interacting with family, and a host of other activities. TV should enhance your life, not be your life.
97. Don't Overmedicate Your Kids.
Kids living in the USA are more medicated than in any other country. Most drugs have side effects, and a lifetime of chronic prescription drug use is generally not a healthy habit. Some kids do have very real diseases and medical conditions that warrant medical intervention. But all too often, we do not look carefully for the cause of a problem, we just treat the symptoms. If your child is moody, is aggressive, can't concentrate, has stomachaches, gets rashes, or earaches, has a constantly runny nose, or zones out, the cause might be something you can correct yourself. Diet is a major contributing factor in many health problems. Artificial dyes, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners are added to many prepared foods (especially those targeted for kids), and kids can be very allergic to these. Many children react poorly to dairy products, excessive amounts of sugar (sodas and candy), peanuts, and chocolate. Too much TV can shorten a child's attention span. In addition, many kids simply get to bed too late. Sometimes dust mites, mold, scented products, and soaps can affect a child's health. Even the family pet can be a problem for some kids. Earplugs for swimming and bathing can help with earaches. Read labels, and do some research. It is worth any amount of effort to restore your child's health. Look at your child's environment, and search for the cause of his or her problem before you start a regular drug regimen.
I. BAD HABITS
98. Don't Tailgate.
You really won't get to your destination any faster and you create a discourteous, stressful climate for other drivers. If you are so stressed out about getting somewhere that fast, then you are probably headed for a heart attack. Slow down. Next time you tailgate because you are late or in a hurry, think about how late you'll be after a policeman pulls you over for a speeding ticket.
99. Don't Drown Your Sorrows.
Don't drown your sorrows in pills, drugs, alcohol, or other mind numbing stuff. If you are doing these addictive behaviors, then you are hurting, or you're angry, or both. Try to find answers that touch on the root of your problem. Find a support group, see a therapist, read self-help books, meet with a minister, pray. You are never truly free when you are medicating yourself. It solves nothing, and you deserve better. So does your family. (JE)
100. Don't Be a Dream Killer.
Let others have their joy. When you are negative, grumpy, or crabby, you rain on your own parade and probably on everyone else's around you, too. Just because you don't think something sounds wonderful does not mean it isn't to someone else. We are talking about respect here. Respect others' paths in life even if they aren't the same as yours. (JE)
101. Don't Let the Fantasy Destroy the Reality.
Just because you didn't get a pony for Christmas does not mean you couldn't have had a wonderful day, unless you ruined it for yourself. Stop this very bad habit of wanting life to turn out in a preconceived fashion. Your life is probably very full and it will take you where you need to go, and it will all be wonderful. You already have that pony, you just have to open your eyes. (JE)
J. YOU AND SOCIETY
102. Heal the Hate.
Do not belittle another human being. Do not put yourself above another race, religion, economic group, or anyone. We are all struggling to survive in this world. God does not love one group or person more than another. When you start to see the common thread in each person you meet, then you will connect to a greater source of love and strength than you could ever imagine. Consider it a privilege to be alive. Rejoice in meeting everyone you can. Every person can teach you something about yourself and the universe. Open your eyes to the beauty and joy that emanates from strangers all around you.
103. Stand Up for What Is Right.
Speak out against injustice, prejudice, hatred, and demeaning stereotypes. Look beyond a person's outward appearance, and see the real inner beauty he or she possesses. You may not be able to take on a whole country, but you can tell someone that their mean joke isn't funny or stick up for someone who is being picked on. Teach your children to be kind, fair, tolerant, and just and to give everybody a chance by being friendly to all the other kids. A child who is different often needs friends more than anyone else. The values you teach your children can change the face of the future. There are many more good people on this earth than bad ones. We need to stick together because hate is always louder and more aggressive. Taking a stand may be uncomfortable for a minute or two, but you'll sleep a lot better. (JE)
104. Do Good. Do Your Share. Help Someone.
Help your neighbor. Help your community. Help some kids. Find a need and lend a hand. Donate your time, money, and energy. Join a service club, feed the homeless, give a friend a ride, take someone to lunch or buy them flowers, mail someone a card, compliment a person who is doing a good job. call someone who is sad. Make this world a better place. Don't wait for someone else to do it. Be a positive force in the world.
