Being Positive

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always enjoyed being around positive people.  I’ve always been drawn towards those who can see the bright side of a lousy situation.  It’s as if no matter what life throws at them, they know how to adjust and they find a way of make lemonade with lemons.

Positivity is contagious.  We’re more likely to smile when someone smiles at us.  We’re more likely to laugh with someone than by ourselves.  Positive people seem to have a gift for facing life’s challenges with humour and determination.

However, the same goes with their negative counterparts.  Grumpy, moody people tend to suck the joy out of their environment.  Gossipers tend to sew division and suspicion.  Others’ negativity sucks the life out of you and gives you a taste of the internal misery the live in.

My solution to negativity is simple: tune it out and move on.  Don’t bother opening dialogue with negativity.  It’ll take a tremendous amount of energy to get yourself out of that toxic internal conversation.  Rather, focus on surrounding yourself with positive people whenever possible, and try to “contaminate” the negative ones with your positive spirit.  For your sake and that of those around you, limit the influence their negativity has on you, even if it means setting firm boundaries with some people.  You’re mental health depends on it.

Be a positive light to your world today!

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Reminiscing

Many of us enjoy reminiscing on past events and certain periods of life.  Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing a lot more.  Places I’ve been and people I’ve been with.  Wondering how differently things would have turned out if I had made better decisions or invested more in some friendships.

It’s crazy to think of where we’ve been and where we are now.  Reconnecting with old friends/classmates makes that contrast even more impressive.  Although I am not proud of every decision I’ve made in life, I do consider myself very blessed with the life I have today.  I am blessed with a beautiful wife and beautiful daughters, I am building a successful career, writing books that I hope to publish (sooner or later), enjoying the support of amazing family and friends, etc.

Can I say that this is all due to my decisions in life?  No way.  I’ve made decisions that drove me further from my goals.  What I am learning from all this is that no matter the nature or number of our mistakes/sins, God’s Goodness can never be outdone.

Any time you feel regret, shame, or guilt, simply admit it to yourself.  Then count your blessings.  Literally.  Look at all the great people you’ve been blessed with during those difficult times, all the great turns of events that helped you along.  See all the good that could not have come about otherwise.  It doesn’t justify our bad decisions, but it shows that we’re being looked after by someone or Someone.  Life isn’t as lonely as we may think it is.

Next time you see someone in a difficult situation, be there.  You may not be able to fix the situation, but you can be present to help that person pull through the current challenges.

Be a light to your world today!

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Be What You Should Be

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze” – Catherine of Siena

This line penned by Catherine of Siena is breathtaking.  The possibilities seem endless.  It’s a promise that nothing in this world should come between us and making this world a better place.

We have to ask ourselves, then, what it is we should be.  In the words of speaker and author, Matthew Kelly, it is to be the best version of ourselves.  We don’t need to deny our identity, we just need to become the best version of it.  If we could unleash our full potential, who knows what we’d be capable of doing.  And with God on our side, we’re be capable of doing anything.

Unfortunately, we all too easily get side-tracked by our fears, insecurities, and confusion.  Perhaps the issues are deeply rooted in childhood experiences or incidents.  Perhaps we put too much stock in what others say.  Whatever the sources of these, they are probably what’s keeping you from being the best version of yourself.

God’s given you every gift and talent you need to be an amazing person.  Take a moment to identify all those God-given qualities.  Courageously tap into your full potential and move forward hand-in-hand with God.  Then get ready to start seeing some change.  Some will respond positively to the change, some won’t.  That’s secondary and out of your control.  What matters is the good you’re bringing.

Be a light that sets your world ablaze!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/33470929@N05/15893654768″>Fire (II)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Be The Best You Can Be

We all have dreams of making a difference.  Whether it be to invent new means of communication, to solve world hunger or poverty, or simply to be that positive voice others need to hear.  Whatever our dreams are, they are still dreams.  We’re not there yet.

Last post, I spoke of how fleeting time is in comparison with eternity.  Our life is relatively short, and we only get one shot at it.  So instead of dreaming, start living your dream.  To live your dream, focus on being that person you dream you become… the one that can make this dream come true.

You don’t have to be perfect.  You just need to be the best you can be.  Be Super You!  Super You does the little stuff with just as much passion and determination as the big stuff.  Super You has the ability to see obstacles as challenges to be overcome.  Super You doesn’t compromise with mediocrity.  Above all, Super You is still human.  So make sure you remain realistic with yourself while striving for your goals.

Be a light of “super-ness” to your world today!

How Long is Eternity? Very…

I once heard an analogy that sort helped me put life and eternity into perspective.  Say you take a rock the size of our planet.  Once a year, a bird swoops down and brushes its wing against the stone.  When that stone wears down to nothing, eternity will have just begun.

That sounds like a very long time.  How many lifetimes would it take?  More than all the human lives in history, from the first human to the very last to walk this earth.

The realization has always helped me to understand that this life we live is so short.  Even if we were blessed with a long life of say 200 years, compared to eternity, it’s hardly a blink of an eye.

Some of us believe that there’s life after death, some don’t.  Some believe in reincarnation, some believe that we all end up swallowed up by nothingness.  Whatever our beliefs or creed, one thing remains irrefutable… our life as we now it will have an end.  This, then, begs the question: What will I do with the time I have?  What’s really important for me?  We have a limited time to live this life and none of us know for a fact when it will all end.  If you want to leave a legacy behind, if you have goals on the back burner, perhaps you’d like to consider getting to work on those now.  Life’s too short to waste, and wasted time can never be regained.

Be a light to your world today!

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Whiners and Winners

Today, I’m taking a little break from the self-care blog posts.  I was reading an article this morning about Christian artist, Matt Maher, that I found inspiring.  He reflects on how so many people whine about different things and forget to look beyond these to the greater and brighter picture.

It’s so true.  Life is full of challenges.  Through the media, and through our own life experience, we witness injustice, discrimination, pain, poverty, etc.  What do we do about it?  Most of us, myself included, do nothing.  We shake our fist at the evil and complain about it, but do nothing to improve it.

I’m obviously not suggesting that we take on world poverty or major injustices on our own.  What I’m getting at is that we shine a light of hope around us where we can make a difference, and thus inspire others to do the same.  The whiner feels sorry for himself and others.  The winner makes the difference he can and inspires others to do the same.  Whiners judge lousy situations at face value, whereas winners see how they could turn the situation around and put in an effort to make a change, however small.

My question to you, then, is this: What difference can you make in someone’s life today, however small?  Remember those times when someone’s gone out of his or her way for you, at how touched and honored you were for that gesture.  Can you pay it forward and do the same for someone else?

Be a light to your world today!

The Art of Self-Care

This begins a series of blog posts on self-care.  My experience as a mental health counselor has taught me that people often don’t understand how best to take care of themselves.

Self-care is a multi-faceted discipline that’s not easy to master.  Unfortunately, some view this discipline as laziness or a sign of weakness.  Why?  For some, it shows limitations that they feel make them look weak.  For others, it’s “non-productive” time and therefore a waste of time.  Still others may feel that they are selfish if they think about themselves and so take a brake from worrying about others.  What’s behind those beliefs varies from person to person.  And these ones are just a few of many.

The truth is, self-care is essential to our lives.  Yes, we do have limitations, but that’s a condition of our human nature that can’t be ignored for long.  When it’s ignored too long, you pay for it: burn-outs, depression, anxiety… just to name a few.  There’s a fair number of mental health issues I deal with that are caused by poor self-care.

To say that self-care is a waste of time is like saying that workers who take the time to maintain their equipment are wasting their time.  The real waste of time is when they’re slowed down by poor equipment or when their equipment breaks.  Then they can do nothing until it is replaced or restored.  If we don’t take proper care of ourselves and become indisposed for a while, that’s where we’ll see the real waste of time.  Besides, it’s difficult to appreciate life and its blessings when we’re constantly on overdrive.  Enjoy life, don’t just plow through it.

Be a light to your world today!