Posted in Thoughts to think on this week

Thoughts to think on this week

Everyone lives the life of their choosing – not just what they chose, but what they are choosing. (TUT.com)

What are you choosing this year?

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Posted in holiday, self-improvement

New Year’s Eve

The late Rev. Dr. King, once spoke to a Junior High School in Philadelphia where he asked them this question: “what is your life’s blueprint”? He went on to suggest three elements for creating one, he said you must:

1) Have a deep belief in your own dignity— your life has ultimate value;

2) Achieve excellence in whatever you do; and,

3) Commit to the eternal principles of beauty, love, and justice.

As I ruminate over the past year, I hope that I shared a deep sense of self-dignity that I strived to be the best that I can be at all levels of work; and that I was committed to those same eternal principles valued in Dr. King’s blueprint by making a positive contribution to the betterment of the lives of others. I am a better person and my structure of life is improved by having similar people in my work and personal life; others who are working at having a great life blueprint of their own. Sometimes I think I never say “thank you” enough for improving me and for the enormous value you add to life. This value, dedication, and commitment help me face any challenges that life may dole out. Your positive energy and commitment to finding beauty, love, and justice in your life and to help others find the same along the way lifts me up as you lift up others. Thank you all.

 

Cite: Thanks to Richard Rhodie for opening up this discussion.

Posted in holiday

Christmas Eve

If you stop to think about it, it is astounding that the simple unassuming birth of a peasant boy born over 2000 years ago in the Middle East caused such a commotion. His birthday causes people to decorate their homes, send out greeting cards, buy gifts, go to Christmas parties, attend church services, sing Christmas songs, watch TV specials, and travel long distances to be with their families. Christmas sights and sounds fill the air everywhere. There are stores and careers that are exclusively dedicated to preparing for and celebrating Christmas. It causes traffic jams in New York City, Tokyo, Rio de Janerio, and everyplace with a mall. Every time you check your calendar or refer to a date or write a date down, you are referencing this point in history. History has been divided as before and after this simple birth, BC and AD (before Christ and after the year of the Lord.) Every event in history is tied to this date, even your birthday.

Many years ago, I started adding a Happy Birthday Jesus cake to my holiday celebrations. It’s a simple and joyful reminder to take a moment to remember the reason for the season. What do you do to keep Christ in Christmas?

Cite: The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren

Posted in writing

A Pirate’s Life

A couple of months ago I watched the final (I assume) installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched it yet: It was a nice wrap up of the stories – the lover’s got back together, Jack got his ship back, and Barbosa got redemption. If you’ve watched the other films, you know that Barbosa was a pirate who was brought back to life and who, it seemed, had bested Jack Sparrow. However, in this film, Barbosa and Sparrow worked together; and at a pivotal point, Sparrow gave Barbosa the sword needed to save Barbosa’s daughter and to redeem Barbosa’s soul. As it was apparent that Barbosa gave his life, Jack Sparrow and all the other men gave tribute by saying – a pirate’s life.

Watching this segment of the movie made me think about so many of my friends who have already crossed over. Several of them died doing what they loved. One had a stroke while riding a motorcycle but managed to pull over safely. Another one had a brain aneurysm after spending the day with all her children and grandchildren. Another one worked until her 80s and then died a week later. Each of these people died their own ‘pirate’s life.’ Others were not so lucky. They were felled by illness and their deaths were passive – waiting for it.

What about you? Are you living your own pirate’s life so that when your moment comes, people can say the same of you? Do you want to? Or do you prefer a more passive lifestyle? What do you think are the pros and cons of each?

Posted in self-improvement

Working through depressive and critical thoughts

From last week’s blog, “Depression is so widespread that it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances. Cognitive therapy (thought therapy) is mood modification that you can learn to apply on your own through Understanding, Self-Control, and Prevention & Personal Growth.” Some tools to assist:

  1. Cope, don’t mope – Recognize automatic, self-critical thoughts and turn them to rational self-defense responses. Example:
    1. Bob hates me.
    2. Bob doesn’t hate me, he was unhappy with today’s work product, but just last month gave me accolades in the team meeting for my work on the larger bigger project.

 

  1. Procrastination / do nothingness – being stuck because of
    1. Hopelessness is frozen pain
    2. Helplessness is victim theology
    3. Overwhelmed is task magnification
    4. Jumping to conclusion is I can’t, I would but…
    5. Self-labeling is inferiorism
    6. Undervaluing rewards is not experiencing satisfaction…thank you for the award but I really don’t deserve it
    7. Perfectionism is defeating yourself with inappropriate goals or standards
    8. Fear of failure is if I fail at this task, I fail at everything
    9. Fear of success
    10. Fear of disapproval or criticism
    11. Coercion /resentment
    12. Low frustration tolerance (this is mine)
    13. Guilt which is self-blame

How to fix it? – Learn to endorse yourself by visualizing success, counting what counts, and testing your can’ts.

