Keys To Happiness #5

Do you want to be happy? Then value the struggle. And what I mean by valuing the struggle is that to be truly happy, you have to appreciate the hard times for the challenges and opportunities they represent.

We don’t learn in the fun and easy times. We learn the big lessons of life in the struggles. We learn how to handle adversity, which prepares us for future challenges. We learn perseverance, which is necessary for real success. Authentic success doesn’t just land in our laps one day. Authentic success happens AFTER we refuse to give up, AFTER we press through difficulties, and AFTER we decide not to be offended by every petty thing (the petty things are those things that often distract us from what we know we need to do in order to succeed. Don’t allow distractions on your way to fulfillment of your purpose—a.k.a. your real success).

Ask any truly successful person, and he or she will tell you that the challenges they faced were actually opportunities in disguise. For me, having my pay cut by 40% in one day was a terrifying challenge because I was a single mom with no family, no money, and no safety net. But if that hadn’t happened, my ingrained loyalty probably would have kept me from leaving that job to start my own business.  The business that was born out of that struggle was the only insurance organization in the United States that was dedicated solely to protecting the good people and organizations that protect kids who have been abused. Through that business we helped put millions of dollars that were previously spent on insurance, back into the budgets of the child welfare organizations we protected.

That one challenge (and there were many), became a turning point in my life, which put me on the path toward fulfillment of the purpose for my life. After I understood that the struggle had become extremely valuable, I was actually grateful for having experienced it (…yes after—a good while after).

What are your struggles? What have you learned through those adversities? The lessons you mine from the adversities you face are precisely the assets you need to find and fulfill your real success.

Check back for more happiness tips.

 

rhonda-sciortino About the author:  Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

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The Top 2 Causes of Tragedy With Children And How YOU Can Prevent Them

Originally published by Fostering Families Today Magazine September/October 2017 www.fosteringfamiliestoday.com

The good that came out of all that tragedy, if there is any good that can be mined out of it, is that we learned an awful lot about how kids and caregivers get injured or killed in out-of-home placement. We learned that there are two root causes in almost every tragedy. Firsts, there are what I call “relationship failures,” and the second root cause is “interruption in routine.”

Relationship failures are by far the number one root cause of injury or death in foster care. It’s not difficult for child welfare professionals to imagine where this starts. They know intimately  the inherent problems of caring for kids who have been traumatized by abandonment, neglect, and abuse. Anyone who has been involved in foster care for any length of time knows that trying to care for wounded children is like trying to pour water into a bucket that has holes in the bottom. Simply put, traumatized kids need more than any one person is able to give.

On the surface of an incident, it may appear that the injury or death was the result of an accident. The accident, vehicle or otherwise, is the direct cause of tragedy, but the root cause may go back to the argument that was happening in the vehicle right before the accident. Or it might go back to the disagreement at the breakfast table an hour earlier, or the incident that happened at school the day before that resulted in detention at school that put the foster parent on the road during a heavier trafficked time of day. Or the fact that the bio kids of the foster family were signed up for soccer, but the foster child was not.

When we look deeper at the details and step back through the circumstances preceding tragedy, we nearly always find a breakdown in relationship—usually between foster parent and foster child, but sometimes it’s between bio child and foster child or foster child and an extended family member, friend, or neighbor.

I’m not a psychologist or some kind of expert in the area of human relationships, but having been in the child welfare system, and in seeing far too much of what can go wrong in foster care, I’ve gained some insight into this subject. In my opinion, failures in relationship can be minimized by caregivers doing a few simple things:

  1. From the first moment that you meet your new foster child, and in every conversation from that point on, tell the child that you care about him or her, that you want him or her to feel safe with you, and that every “rule” or “healthy boundary” that you establish is for him or her to have a good life.
  2. Be patient. Be calm. Breathe. Take care of yourself. You can’t take care of anyone else if you’re exhausted, frustrated, or in poor health. Self-care and healthy coping mechanisms are critical to creating a successful life for yourself, your family, and everyone within your care and influence. When you take care of yourself and encourage others to take care of themselves, you are modeling good self-care.
  3. Understand that you are not solely responsible for the outcome of the young person in your care. You are responsible to protect, defend, and care for the child as if he or she were your own for the time (regardless of length of time) that the child is in your care. In other words, do your best and then trust that the seeds of goodness that you plant will take root.

