27 October  2015      

Hello, and welcome to our newest issue!  We're glad that you're here, and we
hope that you find something here that's useful or helpful in your life!

 Let Others Be "Right" Most of the Time
Richard Carlson

 How to Handle Criticism
Jeff Keller

Strategies for Developing Acceptance
tom walsh

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If there were nothing wrong in the world
there wouldn't be anything for us to do.


George Bernard Shaw

Appreciation is like an insurance policy.
It has to be renewed every now and then.

Dave McIntyre

When I begin to sit with the dawn in solitude, I begin to really live.  It makes me treasure every single moment of life.

Gloria Vanderbilt

They were so strong in their beliefs that there came a time when it hardly mattered what exactly those beliefs were; they all fused into a single stubbornness.

Louise Erdrich

  
Let Others Be "Right" Most of the Tme
(an excerpt)
Richard Carlson

One of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is, "Do I want to be "right"--or do I want to be happy?"  Many times, the two are mutually exclusive!

Being right, defending our positions, takes an enormous amount of mental energy and often alienates us from the people in our lives.  Needing to be right--or needing someone else to be wrong--encourages others to become defensive, and puts pressure on us to keep defending.  Yet, many of us (me, too, at times) spend a great deal of time and energy attempting to prove (or point out) that we are right--and/or others are wrong.  Many people, consciously or unconsciously, believe that it's somehow their job to show others how their positions, statements, and points of view are incorrect, and that in doing so, the person they are correcting is going to somehow appreciate it, or at least learn something.  Wrong!

Think about it.  Have you ever been corrected by someone and said to the person who was trying to be right, "Thank you so much for showing me that I'm wrong and you're right.  Now I see it.  Boy, you're great!"  Or, has anyone you know ever thanked you (or even agreed with you) when you corrected them, or made yourself "right" at their expense?  Of course not.  The truth is, all of us hate to be corrected.  We all want our positions to be respected and understood by others.

Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart.  And those who learn to listen are the most loved and respected.  Those who are in the habit of correcting others are often resented and avoided.

It's not that it's never appropriate to be right--sometimes you genuinely need to be or want to be.  Perhaps there are certain philosophical positions that you don't want to budge on such as when you hear a racist comment.  Here, it's important to speak your mind.  Usually, however, it's just your ego creeping in and ruining an otherwise peaceful encounter--a habit of wanting or needing to be right.

A wonderful, heartfelt strategy for becoming more peaceful and loving is to practice allowing others the joy of being right--give them the glory.  Stop correcting.  As hard as it may be to change this habit, it's worth any effort and practice it takes.  When someone says, "I really feel it's important to. . . " rather than jumping in and saying, "No, it's more important to. . . " or any of the hundreds of other forms of conversational editing, simply let it go and allow their statement to stand.  The people in your life will become less defensive and more loving.  They will appreciate you more than you could ever have dreamed possible, even if they don't exactly know why.  You'll discover the joy of participating in and witnessing other people's happiness, which is far more rewarding than a battle of egos.  You don't have to sacrifice your deepest philosophical truths or most heartfelt opinions, but, starting today, let others be "right," most of the time!
   


  

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How to Handle Criticism
Jeff Keller

There's no denying it:  criticism can (and often does) hurt.  But no matter what you do in life, you expose yourself to the possibility of being judged unfavorably.  Even if you try to remain in the background, avoiding all confrontation, you still must make decisions--minor ones, maybe, like where you eat and what you wear.  And, rest assured, not everyone will agree with your choices.

So, since you are going to receive criticism no matter what, let's take a closer look at how you can best handle (and even benefit from) it!

The next time you are criticized, consider the following points:

1.  Criticism is often nothing more than a reflection of personal preference.
Again, regardless of what you do, somebody won't like it.  For instance, to get feedback from the audience at my seminars, I often hand out speaker evaluations.  Without fail, two or three people will say that they wish there had been more time for audience participation during my presentation; at the very same program, two or three others will say that they wish there had been less time spent on group involvement.  Accept that people have diverse backgrounds, preferences, and interests.  You won't please everyone, so don't even try.

2.  Don't take it personally.
Sure, this is easier said than done.  However, the critic generally isn't trying to prove that you have no value as a person.  Rather, they're revealing their dislike of your idea or your performance.  Let them have their opinions.  In the end, you decide whether or not to let another person's remarks bother you.

3.  Strive to learn from their words.
Find some truth in their statements--even if only a shred.  Usually, there is some accuracy in critical comments. The critic may not be tactful, and the remarks may be greatly exaggerated, but there is often helpful information which you can glean.  It's your job to seek out this kernel of truth and benefit from it!  For example, let's say your spouse accuses you of "never" being on time.  While this statement is not entirely accurate, you should still consider in what ways, if any, you might improve your punctuality.

4.  Don't critique the critic.
It's an equally bad idea to adopt a "consider the source" attitude.  Even if someone is generally untrustworthy or, for whatever reason, you don't get along with him or her, it doesn't mean that their comments will always be completely without merit.

5.  Don't be defensive.
Resist the temptation to argue with the critic.  While it's only natural to try to prove that you are "right" and that the other person is "wrong," this generally gets you nowhere.  (Of course, there will be some instances where it's important to establish that you won't tolerate abusive remarks and that you deserve to be treated with respect.  Use your best judgment.)

6.  Accept that many people focus only on negatives.
The critic rarely gives a full, accurate assessment.  He or she tends to report only the negatives, even if there are plenty of positives to mention as well.  Recognize that some people simply think it's unnecessary to tell you what you've done right.  Instead, they focus only on "helping" you--which, to them, means "correcting" you.

7.  Realize that vicious, harsh comments come from people who are unhappy with themselves.
Here again, there might be a shred of truth or something you can learn from the criticism.  But I've found that mean, angry, insulting remarks spring from unhappy, insecure people.  They have to vent their anger and frustration on someone and you've been chosen as today's target!  Don't let these people bring you down.  NOTE:  If you repeatedly receive harsh words from others, it's not a coincidence.  You are attracting criticism based on your beliefs and your level of self-esteem.  Take responsibility and look inward at what you can change to achieve more harmonious relationships with those around you.

Remember:  not everyone will like you, your goals, or your actions.  But don't let the fear of criticism stop you from doing what you want.  Accept criticism as a part of life, and learn from it where possible.  And, most importantly, stay true to your own values and convictions.  If others don't approve, so what?

* * * * *

Jeff Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc.  For more than 20 years, Jeff delivered presentations on attitude and motivation to businesses, groups and trade associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is Everything. For more information, go to attitudeiseverything.com.

   

   

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by
the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So
throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade wind in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.

unattributed

   

 

Strategies for Developing Acceptance

So much of life seems unacceptable.  So many things that happen to us are so unpleasant that the last thing that we want to do is to accept them for what they are--a part of our lives, whether we like them or not.  But what is the alternative to acceptance?  Fighting their very existence, which is a task that is hopeless and useless--these things and situations already do exist, don't they?  Fighting them or denying them simply leads to high levels of frustration, and doesn't help us a bit in our lives.

One of the most important things to remember about acceptance is this:  accepting something is not the same as approving of it.  If I lost my job and face bankruptcy, I'm doing no one any good by denying that there's a problem.  If a person in my life is abusive, I'm not helping anything by denying the abuse.  If I want to do anything to work towards a resolution of any situation, I first have to acknowledge that a problem exists and accept it completely, for then I'll be able to do something about it.  And only then.

I'm constantly finding areas in my life in which I've lived in a state of denial.  I've preferred to think that certain things that were happening were simply temporary, or would work themselves out and no longer be a part of my life soon--and I convinced myself that I therefore didn't need to do anything about them.  Money problems?  They'll work themselves out in a couple of months, so I don't need to accept them for what they are.  Problems at work?  Well, they have to do with other people more than me, and since there's nothing I can really do about them, I don't need to accept them.

   

Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's
all the difference in the world.  Apathy fails to distinguish
what can and cannot be helped; acceptance makes the
distinction.  Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action;
acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.

Arthur Gordon

   
One of the main dangers of not accepting situations is that we will never be able to improve things if we don't accept the facts that the situation exists and that something needs to be done.  If I don't accept the fact that I weigh more than is healthy, I'll never be able to work towards reaching a healthy weight.  If I don't accept the fact that this person is lying to me, then I'll never be able to take steps to make sure that it doesn't continue to happen.

An important strategy for developing an accepting attitude towards the world is questioning our own perception.  There are always clues to tell us when things aren't going extremely well in a certain area, and it's important that we pay attention to those clues.  If this is the fourth time that what this person has told me has turned out not to be true, perhaps it's time for me to accept the fact that this person lies to me consistently.

This is especially important of our perceptions of things that are unpleasant to us.  It's easy to accept things that we like.  It's difficult to accept things that we don't like.  We must ask ourselves questions about how we see the problems:  Is this really going to go away by itself soon?  Is this really not as bad as it seems, or is it as bad as it seems?  Or worse?  Could the problem in this situation be me, or my behaviors, rather than others?

Think of the words, "this is what it is."  Have you lost your job?  The situation is what it is, and we cannot change the past--so we have to accept the fact that we are now job seekers.  And it's important that we not attach negative words to the statement--no "This is terrible" or "There's no way I can get past this."  Those types of words only hinder our attempts to accept something.  Has a loved one left you (or have you left someone)?  The situation is what it is, and while it may change in the future, right here and right now, we must accept it.  Telling ourselves "this is what it is" without adding judgmental words to the statement can help us to accept it for what it is and move forward.
    

Acceptance is a letting-go process.  You let go of your wishes
and demands that life can be different.  It's a conscious choice.

Gary Emery

    
I like the idea of acceptance being about letting go.  We all bring our own expectations and even demands to life--things must be this way, or things should be as I believe they should be.  When they don't end up that way, we experience disappointment, frustration, and even anger.  If I do something for a friend and I know that person should thank me, I become indignant when he doesn't do so.  I experience frustration and possibly anger, and I consider him to be inconsiderate and rude.  But when I look at the situation and think, "Well, that's just the way he is," then I'm not going to experience the same amount of anger or frustration.  I'm going to go on with my life in peace because I've let go of my need to hear certain words.

Practice on strangers.  Smile and say hello as you walk by.  They should smile and return the greeting, shouldn't they?  That may be our expectation, and if they don't do so, we feel disappointed and even judgmental--we figure this must be a very rude person if s/he doesn't even say hi.  But if we're practicing acceptance, then we think simply this:  That person didn't return the greeting.  Period.  And it's no big deal.  That person may be thinking about a business deal or a fight with a spouse or a paper that's due this afternoon.  They may have a pain in their abdomen and they're very worried about it, or they may simply be extremely shy and unable to make eye contact or exchange greetings.  If we choose to judge concerning reasons or motives, then we're probably going to be wrong.  If we simply accept what happened for exactly what it is, we save ourselves a lot of stress and aggravation.

And if you say hi to ten people and six return your greeting, how much more productive and positive is it to focus on the six that did say hi than the four who didn't?  And won't you feel better not attributing motives or personality flaws to the people who didn't?  Won't you feel better if you simply accept without judging?
   

Acceptance is observation of life and suspension of judgment
about whether what is happening is good or bad, right or wrong.

Ron Smotherman

   
Life and other people do throw us curves very often.  Some of those curves are very negative, but just because they're more negative doesn't mean that we should not accept them--they are what they are, and judging them and getting frustrated because they aren't what we want simply makes us more unhappy; it doesn't do a thing to change things.  We may not necessarily like the situation, and that could be a signal for us to change it., but we do need to accept it.  After all, we can't change anything that we don't accept.

   
More on acceptance.

   

One of the most important elements
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The Sweetest Lives
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread
Where love ennobles all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.

The love shall chant its own beatitudes
After its own life working.  A child's kiss
Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee glad;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thous renderest.

  
Ten Thoughts to Help You Avoid Discouragement
Donna Fargo

1.  Look at life as a journey and enjoy the ride.  Get the most out of the detours and realize they're sometimes necessary.

2.  Do your best, but if what you're doing has caused you discouragement, try a different approach.  Be passionate about the process, but don't be so attached to the outcome.

3.  Wish the best for everyone, with no personal strings attached.  Applaud someone else's win as much as you would your own.

4.  Trust that there's a divine plan, that we don't always know what's best for us.  A disappointment now could mean a victory later, so don't be disappointed.  There is usually a reason.

5.  Ask no more of yourself than the best that you can do, and be satisfied with that.  Be compassionate towards yourself as well as others.  Know your calling, your gift, and do it well.

6.  Don't worry about something after it's done; it's out of your hands then, too late, over!  Learn the lesson and move on.

7.  Have the attitude that no one, except you, owes you anything.  Give without expecting a thank-you in return.  But when someone does something for you, be appreciative of even the smallest gesture.

8.  Choose your thoughts or your thoughts will choose you; they will free you or keep you bound.  Educate your spirit and give it authority over your feelings.

9.  Judge no one, and disappointment and forgiveness won't be an issue.  No one can let you down if you're not leaning on them.  People can't hurt you unless you allow them to.

10.  Love anyway. . . for no reason. . . and give. . . just because.

What is "The Abundant Life?"

Some may mistakenly believe that it is about wealth or prosperity.  Others may believe it involves health and well being.  However, the abundant life is not about wealth, health, or prosperity.  It is not about bliss or freedom from suffering.  It is not even about life beyond death.  Nor can we measure it by the quality, quantity, or length of a life.  The abundant life is not a measure of life at all, but a way of living.  It is not about having, but about giving.

The abundant life is about abundant love and abundant giving; it involves trust, courage, and sacrifice.  It shows in our willingness to give of ourselves freely and fully to others without expectations or qualifications, letting our lives and our love overflow to fill the voids and wants of a broken and hurting world.  The abundant life reflects God's gifts of love and life, as they become fully present in our lives.  Resting upon the hope and promises that in spite of death and suffering, life will prevail; that in spite of hatred and violence, love and peace will triumph, we live in the face of death and we love in spite of hatred.  Living in the faith and assurance that God, who is the very source of our life and being, loves us, we are made free to live for others and to love others.  The abundant life is the reflection of the abundance of God's love on earth, manifested in and through our lives.

Luis G. Pedraja

   
  

The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular
mode of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being
disappointed by the change; happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.

Charles L. Morgan

    

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