105. Give Genuine Hugs . . .
to people who need them, to people you care about, and sometimes even to strangers. The more love you send out, the more you will get back. Many strangers can pick up this love as positive energy you send them. You help to fill them up as well as yourself. We are connected in this world and love is the reason.
106. Think Like an Angel.
How can you help someone in need, lift a burden, or light the way for someone? It's good practice. (JE)
107. Take Care of the Earth.
In the last 100 years, human beings have destroyed more of the earth and its resources than in all prior centuries combined. This is the only earth we have. Teach your children and grandchildren to protect the earth, to recycle, and to refuse to buy products that poison our ground, air, and water. Do not buy products made from endangered animals. Rhino horns do not have medicinal value. Don't use more than you need. Be an educated consumer.(JE)
108. Challenge the Status Quo.
Just because something is the norm or always was done a certain way does not make it right. Phrases like "there have always been wars" and "kids always pick on eachother" help to perpetuate and excuse undesirable situations. Look back at history, and you will see that what might have been okay in its day is not acceptable now. Throwing Christians to the lions was considered a spectator sport in its day. Fashionable women used to wear the fur of endangered animals to the theater. Minorities and women could not vote. Nothing changes for the better if we do not question "business as usual."
109. Organized Religion Does Not Have a
Monopoly on Spirituality.
God is not one religion. Organized religion often is about power, not about faith, love, or spirit. If your religious leaders tell you that you should hate certain groups or people, then they are not walking with God. Your religion should not make you feel guilty or try to control you. If you would like to attend a church, pick one that allows you to question and discover, to love all in God's world, and to not judge. Don't let anyone else tell you what to believe, they do not know what is right for you. No one else is more knowing or worthy than you. Look inside yourself to find your direction. (JE)
110. Respect Another Person's Faith Journey.
God does not love one person more than another. We are all struggling with our own issues and trying to find our way in this life. We all are doing the best we can. Your way, or my way is not the only or the best course. You do not need to convert or change another's beliefs. Take care of your own house. Don't you want others to respect your faith journey? (JE)
111. There Are Many Paths to God.
Keep in mind that all spirit work leads to God. Some find God in a church, mosque or synagogue or in holy writings. Some will find God in special movies, books, songs, or tapes, or reflected in certain people, in children, in the mountains, while fishing, while doing good deeds and helping others, while serving your fellow man. Wherever you feel a connection or feel yourself finding peace and love, that is your path to God. Pick and choose what appeals to you from many sources: books, tapes, people, even movies. Take the best from many places. God speaks to us in many ways. No one's path is better than another's, and they all lead to God. (JE)
112. Look for Wisdom and Lessons in Unlikely
Everyone you meet has something to teach you; and that is God showing you what you need to work on in yourself. If someone exasperates you and you can't stand it, then you probably need to work on developing patience. When a person of meager income reaches out to help another in need, then you can see all the bounty you have, and you should feel inspired to count your blessings and be more generous.
113. Do Not Judge Others.
That's God's job.
114. Choose Right over Wrong, Good over
Let's face it: we know what the moral high road is. If we turn away from doing what is right, then we are choosing to do wrong. If we lie, cheat, steal, deceive, or commit unkind acts, then we are choosing to do wrong. You always have a choice. Pick door number one. You can never be free or happy if you pick "wrong." Your heart will tell you which is which. If you choose to pick evil over good, then nothing else will matter.
115. Now Is Not Too Late.
If you have made some bad choices in the past, start over today. Switch directions right now. Vow to do the right thing instead of the wrong. The hole in your soul and the guilt you feel cannot ever heal unless you do not mend your ways. To break free of guilt is like taking a brick off your chest. Forgive yourself, for you are already forgiven.
116. Have Faith That God Is There for You.
You are not alone in this world; God is here for you. He may not be the Big Head in the Sky you imagined as a child, but he's here. He dwells in the love in your heart. Do not let your faith be destroyed because someone else insists their concept of God is the only true one. If you believe in love, or goodness, or helping humankind, or seeking truth, then you believe in God already. Trust your heart, and you will see God at work all around you. People performing acts of kindness are manifesting God. When you pray, you feel a stronger connection to God that will help unburden you. Know that eventually everything turns out okay. God loves you and wants you to love yourself, too. (JE)
117. Be Still and Listen.
God will show you which way to turn; you just have to pay attention to the signals. Sit outside, and let your mind go. Don't try to think so intensely for a while. Be patient.
118. Do Not Underestimate Yourself.
You can re-create yourself and your life with positive thinking, a plan, and the help of God. God gave you a wonderful brain: Use it.
119. Stuck? Give it Up to God.
Let it all go for a while. It will all work out. You'll see.
L. YOUR JOURNAL AND QUESTIONNAIRE
120. The Purpose of Journaling.
This Web book was designed to help you feel happier and more empowered. Journaling (writing down your thoughts and feelings) can serve as a fun and useful tool on your journey of personal discovery. In your journal you can brain storm your own ideas, or you can follow this simple system. First, fill out the Personal Aspirations Questionnaire (all or part). Second, list the sections that hold the greatest concern for you. Third, prioritize your areas of interest by arranging them in order of importance. You can then develop a plan or re-evaluate your priorities to accommodate what you really want out of life. Start working on the areas that you feel are the most pressing or most important to you now. Fourth, create your own pages of special interest to you. Perhaps you like to collect quotes, pictures and articles from magazines, ideas for trips you want to take, or books you want to read, anything. You also might want to include personal reference information such as locations and numbers of documents, papers, or bank accounts. The advantage of using a binder is that you can change it as often as you like. You can also use dividers as you wish.
121. Your Personal Aspirations Questionnaire.
This Web book contains a Personal Aspirations Questionnaire. This section is optional, intended only for your own enlightenment and fun. You can do none, part, or all of it. The questionnaire is meant as a springboard for more extensive writing or as a reminder of areas you would like to work on. You are not being graded here, and no one needs to see this but you. You cannot do a bad job on this; it is merely a tool you can use to help you develop a plan or strategy to feel more fulfilled and happy. The symbol (JE) after a section means "Journal Entry" and it will be discussed further in the questionnaire. This questionnaire might also help you feel more organized in your journey and less overwhelmed by the complex world in which we live today. Good luck!
Note: corresponding main text items are listed in parentheses: (#3), (#11), etc. Whenever you need to, use a separate sheet for your answers. The given number of lines will most likely not be enough space.
A. IT'S YOUR TURN: Start Loving Yourself and Your Life
1. Erase Negative Programming: (#3)
Do not do this section if you feel you haven't received negative messages or if you feel they are not a problem for you because you have already worked through them. Most people will have some negative messages to work on.
A. List negative messages you have been given by others, especially
as a child. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
B. Negate those messages. Write down that those messages are not true and concerned the other person's issues, not yours. Make a list of simple statements like "I am not stupid; I am smart." Say theses statements out loud daily until you feel empowered.
2. Love Your Body: (#11)
Tell yourself every day that you love and appreciate your body. Telling yourself that you are fat and ugly is a destructive message. Even if you haven't yet started dieting or gettting fit, etc., start with loving your body now, at this moment. What do you love about your body?
B. LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
3. Enjoy the Beautiful Day: (#12)
Did you enjoy the beautiful day today? What stands out for you as being particularly beautiful or enjoyable? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. Take Action to Make Your Dreams Happen: (#16)
List what you dream of doing that you have put off. Create categories that work for you, such as Do Now; Within This Year; Save For; Long-Range Plans; etc. Be brave. Shoot for the moon. If you've always wanted to see a broadway musical or own an ostrich farm, write it down. Search your soul for your deepest desires. Nothing is impossible. Referring to your list, start to plan for or get going on some of them right away. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________
C. THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
5. Let Yourself Be Happy. Count Your Blessings
Every Day: (#18)
List 5 to10 things you are grateful for today. Try to think of different blessings each day. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________
6. What You Give Is What You Get: (#20)
Do you want a more positive life? Do you send out positive messages to those around you? Do you see an opportunity in everything that happens? Is your cup half-full or half-empty? Do you think you contribute to your own problems? Catch yourself when negative thoughts creep into your mind. Write about this. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
D. CREATING MORE TIME AND MONEY
7. Reprioritize Your Time: (#26)
List all the activities in which you participate in any given week. Also list monthly or less frequent, but regular, activities, such as meetings. See #26 for ideas. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
8. Simplify and Be Deliberate: (#27)
List all the activities you do that take your time but do not enrich your life. What activities do you and your family participate in that you could cut out of your lives? If your life is stressful, then quit all those committees you're on and let someone else do it. Drop some after-school activities. Remember, if you really want to be in a book club but you're too busy being on the town preservation committee, then drop the one you enjoy the least.
9. Save Time with a Strategy. Get Help:
Re-read #28 and highlight or list anything that might work for you, such as moving, hiring help with your housework, ordering groceries over the Internet, delegating jobs to others family members, etc. Really brainstorm this segment; there are lots of ways to streamline your daily life if you get creative.
10. The Stuff Trap:
Is your stuff starting to get in the way of your happiness? How? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Are your closets full of stuff, some of which you don't use or even remember? Do you have too many clothes? Can you get rid of some of this clutter? What? Where is it? When can you start? _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you feel overwhelmed by this task? Divide it into areas or segments of time (Example: I will commit two hours a day to sorting). Remember, there are very few things that can't be replaced if you need another one later on. Commit some time to this job. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________
12. What Do You Really Need? (#36)
Are you a conspicuous consumer? Would you have more time, money and enjoyment if you didn't spend so extravagantly or wastefully? Where could you cut back or rethink your priorities? _________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________
E. RELAX, HAVE FUN AND ENJOY LIFE
13. Use or Display Your Good China, Heirlooms
and Treasures Daily: (#41)
Do you have beautiful or sentimental treasures hidden in boxes? Get them out and enjoy them, especially if they remind you of loved ones or good times. And if you inherited something you hate, get rid of it. Someone else will love it. Are you dealing with your personal treasures the way you would like to? ___________ What would you like to see happen? ___________________________________________________________________________________
14. Make Time to Take Up a Hobby or Be Creative:
Do you have a hobby or creative outlet? _________ If so, what is it?__________________________________________
What creative activity would you like try? _______________________________________________________________
15. READ, READ, READ! (#43)
Do you read for your own enjoyment? List books you want to read or subjects that interest you. Spend an hour or two walking around in a bookstore and see what catches your eye. Reading helps to make you a stimulating, interesting person. If your life is boring, maybe you are boring. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
16. Beautify Your Home: (#45)
Does your home feel like a refuge or haven to you? _______Why or why not?
Do you like your home's style, colors, and comfort level? ___________________________________________________
What do you want to improve? _______________________________________________________________________
17. Start Your Own Traditions: (#54)
What are your own special traditions? Can these be enhanced or changed. Talk with friends to get ideas. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
18. Pamper Yourself:
Do you ever pamper yourself ? _________ Explain. _______________________________________________________
Are there any activities you would like to do but haven't made time for? If so, what are they? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
19. Do Not Expect Others to Bring You Happiness:
Are you constantly looking for that Knight in Shining Armour to make your life complete? _______ Do you give your whole self away to relationships and then feel empty and drained? _______ Make time for your own spiritual and emotional fulfillment. Love yourself enough to make you a priority.
