Self Help Lesson from a White Cat

Live IN the Moment, Without Looking PAST the Moment

Cat on Pine Mountain , Kentucky

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.  – James Openheim

 

When you first look at the picture above (and to the right –>), what’s the first thing you see? Your answer is probably the stone on the building, the tree’s trunk in the foreground, or the trees in the background. Or, you may be an artistic sort who first notices the colors of the “canvas” before the individual parts.

Then again, you may be like me – such a bona fide animal lover that the first thing you see is the gorgeous white cat.  Of course, if you didn’t see her right off the bat, that doesn’t make you any less of an animal lover. She does blend in with her surroundings after all.

Story Behind the Picture

I took this  picture a few years ago when we were in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky. We’d just arrived at Pine Mountain State Resort Park and were taking in the awe-inspiring beauty.  The mountains are always gorgeous, but in Autumn, the scenery just takes your breath away.

I was in the middle of taking a lot of pictures of the mountains and trees decked out in their Autumn best when I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched. I knew it wasn’t my husband because he was busy snapping away with his own camera.

Given the fact that I’d already seen several signs telling guests to keep an eye out for bears, the feeling of being watched was a little bit more unsettling than usual.

I happened to look “closer” than I HAD been looking and that’s when I saw the beautiful little white cat.  Given the fact that I’d been looking so FAR away I hadn’t seen her before.  For an animal lover, like me, her beautiful face trumped everything else.

Then again, I love cats as much as my next breath. I have had at least one (usually 2-4) cats all of my life. I find them to be the most amazing, intelligent, colorful, and joyous little beings God ever created.  When I come across one in public, my reaction would lead you to believe I’d just encountered Bigfoot, himself.  So the fact that I could have missed seeing this little cutie simply by looking too far in the distance left an impression on me.

When we got back home and I sat down to upload my pictures to my computer, this particular picture made me stop and think. It’s a reminder of something we’re all guilty of from time to time – some more so than others: We often get so caught up in looking “off” into the distance that we miss what’s right in front of us.  Whether our eyes are fixed firmly in the future or stubbornly in the past, we’d do well to always remind ourselves to stop and look around in the present.

Who knows what we could be missing?

Because of the effect the picture had on me, when it came time to re-design Self Help Daily, I used this picture as my palette. It reminds me to not only “see” the big picture of life, but to always stop and appreciate the small details – the ones right in front of me.

Ironically, this whole premise goes with my new favorite quote. Not only do I collect quotes, I’m utterly obsessed with them – so I often have a favorite quote “of the moment.” The quote that has been my favorite for some time now is from Thoreau, “Live in the present. Launch yourself on each wave. Find eternity in each moment.” If that isn’t a life-changer, I don’t know what is.

Write it down. Live it out.

Find Eternity in Each Moment

... find eternity in each moment. – Thoreau

All the world cries, ‘Where is the man who will save us?’ Don’t look so far for this man, you have him at hand. This man–it is you, it is I, it is each one of us! How to constitute oneself a man? Nothing harder if one knows not how to will it; nothing easier if one wills it. -Alexandre Dumas.

How to Use Positive Affirmations to Create More Positive Energy

And Why It's A Whiz Bang Idea to Do So

  Quotes About Positive Affirmations

 

No doubt you’ve heard about positive affirmations.  You’re probably even a believer in the power of positive affirmations. But do you actually use them?  Do you give yourself the extra boost that comes from creating more positive energy in your life?

Positive affirmations have the power to change your life because they have the power to change you. From your mindset to the way you go about your day, there’s no area of your life positive affirmations can’t benefit.

Before we get to positive affirmations, let’s think for a minute (but just a minute, okay, because they’re bad news) about negative affirmations. Negative affirmations are equally powerful and pack their own kind of wallop – as in knocking you down, kicking you in the liver with steel toe boots, and then spitting in your face.

I told you they were bad news.

Negative affirmations are those unkind, hurtful, and destructive little things we frequently say to and about ourselves.  Sometimes we say them out loud but we usually play them for an audience of one, ensuring that we’re the only ones that hear them. Problem is, we’re the only ones that NEED to hear them for them to do their damage.

Imagine, for a scary minute, that someone followed you around all day and all night.  Each time there was a lull in the conversation, they’d lean in and whisper something like, “You’re too fat for that outfit…” or “You look really old, you know that?”  How about the one we all love to hear, “There’s NO WAY you can do this… absolutely NO WAY.”

So long, self esteem… nice knowing you!

We take on the scary role of this evil stalker every single time we cut ourselves down with negativity.  The sooner we learn to stop in our tracks before any negative venom comes spewing out of our mouths, the better.  What’s the best way to make the negativity stop?

Simple. Replace the negative with positive.

Pull the plug on negative energy and fill your life up to the brim with positive energy.

If we train ourselves to get into the habit of practicing positive affirmations, we’ll begin to build ourselves UP rather than tear ourselves DOWN. But notice the words “train” and “practice.”  They’re our cues that this is a pro-active exercise, not a passive mindset.  You don’t tell yourself one day, I’m going to start being more positive, then expect it to happen magically.  That’d be like using shampoo one night and expecting your hair to stay clean for the rest of your life.

When you implement change in your life, you must be mindful of it each day. You have to purposely commit to making a positive change on a daily basis. If you’re one of those who tends to bash yourself regularly, this so-called daily basis may be more of an hourly basis.

So, if the best way to get rid of negative affirmations is to replace them with positive affirmations, where do you start?  Let’s start at the heart of the matter.  What area or areas do you criticize, condemn, and ridicule yourself in the most?  Is it your appearance… your age… your education… your job? Do you have bad habits or shortcomings that you consistently beat yourself up over?  Is there a particular aspect of your life you want  to improve? The answer(s) to these questions will give you an idea of what positive affirmations you need to focus on.

It’ll also put the negative affirmations on notice – they’re about to get kicked to the curb.

