Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Growing wisdom ..2

Ouch! It sounds like you feel like you’re a pariah. It’s impossible to guess why your friendships don’t “stick” and there’s no uptake by others but the problem seems to be a pattern rather than a one-time occurrence—and something you want to change.

Can you self-identify your specific problem (s)? Here are some of the possibilities why people don’t have close reciprocal relationships with friends. I’m sure other readers will add to the list.

Temperament – Are you shy and uncomfortable around people? This can make people around you feel uncomfortable too.

Insecurity - Do you feel like you can’t measure up to the people you want as friends? Are you able to trust other people? These may be barriers that create distance between you and your friends.

Preference – Are you introverted? When push comes to shove, do you actually prefer being alone rather than spending time with friends? Do you think people know this when they’re around you? Or, are you extraordinarily social—so preoccupied with making lots of acquaintances that you lose out on making close friendships?

Psychological Issues – Do you have a history of difficulty establishing intimate relationships with others? Are you uncomfortable with people knowing the real you?

Lack of Experience – Regardless of age, some people lack the skills needed to make and maintain friendships. Do you think you have what it takes to be a good friend?

Situational Obstacles – Do you live in a geographical area where it is particularly difficult to connect with people? This might include living someplace rural where there are few people or because of a history of frequent moves, being someplace where you feel like an outsider.

Disabilities – Do you have a mental or physical disability? Unfortunately, because of stigma, people shun individuals with mental or physical disabilities. In addition, being homebound can limit the opportunity to make friends.

Personality – Is there something about you that others find grating? Are you too needy? Too pushy? Too talkative? Too controlling? Are you fiercely independent—wanting to call all the shots regarding what, when and where? Sometimes, there is something off-putting about a person’s behavior and the individual lacks awareness of the problem.

Communication Style - Do you respond to your friend’s overtures as well as initiate contact? Are you available on line or by phone, depending on your friend’s preferred mode of communication.

Time Management Problems – Do you have a hard time juggling all the responsibilities and demands placed on you? Do you consider making time for friends selfish or frivolous?

Unrealistic expectations – Have you led your friends to believe that you will always do the organizing? Do you have an unrealistic, romanticized notion of friendship? Do you expect all friendships to be perfect and last forever?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Growing Wisdoms.

 Growing up I was taught by my respected elders and superiors that if I wanted or needed anything in life, all I needed to do was have patience ask God (Exalted be He) and He will give. It wasn’t until I was in my 10 - 12 years of age when I actually understand what that meant. 
Up until then, I had wrongly created my own interpretation which had no resemblance to the meaning I was taught as a child. I made myself believe it to mean that you had to put on a brave face and that any sign of hardship was a sign of ungratefulness. Don’t tell anyone how frustrated, angry and upset you truly are because the last thing you want is for your secret to come out…
This carried on for around 2years  until one day I woke up and decided “This can’t be right,” and I made a conscious decision of find out for myself what patience really meant.  I began to reflect on why it is that God (the Majestic) creates each individual in a particular and unique image.
Every Person is Unique 
In the past few years my false fa├žade of contentment has become real contentment. This doesn’t mean that I’ve somehow come to the end of my journey to God or that my faith is somehow ‘perfect’, because there is simply no such thing. Of course I still face days that are harder than others. However, the truth of the matter actually lies in the very realisation that the journey is ongoing. 
I spent so much time thinking that if I prayed hard enough I would wake up and miraculously see my father again, thinking that this is what I needed in order to carry myself in this temporary world with complete certainty, gratitude and comfort in my own skin. I could not have been more wrong. 
With time and after a lot of sleepless, tearful nights I realised that there is no such thing as coincidence, and that this is where my patience  thankfulness, certainty  in God plan for me, and comfort come from. 
The people we encounter, the conversations we have and the sights that we see – good and bad – all happen for a reason and are blessings, just as any opportunity to reflect and turn to The Most High is a blessing.
To me, the crucial step is to look inwards and ask myself whether my outlook on life is that of a victim, or of someone who was created by God (Exalted is He) in the way that He intended and is the Benefactor of, through His countless blessings.

Michael V. Reynold. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Life decision

I learned some time ago that whenever I was feeling worried, sad or hopeless I could change my attitude my pausing and counting my blessings. Prior to that I felt I was grateful and always told myself and others that I was. Looking back, that feels like an easy and complacent way out of truly being grateful and understanding just how much I have to appreciate.

Sometimes life can be daunting and it requires that I go beyond the basic gratitude; I’m grateful for a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food to eat. Though those things are pretty standard to most of us (even if we struggle financially and so on) there were times when that just didn’t seem ‘enough’. When I was at my darkest moments, I not only had to remind myself how much I have that others don’t, but also how many others are suffering far more than I.

I realized that writing down or repeating in my prayer time the many things I am grateful for helps me have a fresh perspective in life and a renewed senses of hope too. Going beyond the basics of my gratitude helped me to realize how very blessed I am. My biggest sense of joy and what I am most grateful for is that I am surrounded, always, by many people who love and care for me. The second greatest blessing is that I am alive, more healthy then many, and able to do things and live my life in ways that many cannot.

Realizing that gratitude is a necessary daily habit (yes- like brushing your teeth!) and practicing it has helped me to worry less, be more compassionate and giving towards those with a different life then mine, feel less anxious and worried about what I don’t have and renewed my sense of hope. I realize as I look back on the blessings in my life, somehow it always gets better and there seem to be new things to be grateful for when I least expect it!

Gratitude as a Daily Habit

Make a gratitude list (daily) adding things that happened that you should recognize the blessing in
Say thank you (and mean it!) to everyone who helps you, blesses you, feeds your soul
Create a gratitude board with images and words that remind you of the things you are grateful for
Take inventory of all that you have (not just the material items) and realize your abundance
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

People in our lives.

Again and again I hear from friends, colleagues and others about how they feel hopeless, helpless or just completely frustrated with life and people. There are often life challenges and some are worse then others. Sometimes there are people around us (family, co-workers) that we do not have an option to distance ourselves from that are negative and demanding. It’s part of life — life can be good but it will never be perfect.

Once you accept that, you can come to the realization that you choose how to react and respond to life happening and people around you in the way that best suits you!

We have a choice. I don’t think most people want to respond or react negatively. I think most people want to feel good and want life to be good. I think most people want to make a difference in the world and the lives of those around them in a positive way. We are only limited in doing so by our own choices.

You have a choice, each moment, to be your best self. Even when you have been hurt, angered or frustrated you can decide if you want to be peaceful, loving and joyful or be mean, hateful, angry. It is not always easy, because sometimes life circumstances or certain people REALLY affect us. But they only have the power of you that you ALLOW.

When you practice responding and reacting in positive, healthy and even loving ways, you are in control of YOU. Here are some of the things I practice when life gets me down, when people drive me nuts or when circumstances leave me shaking my head and asking whaaaat??

Before you react or respond…

pause and take a few deep breaths
count your blessings
think about how you want to be perceived (loving, respectful, patient etc. or out of control angry, unfair, mean etc.)
consider what the outcome of your reaction & response will be (hurting others, losing opportunities, saying/doing things you regret etc.)
 remember that you cannot change others and sometimes circumstances either-(what will it get you by reacting/responding in a way that is not being your best self?)

"We have control over how we react and respond. When we do not let others or circumstances put us in victim mode, we are free!”