DON’T DO IT! UNLESS….

It never ceases to amaze me when people say things that do nothing but make all affected parties feel negative in some way. I always think to myself, and sometimes out loud, “Why on earth would you say that?” Why would anyone want to be the source of pain, sadness, anger or a host of other terrible emotions? Why would we want to spread anything other than joy?

The statue above can be a great reminder of that for us. I suggest obtaining one to remind us if what we are about to put forth is not joyous that we should reconsider. The world has enough sources of negativity that we do not need to add more. Let us not only limit and eliminate our negative communications, but work on increasing out positive ones as well.

WHAT WAS THEIR RELIGION?


This is one of those quotes I really love. When you think about religion it is often, if not always created after the death of its most important figures. That being the case, as it is in the three examples above, it would be impossible for the individuals to be a member of a religion they inspired. That does not make these religions any less valid or take anything away from their beliefs or practices.
What it does is allow us to step back and take a good hard look at what is the common thread that was woven through all of these great leaders, and by consequence, through all great spiritual beliefs – Love. These individuals did not preach a certain religion, but rather a set of moral principles predicated on love. Love is the common thread that flows through most spiritual beliefs. It is a force that drives many of the other principles and tenets of whatever faith you may practice. It is the driving force behind a spiritual practice. Love, combined with faith and hope make up the basis for most of the world’s religions.
Which brings me to my point, if the founder of the faith you follow based their teachings on love, how can you not do the same? Interacting with those of different faiths should we not all come with a spirit of compassion, acceptance and understanding? Those are all aspects of love. The individuals mentioned above were strong in their beliefs and certainly strong in their love. When you are filled with faith, hope and love you do not judge another. You do not say evil words towards another because they are following a different path of love than you.
Let us all belong to the religion of love no matter what organized faith we may follow.

THE PATH TO INNER PEACE

As I sit here full of bliss sipping my green tea at Starbucks, I know not everyone is this lucky. I have found the key to having an amazing life is being grateful for the life you have. I also have found the quote in the picture above to be very true. A quick glance at most social media accounts will show how much we value the opinions of others. There is a lot of ‘He said/she said’. In person I hear people get so excited about what is being said about them. There are two young ladies in particular who I think live to worry about what is the hottest items on the gossip wire. As they come excitedly to me to relay what is being said about who, I great them with the same reply, “Don’t know. Don’t care.”

This line of thought when it comes to both gossip and rude people has brought me more peace than almost anything else I do. When you stop and think about it, what other people think about you is really their business. Sometimes you can learn little things you might improve, but generally gossip holds no redeeming value. I recall when one of those ladies I mentioned earlier was concerned as to what people may be saying to me, she could not tell me enough. Again I gave her my same reply, “Don’t know. Don’t care.” She asked how I could not be concerned as to what people whispered behind my back.. The answer is easy, if they are doing it behind my back, then that is where I leave it – behind me. If those I love and care about have some concern with me and tell it to me personally, I definitely would take the time to discuss it with them. Otherwise, it is not worth the energy and feelings to worry about.

As far as rude, critical, and argumentative people the answer is the same. On one of the Apps I share my positivity on a gentleman became enraged with me. As he continued to place one comment after another on my post becoming more and more angry I did my best to explain that being upset about my writing was not doing him any good. I even suggested he ‘mute’ me on that site so he would not have to see my posts which obviously upset him. He continued throughout the evening to comment and work himself up. He even continued by posting about it the next day. The funny thing about all of this is what he was upset about – my title was in all capital letters. He thought that should be reserved for emergencies, which was his right. My title was 6 letters long. It included the word ‘I’ which should be capitalized as well as the first letter of the title. So, this man was angry for 2 whole days over 4 letters being capitalized.

Margie, in her sweet loving way, always wishes to go online and defend me to these people. Again, I remind her that it really doesn’t matter. The majority of people appreciate what I write and enjoy the content. In fact, in six years, over several social media platforms as well as print there has never been one person to be upset that my title was in all capitals. That is saying quite a bit as I am followed in over 100 countries by over 20,000 people, not to mention the casual viewer.

This man certainly had a right to his opinion. By him getting so upset the only person he really hurt was himself. Buddha had a great quote about anger.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

Anger, like worry, causes the release of acid in the system. Have you ever worried so much you actually started to feel sick to your stomach? Same with anger. Your blood pressure rises, your heart rate increases and your breathing becomes shallow. All of those have negative impacts on your immune system as well as your overall feeling of well-being. You must ask yourself, “Is this worth getting upset over?” I can promise you the answer 9 times out of 10 will be a resounding ‘no’. Do yourself a favor. If you are working to be the best person you can and do the best you can, do not waste an ounce of energy on what other people may be saying. If someone approaches you to tell you all about what this person or that person is doing or saying I suggest giving them my response – “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Your sense of inner peace will thank you.

SPEAK THROUGH THE 3 GATES

This is a great litmus test to put our words through. How many times a day do we let something escape our lips that we shouldn’t? Having these 3 questions in mind would help prevent that from happening. Remember you cannot unsay something.

How do we keep these questions front and center? Use this picture as your screensaver, pertain jot them down on an index card you carry with you. Then, put it into practice. Try doing this just for a conversation here and there. Eventually, it well become a way of not only speaking, but thinking as well.

So you don’t feel too down on yourself when you first try this, allow me to share my experience. I tried this at work and all I can say is “wow!” I never realized how many useless negative things I say there! Even someone who writes positivity for a living! Although a bit taken aback, I was excited. There is so much room for me to improve my conversation skills.

Try this yourself. I’m about to meet a friend for coffee and am going to try again. I think you will notice different people bring out different conversations. I would love to hear your experience as well!

ONE OF MY FAVORITE THOUGHTS

This is one of those thoughts that would be worth printing out and hanging up somewhere. Using the law of physics to explain how something cannot bother you unless it gets inside you is very helpful.

Whether it is an unpleasant coworker, the evening news or any other circumstances that we face, it is important to realize their effect on us is also determined by us. It used to be when I would see or hear something that goes against something I passionately believe in, I would find myself growing ever so upset. It was like a volcano with the lava slowly working its way to the surface. At some point it would have to erupt. That could have been in a discussion with a friend, or even an online post. I realized I had become one of those people. You know the ones, the kind that end up speaking in a very loud voice about some injustice they see in the world. The problem with that is two-fold. First, the person you are venting to can rarely, if ever, do anything other than commiserate with you on the same subject. The second problem is what those feelings do to you. Let us look at a quote to meditate on.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned” – Buddha

Let us think about that for a moment. Take the recent political climate and the anger and division it has fostered. If we go around complaining about politicians without doing anything else, only one thing will change. We will feel terrible, dismayed for the future and could possibly end up physically ill. Instead, if we focus on doing whatever small part we can to foster a solution, even something little as saying ‘hello’ to a stranger who is different from us, we will not only not let the anger affect us negatively, but we will be a part of the solution and not the problem.

How did I manage to turn my own situation around? By seeing the challenges as opportunities. Sounds kind of cliche, but it is true. As an author and motivational speaker specializing in happiness and stress reduction when I see someone stressed out and unhappy I have two choices. I can see that as a sign the world is negative and give up, or I can see it as an opportunity to help and that there is still a need for my services and a chance for me to help someone improve their life.

Just as the ship uses the water, that could sink it, to propel it forward. It uses something that could bring it down, and by virtue of not allowing it to get inside of it, literally rises above it. A lesson we could all use.

DON’T LET THE SAME DOG BITE YOU TWICE

One of my favorite quotes to help keep peace in your mind and heart comes from Buddha, who said “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Forgiveness truly is the gift you give yourself. Most of the time when we stay angry at people it only affects us. Think of what happens to your body when you get angry. Your blood pressure rises, you can get sick to the stomach among many other unpleasant symptoms. Imagine what would happen if we did this over a prolonged period of time. Not only would it drain our spirit and soul, but it would make us actually physically sick.

Here is the caveat about forgiving someone, it does not mean they need to be your best friend. There are some people who are destructive and surrounding yourself with them will only bring you down. I compare it to continuing to try and pet a dog you know will bite you. Unless the dog goes through some training, it will likely bite you again. Forgive the dog for biting you and then do your best to keep your distance from the dog.

Starting today, let go of anger and practice forgiveness. It does not mean you agree with their behaviour. It also does not mean you have to let them back into your life. It only means you value yourself enough to let go of negative emotions that will bring you down emotionally, spiritually and physically.

A BROKEN PLATE

ANGER

This quote from Buddha reminds us how damaging anger is to a situation. It often hurts the party to which it is directed, but certainly always hurts the party distributing it. It may feel good to yell or say something at your partner when you are upset. Especially if you feel they have done something to hurt you. Still by doing so you can leave a far more damaging situation than the one they have brought to you. This is best described in the story of the broken plate. A mother had a son who had an extremely bad temper. He would often do or say some of the most hurtful things. After which he truly seemed repentant. No matter what the mother did she could not get the child to think before he reacted. One day while washing dishes she had a great idea. She called her son into the room with her and handed him a glass plate. “Throw that plate on the ground” she instructed the young man. After some encouragement the young man did as he was told. As expected the plate broke into several pieces. “Now let’s glue this plate back together” her mother said. So they worked together for quite some time and had the plate looking pretty close to its original state, although a few cracks and chips were still visible. “Now say you’re sorry to this plate” the mother said. The child looked confused but saw his mother was serious. So he said his apology. “Now is the plate good as new?” she asked. The child shook his head no because although it was back together it would never look the same. The mother went on to explain that is what we do to the hearts of our loved ones when we are angry. Although the pain can be mended and apologies can be given they relationship will never be able to be put back together the same again.

So the next time you are in a heated debate with your spouse, friend, coworker before you say the well crafted biting reply you have been working on, think of the story of the broken plate and ask yourself is it really worth the damage that can never be undone?

KELLY’S WORDS OF WISDOM…

Proof that inspiration can strike you anywhere happened to me today.  While I was getting my haircut today the wonderful lady doing the service and I began chatting about all things positive.  She brought back a quote I haven’t heard since I was young.  “It’s like my mom always said” she exclaimed. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”  As she started rinse the shampoo from my head I started thinking. Which is pretty much all you can do while somebody else is washing your hair.  That is a piece of wisdom a good many of us have heard from childhood.  As I may have mentioned in previous posts, my good friend Jamie taught me to look at things backwards.  Not saying anything mean certainly helps the people you are talking to, or about.  What does it do for us?  I began to meditate on this for a while.  Not to intensely as by this time there were sharp instruments near my head. It reminded me of another quote from the Buddha that I particularly enjoy. I am paraphrasing here as I do have the exact quote in front of me. “Anger is like holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned”  Think about how you feel when you say something about that driver that cut you off. The lazy co-worker whose work you end up doing on top of your own.  The in-laws that won’t mind their own business.  In all of these cases we have a right to be upset, but while verbally lashing out may help us relieve some anger in the short-term, does it really help us feel better?  After leaving the break room while either joining in or sometimes just overhearing a long session of gossip how do you feel?  Now let us flip this around.  We know what will make us feel terrible, but what about the first part of the motherly quote, saying something nice.  Think about how you feel when you tell somebody how nice their spouse is.  How does it make you feel when somebody gives you the same compliment.  I have a good friend Cari, who is very kind and inspirational to a lot of mutual friends we have.  At any given time when the friends are together without her, inevitably her name comes up.  The funny thing is 100% of the time we trade stories telling how amazing she is and what joy she has brought to our lives.  We all end up leaving feeling a little bit happier inside knowing what an amazing friend we have.  Although the compliments are all for Cari and she may never even know they were said (unless of course she reads this post) all of us who said them also receive the gift of joy as well.  It is the opposite of the quote from the Buddha.  Instead of getting ‘burned by the coal of anger’ we are being ‘blessed with the gift of love and compliments’.  So next time you are tempted to join in on some gossip, or curse at the bad driver in front of you.  Do what Kelly told me, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” It will be better for those on the receiving end, but it will also be better for you level of happiness as well.  Who knows, it may even make the world a little better of a place.