You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

Have you every just wanted to run away, escape your problems or pack your bags and go on a long vacation  so you didn’t have to deal with what was going on in your life and finally find that happiness you’ve been searching for?  Have you ever thought that perhaps you would be happier if you just left everything behind and started over by moving to another state or country?

Life can be a lot to handle.  It throws you some crazy fast balls, straight at your face sometimes.  Escaping it is only temporary.  Unless you solve the issues that are there, they don’t go away.  They will follow you wherever you go.  After close inspection, you will realize that it was not your problems you were running from, it was how they made you feel.  And, after all, your feelings go with you wherever you are!

Drowning your problems with a bottle of wine or binging on a bunch of comfort food may help temporarily but as soon as the alcohol or sugar is out of your system, there’s the issue you ran from staring you straight in the face.

The only way to get rid of a problem is to face it or solve it.  Although I cannot give you the answers to solving each of your issues, I can tell you from experience that the only way to be at peace is to search for it from within.  It is possible.  You have all the tools you need inside you.  You can even find happiness during times of tragedy.

You must first take care of what is in front of you.  Tackle or face the issues that have you stuck.  Know what is within your control.  It is important to remember that not everything can be solved by us.  Sometimes things need to work themselves out or require someone else’s effort to fix them.

What you can do on your end is find what it is that makes you happy.   Happiness is a state of mind, not a thing.  You can keep trying to fill your life with new “things” but things don’t bring you happiness.  The thoughts you give them do and eventually the newness wears off and the happiness will wear off too.

Choose happiness.  It can be found without spending money, consuming food or alcohol or moving to another state.  Find it in everything you do; spending time with family and friends, a walk in the park, memories, relaxation, exercise, yoga, writing in a journal, watching your favorite show on TV, engaging in a hobby, accomplishing a personal goal, finding gratitude for what and who is in your life or just sitting still focusing on something that makes you happy.

Remember, you can run, but you can’t hide from your problems.  You can however,  still find happiness where you are.  It’s a state of mind.

Where do you find your happiness?  Can you offer other readers ways to find happiness that doesn’t require running away, spending money or the quick fix of alcohol or food?  I would love to hear from you.  Please respond in the comment section.

(For further ideas, tips and videos that inspire peace and happiness, please check out the lists of posts to the right or search through my blog topics.  Please share with others who you think could use a little more peace and happiness in their lives.  As always, I appreciate you!)

When Helping Isn’t Really Helping

There comes a point in time when helping someone really isn’t helping them.   You could actually be doing someone a disservice by helping.  How do you know when to recognize this?

We spend many years teaching our children the skills they need to succeed on their own once they are in the real world.  When they have difficulties some parents make excuses and do things for their children.   Most kids choose to learn from the situation but will still expect the parent to get them out of tough spots because things have always been made easy for them.

This leads to an entitlement issue.  They think that the parent owes them.  They will in turn, lash out when the parent steps back and decides they have given them the skills they need to succeed because they don’t want to actually take the action themselves.  It’s easier for them not to.  They have learned how to manipulate situations and parents (and others) to get what they want.  When things are no longer easy and the effort needs to come from within, they resist and fight back.

It isn’t just teenagers who act like this.  I’m sure we can all name a relative or friend or associate who is guilty of acting like this.

Sometimes not helping is the best thing you can do for a person.  It will hurt to watch them suffer for a bit but hopefully the suffering will cause them to act on their own and to own up to and take care of their own responsibilities.

Yes, it is a very kind thing to help others but if they are not truly benefiting from your help, it’s time to stop.

You should also be cautious of helping others just because you will benefit from the situation.  That is not actually doing things out of the kindness of your heart and is not helping either of you in the long run.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself  to see if your help is actually what the person really needs:

  • Do they really need help?  Some people only ask for help because they are being lazy.  They can swim but want a life preserver thrown their way so they don’t have to work as hard.
  • Is that person trying to help themselves?  If not, your help is not benefiting the person.  They need to learn to do things for themselves to survive on their own.
  • Is that person grateful for your help?  If they are not, there should be no question.  You should not be helping them.  That’s not fair to you.
  • Are you helping them because you want to help them or because you have to help them?  If you want to help and the above questions are not a no, then by all means, help.  If you feel like it is an obligation, you may want to think twice.
  • Is the reason they need your help due to a situation they have gotten themselves into that was unnecessary?  Perhaps in this type of situation, they should be learning from natural consequences and help should not be given.  If you choose to help, you will be doing both you and them a disservice and bringing unnecessary negativity into your own life.
  • If you did not help them, would they be able to do this for themselves?  If they are unable and their desire is strong to do for themselves and they would be grateful for your assistance, then help in the areas where you can.

Helping is never a requirement.  It is a kind gesture.  You have the right to choose in any situation.  When you feel like your right to choose to help has been taken away, that is not a healthy situation.  You have to decide what is best for you.

You may need to evaluate those you have been helping, why you have been helping them and whether they are actually benefiting from your help or if they would benefit more by learning how to do things for themselves.

I think it’s also important to mention that when you help someone who needs it, be sure you keep a clear line of communication of where the help is actually needed and how the person needs it done.  If you are not doing something correctly, the lines of communication need to be open enough to be able to hear where changes need to be made without feeling the person is being ungrateful.

I have noticed in my own life that I need to step back and let some people help themselves, that it is the only way they will learn what they need to from the situation.  It is not my responsibility to constantly bail people out or think of a solution for them.  In doing so, I have been hindering them from self discovery and the feeling of accomplishment they would receive by doing it themselves.

