What Negative Thinking Guarantees

What negative thinking guarantees is a longer journey in the pursuit of solutions, answers, and remedies.

Have you ever known a pessimistic person to be immersed in enthusiasm and a positive outlook? Me either. In fact, the negativity that appears to reek from pessimists reminds me of static electricity—energy in the vicinity that gets encased and stuck in its sphere.

Negativity in a person tends to guarantee a toxic energy that breeds ill—physically and emotionally. Negative-focused persons have the appearance of mentally shackling the people around them into a mindset that diminishes any encouraging conditions in life. It’s all Armageddon to them.

Pessimists spend a good portion of time engaged in discussions on only what’s dreadful, what is deficient, and what is wicked in the world. Their focus tends to lack any concrete observations of what’s effective, what’s good, productive, and positive. If this describes you, allow me to stretch my hand out and shock you back into worthwhile thinking.

Imagine a planet where blame was missing. Picture a world absent of faultfinders and pessimists.

Now, try to be a part of creating that vision. Put down any doom and gloom binoculars. Stop peddling criticism. Stop the negative rehashing of the problems we face in this society.

The more we stop the blame and catastrophic views, the more of us there are available to focus on solutions, answers, and remedies. Blame keeps us glued to the dilemma instead of adhered to a resolution. Explanations keep us attached to the problem instead of fastened to improvements.

We all hold a position on this earth. And our positions are better served in discovering tonics for peace and understanding instead of judgment and condemnation.

In Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, Eric Hoffer wrote:

Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us.

 

the problem with religionThink about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

How To Stop Hate

Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-esteem and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. But organized hatred helps give new meaning to the lives of those who feel marginalized. That’s how one learns to hate.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith used the technology of motion pictures to make Birth of a Nation. This film prejudiceportrayed African-Americans as being stupid, lazy and inferior, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan for standing up for the rights of the white supremacy majority. It was so effective in fostering hate against African-Americans that even Griffith himself was said to have been shocked.

One hundred years later, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof, a Caucasian male, walked into a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17th with a mindset of hate. His reason for attending was to shoot and kill everyone there—all African-American’s. For an hour, Roof sat with the group and participated in their discussions about Scripture. Later, Roof told police he almost aborted his plan to kill the group because they were so welcoming and kind to him.

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast wrote:

But that would have meant giving up the hate that filled the hollowness of being born of a fleeting reunion between his parents three years after their divorce and of getting no further in high school than the ninth grade, but wearing a jacket with an “Academic All Stars” patch rightfully worn only by seniors in the top 10 percent. 

He had compensated for that false claim by sewing two other patches on the jacket, flags of apartheid-era Rhodesia and South Africa, symbols for those seeking another kind of supposed supremacy. 

And his older sister, Amber, was to be married on Sunday. To have just left the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Wednesday night would have meant going to the wedding at the end of the week as a rank loser from a fractured family who could rightly declare himself supreme in nothing at all.

Even so, Roof seems to have understood in his moments of indecision that these warmly devout people of the Bible study group were putting the lie to his racism. He may have sensed that the faith filling their lives might also fill his own.

After an hour, just as he was apparently losing his resolve and his hate was slipping away, Roof seized it anew. He allegedly produced the Glock .45 automatic that he is reported to have purchased with birthday money from his father.

That was when Tywanza Sanders is said to have told him, “You don’t have to do this.”

Roof is said to have replied as if he were also trying to convince himself. He was not some loser. He was a champion of the white race about to start a race war.

“I have to do it,” he reportedly cried out.

His next words were the language of white supremacists. “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not ordained to hate. Everybody is born to love—to love our Creator, to love ourselves and to love others.

IMG_2247It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also, and above all, our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

A zero self-love is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we, as a society reverse the hate, overturn the prejudice and embrace all human beings with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, then maybe the violence will rescind. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-esteem and self-respect are not extinguished.

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

The Problem With Religion

It was shocking. And for most Americans, it was unexpected. And then the problem with religion was on center stage.

On June 26, 2015, the SCOTUS, in a landmark decision ruled that same-sex marriages were legal. The hashtag #Love Wins flooded the internet, as did #Equality For All.

People were shown hugging one another with tears of joy. Now, for the first time ever, same-sex couples are protected under the Constitution from any bans that would deny them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

That’s how love won.

A paragraph of the majority opinion in the ruling authored by Justice Kennedy prompted comments from people on what they believed to be a beautiful, compassionate and romantic definition of marriage. An hour later, the paragraph had gone viral:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. —Justice Anthony Kennedy

Then the love that was won hit the wall.

The problem with religion was ablaze. Conservative Christians, some GOP leaders, and Presidential candidates disagreed, intensely, with the ruling.

Probably the most wigged-out reaction came from Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio. In just one paragraph, Fischer compared the ruling to slavery, 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Sodom and Gomorrah. A frenzied Fischer announced:

From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is the new 9/11, because it was on this day that five justices of the United States Supreme Court became moral jihadists, They became rainbow jihadists and they blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. And they did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny. Today, June 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy. On this day, the United States became Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yikes! That’s an offensive thing to say. That’s the problem with religion.

But Fisher was not the only conservative Christian who reacted with agony and sorrow at the prospect of gay marriage across the land. Indeed, there was a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

All of the nay-sayers seem to believe the institution of marriage is at stake. Their priority is to uphold this sacred union. This is God’s will. The Bible states marriage is between a man and a woman.

Now here is where this Bible-quoting loses credibility.

Divorce is against God’s will and against the teachings in the Bible. Having sex outside of marriage is also a big no-no according to Bible teachings. And living together in sin? A huge taboo in Scripture.

What’s the difference between these sins and the implied sin of same-sex marriage?

Can someone explain that to me?

I asked that question in a Facebook group that was declaring how America was on the verge of collapse and every American was going to hell because the ruling is against the inerrant word of the Bible. The group could not answer my question, but they did send me a short video of why they thought Obama is bad for America.

I moved on and had a three hour back and forth conversation on a Facebook group belonging to Fr. James Martin. Even with over 11,000 comments, no one could answer my question. That’s the problem with religion.

My point is there is no difference. Every sin is against the inerrant word of the Bible.

Divorce is against God’s will, and Christians get divorced all the time. There’s no revolt about that sin. Christians have premarital sex and cohabitate outside of marriage. That’s a sin in the Bible. Where’s the protest about that to the Supreme Court? Why is that seemingly tolerated with little objection, but same-sex marriage qualifies for continued flogging and imprisonment?

That’s such hypocrisy and that’s the problem with religion!

God is love. As followers, we are to love one another. Why is that so difficult? We are all created equal in the eyes of God, but that equality is blurred by many so-called Christians who believe themselves superior.

It reminds me of the dogmatic practices and beliefs of the Pharisees. They were so blinded by greed and power, that they missed the possibility that the Messiah could be the humility and grace in a man called Jesus.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

Why You Should Choose Yourself First

Choose yourself first. Sounds selfish, doesn’t it?

Reminds me of a kid in school when I was growing up. He would always run to be the first in line, or to grab the best seat or the favorite swing. Encompassed by his amusement of being faster than everyone else, he was oblivious to our chagrin.

Choose yourself first.

Brian Tracy says, If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.

Self-development. Choose yourself first.

Consider this. I don’t know any happy and prosperous people with a self-contempt attitude toward themselves. I don’t know any happy and successful persons with bruises from beating themselves up over mistakes and setbacks. The happy and successful people I know hold a humble confidence in themselves. A determination. That’s self-development.

belief28They’ve spent time in their backyard and faced any personal obstacles or demons in their thought process that could block their goals. They’ve examined any feelings of inadequacy and shortcomings that would prevent their confidence. They learned their weaknesses and managed them rather than excuse them or blame someone else for their existence. That’s self-development. Taking care of business with yourself, ahead of any pursuits. Choose yourself first.

Could you prosper from self-development? Would you benefit from looking for any flaws in your attitude? Can you see areas where being stubborn is holding you back? Do you notice any control tendencies in yourself? Or are you experiencing negative self-talk, those conversations in your head where you degrade yourself? Are there areas in your thought process that could be changed so happiness and success can arrive?

It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that 218e76ad-5533-45f5-9a64-b28209648cef-mediumdetermines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.Anthony Robbins

Choose yourself first.

Where are you today in your self-development? Don’t allow regrets of yesterday to undermine the success you can obtain and the happiness you can have today. You deserve every joy in life. If you struggle to believe that, then the regrets and failures of yesterday are imprisoning you today in a confinement of self-contempt.

Choose today to banish from your mind any self-degrading thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Work on yourself first. Then your energy and attention are free to focus on a happy and prosperous destiny. Choose yourself first.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

How Large Is Infinity?

Playing outside every day was a typical routine in my childhood. I remember my best friend, Susie, and I would lay on our backs in the grass and stare up at the billowed puffs of clouds in the sky. An elephant or a turtle or a dog were not uncommon IMG_2244creations formed by the moving white plumes.

It’s a small world when you’re a child.

Although I’m much, much older, I’m way behind the field of astronomy. There are many new or additional discoveries. I confess I’ve remained naive about complex astrophysical concepts. (You can read about that ( here.)

In a video, I watched Neil deGrasse Tyson explain the entire universe, from inception to now, in eight minutes (watch it here).

I see no other possible reaction to this video than jaw-dropping awe and a trance-like state as observed in the walkers in The Walking Dead.

I don’t think I have an education high enough to understand this. How did everything in the universe (including humans), for reasons not completely understood come into existence out of randomness, chaos, accident, and good timing?

IMG_0695This revelation left my face in a blank stare, mostly like my Physical Science class did. The analytics in my brain was in a scramble to find at least one brain cell up to the challenge of understanding this. No go. I got nothing. It’s beyond me.

All I can think of is that “randomness, chaos, accident, and good timing,” describe most of the events in my life. Maybe, that’s the point.

As large as the world is, though, it’s a small world wherever we are. A tiny pinpoint on the globe not visible from space, yet it’s all any of us needs. Our homes. It’s where love dwells. It’s here we raise our children, grow our gardens, and have family barbeques on the deck.

At night, we gather around the fire, look up and stare at the stars like it’s a drive-in movie. The vast blackness speckled with flickering lights filled with complex astrophysical concepts. Honey, did I ever tell you how all of us are stardust?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

You Are The Difference

Someone once said:
The highest reward in life is not what you get from it, but what you become by it.

You are capable of doing something that makes a huge difference in this world every day, HUGE! Do you believe it? It’s true.

Your caring attitude, your kindness, your respect for yourself and life makes a difference not only in the lives of the people who cross your path but also makes a difference within you.

No one can be exactly like you. No one will make a difference exactly like you will.

We have significant challenges as adults on this planet. Many people believe themselves too inadequate to make a difference or too flawed to contribute. Great things are rarely done by high intelligence or great ability, but by average folks with great hearts who care.

11146234_892893444102272_2153184672065849917_nI promise, you will make a difference in the lives of everyone you come into contact with every single day. It will be either a positive difference or a negative one. It will be one of encouragement or of dismissal; kindness or cruelty; respect or rejection. Which difference will you make?

American social critic and scholar of education, Edgar Z. Friedenberg said:
What we must decide is how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.

When we explore our personality and characteristics for positive features and skills, it can be a bit awkward. We do the world a service when we recognize how we are valuable in any scenario of need.

What we can give is more important than why we can provide it.

Sharing particular talents with a community or volunteer organization goes a long way to better the world. Even if that’s not what you can commit to, it will make a difference, and it takes no time from your schedule to smile and be pleasant to people you see each day.

Author of Think Great, Lailah Gifty Akita, wrote:
Encouragement is life. Many people would have given up in life without encouragement. May your words be gracious to those who hear it.

Words have no price tag. It doesn’t cost a penny to speak. But the impact of what you say holds life-altering power.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

How To Be A Jerk

Being a jerk is expensive—there’s a price to pay for the title. The cost is a lifetime of frequent visits to unemployment because it’s irritating to hold a job when you’re a jerk. Nurturing a love relationship when a jerk is involved probably isn’t going to transpire so plan on the cost of many breakups. Friends? Name one jerk who has true-blue buddies? None. Another cost. But, jerks have the knack of surviving anything, because, well, they’re jerks.

If your objective in life is to be a jerk, you will want to incorporate the following traits of jerks into your daily life.

1. Jerks display superiority. Your ego is your realm. You are a King. Think Game of Thrones, think King Joffrey. Attain your dominance over others: degrade them in public, talk about their mistakes, criticize their efforts. Don’t offer to help other people. You’re the “i” that’s not in the word: team.

2. Jerks use sarcasm. Forget kindness and respect. Use rudeness. Ignore people. Use the silent treatment. Show no courtesy, no gratitude. Be mean and belittling, and then say with a laugh, just kidding.

3. Jerks show prejudice. You feel justified to have bias opinions about current topics: guns, violence, politics, race, police, riots, military, coups, terror—you know what’s going on, and you know how to fix each situation. You express intolerance on the internet, in the elevator, in a bar, walking down the street, to the cab driver—everywhere. You’re the one who’s right so your opinions and solutions should be trending.

4. Jerks demand special privileges. You feel entitled to cut in line, smoke in the plane restroom, and cut people off on the road. Rules and laws are for other people. You always speed. You disrespect the requests or rights of other people. You insist on the best seat, the best table, the best service; otherwise you make a scene like a dragon.

5. Jerks use intimidation. Bully. Threaten. Scare people. Don’t they know you’re better than they are? Take credit for the work, ideas, and actions of other people to gain recognition. Lie. Blame.