The best positive affirmations are those that are short, direct, clear, and assume the desired outcome has already happened.  For example, if an individual feels held back by shyness and wants to be more outgoing,  a few positive affirmations would be:

  • I’m Outgoing and Confident.
  • I am confident.
  • I am a confident person.
  • I boldly voice my opinions.
  • I stand up for myself.

Experts say that one of the most important things about choosing positive affirmations is to keep any and all negative or potentially negative words out of the mix.  That’s why using an affirmation like, “I am confident” is better than saying, “I am not shy.”  The word shy is the very concept you’re trying to avoid! If you say, “I am not shy” throughout the day, you are still reinforcing the shyness.  Whereas if you say “I am confident,” you are reinforcing the word confident?

See the difference? It may seem small, but it’s actually huge.

Someone may ask, “How about using the words I FEEL confident?”  While that’s still a better choice than “I am not shy,” I personally think it’s still second-best. Why?  Too much wiggle room.  If you say “I FEEL confident,” it kind of implies that it’s a momentary thing.  As in, you’re wearing your favorite blue top, so you FEEL confident.. but when you change back into your white one… the confidence might just bottom out!  Saying you “feel” a certain way isn’t the same as saying you OWN the train and OWN the situation.

Again, it seems small – but it isn’t.

Finally, choose TOP SHELF adjectives.  This would mean going with, “I make great decisions” rather than “I make good decisions.”  Using good rather than great implies room for improvement and, while that may be true, you don’ t want to dwell on that in your affirmations.

So, make your positive affirmations…

  1. 100 percent positive – without a single negative or undesired trait mentioned
  2. direct and to the point
  3. free of wiggle room!
  4. top shelf

A unique approach

I once heard a positive affirmations cd that was filled with positive affirmations in the form of questions.  The man would say things such as, “Why am I so happy?,”  “Why do I make the right decisions?,” etc.  The thought process behind these questioning affirmations was, apparently, that you’d be forced to focus on the answers.  I can see how this approach would be fantastic for a lot of people.

So, now you know the importance of positive affirmations, how can you sneak them into your life?

While there are some truly wonderful Positive Affirmations available for downloading and using immediately, you can also come up with your own.   If you use these, just be sure you repeat the affirmations, yourself, and don’t merely listen to someone else stating their affirmations.  That really won’t do you much good, will it?

The best way to have custom, personal affirmations is to make them yourself. In addition to using affirmations for personal areas you want to improve in, use general affirmations such as:

  • I love my life!
  • I love my personality.
  • I have a great sense of humor.
  • I am great at ____ (writing, cooking, your job…)
  • I am fun to be around.
  • I love who I am.

You just have to remember to use these affirmations daily – several times a day, in fact.  Some people have suggested recording yourself as you slowly and confidently say your affirmations and playing the recording several times a day. I can’t say I’ve ever done that, myself, but it seems like a pretty cool idea.

I’ve also read that a lot of people write their positive affirmations on index cards or notes of paper, then leave them in random places where they’ll be reminded to use them.  While I certainly use index cards for motivational quotes, inspirational words, and reminders, I think of positive affirmations as a really personal thing – for my eyes only. However, if you don’t have a lot of other eyes around, index cards could serve you well.

The most important thing is to surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible. Come on, how could that be anything but a great thing?!?!

I Think We’re Seeing a New Breed of People Being Born Right Before Our Eyes

Frankly, It's Not a Very Pretty Sight...

Quote About Egotism

Picture it. A documentary is coming on the television set. The music sets a dramatic tone.  The narrator (let’s give him a British accent for effect) announces that a new tribe of people has been discovered in (surprisingly) a part of the world that isn’t even remotely remote. You lean in close, wondering how a new race of people could have hidden all these years, undetected.  You watch, expecting them to be draped in animal skins, living in caves, speaking in grunts, and sporting, possibly, nose rings.

You admit to yourself that maybe you watch too much National Geographic.

As you wait, literally on the edge of your couch, for the big reveal, the camera zeroes in on the new breed.

Wait… What???

It’s us. As images of social media, pictures on Facebook and Instagram, infidelity statistics, divorce rates, and so on flash across the screen, the narrator pauses dramatically then announces the name of the new breed:  the Self Absorbed.

Dum-dum-dum-dum.

Kidding aside, I just have to ask, what is with people these days?  Why are so many individuals as self absorbed as high-end paper towels? When I was in high school, the ancestors of the self absorbed were called “self centered.”  But the generation they gave way to has far surpassed their efforts.

Odds are you know at least one person (the odds are greater that you know quite a few) who is self absorbed.  Heck you may even be showing signs of heading that way yourself.  If that’s the case, take heart.  Maybe this article was meant for YOU and will prove as a life boat to keep you from drowning in a sea of YOU.

When something happens gradually, it becomes our NORMAL.  What we accept as the norm today would have mortified us 20 years ago.  As a comparatively small example, think about the commercials you see on TV today.  If you could transport yourself back 20 or even 10 years ago, can you imagine your reaction if you saw some of this crap come on? Something my husband used to do, when our girls were younger was probably the best way of handling idiot commercials I’ve ever seen.  He’d always have a “back up” channel in place during the show we were watching (especially during sporting events, where commercials really show their immaturity).  He’d flip over to the “back up channel” (usually the Golf Channel or the Weather Channel) as soon as the commercials tried to throw themselves into our living room.

Since he didn’t want three young girls exposed to stupidity and flirtations with porn, he’d simply opt out.  He was a dad who didn’t want to let what was becoming “norm” to the rest of  the world to become the “norm” for his family.

Unfortunately, the commercials – gradually – have become even worse.

Isn’t that how most things happen? Slowly. Gradually.  Then you sit there one evening while a commercial plays out that leaves your jaw on the floor as you ask, “America… what happened?!”

Like commercials (and magazines, movies, television, music…), the road to self absorption for so many people has happened gradually.  They didn’t set out to become narcissists.  But unfortunately, they didn’t set out NOT to become narcissists either.

nar·cis·sist

[nahr-suh-sist] noun

1. a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.
2. Psychoanalysis . a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.