 

  1. When someone is attacking you
    1. Be empathetic
    2. Use feedback and negotiation
    3. Use an anti-heckler technique

 

  1. When dealing with anger, cool hot thoughts by
    1. Imagining other thoughts
    2. Rewriting the rules (remember Captain Kirk)
    3. Learn to expect craziness
    4. Practice enlightened manipulation (just give up the anger, you don’t have to manage it if you just give it up; you don’t have to choose between holding it or letting it go if you don’t create it)
    5. Practice should reduction
    6. Practice negotiation strategies
      1. Compliment what s/he did right
      2. Disarm by finding a way to agree with him/her
  • Clarify your point of view calmly and firmly
  1. Practice accurate empathy

A final reminder – anger and depressive thoughts are created by your thoughts just like other emotions. Your feelings result from the meaning you give to the event, not the event itself. Thus, cool those thoughts. You are making yourself hurt. Do you want to keep it up?

Cite: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, M.D.

Posted in self-improvement

Feeling Good through Understanding, Self-Control, and Prevention & Personal Growth

Depression is so widespread that it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances. Cognitive therapy (thought therapy) is mood modification that you can learn to apply on your own through Understanding, Self-Control, and Prevention & Personal Growth.

Understanding – Why do you get moody? What can you do to change your moods? How do you distinguish normal from abnormal?

Self-Control – Apply safe coping strategies that will make you feel better whenever you are upset.

Prevention and Personal Growth – Genuine and long-lasting prevention of future mood swings.

All of your moods are created by your cognitions (thoughts) by the way you

  • Look at things
  • Perceive things
  • Believe things
  • Interpret things

Ten common distortions include:

  1. All or nothing thinking – “Because I lost this, I am nothing.”
  2. Overgeneralization – “The birds always crap on my window.”
  3. Mental filters – “This stain on my dress ruined my entire date with …”
  4. Disqualifying the positive – “They are just being nice, they don’t really mean it.”
  5. Jumping to conclusions – “He is mad at me because I…”
  6. Magnification and minimization – “My mistake is THIS big; my success is this
  7. Emotional reasoning – “I feel like I am a bad person, therefore, I am a bad person.”
  8. Should statements – “I should …..” or “I must …”
  9. Labeling and mislabeling – Extreme overgeneralizations
  10. Personalization – “My spouse didn’t love me, thus, I must be a lousy person.”

To handle all these, talk back to the internal critic. Train yourself to recognize these distortions. Write down self-critical thoughts as they go through your mind. Learn why they are distorted. Practice talking back to them so as to develop a more realistic self-evaluation system. And remember, feelings aren’t facts. Unpleasant feeling merely indicates that you are thinking something negative and believing it. Stop it, and start again.

Cite: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, M.D.

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Taming the Gremlin Summary

If you’ve liked the subject this month, the photo this week is of the book cover. It has lots of good information and exercises. It can be found on Amazon.com, and I’m assuming lots of good bookseller sites. As we finish this month, I want to leave you with some final thoughts:

Don’t argue with your gremlin, simply notice, and move on. The author expands on this brilliantly in the book, but the argument reminded me of the old George Bernard Shaw proverb: Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig likes it.

Free yourself by not trying to free yourself, but by simply noticing how you are imprisoning yourself.

Draw a picture of your childhood home, a floor layout. Then write things that happened there i.e., laid on the floor watching boxing with my dad, etc. Think about any habits that you created there. Are they good ones? Then keep them. If they aren’t, discard them or modify them.

Make a list of 10 of your same gender’s parent’s characteristics. Make a check mark by all that you share. Make a minus sign by all you would like to change or delete. Make a plus sign by all you want to keep and expand.

Remember, don’t listen to your gremlins. Notice them. Breathe deeply. Give your emotions lots of space, don’t try to suppress or block them; just experience them and move on.

A final reminder of common gremlins:

  1. You can’t – change it to I choose not to
  2. You should, you ought to – change it to I choose to, I choose not to
  3. You need – change it to you want
  4. You don’t deserve – change it to guilt serves no purpose. I am worthy.
  5. They have to change for me to feel better – change it to my feelings are my choice. Simply notice. Breathe deep. Center myself. Move on.

Cite: Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson