baby steps promote confidence"Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what make the instrument stretch-what makes you go beyond the norm."    Cicely Tyson

There are so many times when i wanted to speak up and say something or defend someone or state a fact. I waited too long because I  was nervous and I missed the opportunity. When I listen to a discussion and believe what is being said is an untruth, I can feel my body tense and my heart begins to race. i want to speak but I keep waiting for the right moment to jump in. The time never happens. I am left depleted and discouraged. I believe I have no confidence and I am disgusted with myself and the person who spoke falsehoods without being challenged.

Thinking on your feet has never been a strong point for me. The window of opportunity always closes before the words pass my lips. I go quietly home and contemplate all the thoughts I could and should have spoken. Like an actor on a stage I replay the situation and turn out a different ending which involves me stating my viewpoint.

If I ever do acquire the courage to say something in a work situation for instance, the words emanate too fast. and the tone is noiseless and muffled. My remarks are jumbled and without organization. I don't present an argument because I am not providing sense to the conversation. If this has ever happened to you then you know  what I mean.

It all has to do with confidence. Unless one is secure with themselves, they cannot influence another. If we are trying to escape the fire we follow the person that appears to know what he or she is doing. The question is how do we develop confidence. i know there are certain areas of my life that I would defend without any trouble. I venture to say I am secure in those places. That being the case we need to review what we are certain about and what we have doubts about.

You cannot play a musical instrument without years of practice. You cannot play a sport or learn a trade without effort and time. I assume one cannot gain confidence, unless one labors at it. At a moment's notice, poise will not appear. Self-reliance must be cultivated.

I have some ideas for myself. While everyone is asking for coffee I may order tea because I really like it better and should not just go along with the crowd and order coffee. I plan on taking those baby steps while I grind away at my inability to be comfortable offering remarks in a conversation.

It may appear simple but small baby steps encourage moving forward and attaining conviction. I am not suggesting we disagree to oppose the public. I am suggesting we begin by selecting our own wants and speaking in a reflective way our own thoughts. By doing this we are offering our opinions as a unique and thinking individual. I will find my place in the world.

As we continue our small steps of self-reliance, it begins to build our mole hill of confidence. In time our mole hill becomes a mountain. We are able to stand strong in beliefs and values. The fear of ridicule and resentment is not a part of our repertoire. We have cracked open our egg and burst out with enthusiasm. One day we might venture to say, "When I was sharing my opinion people were listening. I think we all deserve that respect.

"Confidence is a plant of slow growth."    Herbert V. Prochnow

undersanding"Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter;but without intelligence love is impotent, and freedom unattainable." Aldous Leonard Huxley

 How many times have we quarreled with a friend or family member and repeated the words, "That's not what I mean." We get so frustrated trying to think of a way to phrase what we wanted or meant to say that we at times lose our train of thought or worse we blurt out words that make it all worse. Trying to take back what we said is not as easy as it was to voice the words originally spoken.

I would venture to say we have all been in this situation at least once but probably many times. Maybe people enjoy catching us in such a harrowing situation. They at times set us up and enjoy seeing us squirm our way out. Of course the harder we try squirming, the guiltier we appear. It really becomes more aggravating when the other party refuses to give us a break and back off. Instead they continue their shocked and hurt look which adds to our misery, drains our effort, confuses our thinking, enhances our guilt regardless of the truth. many times our energy depletes forces us to give up and accept our losses.

Those of us who plod forward step in it so to speak and then wish we had cut our losses. How do we fix such problems? Connections to friends and relatives is important to us. Full of adrenalin due to the encounter, we retreat but our day is ruined and until the other person forgives us for what we didn't do, our life ends up on hold. Personally I think if we venture a call on them our first words might be, "I'm sorry if you misunderstood what I said. Knowing me so well I assumed you would understand I would never want to deliberately hurt you." Surprisingly if the combative person retorts with "I know, it's okay." You may have to reply with, "It's not okay if you believe a falsehood."

Otherwise our relative or friend thinks they caught us in some weird truth but they forgave us. I know depending on our disposition, we may cause another argument. If we are prepared we will possibly avoid any traps. In this way our opponent at this current time will be prompted to accept some blame in the situation. We may modify the course of a similar happening for misconception in a future exchange of words. Thinking like a chess player may save us from an imminent transgression. The key in all of this is to keep your voice calm, your tone non-judgmental and your heart and thoughts sincere.

We do have differing states of mind in any given moment and just maybe what is said one day may be totally acceptable by another person but on a separate day that person has an altered reaction. We all experience days of insecurity and sensitivity. refraining from any controversial topic may be the order of the day.

If we step into the mistake of giving a false impression UNINTENTIONALLY, then patience on that day and possibly a future day may be required. But you need to ask yourself isn't that person worth it in the end? I believe so and that means more time patience and effort but they are worth it and so are you when the roles get reversed which they most likely will.

"The degree of one's emotion varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts. The less you know the hotter you get." Anonymous

Author’s website: www.pamreynolds.me

5

"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." Albert Schweitzer

children cryingHaving worked with kids for more than twenty five years, has given me insight into their hearts and thoughts. More than sixty-five percent of the kids in certain classrooms are emotionally abused daily. This abuse occurs from the hands of parents or step parents. When so many children are hurting, it is time to ask ourselves

Why. Speaking for the children is important to me. Family life appears to be deteriorating. This has created a domino effect. To fix society we must fix the schools. To fix the schools we must fix the child’s home environment. It is time to look at this dilemma with new eyes. We can’t fix it with the old way of thinking. Our challenge as parents is to look at the facts. We might promote an aggressive attempt at a new approach. Success comes from the love and nurturing at home. Society can’t reteach or rehabilitate broken children easily, or possibly ever,

Against all odds, some children grow up in poor circumstances but rise to become superstars. The difference in their home environments was love, encouragement, and support from their parents, or another caring adult. The power of love has been greatly underestimated. Although we all love our children, demonstrating this with hard work is paramount. This means placing our children’s needs first, constant watchfulness, and guiding them with integrity and righteousness. Stopping the unconscious mistreatment of children is my goal. By stopping some harmful choices we make children improve emotionally and academically. It certainly is worth the determination for all of us to make an effort.

"Each day of our lives we can make deposits into the memory banks of our children." Charles Swindoll

excuses"Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does." William James

 Yes on any given day I can come up with a million excuses to avoid doing anything. I would venture to say I am not alone. It is clearly a problem because it keeps me from interactions with others, accomplishing jobs I had set as goals for the day, completing and making deadlines set by others, and living up to promises I made to friends and family.

I don't intentionally plan on skipping things I should do. Now that is a pardon for me to feel better. There are definitely times when our justifications are real and not so much a coping out as an they are a real obstacle preventing us from doing what we should do. No criticism intended but gaining a handle on excuses allows us to accomplish so much more. We don't call the friend because we are watching a good TV show or checking our e-mails or sitting on the couch without having to think or talk about anything. At work we find something boring or so difficult it is impossible to begin.

At home, our tasks always take longer than what we think and we know this and simply don't want to get started in the first place. The luxury of doing nothing seems to be given only at times when we are sick. Of course at these times we can't enjoy this free time because we don't feel well. Some of us use others to escape work effort and responsibility. A divorced father can escape his obligations by acknowledging his wife doesn't permit him to see the kids which may be true. what a relief. No lost time or effort on his part and no guilt. A headache or cold ought to alleviate our helping with the household tasks even if we are feeling a bit better. We can take another day. I am guilty of many of these affairs myself. I know I would be further along with my jobs if I tackled them without thought just responsibility.

Some tasks are important like our kids. We need to separate what counts from counting what tasks are waiting. Kids can't wait. They desperately need us and after all we are their parents. So if I can't bend over as much due to a leg injury I can still kick that ball back to my kid and let them toss it again. I can still be there to talk or listen or watch the world around us evolving. That's final no exoneration, I need to go and take care of what matters most.

"Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least." Johann Van Goethe

 

7

surviving overwhelming burderns"When nothing seems to help I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it but all that had gone before."  Jacob Riis

I watched as the man shuffled down the aisle carrying a weight around his waist which screamed anxiety to me. He appeared to be quite old until I glimpsed his face and discovered he was maybe at the end of middle-age. He certainly had many more good years to offer but not to his thinking. It seemed apparent he had lost the fight, given up and resolved to sit back and watch others live while he wasted. I had seen him many times before and spoke briefly a few of those moments. In another time he was vibrant, astute and humorous. I felt disheartened watching him. What happened I asked myself. Why the change I reflected. I recalled a few reasons and problems he endured and was distressed at how the flow of life beats us down if it can. Sometimes the harder we attempt to fight back, the stronger we are forced to the ground and eventually crushed. Wait a minute I thought. Not everyone stays down. Some get back up on their feet not necessarily swinging but definitely smiling.

No doubt it is difficult to keep hope alive in our hearts when life thrashes us at every corner. Many people believe that as soon as they progress a tiny bit forward one minute, they will be pounced on the next minute. Maybe we should get up and stand taller firmer stronger. When an opponent sees weakness they strike. The only difference between two equally capable athletes is the motivation and belief in themselves that they can do it. Surrendering is accepting defeat and the game is over. As long as one continues to try hope is never dead and the possibilities are always achievable.

The trick to continuing our journey regardless of outcome is to keep our goal in mind. As long as we have purposes in our life, we have reasons to strive to overcome obstacles. It is like visualizing what we want to see happen. Sometimes we may strive to achieve a goal that makes another person happy. Whatever the reason, when we find a purpose we work and try harder to attain our objective.

It seems that setting aims and performing tasks we try to complete can help us reach our intentions and at the same time defeat our loneliness. When we come to the aid of another person we are saving ourselves in the process. It empowers us with worth. We begin to realize we never really became unimportant or inconsequential to life. We simply sat down on the bench and ignored the calls from those on the battlefield of life. When we decided to stand up again to answer a call, we jump-started our drive and made a difference in the life of another. Even the smile we gave to others on any given day, reached out and said, you are someone worthy and you count.

"Life offers no guarantees... just choices; no certainty... but consequences; no predictable outcomes... just the privilege of pursuit." Tim Conner

Balance "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."  Winston Churchill

 Day after day we toil and sweat to do   the things we must in the time given. At the end of the day we lie back in bed and think of how much we did not get accomplished and how poorly we did the things that did get finished.

We grade ourselves so poorly that it is a wonder we attempt to work on anything the next day. I think we forget about the small nameless acts of kindness we perform randomly on a given day. The friend who needs a listening ear, the family member who calls for aid, The neighbor whose car broke  down, the friend who requested company while doing a difficult task, the donuts and coffee we picked up for our co-workers and the mail we dropped off to a sick friend..

The works are not of importance but the accepted task and time is. Most of us simply forget to add these daily occurrences into our list of "accomplishments for the day". Most if not all of the kind acts are done without any expectations of a favor in return. We do these things often yet sit back in our chairs and think how little I am doing with my life.

We worry and fret and wonder if we should start running the local soup kitchen or charitable organization. Although these are awesome and worthwhile ideas, for most of us such a commitment is not one of our choices. Small things are actually just as important if they are done on a daily basis.

All those nameless  mindless acts of charity add up. if we could total them and bag them we would most likely not be able to carry our bags. Most of us would have a monster of a bag at our feet. We are not aware of it because there is no way to measure our actions. So many people believe they do nothing to impact the world. The truth is everything we say and do impacts people which in turn impacts the world. Insults and harsh words spoken behind the back of another brings lots of negativity into the world. Likewise, praise, kind words and actions bring lots of positive energy into the world. It is all within our power to alter a person, people, society and the world. Our good modeling brings goodness.

Never underestimate your power or tremendous amount of  offerings given to others daily. The best of your life is made up of the many small kindnesses, not necessarily the one large performance. It is what we do that counts not what we didn't do. That milk you just got for your spouse will be added to your bag of kindness. When you can't sleep because you believe you didn't contribute enough good, simply pull your kindness bag over your body as a reminder and calmly drift off into a peaceful sleep of serenity.

 "It's not your position in life  that matters but choosing to do what matters most in life that counts." V.J. Smith

Snow Globe"The only progress that knowledge allows is in enabling us to describe more and more in detail the world we see and its evolution. What matters in a world-view is to grasp the meaning and purpose of everything and that we cannot do." Albert Schweitzer

If we think we were lacking in attention a few years ago, we had better prepare for the rapid ride downhill into obscurity. I don't say this lightly or without much thought. Many people have mentioned they feel depressed or sad. If anything life has become harsher, and is moving along at a reckless pace. We have so many gadgets to "Help Us" yet we have so little time to get things done or meet our commitments. We are so wildly connected to everyone yet feel so utterly separated. Our friends are too numerous to count yet nobody has the time to personally say hello. “They” say people are feeling more saddened from being on line reading about all the powerful experiences in the lives of people they know. It makes me think about being in one of those snow globes and observing all of my family, friends, and acquaintances, (snowflakes) rushing all around me. I feel dizzy, confused and alienated. I am disconnected and I know it and I accept and actually like the situation.

