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Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #28
Think about your own mistakes rather than blame on other’s faults.

Why do people like to play the blame game? When I received this paper a couple of weeks ago, I sat back and took a long hard look at the times that I have played the blame game and what if anything it has done for me and the situations that I was involved. The answer to this question is that playing the blame game has done nothing constructive to any of the circumstances or relationships that were required. Nothing good has ever come out of me just blaming someone or something for any negativity in my life, and so I have decided that I am going to work hard at controlling how much of the blame game I will be playing and make sure that this game doesn’t negatively affect the things in my life.
Why does the blame game become so toxic? To blame someone or something is destructive rather than constructive. Blaming others rather than taking responsibility for your portion of the issue won’t help you or the situation better your circumstances. If you blame others for the problem than you don’t have to take responsibility for your part of the issue at hand and that will always be a recipe for disaster.
I grew up in an unstable home and for many years that haunted me with feelings of blame. I felt like I was a victim and was continually blaming the adults that allowed me to grow up in the situation I did. Last year I finally realized that it was time for me to stop blaming and take control of my life. One thing I noticed was when I was angry and condemning those that did not do their job I wasn’t happy. I could not find my joy, and all the blaming distracted me from moving forward in my life. I had to stop blaming even though some of these things were out of my control I had to let go and realize that we are here to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

There are four wrong ways of thinking when we are playing the blame game and all of these thoughts I had throughout my life.

1. Something is wrong, and I need to find blame in something or someone else for this situation. I feel this is a hard one to recognize because sometimes I feel like the responsibility can be justified. Even though the fault is warranted does not mean it is right to decide to place blame.

2. This person doesn’t deserve respect as a human being. I realize that we are all human and therefore we will all make mistakes and had to sink this one in when getting rid of my blame. The focus should not be about the person who has done me wrong so much as the person is controlling the way I think and act.

3. It is ok for me to treat those that hurt me poorly. I can do so anyway I want. There is no peace when you find yourself hating someone or something all the time. Letting go is the best medicine for this, and you will find happiness by knowing you have done your part.

4. I don’t have any responsibility for the problem, and if I admit this than I have to accept my responsibility and I would deserve the same treatment, I am giving. There are always two sides, and each side will have there own thoughts and actions. Even if you didn’t start the problem but the way you handled it was not the best. Life and people can be very frustrating and remember to take the higher road you will feel better in the end.

If you are experiencing conflict and blame here are ways to settle the blame game once and for all constructively.

1. Be willing to accept your part of the problem.
When there are disputes and problems, there is usually more than one creating the conflict. It is better to take the responsibility and try to make amends on your end. If the other side wants to accept their portion and help make things right tremendous and if not then you did your best.

2. Don’t lose respect for people.
There are some pretty cruddy people in this world, and they have made some horrible decisions in life. Being able to understand that you are not there judge and jury makes it easier to move forward. Always know that there is room for improvement.

3. Be more forgiving
I will be the first one to admit it is tough for me to forgive. I have grown up to be a person that has a shell of protection, and if I overlook, it weakens that shell. I started trying to excuse years ago, and I will say that it creates peace I never had growing up. All the anger and resentment I kept inside was a big green monster, and it kept me prisoner for quite some time. Only in the last few years have a finally been able to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness is hard, but it is well worth the work that goes into making it happen.

 

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Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #27

To attain enlightenment is to be aware of your own Buddha.

Wouldn’t be nice to have an enlightened life? To be able to have the knowledge to choose what road you want to take in life. Many of us have had to travel our paths of life with little bumps along the way, and I for one consider life’s small cracks to be valuable lessons but wouldn’t it be nice if we could look at our lives and feel like we have taken the right road. Practice these 4 Buddha enlightening techniques and make your life a little more at peace.

1. Compassion
Compassion makes the world a better place. Giving those around you empathy and understanding will provide you with peace. Imagine a time when you were the most compassionate and how did that make you feel? There are some in our lives that we may struggle to show compassion. I think these are the most important individuals to be compassionate too. When you have compassion rather than anger you will indeed feel good in your actions and decisions.
It is also essential to have self-compassion for our actions. Just like those we have had troubles with we too must remember that we are human and if we make a mistake acknowledge it and move forward with a softer heart. Do not torture your self because others choose to act a certain way. Work toward making yourself better even though your compassion may not be received. Practicing kindness will create some of the most profound relationships you will ever experience in life.

2. Be Awake
Make sure to be awake in every moment of your life. Be aware of what is around you and pay close attention. Being attentive will cause a person to slow down and recognize certain gratitude. One thing I truly enjoy is hiking, and I am lucky to be in an area where I can go anytime I want. I love to hike the backcountry and take everything in around me. Slowing down to look at the terrain and listen to the mountains has given me certain gratitude for the things around me that I might not have noticed if I continued the fast-paced lifestyle. When you are awake in your life, you will be able to experience joy in the little things that you once did not notice. If you are experiencing struggles being awake at the moment can even help you overcome these obstacles. Knowing the things around you will also help you welcome those teaching moments that will come along the way.

3. Food is Special
I bet you’re wondering why on earth would food have anything to do with enlightenment. Food gives us comfort and happiness. It can strengthen our bodies and can hurt our bodies. Creating a positive relationship with food can benefit your life, by providing you strength and overall well being. Cooking your food can give you respect for the food you eat. My kids were very picky eaters when they were younger, and when my husband and I started making our kids participate in cooking dinner, they became less picky and more grateful for what was in front of them for dinner. Another way to become more in tune with what you are eating is to grow a garden. Gardening takes work, and it is well worth the patience. The fresher, the better and you will feel great accomplishment knowing that this is something you brought to the table.

4. Remove 3 Poisons From Your Life
There are three poisons out there that can keep you from enlightening your life. Greed, hatred, and delusions can create a catastrophe for the person looking for something better. These three things cause nothing but pain and suffering. If you experience these things in your life make sure to recognize what happened and remove it from your life as fast as possible doing so you will be able to be more at peace. The longer these things stick around, the worse you will feel. Eliminating these types of feelings will also give you freedom, and you won’t feel confined to the negativity.

Being able to make little changes in your life can make the most significant difference. No one is perfect, and it is hard to attain perfection but one thing is, and that is we can work toward being better people.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #26

Virtue is its own reward

 

How important is it to have virtue in our lives?  The definition of virtue states ” Behavior showing high moral standards” and when we think of the word virtue words such as ethics, excellence, and kindness might come to mind.  These things are all important when dealing with each other and if we didn’t do these types of behaviors, our world would suffer.

Virtue can lead to happiness but can we experience too much virtue and let it get to our heads.  Can too much virtue in our lives leave us with a sense of pride?  Pride is okay to have, but it can also be a vice in life.  I decided to take a look at three key aspects of my life that I hold to the highest value that would bring virtue into my life.  When deciding to take a look at these three things that I think I have experienced virtue I wanted to see how those feelings of virtue affected me and if I feel at times I could have been too prideful. I can honestly answer yes I experienced a certain degree of virtue with each of these and I also have experienced being over prideful as well.  Here are my three most significant things in my life where I have felt the most virtuous.

My Family 

I always strived to have the family I never had a child.  I had a family that was broken most of my life.  Growing up I decided that I would work hard to make my family unit strong and that is something that I strive for today.  I have an excellent, loving, and supportive husband who works hard for us in all things.  He is my best friend, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.  I have two fantastic kids who are entering the teen scene of their lives and have given me more smiles than a headache.  That is not to say we haven’t had our trials because we have and we have always seemed to pick up the pieces and move forward.  I am thankful for this opportunity, and yes there have been times when I forget that this is life and life is not perfect.  Have I ever been too prideful when it comes to my family? I will be honest yes I have.  There have been times I have judged and have thought I might be able to do it better.  I will tell you that today I try and work very hard to not judge those around me. I feel like judgment can become a bad habit just and it takes time to break a habit once you have been doing it for a while. I am always telling myself to do better.