Signs of a Self Absorbed

In a nutshell, the self absorbed makes every single moment, every single situation, and every single experience about them.  What matters most isn’t who they are with, the beauty around them,  the moment they’re in, or what they can do for anyone else.

What matters most to them is… well… them.

A few questions that’ll help classify a self absorbed person:

  • Does the person talk, at length, about their health, their diet, or their appearance?
  • Does the person buy things only for himself or herself?
  • Does the person ever do “cool” things for others?
  • Does the person give to charities… could the person even name three charities?!?!
  • Does the person look at the world around them or are they too busy demanding that the world look at them?
  • On Twitter, is the person 95% about self-promotion?
  • On Facebook, are they begging others to LIKE them (or their product) or are they working hard, giving others a reason TO like them?
  • Does the person ask… and actually listen to the answer… how someone else’s day was?
  • Is the person friendly, respectful, and courteous to servers in restaurants or do they have the, “You are here to serve me and you’d better do a darn good job!” mentality?
  • Does the person have any idea, whatsoever, what’s actually going on in the world – or is the world, to them, literally what’s in the room with them?
  • The self absorbed individual is the one who, when talking about their success (something they’re always doing),  shows pictures of their car, their vacation, and sometimes even their home.  I’m never impressed with that – come on, just about anyone can buy a car or take a vacation!   To borrow a phrase from an old Shania Twain song, “That don’t impress me much.”  Show me what you’re doing to make THE world a better place, not YOUR world.  Show me how you’re helping precious children who need someone to care, show me how you’re saving a beautiful animal from becoming extinct, show me how you’re helping elderly people live out their lives with dignity, show me how you’re making the world a better place. Put your car in the garage, dude, it’s the least of my worries.

In Defense of the Self Absorbed

Before you start to think I hate self absorbed or self centered people – I do not. I don’t hate anyone.  In fact, I feel sorry for them because if you limit your world to YOU, you’re missing out on so, SO much.  If you make every situation, every day, every holiday, every moment all about you, you’re missing out on everyone around you. What’s more, you’re creating a void between you and everyone else. If your life is all about you 24/7, make no mistake about it, you’ll end up pushing everyone away and you will be left with your one true obsession.. yourself. How lonely does that sound?

As I said earlier, sometimes things happen slowly over time. Many self absorbed people slowly transition into being that way because of a health scare or other dramatic event in their lives.  A loss of a very close loved one makes some people become very self absorbed.

Over my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of people become very self absorbed because of a health issue or because of  aging.  They become, literally, obsessed and preoccupied with the person they see in the mirror.  They’re every conversation and thought is channeled in that direction.

To me, that’s not LIVING, that’s simply TRYING NOT TO DIE.

There’s a big difference.  But, again, things happen slowly over time. The same person who would have been mortified by the idea 10 years ago is, today, discussing bodily functions with the hostess at Cracker Barrel and medications with a stranger in Target. Just because someone politely asks, “How are you doing?” doesn’t mean they want your medical history.

When you read interviews with people who have celebrated their 100th birthday, they look back over a life of living. They don’t look back over a life of trying not to die.

I think we have to cut our young people a little bit of slack, too.  Young girls and boys, today, have grown up with Facebook, Instagram, constantly taking selfies (pictures taken by oneself of oneself), reality TV, and with the mindset of “By gosh, it IS all about me!”  Sadly, it’s their norm.

And our future is in their hands.

Are you scared now?

Dangers Posed by the Self Absorbed

I am a positive person – very positive, in fact. However, even I am driven to say that the self absorbed breed could just be our downfall.  Think about some of the problems we face.

  • Divorce rates are through the roof.  Self absorbed people don’t think about the other person, all that matters TO them IS them. So what if they “flirt” online or go to websites that bother their spouse – it’s their life, by gosh, and they’ll do what they want.  And then they do…. all the way to divorce court.
  • People are falling for scams online left and right. The person they THINK they’re having a relationship with is completely different from what they think. Sometimes the other person is actually married and often they aren’t even the sex they believe them to be! Talk about awkward.  When people only care about themselves, they don’t care if they hurt another individual or not. They don’t even care if they wreck their world.  Remember, the self absorbed care only about themselves – all others are irrelevant.
  • Relationships are crumbling because men and women seem to have complete misconceptions about infidelity.  If you are in a committed relationship, your every e-mail, “tweet,” direct message, etc. should be able to be seen by your companion.  If they can’t be (without you wanting to run for the hills), you’re cheating. Plain and simple. I read a few days ago something that stood out to me. If you could not exchange phones with your significant other without panicking, you need to wake up.  Same can be said about e-mail and social media. Self absorbed people only think about what makes them feel good at the moment – they don’t have any respect or regard for anyone else.  And then they wonder why their relationship fails.
  • I don’t get shocked easily.  I always say the reason for that is I lived with three teenage daughters – how in the world could anything shock me?! However, I am shocked by what’s considered normal these days. During the Super Bowl, for example, there were about 3 different commercials that left me grasping for reality. Do advertisers not realize (or give a darn) that kids watch television? Do they not realize that the only people who buy their products aren’t 15 year old boys?!  Many companies are just as self absorbed as the individuals who run them.  They think, “I’ll do what I want to do, and if offends people… I’ll probably just make more money.”
  • Self absorbed people are the ones who text while they drive. The dangers they pose don’t matter – the only thing that matters is that they have something to say and… after all… their words are worth any chaos they cause.  Especially if they happen to have a picture of themselves to show off.
  • One of the biggest dangers of the self absorbed person is the fact that they’re keeping the breed going.  They’re continuing a “norm” that needs desperately to end.

Is There Any Hope for the Self Absorbed?!

If you had an uneasy, “Uh oh” moment when you read the words “self absorbed” and saw a bit of yourself in the descriptions, you’re lucky.  You’re probably cured already.  Sometimes all it takes is a wake up call. It’s kind of like taking a good look in the mirror before going out for dinner and a movie and seeing that your hair’s standing straight up.  It’s not a pretty sight, but thanks be to God you saw it before anyone else!

Personally, I think there’s hope for even the most self absorbed people.  If not… at least they provide the rest of us with a little free entertainment.  Just be sure you don’t buy into what they’re selling – it really isn’t any way to live.

 

Your Thoughts, Actions, and Words Write Your Life’s Story

Are You Victimizing Yourself?

Quote About Life

A few days ago, I found myself thinking long and hard about baseball. Something, admittedly, I do a lot.  That’s one of the things that you should know about me… I’m completely obsessed with baseball. For me, there are two seasons: Baseball Season and Withdrawal Season. We’re in the latter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still think about it.  I guess you could say I’m a “student of the game.” Not because I ever play baseball, or even have a desire to do so.  I grew up playing softball (every year from the age of 8 to 18), but I don’t even feel the call to play softball – let alone baseball.

A fact my knees (and feet, back, arms…) are grateful for.

I love to dissect aspects of the game of baseball. The pitchers, hitters, stats, ball fields, match-ups, etc.  To give you an idea of how eaten up I am with baseball, the other day I heard an announcer on the radio mention a particular team and my mind immediately pulled up the following information:

  • the city in which they play
  • the name of their stadium
  • their best starting pitcher
  • the name of their manager
  • their infield
  • where they hold spring training
  • their chances for 2013… zilch

I am, for better or worse, just as big a student of the game of life.  A philosopher without the degree, prestige, and title. I believe that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to writing in the first place.  It provides a release for all the thoughts, analogies, and conclusions my mind creates. If they all stayed inside my brain, there wouldn’t be any room for anything else.

One of the thoughts bouncing around recently was this: There are two kinds of people in the world.  There are the kind who say, “Look at everything I’ve BEEN through!” and there are those who say, “Look at what I SURVIVED!”

This occurred to me when I heard a woman ranting about 2012. She literally said the words, “God PUT me through….”  and as the words came out of her mouth, I thought, “You’re looking at it all wrong. Say, God BROUGHT me through…

Sometimes just one word makes all the difference!

Our thoughts, attitude, and even our words create the story of our lives.  We’re the author of our life’s novel and, personally, I’ve always wondered why anyone would want to portray themselves as the victim. Isn’t it much cooler to be the hero?

Words and thoughts like the following cast yourself in the victim’s role:

  • I’ve been through so much…
  • I have too much on my plate…
  • God put me through…
  • Someone hurt my feelings…
  • Someone broke my heart…
  • This is more than I can handle…

Not only do they make you the victim, the words themselves scream, “I’m weak!”

Words and thoughts like the following cast yourself in the role of the hero/heroine:

  • I’ve overcome so much…
  • My trials have made me strong…
  • I’m actually thankful for the weight I’ve carried because they built muscle and character…
  • God has brought me through a lot of tough times…
  • This made me stronger…
  • I can handle that…
  • Hey, Life… bring it!

I’m reminded of one of my daughters, Brittany, when she was around 7 or 8.  She was in the yard playing with her sisters and a couple of their friends. I was working in one of my flower beds and, like all over-protective mothers, I had two eyes on my kids and two eyes on the flowers. Only mothers are equipped with these magical extra eyes.

Brittany – who has always known one speed, TOP speed – fell while running. Smack right on the patio. Before I could even get up to see about her, she was back on her feet and running. She shot me a look that said, “THAT never happened.” I stayed put and went with her version of the story.

Basically, she fell and – in one motion – got back up again.  I guess it’s odd that this scene from life has stuck with me all these years but I just thought it was cool.  Make no mistake about it, the fall hurt. Both knees were scrapped and one hand was scuffed up.  However, acknowledging the fall would have meant that, unlike the other girls, she slipped.

“THAT never happened.”

If there’d been such a thing as “Pictures with Captions” back then, I’d have labeled her reaction, “Life, you hit like a girl!

The next time you find yourself heaving deep sighs or rolling in complaints – and long before you pick up your violin – ask yourself if you want to be the helpless victim or the conquering hero/heroine.

Let’s face it, one’s infinitely more attractive.

 

 

Listen to Your Body, It’s Trying to Tell You Something

Irony, Danny DeVito, and Gargling Glass

Normally, I have a real fascination with irony.  Normally, there are few things that amuse me more than a deliciously ironic situation or occurrence.  I say normally because irony recently smacked me on the backside. Plato Quote About Health

Without my consent.

As you may know, last month I decided to take part in a National Health Blogger’s Challenge.  Each day the blogger was to take the day’s “prompt” and write about something pertaining to health.  I was off to a smashing success and was having  a lot of fun with the process.  I was doing a lot of research about health-related topics, learning a lot of fascinating things, and generally having a great time with the entire process.

Then… what would irony dictate in such a situation? Exactly. I got sick.   Smack to the backside.

I won’t bore you with long details.  Long story, short – I had my thyroid removed in 1990 and, since that day, have had to take a daily supplement (a supplement to give my body what my non-existent thyroid cannot).  My daily medicine recently turned on me – giving me more than my body required.  This threw just about everything in my body off kilter and ultimately led to low iron and a host of other less-than-fun side effects.

For a few months, I haven’t felt totally like myself.  But you know how we wives and mothers are – the same things that would alarm us about our children and husbands.. we tend to overlook in ourselves.

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

When I realized that I had “enjoyed” recurring mouth ulcers for two months straight, I broke down and went to the doctor.  I would often have two HUGE mouth sores at once.  These weren’t your normal mouth ulcers, either.  I’ve had those before and, while they’re bad enough, these beasts were far worse. Once, I even got one on my tongue that looked like a small crater.  That dude hurt so bad, this non-drinker would have gotten snookered if it would have made me forget the pain for even 10 minutes.  Each time, in the middle of the night, as I sat on the bathroom counter putting Orajel on these sores, I’d think, “If I had access to hard liquor I’d drink until I thought I could fly.

They were that bad.