Tell me, have you run into situations where you realized that you weren’t actually doing anyone any favors by offering your assistance?  What was the outcome?

Strategies to Stop Worrying

Worry can consume you.  Some see it as a form of caring but if we look at it closer, it is a form of fear; fear that we cannot control or fix certain situations or that something could go wrong.

Worry has the ability to affect your health.  Have you ever heard the expression, “I’m worried sick?”  It can actually happen.

I have spent a great deal of my life in a worried state.  I believe I have come by it honestly through several generations of worriers.  As a child, I am told one of my favorite sayings was, “I’m so worried.“  I’m not sure if I knew then what worrying actually was.  I just saw so much of it being done that I thought it was what I was supposed to do.

As an adult I worried about everything; what would or could happen in any given situation; about what my future held; if I would see the end of the world; whether my children would be safe; if we would lose our jobs; if a relative’s illness would end their lives; if it would rain when we had big plans; if the person I just passed on the side of the highway would remain safe; if I would offend someone with something I said; if my friend’s problem had a solution; if people I saw on the news in a tragic situation would recover emotionally; if I would find a solution for a real issue; if someone was mad at me; or if my children would grow up with the values I tried to instill in them.  The list could go on and on.

Practical Solutions for Situations Within Our Control

There are many types of  realistic problems that may have a solution such as how to pay a bill, how you will meet a work deadline or the how to work out the details of a gathering, etc.  These issues require our thoughts but not our worries.  Here are some suggestions on how to deal with situations that require a solution:

  1. Create a time to worry, (or to think) about what you can do to find a solution.  Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D wrote an article entitled, “How to Stop Worrying – Self Help for Anxiety Relief,” at HelpGuide.org, in which they state that you should give yourself a time period of approximately 20-30 minutes during the day for which to focus on your issue(s).
  2. Never dwell on issues at bed time.  Be sure to not schedule your solution time too close to bed time, or while you are in bed.  This will affect your sleep and you will not have success in solving any problems if you are tired and unable to sleep.
  3. Write it down in a “solution journal“.  If you worry outside of that time period on something that may have a solution, write it down in your journal and return to it during your designated worrying time.  This will enable you to free your mind for other things and lessen the anxiety.
  4. Cross it off your list.  When you have a solution, write the solution next to the issue in the journal.  Do not cross off the solution but cross off the problem, leaving it visible.
  5. Review previous issues that you have solved.  The next time you have an problem, review what you have previously conquered.  Have faith that if you conquered those issues, you can conquer the current one as well.  You may even find that you had forgotten what you used to solve a similar issue last time and in review, find your solution written right there in your journal.

How to Reduce Anxiety Over Things You Cannot Control

I think it took a few major events to happen in our lives to realize just how much I worried about things and just how little control I actually had.  My oldest son and I were in a car accident where a truck coming in the opposite direction turned in front of us, cutting us off and we hit him, sending us by ambulance to the ER.  Five short months later, my youngest son was in the back seat of a car with friends when they collided with a tree, rendering him unable to walk for more than 6 weeks because of a compound fracture to his lower leg.  Literally, 5 days after that accident my husband was on his way to work and was struck from behind in traffic by a tow truck.  He was out of work for 4 weeks with severe leg injuries as well as several other injuries.

It was during that time when I realized that, yes, I nearly lost ½ my family in one week, all of us in a matter of 5 months.  I had absolutely no control over any of those situations.  I realized, during that time frame I spent at home caring for them that I would have to make some changes to my thought processes in order to not have a nervous breakdown when anyone left the house and got in a car.  I realized that I would need to change my perceptions.

I still have anxiety at times when I get in the car and I still have passing moments of worry when my children leave the house or when there is severe weather pending when my kids are out driving but I take some steps that I hope will help you as they have helped me ease the fear and worry and anxiety over issues I could not control:

  1. Ask yourself, “Can I control what happens?”  The truth is, most of the time, you cannot.
  2. Ask, “Am I trying to prevent a situation from happening that I do not even know will happen?”  For instance, am I preventing my child from leaving with a friend simply because I am worried about what could happen?  Be careful of this.  It can cause major resentment and end in lies and deception.  They often find ways to get what they want without our knowledge.
  3. Trust in a good outcome and trust in others.  Realize the joy people could create for themselves if they did not let the “what if” thoughts stop them.  Trust in others that they are there for you and those you worry about.
  4. Let it go.  Change your perception, “In this situation, since I cannot control it, what can I do to enjoy it to it’s fullest?”
  5. Review situations after they occur.  If you are worried about a situation and it’s possible negative outcomes, revisit the situation afterwards or ask someone who was involved in it.  See that nothing you were worried about happened.  This could prevent you from worrying the next time the same situation occurs.
  6. Think in a positive light.  Be mindful of what you are thinking.  If you catch yourself thinking in a negative light, change it immediately before it affects yourself and others.  Write it down as stated above and give it to your journal.  Do not return to this kind of worry though.  Let whatever higher power you believe in deal with it and have faith that it will be handled.
  7. Do not voice the scenario you are worrying about.  I try to remember one of Mark Victor Hansen’s famous quotes on the law of attraction, “what you think about, comes about.”  Do not give the universe to opportunity to create your scenario.
  8. Do not pass your fear or worry on to someone else.  If you have a fear about a situation that you cannot control that involves someone else, passing it on to them will not make them be any more careful than what they normally would have been, it will only pass on the irrational feeling to them or make them worry about something they too have no control over or make them worry about you worrying.  That truly does not benefit anyone.