Everyone talks about themselves, their problems, issues, happy experiences and totally busy lives. I know each snowflake only has a moment to touch the others because they must enter many other snow globes in order to stay in contact with additional “snowflakes”.  I feel it empties a person of the free quiet time for simply being.

I enjoy absorbing life and I savor the opening of a flower or watching the purposeful animals searching for food on a snowy day. I enjoy recalling the simple smile of a baby or child and the crazy breathtaking laugh with a friend. I like to review a day’s or night’s experience and relish the joys of those moments or the problems that got solved with the open as well as the silent words.

I am experiencing more connects with nature and people by the personal up close involvements and help of my senses, than with the reading material about people places and things. I get the feeling we are so linked by machines yet we are losing our innate intelligence which give us the most awesome information.  I don’t want my five senses to go dormant. I want to encourage my sixth sense to add to the bountiful understandings I gather into my brain every day. I want to practice relationships not read about them. I want to sense another’s genuine emotions and powerful positive energy sent my way. My eyes see more than what is on a flat screen. My ears hear more in combination with the eyes the words tossed out at me. My lips impart wisdom from my soul and my nose embraces the familiarity of my life as well as the foreign exposures.  My whole self feels the vibration of energies in all of the combined experiences. My senses are filled up with the world and people I love around me.

I want to be more than an observer of a picture presented of life which at times might be no more than a television version. I want something real. I want the total involvement of my being which is why when I am with another person, the machines are off. They   can wait. I don’t want to confuse the two. If this person standing in front of me thinks I am worthy enough that they are present, then I respect that authentic emotion and give consideration to them. “Feel better” hasn't the same reach into my heart. I believe there is a time and place for technology but we exist in the time and place with real people. The minute by minute sadness or happiness is being played out on a stage instead of being animated and experienced. We are not in the moment if our thoughts are preparing the execution of our flash onto paper or screen. Some experiences cannot be put into words. Life needs to be vital and savored.

If you are one of those people who suspects being trapped in a snow globe and left behind, consider yourself lucky. The world still holds mysteries to experience rather than the escalator to step on and ride across the airport.

It is never good to envy. If you suffer it or suspect the jealousy rising, about what others are doing, remember that you were given 5 or possibly 6 senses like everyone else for the most part. Use them rather than spending useless time on envy or worry. Your involvements are a treasure and all yours. Your world is wider and opened not confined to a small box closed to all intelligence and requiring imagination.

 I like to imagine but I like faith hope and truth much better. Love of course transcends all else. It is hard to love what is always floating by. I would suggest grabbing those snowflakes and hugging them to your heart. Maybe if they melt they might stick around with you for a little while now and again.

"Is there one word that may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life? The Master said is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do  not want done to yourself, do not do to others." Confucius

Listen"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."    Herbert Prochnow

 How many times have we said to a spouse, child, sibling, friend or co-worker, "Will you just listen for a second?" We are all so guilty of assuming what it is the person is going to say or defend. It is one of the most frustrating attempts at communication when another human being, won't allow us the time to say what we are desperately trying to say.

Of course those of us who do permit another to have their say find out quickly that the courtesy is not returned. It can and does happen on both ends. Sadly for all of us,  we get nowhere in our communication attempts. We do promote anger, frustration, anxiety, resentment, loud voices, feelings of guilt, a variety of illnesses and sleepless nights.

Neither party is exempt from the results of the break in communication. A major point is if we learn from the harrowing experience when our train is back on the tracks. I would venture to say we repeat the interaction in the near future. I am wondering what it is in human nature that refrains us from listening when we are in disagreement. It's as if we are doing battle and we are determined to win. I think we ought to realize just what it is that we have accomplished and won.

 Maybe it has to do with the times in childhood when we had to do what our parents said regardless of right or wrong. We learned to listen under duress of punishment. Maybe it has to do with school when we were caught between the teacher and our parent, or the times our sibling was stretching the truth and the louder voice was heard, or maybe we just get tired of everyone at work telling us what to do. Whatever the reason for our irrationality , we don't give in.

A moment of silence and quiet listening may bring  some insight upon the situation and allow for understanding and communication. The result is maintaining a compromise with both sides preserving their pride intact. It becomes effortless to listen with practice. Fostering an exchange of ideas makes learning easier and provides a template for a more trouble-free relationship.

 "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved with understanding."  Albert Einstein