Of course, since I have never drunk anything stronger than espresso, I’d probably think I could fly as soon as I opened the bottle.

Every meal hurt to eat, coffee hurt to drink, and life kind of sucked for a while.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night in hideous pain because my mouth would have dried out while sleeping and the sores would feel like salt had been poured into them.

Salt was actually one of the countless “home remedies” I tried – a particularly painful one.

In addition to the personal hell the mouth sores caused, I also had zero energy and – to use a highly technical phrase my daughters and I use when we don’t feel right -  simply felt “poopy” all day and all night.  I’d fall asleep at night right in the middle of favorite prime time television shows.  During the day, when I normally go back and forth between working in my home office and doing my regular housekeeping chores, I found myself not giving a dang about any of it. I normally go ALL OUT with Christmas decorations, but it was all I could do just to put the tree up this year.  And, believe me, that was a day long production.  Put a few limbs on… sit and play solitaire on my iPad… put a few decorations on…. lie down and recover.

I wasn’t ME and I wasn’t at all fond of the person impersonating me.  After all, I’m seldom ever still and this imposter seldom ever moved!

And all of this went down right in the middle of writing about health topics like how important it is to see a doctor regularly, how vital it is to take care of yourself, etc.

Smack. Right on the butt.

Ultimately, it was the mouth sores that led me and my hard head to the doctor.  Nothing like constant pain to break your will, is there?

The doctor was SO impressed with the size of the mouth sore I had at that time. I told him I was kind of lucky at that moment because I only had one. While he was admiring the size, I told him that it was the second largest one I’d experienced – that I’d had another one the size of Danny DeVito. He laughed and said he wished he’d seen that one.

I thought, “Me too.”  Then I probably wouldn’t have had the 3 that followed.

As my body and health begin to get back to normal, I’m realizing how puny I actually felt. How could I not have seen that something was wrong?!

That’s a question most of us ask in these situations, isn’t it?  We swear up and down that things “crept up on us” when the truth is, we knew it all along.  We just looked the other way.

Ladies, I honestly believe we are the worst about this.  It occurred to me when I was sitting in the doctor’s office – if one of my daughters or my husband had been experiencing painful mouth sores like I had, I would have dragged them kicking and screaming to the nearest doctor.  I’d have thought, “Something is wrong, here. This isn’t remotely normal.”

Yet, here I was the one going through it and I had a million reasons why I didn’t need to see the doctor.  Duh.

This would be a good time, in all fairness to my family, to point out that they had no idea I was going through all of this. If they had, they would have become impossible nags!  All they really knew was I’d had a few mouth sores.  They never saw how big they were and I did a great job of hiding the fatigue and weakness from them. Everyone always has a lot going on in their lives and I didn’t want anyone worrying about me.  Besides, I fully expected to start feeling like my old self any time.  After all….

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

Listen to Your Body

In addition to my Self Help Daily, a food blog, and a cat blog, I have 9 other websites/blogs which happen to include a a Dream Interpretation Website.   Your’s truly is a dreamologist. Nothing crazy  like “You had a dream about snakes.. so you will be visited by bad luck…”  That’s nonsense.  What I do is “read” dreams – by “listening” to the dream symbols, the dreamer’s emotions during the dream, and other seemingly hidden details.  I can tell what’s behind the dream, as in what’s hidden in the subconscious mind.

Quote about listening to your body And yet I couldn’t read what my own body was trying to tell me!  Or maybe I simply wouldn’t.

Either way, my mistake could have led to real trouble.  That’s why I’m writing all of this for you – on the off-hand chance there are other hard heads out there besides me.

If you find yourself EVER thinking, “I’m just not myself lately..” realize there is a reason for it.  Never allow this situation to continue for any amount of time.  After all, there are a lot of conditions that if (caught and treated early) won’t amount to anything, but if you ignore them, they can lead to something downright hideous.

In fact, because I let myself get so run down, I became an open invitation to a nasty bug that was going around.  I never, never get sick, but here I was – mouth sores, runny nose, bad cough, and the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. It felt like I’d been gargling glass.

If I had gone to the doctor as soon as I realized I wasn’t myself, I’d have spared myself a lot of grief and pain.  It’s my hope that you’ll learn from my mistake and will always go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.

Even if you find yourself feeling more tired than normal, don’t keep writing it off as something else.  What’s the worst thing that can happen? The doctor’s going to tell you your healthy?! If that were to happen – and I hope you’d swing by Starbucks to celebrate your good health – you still got information you can use.  If you get a clean bill of health, then you know that your lifestyle has to be held accountable. You aren’t getting enough rest, you need more nutrients, protein, and vitamins from food, or you’re running yourself ragged.

The trip to the doctor would have pointed you in the right direction.

Unfortunately, most of us try to weed out all of the things in our lifestyle, THEN go to the doctor.  The problem is, by then, we’ll just be more run down and if there IS a medical problem, it will have only gotten worse during that time.

Never take your health for granted. When it has been compromised, even slightly, you realize what a blessing good health is. Life is too delicious to spend one minute of it feeling less than your best.

Listen to your body. If it begins behaving in a way that’s alien to you, don’t make excuses, make an appointment.

 

Where Do You Stand on Hypnosis and Subliminal Thought?

Eldon Taylor's New Book Might Just Change Your Opinion

You probably, at this moment, have a preconceived opinion about hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and subliminal thought. You may be rolling your eyes, wondering if you’ll even read the next paragraph or you may be leaning in, anxiously waiting to learn more about a subject that already fascinates you. More likely than not, you’re somewhere in between these two extremes. Self Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology by Eldon Taylor

To be perfectly honest, that’s where I was before I read Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere!. I was in between the two extremes, but (shhh, don’t tell the author) I was closer to the eye roller than the leaner.

Then, as fate would have it, I read a little book that made a huge impact.

Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology Book Description

Self-hypnosis and subliminal communication have long been mired in mystique, urban legend and disinformation. The truth is that both of these techniques are backed by extensive research demonstrating their efficacy and more importantly, once learned, both tools can be customized for any situation and can be used almost anytime and anywhere.

Join Eldon Taylor as he unravels the truth behind these technologies, and demonstrates how they are invaluable tools in your self-help armamentarium. In this essential guide, you will learn:

  • How to create your own custom subliminal program to break through subconscious blockages.
  • How subliminal communication works and why it is so much more powerful than simply using affirmations.
  • 5 steps for putting yourself into a hypnotic state.
  • Several techniques to assist you in going even deeper into a hypnotic state.
  • How you can create new habits, uncover hidden conflicts that often cause self-destructive patterns and discover new solutions to old problems!

Hypnosis and subliminal communication have been used for medical purposes as well as the metaphysical. Once you have mastered these two technologies, you will be able to use them anytime and anywhere to achieve a wide range of goals, from weight loss to stop smoking, from building your self esteem to maximizing your own healing potential, from enhancing your learning ability to dealing with anger and stress, and so much more.

Finally, you can take complete control of your own self-help program!  – Book Description from Amazon

Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere! is, simply put, one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read – and, you know me, I read A LOT of books.  This is one of those books where you’re anxious to turn the page to see what you’ll learn next, but (at the same time), you aren’t quite “over” the page you’re on, so you don’t want to leave it quite yet.

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

 It’s no surprise (to you, me, or anyone with an ounce of common sense) that the mind has boundless power. The saying goes, “You are what you eat,” but you can make a very strong case for, “You are what you think.”  Consider what Eldon Taylor writes on page 13 of:

What is the limit to the power of the mind? For years the power of positive thinking has been heralded as almost a supreme power to attract and create wealth, power, relationships, success, and general prosperity of all kinds.  Recently – at least within, say, the past 30 to 40 years – the power of the mind has also been championed as the body’s great healer.  Word and abbreviations have been added to our vocabulary to accommodate the exchange of ideas regarding this seemingly miraculous interface between mind and body, words such as psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI for short.  More recently, several researchers have stepped forward to inform us that our thoughts, the stuff in our minds, engage and activate the DNA molecule, and for this labels such as novelty-numinosum-neurogenesis and psychosocial genomics have been added to our vocabulary.

About the Author

Eldon Taylor has been researching the power of the mind for over 25 years. He has testified as an expert court witness with regards to both subliminal communication and hypnosis. Eldon has been called ‘the master of the mind,’ and is the creator of the patented InnerTalk technology – the only such technology to be researched by numerous independent universities and institutions, and be demonstrated effective. Eldon is a Fellow in the American Psychotherapy Association and a certified hypnotherapist.

Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology gives the reader a fascinating and straightforward introduction to hypnosis.  It strips away the images many of us have of, “When I count to three, you’ll flap your arms and quack like a duck.  1 — 2—-3!”   The reader soon realizes that, not only is hypnosis very, very real – it’s very, very powerful.  What’s more, the possibilities are as limitless as the stars in the sky.

In addition to a fascinating education in the workings of the mind and the  truth behind hypnosis, the reader is given a wonderful list of affirmations for use with the cd included with the book.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. – Henri Bergson

I hope you’ll click the following link and learn more about a book I can’t stop thinking about – Self-Hypnosis And Subliminal Technology: A How-to Guide for Personal-Empowerment Tools You Can Use Anywhere!.

Negativity is Sneaky Toxic…

It'll Infect You, Then Make YOU a Carrier!

Quote About Negativity

Day 8 of November’s National Health Blog Challenge Month!

I remember, vividly, a trip to the dentist when I was 7 years old. I was in the second grade and it was my yearly dental check up. My mom was like clockwork when it came to keeping monthly and yearly dental, eye exam, and doctor visits for her only child. Looking back, I admire that and am very grateful.  At the time, I thought she just delighted in finding fresh ways to annoy me.  On this particular visit, I remember two things in particular:

  • Something being put over my mouth and nose that smelled like Dentyne. I thought that was pretty cool and made the entire thing almost worth it.
  • I remember a huge, heavy, weighted blanket being put over my little second grader-sized body before they took x-rays of my teeth.

When they put the heavy blanket on me, I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy. I nearly slid out of the chair. Even then I had a flair for the dramatic.

I thought about this moment recently when thinking about negativity.  I’ve always despised negativity of any kind.  I think my husband has possibly the best “code word” for negativity. He calls it TOXIC. I think I’ve written about it before on the self help blog, but I’ll briefly re-tell the story. He had gone out of town for a two day golf outing with a business acquaintance. When he came home, I met him at the door and he practically ran inside, shaking  “off” something – like someone shakes off snow or rain.  That’s when he told me that he felt like he needed to de-tox after being with this guy because he was just a constant source of negative energy and toxicity.

Every since I first heard him describe it that way, I’ve associated the negativity and toxicity together.

The world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.  – Ellen DeGeneres

Negativity = Toxicity

In the way the dentist’s assistant draped the heaviest blanket in the world over me to protect me from the x-rays, I try to throw up a virtual blanket to protect myself from toxic negativity.

Here’s the thing. I realized a while back that we generally despise in others things that we, ourselves, aren’t guilty of.

  • People who have worked hard all of their life detest laziness.  If they thinks someone’s getting a “hand out” when they could be and should be working for it (like they do), they don’t just get angry – they get HULK angry!
  • People who don’t have a racist or judgmental bone in their body see red when someone else has more than a few such nasty bones.
  • People who are grateful for everything they have – and aren’t bitter about the things they don’t have – tend to have zero patience for ingrates.
  • People who are positive want to run… not walk… away from negativity.

I happen to be a very positive person. It’s not that I haven’t seen my share of loss, heartache, and disappointment. I most certainly have.  However, I have enough sense to realize that it’s all part of life and I don’t, for a second, consider myself “mistreated” by life.  Some people groan, sigh, and complain so much I want to tell them to just go shut themselves off from the rest of the world if they have it so bad.  They seem to think they, somehow, deserve more than they have.

I really lose patience with people who complain and gripe about their lives when there are people out there right now suffering through unimaginable circumstances and just trying to learn how to smile again.  Just recently, Hurricane Sandy ripped people’s lives and families apart.  I’ve read stories of  people who have lost their homes, and far worse their children.  So, no, I really don’t want to hear anyone complain about not being able to get all the Christmas gifts they want to this year because times are so hard.

Negativity creates an air of defeat and misery. When exposed to it, it can seem overwhelming and you all but find yourself gasping for breath!

The best thing to do is protect yourself from as much negativity as possible.  Like a heavy blanket protects a small child from x-rays, common sense can protect us all from the effects of negativity.

Why Guard Against Negativity?

Simple – because if you expose yourself to something long enough (or if you, yourself, take part in the sport), it will become commonplace.  It WILL become your normal.  It’s the same with just about everything – not just negativity.  Ever see someone who dresses or behaves in a socially unacceptable way and wonder, “What are they thinking?!

They’re thinking they’re normal.

The way they look, the obnoxious way they act, their constant stream of negativity…. it’s their commonplace.

That’s why it’s so important to take inventory of your behavior, your life, your habits, and the way you treat people on a regular basis.  If we were all as honest about our own shortcomings as we are everyone else’s, we’d be able to recognize the mistakes we’re making before they cement in and become our normal or our commonplace.

I run a web publishing business from home, which means I write for, create, publicize, decorate, and/or maintain around 20 websites and blogs.  To say I spend a great deal of time online wouldn’t just be an understatement, it’d be a gross understatement.  Someone was talking about something that happened on Twitter one day and they asked me, “Did you see…..”  I had to stop them with, “Of course I saw it on Twitter… if it’s online, I see it. Just try to sneak something by me online!”

Because I’m online a great deal of time, I see a lot… a lot a lot a lot… of negativity. It seems like people think of online communities, forums, blogs, Twitter and other social media sites as their own personal place to spread negativity.  They’re like, “YEAH, BABY… I CAN MAKE THIS TOXICITY GO VIRAL!!!”

And, then.. so often they do.

There’s a domino effect to negativity – online and off. If you don’t guard against it, you won’t just become infected, yourself, you’ll become a carrier.  Forgive the bluntness, but crap spreads.  Think about reality shows. Some of the ones on today are disgusting, offensive, reprehensible, and downright embarrassing to humanity!  They didn’t happen overnight. They snuck up on us because, slowly but surely, they became our normal – our commonplace.

If you’re a bundle of negativity today – you didn’t start out that way. However, over the years, it became your “thing.”  Don’t let it identify you anymore. Shake, shake, shake, shake it off!

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. – Dr. Hans Selye

Ways to Guard Against Negativity

I, myself, have unfollowed extremely negative people on Twitter.  Some complaining and venting will happen – it’s perfectly natural. But when every single tweet reeks of misery and hate – I’m out. I don’t need that in my life, quite frankly.

I’ve also stopped reading a few blogs because the author or authors weren’t people I’d want to sit down and have lunch with.  In fact, if I saw them coming in the front door, I’d head out the back! They say misery loves company… so I’ll just leave the miserable to one another. I don’t need their black clouds hovering over me.

I’ve heard of a few people who deleted their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts because they couldn’t handle all of the bickering, complaining, and negativity.  Personally, I think it’s easier just to distance yourself from the offenders.  Having said that, however, it’s far better to delete them than to let them have a negative effect on you.

I’ve also heard a lot of people complain about forums and health-related communities.  I don’t visit forums often – only when I need help with a certain blog theme or plugin – but I have to admit, there are people on forums who seem to have one goal for the day: To rub as many people the wrong way as possible.  There is a female moderator (ironically there to help people… the last thing she ever seems to want to do!) on a particular tech-related forum who is so hateful, rude, and disrespectful that people have started asking for one of the other moderators in their topics!  Basically, they’re saying, “I don’t want to deal with the she-devil..”

If you find that a certain website, blog, forum, or community is uncommonly negative, my advice is to avoid it. Don’t let them rub off on you.

I have NEVER missed any negativity that I kicked out of my life. In fact, I’ve always asked myself, “Why’d you wait so long?!”  Whether it’s a mean-spirited blog or someone on a social media site who does nothing but complain, I find that, oddly enough, I never miss toxicity.

That’s my gift. I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back. If it’s not positive, I didn’t hear it. -  George Foreman

Thinking is Cool. Thinking is Hip.

But Over-Thinking Can Sink Your Ship

One day, a centipede walked by a tree where a wise old owl was perched. The owl asked the centipede, “You have so many legs! How do you know which one to move next?” The centipede froze in his tracks. He started thinking. He didn’t know which leg to move so he couldn’t move any. He cried to the owl, “Help me! I’m stuck!” The owl said, “My little friend, you are stuck because you are too focused on yourself. When you are focused on what is going on in the world around you, you have no thoughts about how to move. You simply move.” The centipede looked out to the horizon and saw the sun setting. “How beautiful,” the centipede said. Just then, his legs were freed and he began to walk again.

Quote about Overthinking

The story above has been told and re-told countless times, with countless outcomes.  The owl is sometimes a hawk, a dog, or a wolf. In one version of the story, he was a frog and, in the end, the centipede got run over by a jeep!  This animal lover wasn’t about to go with that version. I liked the version, above, much better.  I got this version from a Christianity.com newsletter (Homeward with Jim Burns) from a year or so ago.

The only thing that stays the same with each version of the story is that the centipede remains a centipede and the fact that he’s rendered immovable by over-thinking.

When I first read the story, I thought of words my husband often uses with sports, especially golf, “Paralysis by analysis.”  Baseball is another sport when it seems that players over-think sometimes. They’ll step away from the plate, seem to give themselves a little mental lecture, step back up to the plate… then watch the ball go right down the middle!  When my team’s at the plate, I find myself begging for them to, “Just hit the darn ball!” When my team’s in the field, I (with cruel intentions) encourage the batter to watch all the strikes he wants to.

When the angel on my right shoulder says I’m not being very nice, the one on the left says, “She ain’t even trying.” She doesn’t have the best grammar – but what do you expect from that one?

Over-Thinking, of course, happens in more places than the sport’s world.

  • How about the bride that nearly cancels (and often does!) her wedding because she can’t afford all the details her mind conjures up?
  • Sometimes entrepreneurs and inventors will keep kicking something around in their mind while someone else jumps in front of them and walks away with the fortune and fame that could have been theirs if they’d gotten their plans out of their head and into the world. Anything left inside your brain is of zero use to anyone.
  • In the world of blogging and website design, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people sit on great ideas while waiting for the “perfect design” or “right time.”  Like the bride who cancels her wedding because everything isn’t perfect, their happily ever after might just slip away.

To bring over-thinking into a situation we can all relate to, think of the times when a spouse is a little late for supper and we’re all but ready to start calling local hospitals! Once, years ago, we were living in the Louisville, Kentucky area.  Wrecks happened on a daily basis because, basically, Louisville’s a city where every driver is convinced they’re the only car on the road.  My husband was an hour and a half getting home.  I was pacing the floor, looking out the window each time I saw a light. I couldn’t reach him on his cellphone.  Naturally, my brain decided that he’d been in a terrible wreck.  When my oldest daughter reassured me that we’d have heard something if that’d happened, I thought, “Not if it happened on a cliff,  in a ditch or in a remote area.”

Because there are so  many cliffs in Louisville.

With six eyes on me (eight if we count the cat), I tried to act casual and nonchalant.  Then the phone rang.  I walked to it, singing, “Well, there he is now.” (Must be cool for the girls, must be cool for the girls…)  I looked at the caller id and it said the name of our local hospital.  I saw my cool sail by me as I said, “Oh my God!”  I answered the phone with a shaky voice as a chipper voice on the other end said they were calling to conduct surveys.   With emotions that ranged from relief to annoyance, I told her that I didn’t believe in surveys.

Seriously?  That’s the best I had

As it turned out, he swears he had told me about a stop he had to make. As the mother of three teenaged girls at the time, he may have told me – I lived in a state of shock for a period of time there.

I wish I could say that this was the only time in my life my mind has ever played director and taken a normal story into the realms of a horror story, but I have the most vivid imagination in the world – so this is just a drop in the bucket.

Over-thinking has probably led to more broken dreams, unrealized potential, arguments, and good old-fashioned ulcers than anything in the world.

Personally, I’m only guilty of over-thinking when it comes to my loved ones. I suppose my efforts to keep them safe from harm causes my brain to conjure up every foreseeable harm, so I can try my best to eliminate it. Frankly, it’s exhausting.

I’ve found, over the years, a solution that works for me.  When worry about my husband, daughters, sons-in-law, or cats creeps into my mind, I simply ask myself, “What’s in the room with you right now?” This odd question reminds me to look around and see reality as it is right now. It serves as a reminder to take things as they are rather than how they could be.

I will say this – if, like me, you’ve seen your fair share of losses (loved ones, etc.), you will be more susceptible to this type of over-thinking.  Those of us who have lost people very close to us – sometimes completely unexpected – will, to a certain degree, be thinking three or four steps in the future for the rest of our lives. It seems to be the brain’s way of protecting itself and bracing itself from having the world pulled out from underneath it again.

Asking yourself, “What’s in the room with me right now?” will help you refocus and realize that everything is safe right now. Take a deep breath and remind yourself of this when your thoughts are running amok and you’re over-thinking things.

How to Overcome Over-Thinking in Other Areas of Life

If we could all eliminate the Over in front of Think and simply Think, we’d be a lot better off.  For those who’s over-thinking prevents them from getting anything done, I’d say they need to eliminate OVER before THINK and add AND DO after it!  Think and Do will get you so much further than Over Think.

I think the first step is… well, to take the first step.  Pull your thoughts out of your head where you’ve been chasing them around (possibly for years) and proactively take the first step.  If you have a book in your mind, open Wordpad  or Microsoft Word and allow the words to finally see the light of day.

About six years ago, a woman contacted me through e-mail. She wanted to know if I’d help her set up a food blog.  I’m a pushover when it comes to helping people, so I told her that if she’d buy the domain name, I’d set the blog up for her, design it, install plugins, etc. I told her she didn’t have to pay me anything, I’d just do it because I felt like paying it forward.  She was over the moon excited and thankful…. Then… then… she tried to think of a domain name.   When I finally helped her come up with one she loved, she got stuck on the colors she wanted on the blog…

This sweet, sweet, sweet woman never got off the first step. She was like the caterpillar in the story above – she just couldn’t move!  She finally apologized for taking up so much of my time and said that it was all “overwhelming” to her and “taking too much time.”  And she hadn’t written a word!

She had an obvious love for recipes and a need to make a little extra money.  If she hadn’t over thought everything, she cold conceivably have a very active food blog today.

Not only will letting the thoughts out of your mind help you get things done, you’ll find that you have a lot more room in your brain for other things.  Did you know that a lot of over-thinkers often experience minor memory problems simply because they have too many things vying for attention in their minds?  It makes sense, doesn’t it? Dump some of these things out and see how much clearer your thinking will become, almost immediately.

In addition to…

  • Taking a realistic look at the situation
  • Turning thoughts into actions

… a great way to overcome over-thinking is to realize that there is no such thing as perfection.  There will never be the perfect job, the perfect WordPress theme, the perfect opening paragraph, the perfect tie, the perfect food blog colors (!!!), etc.  Perfect only exists in your brain and, ask yourself, where’s that getting you?  Like the bride who’s still a bride-to-be because everything doesn’t live up to her thoughts, you’re postponing joy and putting off success with each thought you mull over.

Things don’t have to be perfect to be perfectly wonderful.  Besides, when you jump in and start working, you may just exceed your own expectations and cause your brain to just say, “WOW!”

Stop thinking about magic and get out there and make some magic!