These are some examples that I hope will help you when it comes to worry and anxiety.  It will be a work in progress.  Bookmark the page, print them out, do whatever it takes to refer to them often so they become a habit.

Please hit the “share” button to post this to your Facebook or Twitter page so others may benefit.  So many people are battling with this on a daily basis and you could change their lives.

If you like this information please subscribe.  There are more posts to come with more great info on how to help you reduce your stress and anxiety and lead you to a more peaceful and happier life.  Please also see previous posts for other beneficial tips.

 (This blog site and all of it’s material has been moved over to my own domain at http://www.PeaceAndHappinessProject.com.  Please follow from there as this will not be receiving updates.  Thank you for stopping by.)

Improve Your Relationships with Others by Turning the Focus Inward

We all want to think we have things figured out.  We think we know other people well, what they are thinking, feeling, what they will do next, etc.  But how well do we know ourselves?

Have you ever watched a movie and been blown away by the ending?  I know I have and I’m pretty good at figuring out where a plot twist will come in.  We can’t always predict what is going to happen in life either.  What it boils down to is that we see situations and other people through our eyes only.  We have each lived through different circumstances, had different trials and life tests.  We think can predict what someone else is thinking through their previous words or actions or based on what we would think in a given situation.  What it leaves us with are assumptions.

When someone says or does something, we  need to evaluate our own thoughts to see where we stand instead of thinking we know the other person so well.

Something I’ve noticed that I have to work much harder on is owning my own thoughts and perceptions, recognizing them and working to improve myself where I can instead of trying to change the other person.  Take a look at what I’ve been noticing and please share your thoughts.  I am hoping it helps you to see things in a new way as well:

When I See Someone as:      My Truth in That Moment is:

Annoying                                I need to work on my patience level

Loud                                        I need to patiently realize their need to be heard

Distracting                              I need to find a way or a different place to focus

Very Demanding                    I need to understand that person needs my help

Taking Forever                        I need to breathe and find patience

Judging Me                             I should realize they are allowed their opinions

Out to Get Me                         I need to not take things so personal

By turning the focus inward, I am not as annoyed with the other person.  It is very easy to push the focus on someone else.  That requires much less work on our part.  But, if we can work on ourselves, it will bring inner peace by decreasing the stress we feel in these and other situations because once the work is done and we are able to correct how we see things, our frustration levels and short tempers will dissipate and we will be able to sharpen our communication skills with others and improve our relationships.

The best way to make the changes is to listen to your thoughts and recognize the need to turn the focus on yourself.

You can also keep a journal with you.  When you feel frustrated with someone write down what frustrates you instead of reacting to that person.  Then review if it’s something that you could work on changing within yourself.  You may even start to notice a pattern.

I challenge you now to come up with a few of these on your own.  Experiment with changing your perception of others to see first if what you are feeling is a sign of something you could personally work on. Feel free to share your findings below:

(Please share with on FaceBook or Twitter.)

Strategies to Stop Worrying

Worry can consume you.  Some see it as a form of caring but if we look at it closer, it is a form of fear; fear that we cannot control or fix certain situations or that something could go wrong.

Worry has the ability to affect your health.  Have you ever heard the expression, “I’m worried sick?”  It can actually happen.

I have spent a great deal of my life in a worried state.  I believe I have come by it honestly through several generations of worriers.  As a child, I am told one of my favorite sayings was, “I’m so worried.“  I’m not sure if I knew then what worrying actually was.  I just saw so much of it being done that I thought it was what I was supposed to do. 

As an adult I worried about everything; what would or could happen in any given situation; about what my future held; if I would see the end of the world; whether my children would be safe; if we would lose our jobs; if a relative’s illness would end their lives; if it would rain when we had big plans; if the person I just passed on the side of the highway would remain safe; if I would offend someone with something I said; if my friend’s problem had a solution; if people I saw on the news in a tragic situation would recover emotionally; if I would find a solution for a real issue; if someone was mad at me; or if my children would grow up with the values I tried to instill in them.  The list could go on and on.

Practical Solutions for Situations Within Our Control
There are many types of  realistic problems that may have a solution such as how to pay a bill, how you will meet a work deadline or the how to work out the details of a gathering, etc.  These issues require our thoughts but not our worries.  Here are some suggestions on how to deal with situations that require a solution:

  1. Create a time to worry, (or to think) about what you can do to find a solution.  Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D wrote an article entitled, “How to Stop Worrying – Self Help for Anxiety Relief,” at HelpGuide.org, in which they state that you should give yourself a time period of approximately 20-30 minutes during the day for which to focus on your issue(s).  
  2. Never dwell on issues at bed time.  Be sure to not schedule your solution time too close to bed time, or while you are in bed.  This will affect your sleep and you will not have success in solving any problems if you are tired and unable to sleep.  
  3. Write it down in a “solution journal“.  If you worry outside of that time period on something that may have a solution, write it down in your journal and return to it during your designated worrying time.  This will enable you to free your mind for other things and lessen the anxiety.
  4. Cross it off your list.  When you have a solution, write the solution next to the issue in the journal.  Do not cross off the solution but cross off the problem, leaving it visible.  
  5. Review previous issues that you have solved.  The next time you have an problem, review what you have previously conquered.  Have faith that if you conquered those issues, you can conquer the current one as well.  You may even find that you had forgotten what you used to solve a similar issue last time and in review, find your solution written right there in your journal.

How to Reduce Anxiety Over Things You Cannot Control
I think it took a few major events to happen in our lives to realize just how much I worried about things and just how little control I actually had.  My oldest son and I were in a car accident where a truck coming in the opposite direction turned in front of us, cutting us off and we hit him, sending us by ambulance to the ER.  Five short months later, my youngest son was in the back seat of a car with friends when they collided with a tree, rendering him unable to walk for more than 6 weeks because of a compound fracture to his lower leg.  Literally, 5 days after that accident my husband was on his way to work and was struck from behind in traffic by a tow truck.  He was out of work for 4 weeks with severe leg injuries as well as several other injuries. 

It was during that time when I realized that, yes, I nearly lost ½ my family in one week, all of us in a matter of 5 months.  I had absolutely no control over any of those situations.  I realized, during that time frame I spent at home caring for them that I would have to make some changes to my thought processes in order to not have a nervous breakdown when anyone left the house and got in a car.  I realized that I would need to change my perceptions.

I still have anxiety at times when I get in the car and I still have passing moments of worry when my children leave the house or when there is severe weather pending when my kids are out driving but I take some steps that I hope will help you as they have helped me ease the fear and worry and anxiety over issues I could not control:

  1. Ask yourself, “Can I control what happens?”  The truth is, most of the time, you cannot.
  2. Ask, “Am I trying to prevent a situation from happening that I do not even know will happen?”  For instance, am I preventing my child from leaving with a friend simply because I am worried about what could happen?  Be careful of this.  It can cause major resentment and end in lies and deception.  They often find ways to get what they want without our knowledge.
  3. Trust in a good outcome and trust in others.  Realize the joy people could create for themselves if they did not let the “what if” thoughts stop them.  Trust in others that they are there for you and those you worry about.  
  4. Let it go.  Change your perception, “In this situation, since I cannot control it, what can I do to enjoy it to it’s fullest?”  
  5. Review situations after they occur.  If you are worried about a situation and it’s possible negative outcomes, revisit the situation afterwards or ask someone who was involved in it.  See that nothing you were worried about happened.  This could prevent you from worrying the next time the same situation occurs.
  6. Think in a positive light.  Be mindful of what you are thinking.  If you catch yourself thinking in a negative light, change it immediately before it affects yourself and others.  Write it down as stated above and give it to your journal.  Do not return to this kind of worry though.  Let whatever higher power you believe in deal with it and have faith that it will be handled.
  7. Do not voice the scenario you are worrying about.  I try to remember one of Mark Victor Hansen’s famous quotes on the law of attraction, “what you think about, comes about.”  Do not give the universe to opportunity to create your scenario.  
  8. Do not pass your fear or worry on to someone else.  If you have a fear about a situation that you cannot control that involves someone else, passing it on to them will not make them be any more careful than what they normally would have been, it will only pass on the irrational feeling to them or make them worry about something they too have no control over or make them worry about you worrying.  That truly does not benefit anyone.

These are some examples that I hope will help you when it comes to worry and anxiety.  It will be a work in progress.  Bookmark the page, print them out, do whatever it takes to refer to them often so they become a habit. 

Please hit the “share” button to post this to your Facebook or Twitter page so others may benefit.  So many people are battling with this on a daily basis and you could change their lives.

If you like this information please subscribe.  There are more posts to come with more great info on how to help you reduce your stress and anxiety and lead you to a more peaceful and happier life.  Please also see previous posts for other beneficial tips.

The Importance of Appreciating A Simple Moment

My purpose with this blog is to help others reduce stress and the amount of time spent on negative situations in order to increase happiness and have more peace in their lives, all the while, learning myself how to relax and enjoy life and those around me more. My ultimate goal is to learn to create and stay longer in the state of peace.

In keeping with this theme I thought I’d share with you just something cute that happened today.  It is something so small that if I blinked I just might have missed it.

I was running very low on gas, for the sheer reason that I was being lazy about stopping.  There were too many other things that had to be done today.  When I finally pulled into the best place in town to get gas, I had 5 miles left in my tank according to the dashboard readout.  My parents always called this, “running on fumes.”

I opened the tank and prepared to fuel up.  When I placed the nozzle near the gas tank a white moth flew out from inside the compartment.  It immediately made me laugh out loud.  Typically the cartoons I’ve seen have been moths flying out of an empty wallet and other things that were empty.  This was just priceless.

The reason I wanted to share was just a gentle reminder to stay in the moment.  You never know when life, or nature in this case will throw a comedic moment at you to make something so mundane just a little bit better.  It was if nature was trying to say, “slow down a moment and look at me!”

I am truly grateful for moments like this, however small and insignificant it may have seemed to others.  I hope this will remind you to take time to notice what goes on around you and appreciate the simple moments.

What kind of things have you noticed lately that brightened you day that you otherwise would have missed if you weren’t paying attention?