In addition to global warming, animal extinctions, GMO’s, hunger, disease, and war that threatens our planet, we need to consider another risk, another danger: Jerks.

We need the world without jerks, please.

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Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Listen Up!

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey tells of a father who came to him saying, “I can’t understand my kid. He just won’t listen to me.” Covey patiently tried to get the dad to see the inconsistency of his statement. You don’t understand people by getting them to listen to you. You understand them when you listen to what they’re saying.

charlie brown listen

Is anyone listening?

It’s true that our high-tech, fast-paced society seems to provide less time to listen to one another. Everyone is in a hurry, no one has time, but the need for communication and connection is more important than ever. Relationships at work and at home cannot thrive or survive without mutual communication. It’s imperative that we stop and listen up!

Have you ever jumped to understand a person’s disagreeing view? That’s not the first move of most people in conversation. People usually jump to judge, to argue, to reject, or to debate, but to understand? That’s a minority of people.

But we can change that.

When we listen to another person, we can refuse to be distracted by our own opinions and biases that prompt us to interrupt and disagree. We can accept that listening to a differing view is not going to cause the veins in our foreheads to explode. It’s only fair that if we want our point to be understood, we need to practice understanding the point of others. If a person speaks about a different view about something, we can ask why he or she believes that different view. We can ask, “Why do you believe that?” We can say, “Tell me how you came to that conclusion (or opinion, or position).”

listen

We could listen to what people say, and not to what we want to hear. We could listen to their choice of words, not what we want them to say. We Could listen to their values, their complaints, their priorities, their outlook, and how they speak about other people because that will reveal to us who that person is. So pay attention, put down any distractions, look at the person speaking, and listen.

To avoid the impulse to finish the sentences of a person who speaks slower is often a tussle. This is a test of patience. And another impulse to avoid is planning what to say next when we should be listening. Also don’t interrupt the person talking, or take calls, or look at your phone (or TV), or wave to someone you know, or stare at the floor or out the window, all of which convey that the person talking is a bother to you, and not important.

Look at the person talking, without distraction. Practice listening with the intent to understand. This earns the respect of others. And this will provide information about the person speaking.

A good listener is a respected trait.

IMG_0198Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

The Traits of Toxic People

What is this mysterious crowd of individuals we hear about called toxic people? And why are they toxic?

The personalities of toxic people are prone to contain traits found in codependency—they seek to control people for their personal gain. Their thought process tends to be subjective and narcissistic, and their behavior is chronically taxing and frustrating.

The agenda for most toxic people is to take advantage of others. They are masterstoxic people2 of control—not a psychologically healthy self-control, but the psychologically unhealthy dominating control of others. They use people.

Toxic people can appear to care about you, but typically the goodwill is not genuine, it’s a front, a scam. They resist supporting your goals for personal development because they want your time and attention on their needs and their agenda. By manipulating you, they lead you away from your pursuits and manipulate your devotion to theirs.

toxic people1Dr. Travis Bradberry states: Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. (read Dr. Bradberry’s article here)

You probably know some toxic people—they might be co-workers, they might even be friends, odds are you have a toxic person in your family, or you might live with someone toxic.

Toxic people are sly. They edge their way into your life, and before you know it, they’re creating chaos and drafting you into their woes and problems. Toxic individuals are exhausting to be around, and they can have a negative impact on your career and personal goals in life.

The distractions and stress that toxic people bring into your life are usually costly. Most mental health clinicians would recommend ending relationships with a toxic person for your well being. You deserve to have genuine friends and loved ones who value you without selfish motives.

Alexendra Palmer states: Detoxing makes you feel lighter, happier and healthier. Doing a food detox is easy, but what about getting rid of toxic people? (You can read Alexendra Palmer’s 5 Ways Your Life Will Improve After You Purge It Of Toxic People here.)

The sooner you remove toxic people from your life, the better.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Is Self-Pity Wrong?

Who is to blame for the dire circumstances of your life?

American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.

But wait, I think self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. God knows I have visited self-solace many times in my life.

Self-solace is where acceptance of reality creeps into us in amounts we can handle. If we didn’t have these periods of self-solace that enable us to come to terms with the unfairness of life, I dread the thought of damage it could do to our mental health.

However, when we get wrapped up in our misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of our lives, then we are no longer healing—we are feeling sorry for ourselves, and that adds to the problem.

11255216_10153260316333908_4245992246248920802_nSoon a sense of entitlement arrives—we may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what we endured. Unhappy comments can often be said to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to us. In no time we could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks from us and our healing is kept away.

Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may not have been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap.

Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted