The month of October is filled with scary stories, decorations and Halloween parties. In this blog, I want to discuss something even scarier than your favorite horror movie – continuing the issues that plague generation after generation. What is even scarier is that these issues can be silent killers that are very hard to spot. Why? Simply put, that is how things always were. If you were raised in a family that always said “Children are to be seen and not heard.” It may be very difficult to give time to and respect for the emotional wants and needs of your own children. Grew up in a family where your parents, and perhaps even your aunts and uncles fought and got divorced? It may be more difficult to know the ingredients that make the recipe for a successful relationship. Recognizing these situations for what they are can make them seem a lot less intimidating. They are great opportunities for both growth and ending generations of communication failures.
As if these challenges were not scary enough, there may be lessons we are not even aware that we can improve upon. Perhaps you grew up as an only child, you may have a little more difficult time learning to compromise in a relationship. If that childhood included a single parent as well, it may be even more difficult. Did you grow up in a tough neighborhood? You may feel great for having made it out, and congratulations are in order to be sure, but realize you may have lingering issues trusting the motives of others or have difficulty letting your guard down. What served you in situations past, may hinder you moving forward. Discovering and healing these issues is not easy, but doing so will help you live a fuller, richer and more rewarding life going forward.
Solving these issues can be as tricky as the issues are, but they don’t have to be. Often, just realizing we have them and being aware of them can go a long way. Knowing you have and issue and admitting you have an issue does not solve an issue. Telling someone “I have trust issues because my last partner cheated on me.” can be helpful. It can help your partner understand some of your behavior and even adjust some of their behavior to account for that issue. Telling another party in a relationship that you have ‘communication issues’ and expecting them to just be understanding while you do nothing to change those issues is not only unfair, but it is unhealthy. Admitting a struggle we may have but doing nothing to address that challenge places the onus entirely on the other party. Any relationship involves two or more parties and so should any solution for a challenge in that relationship.
How do we overcome relationship challenges that may have existed in our family long before we were even born? The answer is many faceted as the challenge itself. The first step is always to come to terms with the fact that we have this challenge in the first place. This can take long time of reflection, discussions with our partner or every therapy in some cases. People can be very sensitive when it comes to discovering this. It takes suspending our egos and viewing it as a growth opportunity and not as discovering a fault. This can be easy to understand intellectually, but another to grasp emotionally. It also requires an understanding that fault and responsibility are completely unrelated. Although it may not be our fault that we picked up the bad habits of our parents or friends, it is our responsibility to address those issues.
It is no secret to anyone who follows this website and my work in general that I have spent over 20 years in the field of self-improvement. One thing that I must remind myself of every so often is the fact that not everyone else has. This may sound silly and an obvious point, but it can be a fact that gets away from me.
When I hear someone constantly complaining about how unfair life is or how terrible their life is, I am tempted to remind them how they do a great deal to create their own reality. We all have challenges great and small. That is part of life. It is really how we respond to life’s challenges that does a great deal to determine how life treats us. There are a lot of people who are ignorant to even that basic equation. I was fortunate enough to be raised in an environment where reading and thinking where encouraged. In the course of reading hundreds of books, listening to just as many CDs and videos as well as attending seminars and listening to as many people as I can I have learned a great deal.
One of the greatest challenges to me is having the patience and understanding to realize although most people have the opportunity to do the same, many have not. When I speak to people about ways they can reduce stress, increase joy and become the best version of themselves, I am often met with resistance and sarcasm. On a rare occasion even violent resistance. It would be easy to come off as condescending, but it serves as a great reminder of many things for me. First off, I am so grateful for all I have been given and all I have learned. My life is far from perfect, but I am constantly discovering new ways to reduce stress and have more happiness in my life. I am also grateful that I do have the life I do. I have friends who love me, a beautiful and loving lady, and supporters from over 100 countries who read what I write.
The second thing I am reminded of is everyone is working towards becoming the best version of themselves. If you don’t believe me, just walk into a gym shortly after the first of the year. Not everyone has the tools to successfully accomplish all they desire. That would be evident by visiting that same gym 30 days after the first of the year and noticing how many less people are there. Still, everyone is giving it their best shot. There are very few people I know who are not interested in improving their lives. Some do not understand the only way to do that is by improving themselves. That is the main focus of my second book.
Some really wish to improve themselves and their lot in life, but lack the necessary tools. Some do not even know where to look for those tools. That is why I am always happy to share what I learn and am still learning. There are those as mentioned earlier who even when given the tools will refuse to believe them. This could be because they have been raised in a negative environment or are so cynical that they are getting in their own way. Those are people I still try to help. Whether that is leaving a card for them when they are ready, or being an example of what it looks like to live life using the tools I put forth.
Let us all do our best to understand everyone is working towards a better life. Even those seemingly following the wrong path may just be misdirected or lacking hope and direction. When we understand that we are all doing the best we can it is far easier to approach others with compassion and a genuine desire to help.
Really? You are going to tell us there is even a third way to effortlessly have motivation handed to us on a silver platter? You bet I am! So we have a calendar daily, we check our email daily. What is one other thing we do on a daily basis? Ok, before you get to far off the subject or share things with me I do not want to know, let me just give you the answer I am looking for. Check our phones. A majority of the people reading this blog have smart phones. I am even told some of you read this blog on your smart phone. Besides complimenting you are your great choices let me tell you that you are knocking on the door to even more inspiration that you know. In addition to the amazing and sometimes even entertaining secret2anamazinglife.com website you are now reading there are lots of other great things you can receive on your phone. I find it funny a great deal of you probably have the game angry birds on your phone, but no inspirational apps. Yes, such a thing really does exist. Imagine waking up to a beautiful quote and picture first thing in the morning? Would that change your outlook on the day? Would it make the morning commute a little easier to take? It would certainly plant the seed of something great to think about as the boss is yelling at you in the middle of the day. Just don’t let him catch you looking at it or the situation could become very un inspirational. The point here is this, there are lots of apps one can find simply by checking out your phone’s browser. Some I found looking right now are ‘inspirational picture quotes’, ‘inspirational quotes to live by’ and ‘inspirational bible verses’. Now do understand I do not endorse any specific one of these. They just happen to be the first three that came up when I typed in the word inspiration into my app browser on my phone. just another tool that can feed you motivation with little or no effort on your part. For those of you without a smart phone, do not fear, the former two posts will provide you some good alternatives. So one time a day put down the angry bird and pick up some inspiration.