20. Make Friends and Be a Friend: (#57)
Do you make time for your friends? ________ Do you plan lunch dates and other get-togethers with them? __________ Would you like to have more friends? _________ Do you take the initiative? __________ Who would you like to spend more time with but haven't manged to?_________________________________________________________________
21. Be Friendly and Kind to Teenagers: (#59)
Do you try to avoid teens? _________ Do you have the idea that they are all a bad bunch? _______ Do you think the media is fair to teenagers? ______ Do you remember being one? ________ Could you make more of an effort to be teen
22. Do not Carry a Grudge: (#61)
Do you stay mad at people? _________ Does it make you happy to have unkind thoughts about people? _____________ Whose actions can you forgive and forget?______________________________________________________________ Let bygones be bygones; do yourself a favor.
23. You Cannot Solve Other People's Problems: (#63)
Do you try to protect people who make the same mistakes over & over? ______________________________________
Do you blame yourself for others' failures? _____________ You do not have to make everything right for everyone else. Give yourself permission to let go of other peoples' issues and problems. The words "those are his/her issues, not mine," are very empowering. Learn to set and keep your own personal boundaries.
24. Don't Let Anger Take Over in an Argument: (#67)
Do you always have control over your temper? _________ How about most of the time?________ Not usually? _________ If you have a hot temper, learn to control it; you cannot communicate effectively or build meaningful relationships if you act out when you are angry. Read inspirational books or listen to self-help tapes. Seek professional help. If a member of your family has a bad temper that is controlling your life, this, too, is serious. Seek advice. You do not have to be a victim.
G. ILLNESS & GRIEF
25. Why Are You Sick?
Do you have an illness or injury? _________________ Have you been burning the candle at both ends? ______________ Are you a worrier, control freak, or perfectionist? _________________________________________________________
Do you have unresolved personal, emotional, relationship, or spiritual issues? __________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Before you developed a health problem, were you cruising along in life as happy as can be, or was something nagging at you? What in your life might have contributed to your becoming sick? This question is mainly aimed at nonphysical causes, but if you have been abusing your body by smoking or other toxic habits, then list them, too. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Illness is not a sign of weakness. Even well-adjusted, happy people get sick and injured -- but sometimes illness is a result of many factors, and some of these we can identify and improve upon. Sometimes our bodies are trying to send us a message that we need to hear,
26. Find the Hidden Blessings in Illness:
What benefits have you experienced as a result of your being ill? Have you had time to reprioritize or reexamine your lifestyle? Do you have a renewed sense of purpose or appreciation for life or for feeling well? Have you reconnected with old friends or with family? Have you let go of old issues? Have you stopped to smell the roses? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
27. Your Attitude Can Help Cure You: (#73)
Do you believe you can conquer your illness? _________ Are you willing to do the emotional work it takes to get well? ____________ What have you done, or what can you do to feel empowered? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
28. Lean on God: (#74)
Do you believe in a Higher Power? _________ Are you letting your faith help strengthen you? _________ If your answer is "yes," then work on this. Ask God for help and for wisdom. If you are a doubter or do not believe, then perhaps you feel alone and lost. You might have been turned off to spirituality because of bad experiences with religion. Do not let this ruin it for you. Embrace the concepts of love, or goodness, or helping people or seeking truth. These concepts are also about God. Do not ignore your spiritual nature; this part of you must be nourished. What do you believe in? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
29. Grief Work Takes Time: (#75)
Are you experiencing grief because someone you care about has died? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
How are you doing? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Are you in the beginning, middle or end stage? __________________Have you given yourself enough time to grieve or are you trying to rush it?_____________________________________________________________________________
Have you allowed yourself to cry? ___________A lot? ____________ Do you think you will never be happy again? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Will you let yourself be happy?___________________ Do you accept the fact that eventually you will feel better, but it's just not quite the right time yet? ___________________Do you blame yourself for not spending enough time with the person or for not saying you loved him or her or for not resolving other issues?
You cannot live the past over. Forgive yourself; you are only human. That person really did know you loved him or her. Learn from your grief. Tell your loved ones who are still alive how you feel about them. Make time for the living. Share your self. Get back in the game of life. Write about how you feel. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
List the people and things that make your life worth living. __________________________________________________
Note: If people, especially children, are counting on you, and you cannot pull yourself together, then seek help immediately. Contact your local hospital, and someone there will recommend a grief support group. Call friends and ask for their help in managing child care, errands, and so on.
30. Grief Is Not Always about Dying: (#76)
Are you grieving due to a major life change? ________ If so, what is it?
Do you keep trying to diminish your feelings because what you are feeling isn't that significant in the eyes of others? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have you let yourself feel all the hurt and sadness inside you? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Have you let yourself cry? ____________ Get it all out. Honor your sadness. Let yourself heal. Give yourself time. Then get back into the game of life with zeal.
31. When Someone Dies Young. (#77)
This is a tough one. You need more faith, help, time, and hope than any other group. You will benefit from a support group because the shock of this seemingly unnatural event is very hard to understand or bear. It is very difficult to tough this out alone, and you don't have to. Many others who have been through the same experience can help you to heal. So pick up the phone and get into a group. How are you doing? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Answer all the questions listed in #28 of this questionnaire. Do you have children who need your support? ____________ They are feeling just as rotten as you are, and they also need to know that you are there for them. Draw strength from this. Make the effort to show them that they will be cared for and that life will go on for them. Talk to them about their feelings. Help them cope; validate their feelings. Spouses also need help so don't lock them out.
32. Find Support: (#78)
Let those who have been there before help you get through this. Benefit from their experience. Where will you go for support? _____________________________________________________________________________________
H. YOUR FAMILY, CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE
33. Celebrate Your Unique Family Style:
What type of family configuration do you have ? _________________________ Is this different from your childhood?__________ Is it different from what you envisioned? __________ What are the advantages of your particular arrangement?_______________________________________________________________________________________
What are the difficulties? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
What would you like to change or improve upon? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
34. Go Ahead and Tear Your Hair Out: (#81)
What habits do your kids have that drive you nuts?
Remember that most of these behaviors are perfectly normal; but some of these can be modified. Which of their habits do you want to try to change? (Neatness, TV, language, etc.?) _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Develop a strategy to help improve some of these patterns or behaviors. Keep in mind, if your household is really chaotic and out of control, that you are probably not providing enough structure or authority. Kids like routine and structure when it is fair.
35. Make Your Kids Your Number One Priority:
Do you take your parenting job seriously? ___________ What are your strengths as a parent? __________________________________________________________________________________________________
In what areas of parenting could you improve? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
36. Never Use Your Kids in a War with Your
Be a grown-up here. Do you try to remain neutral so that your kids can love both of their parents without feeling guilty or conflicted? ___________ If you have a lot of anger, get counseling so that your kids do not have to grow up in such a stressful environment. Teach your children that there are not really bad people as much as there are bad behaviors and bad choices. Try to help them see the good qualities in your "ex," you, and themselves. How can you improve the situation for your kids? __________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do not expect your children to be your confidants. Do not burden them with your problems about money, relationships, etc. Let your kids be kids, and talk to friends about your problems.
37. Do Stuff with Your Kids: (#84)
What activities do you do with your kids that they enjoy? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
What other fun actvities can you add? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
38. Be a Good Role Model: (#86)
Do you consider yourself a good role model? ____________ Do you smoke, drink, do drugs, swear, gossip, yell, act sarcastic, etc.? ____________ What behaviors do you have that you do not want your kids to emulate? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Which of your behaviors are you proud of? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
39. Your Kids Are Different People From
Do you respect your children's uniqueness? ____________ Do you try to get them to see things your way only? ______________ Do you need to loosen your grip on their personalities and let each of them become their own person?___________________________________________________________________________________________
What can you learn from them? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
40. Kids and Teens Want and Need to Talk: (#91)
Do you have actual conversations with your kids? __________________________________________________________________________________________________
If not, get off the phone, turn off the TV, turn off the computer, and sit down at their homework table or at dinner and ask them intelligent, nonconfrontational questions. Let them tell you how they feel. Ask them about their friends. Enjoy each other. How satisfied are you with the amount of genuine dialogue that takes place in your family?____________ Comment: __________________________________________________________________________________________________
Tell your kids often that you love them, and give them hugs even when they are 6'3".
41. Help Teens Use an Assignment Organizer:
How is your teen doing in school? _______________________________________________ Does he or she have an organizer? _______________ If not, get him or her one and show them how to use it. Do you stay current with your teen's school? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you attend school functions?___________ Which ones? _________________________________________________
Do you know about your teen's assignments and projects? ______________ Can he or she come to you for support? ___________________________ If you want your teen to do well in school, then do not encourage him or her to have a full time job. Most teens do not know what they want to be in life; but an education can only help them.
42. "Boys Will Be Boys" is NOT
If you have sons, do your boys demonstrate successful anger management? _______ Could they improve? ____________ Are they good communicators? _________________ Can they identify the emotions behind their moods or outbursts?_________________ Can your boys talk to you about the things that are bothering them?______________
Be sure to validate their feelings. Help them to see that their problems are not insurmountable. What healthy habits do your sons have that help them reduce stress, express themselves, or be creative? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
List qualities that you would like your sons to exemplify:
How are you promoting these qualities?
Are you a good role model?_________ Why or why not? __________________________________________________
I. BAD HABITS
43. Don't Drown Your Sorrows: (#99)
Do you demonstrate addictive behavior?____________ Is this addiction working for you?______________ How about for your family? _________________ (Why not ask them?) Find the source of your sadness, fear, or anger. Read all the self-help books you can. Join a support group. Write down your plan for recovery:
44. Don't Be a Dream Killer: (#100)
Are you a "dream killer"? ____________ If so, why? ______________________________________________________
Become the kind of person you would like to have as a friend. What do you want to change about yourself? __________________________________________________________________________________________________
45. Don't Let the Fantasy Destroy the Reality: (#101)
Are you so busy looking for a perfect life that you can't enjoy the one you have?________ Explain: _________________________________________________________________________________________________
J. YOU AND SOCIETY
46. Stand Up for What Is Right: (#103)
Do you? __________ Do you teach your children these values? ______________________________________________
47. Think like an Angel: (#106)
How are those wings coming along? ___________________________________________________________________
48. Take Care of the Earth: (#107)
List all your earth-friendly habits: __________________________________________________________________________________________________
In what areas can you do better? _______________________________________________________________________
49. Challenge the Status Quo: (#108)
Do you speak out when you see behavior that is not okay, even if most people excuse it?___________ Are you satisfied that you stand by your convictions?
50. Organized Religion Does Not Have a Monopoly on Spirituality: (#109)
Are you paying attention to your spiritual needs? ___________ How?_________________________________________
Do you attend church, have friends you talk with about spirituality, read inspirational books, or what? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
How do you define God? ____________________________________________________________________________ Is the subject of God full of love, fulfillment, and contentment for you . . . or is it full of guilt, judgment, and control? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
If your search for God or spiritual fulfillment is not a joyful journey for you, then you need to look for him in other places and things. Do not let someone else's narrow definition of God detract from your spiritual quest. God, however you define or envision him or her, is your friend and can open all doors for you.
51. Respect Other People's Faith Journeys:
The stronger your own faith, the more you can tolerate others' points of view. Are you tolerant? ________________ Can you recognize that many belief systems hold some wisdom that can apply to your life? ________________ Love one another.
52. There Are Many Paths to God: (#111)
Where do you feel most connected to God (in the mountains, at church, at the beach, etc.)? _______________________________________________ What literature makes you feel inspired or with God? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
What music, tapes, movies, and art, and which people help to bring out your spiritual side? _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Surround yourself with these things, and share them with your friends.
53. Have Faith That God Is There for You: (#116)
Do you feel God's presence at work in your life? _______________ Explain:___________________________________
If your answer is "no," then perhaps you need to broaden your definitions and concepts. Surrender your heart to loving others, to truth, goodness, and kindness, and you will know God. Look for the good in life, and in everyone you meet, and you will feel the awesome power of God's love. God is the hope in your heart. You have already been touched by God; all you have to do is open your eyes and see God's presence everywhere. You do not have to spend your life on your knees in worship to feel his miraculous hand at work in your life. God is love.
54. Reviewing and Making a Plan:
Congratulations: you did it! I hope you learned a lot about yourself. If you would like to work further, follow these steps.
1. List the categories you want to work on.
2. Arrange them in the order of their importance to you.
3. Review your answers from those sections. Set priorities, and establish a time frame. Enhance your work with further readings or research, group support, etc.
4. Use your journal. Write in it. Add pictures, quotes, inspirations, and ideas.
5. Now get to work, and live your life.
6. Good luck, friend . . . and thanks for a wonderful ride!
55. Recommended Books and Tapes:
There are wonderful books and tapes designed to meet every kind of need. Here are few excellent ones:
1. CLUTTER'S LAST STAND: IT'S TIME TO DEJUNK YOUR LIFE, by Don Aslett (1984, Writers Digest Books). This is a great book on organizing your home and your life. It is very funny and full of practical advice. A must-read.
2. 101 WAYS TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE, by Wayne Dyer (audiocassette) (1995 Hay House). This audiotape is profound, inspiring, relaxing, and reassuring. Incredible! Men like it, too.
3. YOUR SACRED SELF: MAKING THE DECSION TO BE FREE, by Wayne Dyer, (1995, HarperCollins). This book overflows with wisdom and profound insight. If you are searching for fulfillment and a sense of peace, look here.
4. SECRETS ABOUT LIFE EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW: TEN PRINCIPLES FOR TOTAL EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT, by Barbara De Angelis (1999, Hyperion). This book is inspirational, practical in its approach, easy to read, and enlightened. I think men will like it, too!
5. CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: 101 STORIES TO OPEN
THE HEART AND REKINDLE THE SPIRIT, by Jack
Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen
(1993, Health Communications), An a soothing and nourishing treasury of uplifting stories that will touch your heart.
6. THE OTHER SIDE AND BACK: A PSYCHIC'S GUIDE TO OUR WORLD AND BEYOND, by Sylvia Browne, (1999, Dutton) This book, written by a famous psychic, lovingly discusses such timely topics as faith, healing, spirituality, angels, death, and more.
7. THE HOLY BIBLE: THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Look for the essence, or deeper meaning, behind the words, and seek out the parts that inspire you and hold a message for you personally. If you go looking for passages to fuel an unkind heart, then that is probably what you will find. Look for the grace and kindness, and there it is. Here are a few passages I like:
1 JOHN 4.16: "God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them."
1 JOHN 15.12: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
MATTHEW 6.27: "And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?"
LUKE 6.37: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
MATTHEW 7.12: (The Golden Rule): "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you: for this is the law and the prophets."
JAMES 1.2: "My brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, and lacking nothing."
HEBREWS 13.2: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."
A special thank you to Oprah Winfrey for producing her most recent (1999) TV programs, which promote positive relationships, wellness, spiritual growth, and life skills. Huge numbers of people are searching for a better life and enlightenment. A transformation on a grand scale is now taking place and she has been instrumental in facilitating much of that dialogue. Thanks for all the inspiration, hard work, and commitment: no wonder so many people look up to you.
A special thank you to my husband, who thought of this Website name, secured it for me, and then said, "You should write a book!" I couldn't and wouldn't have done it without your encouragement. Thanks, Love Me
Comments or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
|How to Love Your Life.Com, ©1999|