Saturday, March 29, 2008

How to Handle Negative People and Naysayers

I've heard many of the success gurus discuss how to handle negative people and naysayers. Here are some of the suggestions.

- Don't tell negative people about your hopes, plans, resolutions.
- Avoid negative people. If they are your friends, then perhaps you need to find some more positive friends. If they are your family, perhaps you want to spend a bit less time with them, particularly as you try to make a change in your life.

But, what about the situations where you have to deal with negative people? This often happens either with co-workers where the overall work situation is good or with family members where you are both part of a family and therefore will both be present at family get togethers. Certainly there are people that regularly leave you disheartened, angry, sad, doubting yourself, feeling hopeless.... if they are family members, their words can cut to the core.

So far I've found two methods that have helped me. If they help you great, if not, keep working on your own solution, as I know you can do it.

First I consider negativity like static on the radio. If I really want to listen to a particular song and it is playing and suddenly I start to get a lot of static, I can lock onto the song portion, the melody, beat, words.... and ignore the static.

But.... sometimes negativity is so strong that it blots out whatever positive activity or thought you might have been focused on. What then? In the Harry Potter books, I love the phrase that is used to describe the Dementors. Someone says, "I felt like I would never be happy again." Do you have a dementor in your life? I do. And the advice from both friends and professionals tends to be to try and learn somehow to not let this person bother you. What I've found, is slightly different than that.

Yes, I try to recognize that a dementor's words are usually more fiction than fact, but this is not enough to completely protect me. A truly negative encounter is a bit of poison and what I need when I run into it, is an antidote. I have certain songs, mostly classical, that restore peace and harmony to my mind. I also have a route or two that I like to walk, a river to look at, a breeze through the trees. It's a bit like the actual solution in the Harry Potter books. For to get rid of Dementors one must conjure up a patronus, which is done by thinking of an overwhelmingly happy thought. So whether you go to your dog and get a big face-licking, tail-wagging greeting, or turn on your CD player, or look at an old photo, find your happy thoughts.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Puppies Behind Bars

Scratch what I had planned on writing about today. I just wandered down for coffee and read in the newspaper about a program that is one of the most true WIN/WIN situations that I can imagine. Puppies Behind Bars is a program that assigns puppies to qualified prisoners in several New York prisons to be trained as guide dogs, dogs for the disabled and explosive-sniffing dogs.

This program is not a win/win, it's a win/win/win/win/win/win. Here's why:

  • Every prisoner battles low self-esteem and putting the past behind them. A dog offers unconditional love with complete ignorance of one's past and the program offers a prisoner the opportunity for accomplishment.
  • The prisoners are taught a useful skill and could after leaving prison work in this field. They are offered additional information on possibly working as a veterinary assistant.
  • Prisoners are giving back to society.
  • The dogs are getting trained for a lower cost than if there were trained by professionals.
  • More dogs get trained than would be possible relying on volunteers.
  • With disabled veterans returning from Iraq, the need for dogs to aid the disabled is increasing.

"Are we raising guide dogs? Yes. Is that the first and foremost thing we are doing? Yes, however, these are people who are being given an opportunity to learn important basic life lessons, and they're learning via these dogs." - Gloria Gilbert Stoga, Puppies Behind Bars founder

I urge you to stop by the full Puppies Behind Bars website to make a donation and receive further inspiration and positive feelings for the day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sex and Food, Rated R

My blog post today focuses on the resolution that I'm definitely having success with -- losing weight. I know that it is helpful to change one's attitude towards food. At some point I started to think of eating in terms of sex.

Is sex about cramming in as much as you can? (All women, and some men, know the answer to this). No, sex is not about quantity. And neither is food and the pleasure of eating. Eating, like sex, should be one part anticipation, two parts of savoring the experience, the moment of satiation (easier to recognize when you are slowly enjoying every morsel) and then the relief of no longer being hungry.

Consider this model when you eat. Eat slowly and enjoy all the sensations of the food -- the taste, texture, smell. Make love to your food and then simply recognize when you are past your peak pleasure and stop trying to add anything more to the experience at that point. Again, think of sex. Continuing past the peak moment can only detract from the experience, it is impossible to add more at that point.

The advantage of this model is that you stop eating because you WANT to stop, not because you must follow a set of rules that someone else made up for you. It does wonders for allowing me to feel both in control and yet sinful at the same time.

Okay, well those are my R-rated thoughts for the day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm Back

I'm back and feeling reenergized by the time away. I continue to improve my physical condition which I know will translate into gradual weight loss. And while I came up with a great idea for a product to sell, as always I'm still struggling with time issues.

I've been spending a lot of time reading about the Democratic Presidential race. I believe strongly that Barack Obama is both a politician and a genuinely sincere person, which I don't think I have seen before. I also think he is highly intelligent and able to provide compromises and inspiration until people will join behind him. At least enough people to get things done. The tremendous volunteer effort of his campaign and the number of donations is the first proof of this fact.

So I spent quite a bit of time in the last week, despite feeling that I didn't have much to spare, evaluating Rev. Wright and the inflammatory sermons. It does not take long of reading a fuller transcript or hearing the full 9/11 sermon to realize that the man and the church has been done a disservice with only select portions being played. Most people do not even realize that when Wright is listing the things that the United States has done which made 9/11 more likely, that he is paraphrasing (though I don't know how accurately) Ambassador Peck who had appeared on Fox News a few nights earlier. This reference takes place about 15 seconds before the portion that is broadcast over and over again.

It's important to me, as I consider taking a more active role in supporting Obama, to feel sure of my belief in the man. Do I really have the time to spare on this? This is where I go back to my primary resolution. I am doing the Lord's work. When I pray, when I listen, I hear that this election is a pivotal moment in our history and that we have a chance to make a very important decision.

I support Barack Obama and I do not regret the time I spend reading about all of the presidential candidates because how can one support a candidate without understanding the choices fully.

I promise to not turn this blog into a political blog. I did reference believing in John Edwards in a previous post and I do indeed feel that he would make an excellent president. However he is not one of our current options and I see now the unifying power and inspiration that Obama brings and am confident in his leadership.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On Vacation

Sorry I forgot to say I was going on vacation. The internet connection here is spotty at best and so I'm logged on just long enough to say I'll be back Easter Sunday, March 23rd hopefully and will be blogging again either Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How Women Lose Weight

I've managed to cover my goal of running or walking 15 miles a week for 3 straight weeks and I'm starting to see the results. My boobs are looking smaller and this is a good sign according to my friend, Martha, who tells me it's been scientifically proven that women are most likely to lose weight from their upper body, particularly from their breasts and most likely to gain weight in their lower body.

"That is so true," Martha said. "I always notice when I'm losing weight that the buttons on my blouses suddenly have more slack. But when I gain weight, it's the zipper of my pants that won't close. They say that over time your weight evens out. That's a relief, because the way my weight goes up and down, if it didn't even out, eventually I'd be completely flat-chested with a humongous butt."

Now, if you are like me and this comment made you choke on your coffee, I apologize. I have great friends who make me laugh and cry and feel that it is wonderful to be alive and I wanted to pass on this little tidbit of information and humor. Besides, laughter burns calories!!

And today I wore a pair of pants that a couple of weeks ago I decided against wearing because the zipper was stressed to the point of breaking. I'd like to have even more wiggle room in them, but I'm getting there.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Planting Seeds - Germination Rates and Times Unknown

I remember one time talking to my mother about a disagreement that I'd had with a teacher about my grade on an English essay.

"She totally didn't see my point. I mean how can...."

When I paused for air, my mother said, "Well, just because she didn't acknowledge that you had a point, doesn't mean she didn't hear you at all. You may have planted a seed in her mind about this aspect of your writing and her grading."

I said nothing and it was pretty obvious to my mom that I had no idea what she was talking about.

She tried again, "Sometimes people don't want to admit that they are wrong or you had a point or maybe they don't really see your side of the argument, but your words stay with them, like a seed in the ground. And those words, that seed, can germinate into a change on their part down the road."

I was a teenager and didn't want to wait for anything and I think I went off muttering about didn't my mother see how stupid this teacher was and where was my sympathy?!! But, ironically, my mother's own words were most definitely a seed in my brain that later sprang into a deeply-rooted tree.

I have come to realize that both actions and words can plant a seed in someone else's mind that you NEVER know when it might germinate. I have recently had people tell me that something I said or did made them decide to make a change in their lives. One person told me that my writing had inspired her to begin writing again. Another friend who a few months ago whined constantly about being stuck in a dead-end job, told me that after observing me, she had decided to start looking for a different job. Wow! How cool is that?

This relates to making resolutions because what may appear as no results is often a very slow germination rate on the seeds you are planting. Whether you are trying to get a business off the ground, marketing an existing skill or product, or changing someone's mind (including your own) and you aren't seeing results, remember you may have planted a seed.

P.S. The picture was taken from the website, which despite its name is a great site for bringing blogs and websites to life by adding pictures. I learned about it from this Squidoo lens on free web graphics.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Keep Moving

I'm pleased with my progress losing weight and less pleased with my progress on financial goals. I continue to have trouble carving out time. Unlike exercise where I find I can use time slices as small as 30 seconds, generating income is hard to do in that timeframe. I have spent some time just now sitting and thinking of what might be the best way of improving my progress and I'm really not sure.

Finally, I decided for the moment to leave that question in the back of my mind and instead to simply begin doing what I know I need to do. I don't know how exactly I'm going to fit in all the pieces of the pie that need doing, but I think it is better to begin doing the actual work, realizing that I have an issue, a challenge, that I need to be creative about. Waiting for an overall strategy and the big picture plan isn't getting me anywhere tonight. I'm going to take some small tasks that I KNOW need to be done and knock them off my list.