My Beliefs

This one was a hard one when I really got to thinking about it.  Way back in the day I used to be strongly religious.  I went to church every Sunday and was a huge participant in teaching and helping our congregation.  Unfortunately with this came the feeling of feeling overly special.  I am not saying at all that church is wrong because I believe it entirely can be the best thing for a person. When I first went, it was the best thing for me. It took my life and changed it for the better.  The problem was that when I was going and working so hard to be that perfect person I believe that my virtue was clouded with a bit of pride and entitlement. I don’t go to church anymore not because I don’t like it but because I wanted to focus on myself and my spirituality.  I had to teach myself to be more humble by concentrating on what I was doing for those around me and that I can do great things in life without having to boast or feel like I need something in return.

 My Self

Out of my siblings, I have been the one who got away.  I was able to live a decent life, and they have had some pretty real struggles.  One of the reasons I have made a path for myself is because I have chosen to not go down a road of addiction.  Addiction is definitely a family disease, and I am a firm believer that it is learned through the environment and can quickly be passed down even through generations.  I have worked hard to keep myself healthy and happy.  Somedays are harder than others, but I work hard to make sure that I can give myself and my loved ones the life they deserve. One of the ways I have been able to succeed is by holding myself to a certain standard.  I believe that virtue has helped me in achieving but in the past, I have not been the nicest to deal with when it comes to my siblings.  I wanted them to experience the same happiness I have, and I have pushed too hard in certain circumstances. I have learned through the years that we all have our battles and the best way to help is to love and support when you can, this will go further than thinking you know what is best for those that are fighting their own battle.

Virtue can bring happiness to our lives, but it can also become a vice if it is not understood. Being able to experience great things is a beautiful feeling to have but make sure we do so with a humble heart.  Remember that our actions can affect those around us and be aware of others helps us keep our pride in check.  The next time you experience virtue in your life be happy and thankful that you received it and see if you can spread a little to someone else along the way.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #25

Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter. 

 

What is love and why do we need it as human beings?  I feel that love is a hard thing to describe and can’t be pinned down to one description. If I were to define the word love, I would say that it is a way that we act and feel toward things and people that we value. Love is sacrificial, and we will put others needs above ours, and not expect anything in return.  Being able to love yourself is just as important as loving others, and if you don’t enjoy yourself, you may not be able to give others love in return. Love is a complicated emotion, and it helps to truly understand what love is rather than what we think it should be. Here are 5 reasons why love is necessary for our lives and how to get the fullest amount of respect out of the relationships we deal with every day.

1. There is a Need to Love

We have heard in the past that there is a need to be loved but how many of us have heard that there is just a greater need to love someone else.  I often look at myself and think yes I am that person that pours her love into everyone else.  I have a husband and two kids that I fawn over and love on constantly. Sometimes I will admit that I will set myself aside and focus entirely on them.  I have gotten better at making a healthy balance out of loving my family but there for a while that was all I did was our my heart and soul into my family unit.  The reason I did this was that I felt the need to love and caring for them brought me life’s brightest moments.  Making these people in my life happy brought me happiness, and it does to this day.  Loving those around us gives us a sense of purpose to our lives. One way to show acts of love randomly is by performing small acts of kindness.  Kindness goes far in our daily dealings with our fellow man and doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary.  A simple hello to a stranger walking past or a small conversation with a grocery store cashier will brighten there day, and you will feel the warm fuzzies start to flourish which will make your day a little brighter as well.

2. Discover One’s Self

Love opens the door to self-discovery.  I think back on the times that I was not comfortable with who I was and most of these times my life was missing the critical element that someone cared.  When you are being loved and loving someone in return, you tend to let go of your insecurities that you once dreaded would come out to the world.  When someone truly loves you, they don’t care what your imperfections are and that gives you the freedom to find out what makes you amazing.  You no longer have to hide and worry instead it turns your focus on your life and what you want to accomplish.  When you are loved by another, this builds your strength to achieve dreams and futures.

3. Love Teaches us Lessons

We will not learn unless we do. Love can teach us the lesson of happiness as well as lessons of heartache.  Even though there will be times that will bring us to our core these life lessons are here to make us stronger and keep us from making the same mistakes.  Love can teach us the experience of a genuine feeling of wanting to do better.  Taking away the thinking of ourselves and being able to consider someone else’s well being.

4. Builds Future

It is essential to making a strong foundation for a home the same goes for creating a strong foundation for a relationship. Being able to love and be loved grows and gets stronger. To find a person that wants to work and build a relationship will put you both on the road to success because you will both work at making the future ahead brighter.

5.  Love is Healing

The best thing about love is the ability to heal.  Love heals a broken heart and spirit.  Think about how you felt when you have been your saddest, and someone sat there and just held you?  How did you feel at that time?  Giving something as simple as a hug shows that there is genuine care that can calm us even in the roughest of storms.

I know there are some out there that don’t think love is a necessity to live.  When I sit back and look at the things in my life that made me happiest, it all involves situations of love. We can show love by participating in simple acts of kindness. We will learn to love others and ourselves, and by doing this, we will know self-love.  Relationships teach us as we go along and without some sort of love, we would not have an opportunity to learn.  We can build our future with another person who wants to help us develop and grow.  There is no greater healing than that of love.

 

 

 

 

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson # 26
There are no ordinary moments.

How many of us take the time to celebrate our everyday moments? How many of us do this with our children? Kids grow fast just yesterday I remember the day my son Parker was born, and that was 14 years ago. Time has flown by, and one thing I realized is that life is short and time does not stand still so it is essential to celebrate the most ordinary things and take time to slow down because one day they will be gone. Here are some ways to celebrate everyday moments with your kids.

1. Compliment Kids on the Small Things
What seems so small to us can be significant accomplishments for our children. I remember when my daughter Emma figured out how to tie her shoes and rather than the way we all were taught she came up with her idea, and the look on her face was priceless. She thought she had conquered the world not only tying them but finding a way that worked that was not ordinary. These are the moments that will build who our children are and give them the confidence to move forward.

2. Positive Words and Phrases
Positive words go further when dealing with kids than the negative. I remember growing up sometimes my dad would use negative phrases toward us as were growing up and I think that stuck with me the most. I never remember him congratulating us but only a handful of times and all the rest was a joke, or we were just dumb. I made it a mission when I had my kids was to break this cycle because it did affect how I felt and that I did not think I was capable of doing anything. Fixing this logic took many years and lots of self-exploration to teach myself that I could do whatever I put my mind too, and I am better off than I was years ago. Words can build, or they can destroy and be able to remember this will help you and your child’s relationship in the future.

Here are some phrases to use with your kids
I love seeing you…
I am proud of…
I love you
I am happy that you…

3. Hugs, Notes, and Time
Kids thrive on attention. It doesn’t have to be much and sometimes our lives can get very busy. I try to devote some time throughout the day to both of my kids. When they were younger I left notes in their lunch boxes, and they loved it and if I forgot I was sure to be reminded the next day. Both of my kids love hugs and always have. They need to have some contact at least once a day. When they were younger, it was more than that but as they have grown into teenagers if they get a hug or two that is fine with them. When Emma was younger she loved Play Do and would make food out of play-doh and serve it to my husband and I this was her favorite activity and we always made sure that we took the time to play along.  My kids also love to play board games, and we do try to fit this activity in as much as we can. Since I homeschool game time is part of our curriculum, and they thoroughly enjoy it.  The card game Uno is a family favorite and the kids never get tired of playing.  Spending a little quality time never hurts and doing what works best for your family will build a stronger bond
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4. Acknowledgment of the Good That is Done Today
Whether it be an A on a test or that they did all of their chores kids love support for the things they have done.
When teaching my kids if they are on a subject that is not their particular favorite I make sure to give them positive reinforcement when they have completed what they have done. It is hard to achieve something that is not your most favorite and letting them know that you are proud of them finishing the job will help them to be responsible.

Raising kids can be quite an adventure. Time does not stand still, and before you know it, they are taller than you, looking for work, and living on their own. Take the days you have with them and cherish every one. Create memories and help build them to be the people you want them to be. Even the little things can mean the most when it comes to our children. Giving positive words and phrases will build them into healthy individuals that can conquer the world. Spending time with them lets them know that you are making them a priority. Acknowledging the good that they work on helps them to become responsible adults. Just like when we plant a seed, we need to care for it to grow and the same goes for our children.