Overcoming Fear – Part 2 – Tips and Strategies

Part 1 in this 2 part series is about how I tackled a life-long fear of failure in order to see one of my dreams come true. The feeling of success and accomplishment was more than I could put into words. I hope you will go back and read part 1 as well.
What is it that you are afraid of? What could you accomplish without that fear? What does your fear stop you from doing? Are you at a stand still because you are afraid of either success or failure?
The only reason one person has a fear of failure while someone standing beside them does not share the same fear is because of what they say to themselves. Are you afraid of roller coasters? If you are, what is the reason? I used to have a fear of falling out of the seats. If you realize what you are actually afraid of, you have the power to remove that fear. Many have conquered that fear by closing their eyes and braving the adventure, only to step off the coaster and scream, “Let’s do that again!”
Do you feel stuck in your job? Do you feel you will never get any further in your career than where you are right now? Is it affecting your overall mood and behavior? It doesn’t have to. There is truly nothing stopping you from looking elsewhere. Don’t use excuses such as, “The economy is bad; there’s nothing out there,” “I don’t have a degree,” etc. People are hired daily in every profession, even without a degree. My husband is working in the high paying field of computer software design. He decided it was what he wanted and would love to do. He went out, purchased programming books and taught himself several different computer programming languages and was awarded the job based on the knowledge he was able to display and convey to the interviewer. Believe it can be you and take action toward making it happen with whatever it is that makes you happy. Don’t stop trying if you do not get the first job you interview for or if you do not reach your goal right away. I’m obviously not suggesting that you quit the job you have if you are unhappy. What I’m saying is that you could start your quest for happiness in another job or career by taking steps toward getting a different job while making money with the job you currently have. You have the power to conquer your fear.
Some fears are rational. They keep us safe from doing things that would otherwise injure us. They keep us alert as we walk alone to our car in a poorly lit parking lot. That same fear allows us to stay alert and ready to face a dangerous situation.
The type of fear I am addressing here is irrational fear. The emotions that stop you from experiencing something because you are afraid of how it will make you feel. These feelings start in the mind. We speak them to ourselves silently, over and over. We believe our subconscious and in order to protect ourselves we avoid the very thing, that if we just did it, could enable us to conquer that fear and lead to an amazing number of possibilities.
Ways of Acquiring Fear
There are many types of fear and many ways we acquire them. We are not born with it, it is something we learn and hold onto as we experience life. Recognizing and coming to terms with this can help you evaluate if your fear is even valid and possibly help you move past it.
  1. Fears Adopted from Others – Some fears are adopted from the fears our parents, siblings or relatives had and some are adopted when we read about the failures, emotional pain or injuries acquired by others. Those fears are not your own and it is important to recognize that. What happened to other people may never happen to you. It is also never possible to know the exact experiences of another person that have created that fear. 
  2. Fears Based on Lies – Fear can be based on lies. I remember when I was young someone told me that dragonflies had the ability to sew your mouth closed and they knew someone it happened to. I believed that lie and was, for the longest time, extremely scared of dragonflies.
    Friends and acquaintances may lie to us as well and tell us that what we have set out to accomplish is a goal that is unobtainable at our skill level. Again, always a lie. You have the power to achieve whatever you set your mind to as long as you believe.
    It is important to decipher for ourselves what fears are rational and which are not.
  1. Fear Through Experience – There are fears that we have discovered through our own experiences. Perhaps we made a judgment based on one event or a series of events and assumed that the same results would happen again if we tried. Success may be lurking around the corner but we would never find it without lack of fear.
    Fear can also manifest when we experience an event and determine that the feeling derived from it is worse than the benefits the event’s possible positives could have brought you. For instance, imagine trying to accomplish something that you’ve always wanted to do but every time you try you don’t reach your goal. Personal rejection may set in or fear of failure. You may determine that the negative feelings you receive from that are too much for you to handle.
Overcoming Fear
What if you kept trying? What if you didn’t listen to that fear? What if you decided not to let yourself feel it? What if you could overcome it? How far could you go?
If Thomas Edison had feared failure he would have never have invented the light bulb. His “failures” were numbered at over 10,000. If he had believed he was a failure it may have stopped him. Instead, after the invention finally worked he stated that he had never actually failed, he had only discovered all the ways the light bulb would not work. What a brilliant perception! If he had not felt that way, we may still be sitting in the dark. One of Thomas Edison’s famous quotes was, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
  1. Identify Your Fear’s Origin and Validity – Identify one of your fears that is stopping you from doing something you’ve always wanted to do. Evaluate that fear and question whether or not it stems from your past and if it’s even a valid fear in your present. Your fear may be outdated and no longer serving its purpose, in which case you need to eliminate it and move on to reach that goal that you are destined to accomplish.
  2. Change Your Perception – Fear is a matter of perception. By changing your perception, the way you look at the situation, you may find that fear is not necessary, in fact, you may see how it is holding you back.
    Imagine yourself accomplishing your goal and the triumph you would feel when you succeeded. It would outweigh any feelings of failure and fear of accomplishment and enable you to push yourself farther to let you accomplish more by setting new goals. Knowing you accomplished the first mission, failing along the way, you would realize that your next failure is only a stepping block to feeling that triumph again when you meet or exceed the next objective. This concept can basically be applied to any type of goal; weight loss, exercise, getting a job you desperately desire, starting a new money-making hobby or venture, finishing a marathon, the list goes on.
    If someone else has accomplished it, so can you. It may require more effort than that person but if someone has done it, it can be done again. It just comes down to how badly you want it, whether you are willing to believe in yourself and how much effort you are willing to put into it.
  3. A Positive Cancels a Negative – Change what you are saying to yourself. For instance, if you are telling yourself that you are not good enough, state that you are. If you hear yourself saying that you are not smart enough, stop believing that and do some research if necessary to educate yourself on the subject. Are you afraid of failure? You must discard all negative thoughts associated with the fear and decide that whatever someone else tells you, only you can decide what to believe. Believe you can!
    Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently.”
  4. Use Affirmations, Believe in Yourself – If you want to overcome your fear you must decide that you believe in yourself. This often takes more work than just reading an article. This work takes time. You must focus your energy on and spend a great deal of time in that belief state in order to make this happen. Using affirmations, written statements of belief and putting them where you can read them aloud twice daily will set you in the right direction for this.
Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying a fulfilled life and accomplishing your dreams. Discover what is stopping you or choose not to think about the fear. Take action and move forward. Adopt a new motto, “Giving up is not an option. I want this and will accomplish it not matter how many times I have to try without success.” You will amaze yourself with the end results. You must believe in the strength inside you. Do not believe the opinions of others who doubt you. They will be the first ones praising you silently when you succeed.
If you feel this has or will help you. Please feel free to print it out and post it somewhere for future reference.
What action will you take now that you have the tools above to conquer your fear? What are some goals you will set now that you know you can accomplish your dreams? Please share below.

Overcoming Fear Part 1 – Heart Versus Mind

This is part 1 in a 2-part series on Fear. Today I’d like to share with you a fear of mine and the story of how I overcame it and went on to accomplish something I thought I never could. Tomorrow’s post will include tips on how to overcome your own fears. Please check back in for that.
I would say that my biggest fear is a fear of failure. I don’t like how I feel when I don’t meet my own expectations or the expectations of others. I’ve always been my own worst critic. In the past, if I didn’t meet my expectations I would beat myself up over it and sometimes go as far as to end up in a depression.
I have always considered myself a writer. I started writing poetry about the age of 15, sharing them over the years with anyone who would read them. I had some disappointment from time to time but almost everyone I shared them with strengthened my beliefs that I was a great writer.

I eventually gained enough confidence to send my poems off to a great number of poetry contests and publishers and received an almost equal number of rejection letters. The rejection was devastating. I stopped sharing my poetry as often because I started to believe that even those who supported me in the past would start to reject my efforts as did the professionals who were reviewing them. I didn’t want to feel like I was not good at something I loved so much. I took the rejections personally and I let the pain of it get to me. Over time, I stopped writing. I feared those feelings and did not want to revisit them.
When my children were young teens I found that binder of collected poems that I had written since I was a teen and tried typing them in to save them so I could share them with my children and one day, my grandchildren. I would get approximately 10 poems entered into the computer and just stop. I didn’t feel that it was worth it. I did not have enough faith in myself to believe that anyone would even care to read them. I started having the feelings I felt after I received those rejection letters. I put the binder away as well as my desire to see them published. I decided that without the desire, there would be no pain.
A few years later the binder showed up in my son’s room. I’m not sure if he had been reading them or not. The vision came again so clearly, as if a force was pushing me. I thought I’d try to type them in again. I would envision having them all typed in and submitting them to a publisher, waiting several months to receive a rejection letter and have to start all over again. Those thoughts stopped me in my tracks.
One night, about a year ago, I made last minute plans with a friend to go out to dinner. We sat across from each other and talked for more than an hour and half about everything, just getting caught up. One thing she mentioned was her friend’s accomplishment in one of her college courses. Her friend had been going for her degree for business in preparation to open her own bakery. One of the class assignments was to create a manual to submit to a bank to obtain financing. My friend had helped her by having it printed and bound. The wheels started turning. I felt everything from envy to desire to accomplish this myself.
Stephanie showed me the book. I felt extreme pride for the woman I barely knew who had created it. It was in that moment I decided that no matter what it took, I would see those poems in print. My parents, children and generations to come would see them in print. Enough was enough. I was going to conquer this fear that no longer served a purpose for me.
Every spare moment for the next several days was spent searching the internet for a website where I could self-publish my poetry book. Once I found the perfect website, the fear kicked in again. “What if I can’t do this? I’ve tried so many times to get this done and have never been able to. I don’t want to feel that disappointment again.” I had a couple days of doubt but did not lose my desire. I had dreams at night about finishing it this time.
My thoughts were so focused on accomplishing this. It seemed to take up a great deal of space in my mind each day. I kept seeing that book in my hand, fully printed and sharing it with people I cared about.
One day, on the way to work I realized the perfect way to get the poems entered quickly. I would speak them as a voice message on my phone as a text and send it to my e-mail. This would save a great deal of time compared to typing them into the computer.
I spent my lunch hours for about a week and a half in my car reading all 90 poems aloud into my phone. In no time I had my ISBN from Lulu.com, the poems were entered, formatted and edited. I couldn’t stop. As soon as those old fears of failure kicked in, I shut them out and went to work, all the while keeping the idea of that finished product in my head. I finished with the creation of the cover.
A few weeks later I received my first copies of the beautiful book I had written. Friends bought them to kick it off and that book is now available to the public at Amazon.com. I called it, “Heart Versus Mind: Words That Touch Your Heart.”
I have not yet seen the success I have defined in my head but it has not stopped me. I realized that I needed to conquer that fear in order to move forward. I have renewed my confidence in my writing and, here we are today with you reading the results of that conquered fear of failure in my new blog. There are several other book titles I have in mind and will write and now I know that I can accomplish it.
I beat that fear by telling myself that if someone else accomplished it, I could too, and I would. I decided to believe in myself and dig deep to keep the confidence. I was fortunate to have support from many friends. As I was in the preparation stages I shared my excitement on FaceBook and it became contagious. I have never felt so alive.
Imagine what you could accomplish if you removed a fear of yours and started to believe in yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to believe in you. Sure, it’s a great feeling but don’t wait for other people’s approval. It’s up to you. It’s your accomplishment, not theirs. You are the one who will reap the benefits of the positive emotions your success will provide.
Do you have fears that you have overcome? Once you did, did you find the confidence to go on to accomplish other things? Please feel free to share them below.
Tomorrow’s post will offer some tips on how to conquer your fears. I hope you will come back to check it out. It is already written and I can tell you with confidence that it will inspire you to reconsider your fears and start moving forward without them.

Clear Questions to Ask to Reduce Assumptions

We will never really know the full picture of anything in life. Putting two and two together does not always equal 4.  There are a great deal of stories, thoughts, hidden actions and perceptions to every side of every story.  In order to fill in the missing pieces we use assumptions, thoughts we perceive to be true based on the information we have been fed.  Keep in mind, that information is based on another person’s perceptions and the information they want you to have.

Not everyone wants you to know the whole picture.  People will lie in order to portray a truth they want you to see.  Sometimes the lies are for your own good and other times they are to benefit the person painting the picture.

Filling in the blanks with your own pieces can be very detrimental.  The affects can be minor or major, depending on your assumption and the individual situation.

At one of my former jobs we have certain hours or operation. These hours are posted online and are available with a simple phone call.  It never fails though, that each time I worked I had to turn patrons away, some who have driven for a hour and arrive just before closing time.  I can just imagine how the conversation went once they left the building.  A simple call or website visit before they left could have saved a great deal of time and frustration.  Instead, they assumed the hours, causing an unnecessarily long drive with nothing to show for it.

Assuming in a Relationship
It is easy to assume.  In our society we want answers and we want them quickly.  Our impatience can cause us to choose to see what we want to see for many different reasons. 

I have seen simple assumptions have detrimental affects on relationships.  Take a look at finances.  How many of us have assumed a bill has been paid by someone else in the household only to find out later you now have a late charge or cancelled service because they had not paid it?  This could then cause blame from both involved and result in arguments.

We may choose to assume we can figure out what our partner or friend is thinking or why they did or said a certain something.  No matter how well you know someone, you will never know someones true intention unless they speak it.  There are many ways to say how one feels or thinks.  If you are offended by someones words, ask what they meant by what was said.  You may find that there was nothing to be offended by once the explanation is given.

A simple assumption such as, “I don’t think he/she loves me anymore,” can eventually end a relationship that could have been saved by working through the actual issue itself.  With assumptions we create more issues.  We act in accordance with our own thoughts.  If we think we are not loved, we in turn will hold our own love from the other person to avoid being hurt further.  I have seen people also say very hurtful things to their significant other because of this assumption.  Eventually the relationship ended.

I recall a time when several members of my family were at a seminar together at a very large convention center.  We split up at the end.  Some used the bathroom while others went to get the car.  We did not have a firm meeting place and ended up searching for each other literally for 4 hours!  The ones who had gone off to the bathroom did not have phones on them or the batteries had run out.  By the time we found each other there was an extreme tension and irritation with each other, leaving us stressed for quite some time.  My mother actually became physically sick from the stress.

In instances such as the ones just given, it can affect not only our relationship with the other person, but it can also affect our health.  These types of assumptions can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, high blood pressure or stomach issues, all of which can lead to more serious conditions.

Assumptions on the Job
There are dangers of drawing your own false conclusions in your work environment as well.  Imagine assuming that your boss is out to get you.  What types of repercussions could this have?  It could cause you to be paranoid, make mistakes, decrease work effectiveness and lose respect from your co-workers.  I’ve seen it cause people to behave irrationally and even lose their jobs.

If you work with customers it is easy to assume that you know what the customer wants or needs without listening to the full story.  Most of the time interaction with a customer requires the employee to listen and ask questions to be sure the customer is understood.  Guessing what they need often results in the customer being unsatisfied with the end result and the level of customer service.  Good customers can be lost in the process.  If the outcome is extreme enough, your job could be lost as well.

Completing the Puzzle
There are many different situations in which one may use assumptions to piece together the rest of a puzzle in order to see the entire picture but using this method does not give a full picture. It is like forcing pieces where they do not belong to make an alternate picture.  With assumptions you will never see the beauty of the true picture.

How do we avoid assuming?  It is all around us.  It is a part of our nature.  Here are some suggestions:

Ask Questions
If you feel you are confused, missing pieces, not understanding what someone means, thinks or feels, ask questions. People will respect you for caring enough to understand them and the situation; your mind will be put to ease knowing the truth as you were meant to see it; future confrontations may be avoided; customers will remain loyal; you will maintain better health and relationships will be saved.

Here are some sample questions you can ask.  Tailor them to the situation.

“What did you mean by that?”
“How do you really feel”
“What are you thinking?”
“Why did you do that?”
“What are your intentions?”
“How can I help you?”
“Is there something I can do to help this situation?”
“Will you have time later, if so when?”
“Where should we meet if we are separated?”
“If (this situation) occurs, what would you like me to do?”

These are just a few questions that could save you from assumptions that lead to misunderstanding.  Try to think ahead for prevention and when the time comes, pay attention to your thoughts.  If you find yourself assuming, clarify.

Asking questions in any situation can save you from misunderstandings that could otherwise lead to less misunderstandings.

Be Patient
You can choose to not ask questions if you are uncomfortable or unsure of what to ask.  If you use this strategy, be sure to think the best of the situation in the meantime.  There are some situations where it will be necessary to wait, such as, hearing back after a job interview.  Stay positive.  Trust that pieces that are missing will fall into place in due time, allowing you to witness an even more beautiful picture than what you have in your mind.  Patience is a virtue.

This is not always the best strategy if you are impatient or not good at being mindful of your thoughts.  If you are not good at either of these things, you may find yourself assuming subconsciously as time goes on, in which case, clarification will be needed.

Staying Aware and Being Clear
When you are communicating with others, try to be mindful of how you are coming across.  Don’t leave room for others to make assumptions.  Be clear with your intentions. This is another area where asking questions can come in handy.  Ask questions to be sure you were understood if there are doubts or if your words could be taken to have multiple meanings.

The biggest key is to focus more on your thoughts.  Pay attention to what you’re thinking and evaluate it. Your thoughts are your personal truth, no one else’s.  Evaluate your thoughts and ask yourself if this is something you are projecting on someone or on a situation.  Is your thought valid or does it come from the part of you that feels the need to see the entire picture for what it is according to you.

When you fill in the blanks with assumptions, there is a high degree of probability that you will assume wrong.  You know what they say about assuming…?

If you have a significant other, it is important to share this with them.  If you are both on the same page and working together to understand each other it will strengthen the relationship.

I would love to discuss this further.  Please comment below:  What type of misunderstandings can you think of that could be caused by assuming?  What other ways can you think of to prevent assuming?  In what ways could not assuming better your quality of life, increase your peace and your happiness?

How the Desire to be Perfect Can Affect You

Although I have never seen the movie, and after reading some of the other quotes from it, I am not sure the movie would fit into what I’d like to discuss here but after seeing the following quote tattooed across my son’s best friend’s chest, I wanted to talk about what the phrase meant to me.  “May I never be perfect,” quoted from Fight Club, written by Chuck Palahniuk really made me think.

I did not discuss with Jory in detail about what this quote meant to him, other than the fact that he liked the movie, but I can only imagine that if he went through all that pain to get the tattoo, the phrase itself must have it’s own meaning to him as well.

I would never want to be perfect.  Not only is it too much pressure to maintain but if I were perfect, there would be nothing greater to strive for.

Several people have disagreed with me but I do not believe there is such a thing as perfection.  We may have areas in our lives or our looks that may be considered perfect but I think there is no such thing as being completely perfect.

After reading my blog post from yesterday, http://peaceandhappinessproject.blogspot.com/2013/06/10-ways-to-improve-your-self-image.html, “10 Ways to Improve Your Self Image,” Melissa, one of the readers mentioned that people around her feel that she thinks she is perfect and they are constantly pointing out her flaws because of it.  As it turns out, it isn’t how she sees herself at all.  It would upset me to know that the people in my life I care about are constantly watching, waiting for me to make a mistake or prove my lack of perfection.

I think we put a great number of people up on pedestals only to realize they are just like you and me.

Please do not misunderstand.  Some may feel that if perfection is not obtainable then why should they even try?  This is not the message I want to send.  Should we strive for perfection?  Absolutely.  Wanting to be the best we can be is an admirable trait that not everyone has.  It requires deep desire, ambition, dedication, and the strength to keep moving forward.

I feel that if we strive for perfection, we should be willing to accept that we will never completely reach it.  We should not allow ourselves to get stressed by letting negative thoughts to enter our sub-conscious when we realize it, nor should we let the desire to be perfect consume our every move.    Being weighed down by the stress and anxiety of pushing for perfection on a consistent basis and not reaching it only sets us up for feeling like a constant failure, leaving us in a negative state of mind.  (As stated in my previous blog, I cannot stress the importance of staying aware of what we are thinking.)

Anthony Robbins uses the acronym, CANI to describe his principle, “Constant And Never-ending Improvement.”  That is the state I would like to reside in, never perfection.  The difference here is the realization that perfection is not obtainable but improvement is a step forward toward being a better you.  With this philosophy we recognize that we have room for improvement and we can better ourselves by improving one thing at a time.

wrote an article for About.com called, “Perfectionism and Panic Disorder, How Perfectionism Can Impact Panic and Anxiety” in which she notes that when people set such high standards for themselves in order to reach perfectionism, they are more prone to psychological issues and possibly even physical illness. The acceptance of others becomes so important that they strive at all costs to reach it, in turn causing such issues as panic disorder, OCD, social anxiety, distress, loneliness, depression, negative thinking and self blame to name a few.  She states, “This ideal sets a person up for failure, disappointment, and negative self-evaluations. Perfectionists are often very self-critical, and may even scrutinize the performance of others when it doesn’t live up to their impractical standards.”

May I never be perfect!!  I want to leave room for failure in order to learn from my mistakes.  I want to be able to be relaxed in my life and not stressed about the possibility of not reaching perfection with all that I do.  I want to live by the CANI principle and feel comfortable knowing that the definition of doing any one thing perfectly can and will change and there is room for it, even after it’s completion.  I just feel that if I allow myself to not be perfect and accept that I am not but continue to improve myself, I will be happier and more at peace because of it.

I want to hear from you.  I am certain there are people out there who oppose my thoughts here and I would love to hear your side.  Please discuss your feelings on this below.