The second root cause of tragedy is interruption in routine, such as a neighborhood potluck, a family reunion, a party, moving day, a family vacation, etc.  Avoiding tragedy that results from an interruption in routine, is relatively straight-forward. Simply knowing that the risk is greater during these times, allows you to plan accordingly. One of the things you can do is to ask other adults to help you keep an eye on the children so that someone is always specifically responsible for their whereabouts and activity. Or you can arrange for make arrangements for respite care in advance.

To improve your experience of parenting, and the experience of everyone involved, adopt the mantra of, “I care about you. I want to keep you safe. I want to prepare you to create a good life for yourself from today forward.” If you say this clearly and succinctly and often, with sincerity, everyone in your life will know, without doubt, that this is the reason you’re doing foster care, that this is what you stand for, and that every word you speak and action you take is for this one purpose. Once everyone in your life understands this, you will have significantly reduced the risk of tragedy in your home, and made it easier to defend yourself in the event that something outside of your control does happen.

 

Rhonda Sciortino is one of the estimated 12 million former foster kids in the US. She is founder and chairperson of Successful Survivors Foundation, a non-profit organization created to help survivors of trauma create personal and professional success.  She has authored 6 books, and her seventh, Acts Of Kindness, 101 Ways To Make The World A Better Place is scheduled for release November 18th. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Core Financial Skills Young Adults Need

By Josh Wilson, a new and upcoming blogger who just started Family Faith Finance. Feel free to check out his blog and learn more about his journey through life, or follow him on twitter: @famfaithfinance!

Since none of us were born with the know-how to handle our own finances, it’s important to learn the skills over time. Unfortunately, more often than not, young people learn about the finances the hard way. Lately, this even involves moving back home after college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt or credit card debt. A recent study found that 47.60% of Millennials carry a credit card balance from month to month. However, the same study found that 44.60% of these Millennials didn’t know the interest rate that they are being charged!

A few basic things that every young adult should learn includes basic budgeting, bank account information, wants versus needs, knowing when and how to save, knowing how to develop a credit history, and knowing when to ask for help.

Basic Budgeting for Young Adults

Knowing how to plan and maintain a monthly budget is the foundation for financial health. A budget is simply a way to understand how money comes in and how it goes out. There are apps like BillGuard, Dollarbird, and Fudget to track on your phone so your budget can work with your schedule.

In addition, when building a budget online or with pen and paper, the main aspect within a budget is to know the difference between needs and wants. This means prioritizing a budget, which will include groceries, mortgage, vehicle, and so on, followed by cable bills or other fun items. When money’s tight though, fun can wait.

Bank Account Basics for Young Adults

Most Millenials rarely write a check and even more are already leaving home or college with credit card debt. With that in mind, there are some banking basics that should be followed to avoid overdraft fees, annual fees, or ATM service fees, which can all be avoided. Essentially, this means keeping up with your day-to-day account at the ATM or with a mobile app.

Knowing How to Save For Emergencies

Beyond the basics of budgeting and understanding bank accounts 101, the next major step is to start a savings account for emergencies. Many young people have a natural, subconscious attitude that they’ll live forever so they ignore the present in terms of saving for the future. However, it’s vital to start saving right away.

The best way for a young person to start saving money is to take some time to do a proper budget and then set up an automatic savings transfer so the money can’t be spent in the first place. For those young adults with jobs who offer a 401(k), this is another option that should be used.

Developing a Positive Credit History

Once a budget and savings account have been set up, it’s time to consider a positive credit history, as it’s never too early to start. For young people, this could mean starting as a co-signer, getting a college credit card, or even getting a secured credit card, to teach responsibility while also helping to build credit.

It’s also important to know what counts as good credit history. Since a family’s mortgage counts for credit, many young people may assume that apartment rent also counts for credit, but that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, there’s more ways to acquire bad credit than good credit.

Knowing When to Ask For Help

Since nothing in life is guaranteed, it’s important for young people to know when they get in over their head. This means starting to build credit and save money at an early age, with the goal being a major purchase such as home ownership. Another unfortunate truth is that mistakes in youth can hurt you much later in life.

If a young adult makes a major financial mistake, it’s important that they ask for help right away. Some mistakes are going to be larger than others, like a car lease with no job, for example, but it’s best to seek help right away, regardless. If parents can’t help, a Credit Counselor or Student Loan Counselor may be able to provide advice.

Preparing For the Future Today

All in all, it’s best for young people to start budgeting at an early age and getting familiar with their needs and wants. Some young people may feel that their phone or tablet is a necessity, but it doesn’t come in the first few needs for daily life. For those who seek help, there are apps and websites that can provide advice.

Once a basic budget has been planned out, it’s time to save for emergencies and start building good credit. This might mean setting up an automatic savings deposit and also getting a first credit card and using it for rewards, while also always remembering to pay it off on time.

Finally, if you feel like you’re getting over your head, ask for help from people who understand your situation and then look for a counselor for specific advice.

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Broken? Yes. Too Broken To Be Fixed? NEVER!

Everyone has felt unloved or unwanted (or both) at one time or another. Someone leaves (through choice, incapacitation, or death), a relationship ends, and our hearts break. For some of us, it’s more than our hearts that break. For those who had fragile self-esteem before the heartbreak, we feel irreparably damaged.

For those of us who were wounded by the people who brought us into this world, and who should have protected us, we add to that irreparable brokenness a sense of being unworthy of love or any other good thing—ever.

If we’re resilient enough, we keep our heads down, work harder than the average person in order to earn acceptance, and try not to draw any attention to our broken, unworthy, unlovable, stupid, ugly [add your own adjectives here] selves.

We adapt, adjust, we get by, and we work really, REALLY hard to “act normal” and not let anyone see how wounded we really are… that is until we meet Jesus. When a broken person discovers that there is a God Who calls Himself “Love” and Who knows all about our brokenness yet loves us anyway, healing of the soul begins to take place.

As if that weren’t enough, this God called “Love” adopts us into His own family, gives us His name, and surprises us with the fabulous news that there is actually a good plan for our lives, a plan for which we were perfectly created and equipped.

This all sounds great until we remember the stupid decisions we’ve made, the really wrong, ugly things we’ve done, and the terrible places we’ve been. All the “good plan stuff” sounds great until we come to our senses and recall that we’re living in the consequences of all the yuck that happened before this great news. How in the world could there be any recovering from all this? There’s too much water under the bridge. That’s when He promises to work everything that’s happened to us together for our good. It sounds too good to be true.

I never believe “too good to be true,” except in this case. There’s only upside. There’s no downside. What do I have to lose by clinging to the muck of my former life. What would it hurt to dare to believe this fantasy for a while? I could always go back to the muck. The muck will always be there. If God, Who calls Himself “Love” wants to take all my broken pieces and put them together in such a way that I’m happier than I’ve ever been or ever thought I could be, what the heck?! What do I have to lose? Who wouldn’t want that?

It turns out that the way that God works all things together for our good is by developing in us character traits and coping mechanisms that help us get through tough times. It turns out that we don’t learn courage, tenacity, and determination during the good times. Those, and many more, valuable characteristics are learned in the painful times. What we learn in tough times is precisely what we need to find and fulfill His awesome plans for our lives.

I made the decision to become a Christian many years ago, and what do I have to show for it? I have an amazing life. Truly. There’s not a smidgeon of muck. If I told you how good my life is now, you’d think I was lying, bragging, or delusional. I’m grateful that I took a “flyer” on this God called Love. Now I’m spending every day of the rest of the time I have on earth trying to show others how to get rid of the muck, because the awesome news is that this same offer is available to anyone who will take Him up on it. There’s a good plan for everyone, regardless of where you’ve been or what you’ve done. In fact, the fulfillment of the good plan will be done because of what you’ve been through!

 

 rhonda-sciortinoAbout the author:  Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

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Keys To Happiness #4

Quit getting offended. Period. And what I mean by be getting offended allowing yourself to feel hurt or anger because of what someone else says or does.

Until you learn this one important thing, you will live your life feeling beaten and bruised by the rude comments and inconsiderate actions of others. (And if you think that you’re going to be sure to surround yourself only by people who would never be mean, or you think you’re going to be able change someone, you’re living in lalaland. Even the most awesome of people can get cranky, short-tempered, and downright rude.) When you learn how to choose not to take offense, your happiness will be protected and will be far more consistent.

You may not be aware of it, but you have the power to protect yourself by guarding your happiness. Here are some quick ideas for HOW to avoid taking offense:

  • Think of offense like a big beach ball. When it flies your way, just push it away. Whatever you do, don’t “take it” and continue to embrace it. GET RID OF IT.
  • Learn to find contentment in what YOU think of your awesome self rather than through what others think of you
  • Think of your feelings as puppet strings. One string is “hurt,” another is “anger,” others are “joy,” “contentment,” “approval,” etc.  DON’T GIVE ANYONE THE POWER TO YANK YOUR STRINGS. You are not a puppet. 
  • Only the most trusted of people should have access to the strings that control your emotions. When you give someone the power to make you feel content, they also have the power to make you feel hurt. This is why it’s important not to make your self- esteem contingent on the approval of others, because when you do that, your self esteem will tank when that approval is withdrawn.

It’s an enormous undertaking to decide not to take offense, but it can be done. And the sooner you decide to do it, the better off you’ll be.

No offense = increased happiness = better life.

Check back for more happiness tips.

 

About the author:  Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

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Essential Money Lessons To Teach Your Children

Parents teach their children many things, but something that seems to slip through the cracks is the lesson about money. This mistake is easy to make; sometimes, money is the last thing anyone wants to talk about at the end of the day. However, children take in lessons about many things including money every day on their own. If you don’t teach them accordingly, then they may develop the wrong habits.

If you’re thoughtful about teaching your kids about money, then you are doing them a huge favor.

This is an important topic. I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard from people that they learned more about money from their parents. They say this because they are probably experiencing the servitude that is the cycle of debt by living paycheck to paycheck. It’s a difficult place to be financially, but it can be avoided with the proper upbringing.

Start Them Young

Start the kids young. It’s never too early to learn about saving money and managing it. Kindergarten is perfect because that’s the year they start learning how to count money. Unfortunately, counting money is about as far as the school curriculum goes in the way of money management. At home, you can:

  1. Teach them how to save money in a clear jar. This gives them a visual of the money piling up. We’re humans and we like to have a lot of something, especially when we’re kids. They’ll get excited when they see the jar filling.
  1. Teach them out in the field. In other words, cut expenses where they need to be cut so your child doesn’t see you swiping a credit card every time you go to the grocery store. They see this and then hear the money arguments happening later. When you cut expenses and save money so you can pay cash, the arguments are less likely to happen and the kids are more likely to notice that you are paying your money rather than borrowed money.
  1. Make sure they understand that practically everything costs money. If they want a toy, take the cost out of the money jar and show them how the quantity goes down. That puts things into perspective.

Make Them Work for It

When you feel your children are old enough to do chores, pay them. Don’t give them money for no reason. Instead, make them earn it so they understand the value of money. It doesn’t grow on trees!

Kids also need to make choices. If they buy the one thing they want, they won’t be able to afford the other. They have to understand that their decisions have consequences; otherwise, they are going to grow up without a proper idea of money and work.

Put It in the Bank 

Many banks nowadays will open savings accounts for children to help teach them the value of saving money. This should be done when the clear money jar has run its course and the child can understand bank account balances. When they are teenagers, it’s time to make them responsible for that bank account.

It’s good for you to guide them through the management of this account because they see the balance and they want everything in the world. However, the lessons about consequences should kick in and help them exercise restraint.

Preparing for Future Debt

Another important lesson is that kids must understand the debt they’ll be dealing with in the future. As soon as your child turns 18, the credit card companies know it. Offers will start appearing in their email and through postal mail. The temptation is real, and it is difficult to deal with. Also, they’ll be going to college soon which usually means they’ll take on student debt. Without proper knowledge such as knowing the difference between a private and federal student loan, they are more susceptible to malpractice.

If children don’t learn early enough, they are more likely to become victims of the downward spiral of debt. Once it starts, it is hard to stop. Think of it this way. You don’t want them learning about money management from repeated debt collector calls, negative bank account balances, defaulted student loans, and the credit counselor meeting that happens prior to bankruptcy.

A Little Time Goes a Long Way

When you invest your time in their financial future, your children are more likely to understand how their money needs to be managed. These lessons can help a great deal.

If you teach the kids about money now, they will have very few or no money regrets in their future.

If you’ve enjoyed this guest blog, please share it with your friends. More articles to help you improve your life will follow!  Jacob is a personal finance blogger over at Dollar Diligence. Follow him for more advice on making and saving money @DollarDiligence.

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Keys To Happiness #3

Do you want to be happy?  If the answer is yes, then identify your passion and then do it, enjoy it, LIVE IT!  And what I mean by identify your passion is figure out what you really care about, what you really enjoy, find that thing that makes you feel totally alive and energized. You may have to learn by trial and error. For example, I learned the hard way that I am not good at accounting. I’m not great at working in the church nursery. I just can’t get passionate about anything that involves details and requires attention to detail. A big, fat, clue to what is NOT your passion is how you feel while and after you’re doing it. If you get a headache every time you do something, it’s probably not your passion.

When you find your passion (or stumble upon it like most of us do), you’ll be so engaged in it that you’ll lose track of time. You may forget to eat. When you find your passion, the challenges you face will fade into the background. It doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but they are no longer the most important thing. You can face those challenge with renewed energy and new creativity after you’ve spent time in your passion. In other words, the challenges are no longer your main focus. Finding your passion truly is the key to finding your happiness.

Finding and living in your passion doesn’t mean that nothing is every going to go wrong. Of course, stuff still happens. And life isn’t perfect. But once you know what you’re passionate about, you can go to it when the challenges get too big.

For some people, their passion is connected to artistic expression like painting, sculpting, dance, etc.  For others it’s cooking, gardening, creating computer code, or working on a complicated mathematics problem. Everyone is wired differently and beautifully, and within all that wiring and woven-in strengths, talents, abilities, and learned skills are unique passions. THIS is where we flow. This is where we shine. This is where we find and fulfill the good purposes for which we were born and perfectly matched. This is where our authentic happiness and REAL SUCCESS can be found.

My hope for you is that you find your passion, because when you do, you’ll find the source of your positivity. You’ll know you’re valuable and worthy. You’ll be actualizing, which leads to a sense of happiness and satisfaction that cannot be attained any other way.

Check back for more happiness tips.

 

About the author:  Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

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Keys To Happiness #2

Do you want to be happy? Some people complain so much about all that is wrong and all they don’t have, that I sometimes wonder if the act of complaining meets some need inside them. Or if having others listen to their complaints making them the center of attention is what they’re truly after. If either or both of those is true, then their bar for happiness is set very low. How sad.

Happiness Tip #2:  Be grateful. Period. And what I mean by be grateful is intentionally think about the fact that you have air in your lungs, you have a brain that functions well enough to see this, you have eyes that are reading this…you get the idea. Being grateful is an intentional action. It’s not passive. I suppose some people are naturally grateful, but most are not. In our culture especially, with marketing constantly barraging us with advertisements for things we aren’t supposed to be able to live without or that we’re a loser if we don’t have, it sometimes requires great effort to be grateful for what we have without the vague sense that we aren’t supposed to be whole or happy without the subjects of those advertisements.

I’m all for achievement and goal attainment, but if you don’t stop to recognize and celebrate what you have, what you’ve already achieved, and what you’ve already acquired (both the tangible material things and the priceless intangibles like good relationships with good people and good health), you’ll find yourself on a hamster wheel of living for the next goal or acquisition. The problem with that is that it never ends. There will always be another goal, the next acquisition, and the next challenge to overcome.

To pause the non-stop roller coaster of goal attainment, create a “reset” for yourself. STOP for a moment. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes.  Notice that you are able to continue breathing without a new car, bigger house, that new outfit, or whatever it is that’s the subject of the most recent thing that you feel is a condition to true happiness. When your mind starts to wander to what you think you must have, notice that thought and then refocus on your breathing. Think of the many things you can be grateful for. Focus for a second or two on each thing before going on to the next. The highest value items on this list should be those that have a heartbeat.

Think of being grateful as a verb. It must be actively done. Generate gratitude for the priceless things that cannot be bought like good relationships with good people and good health. Make gratitude a goal to achieve.

You may be surprised at how much happier you will be when you have a sense of gratitude—gratitude to be alive, gratitude that you can see, can read, can get around, etc. The feeling of gratitude with increase your positivity, and positivity will increase your happiness. And when you’re happy, you model for others how to be happy.

Check back for more happiness tips.

 

Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

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There’s a lot of talk about positivity and happiness these days. There are books and documentaries about it. Research has been done on it. There are even doctoral degree programs popping up in the areas of positivity.

The license plate on my car since 1986 has been a derivative of “Being Positive.” I chose “being” rather than “be” because I wanted to encourage people to make the effort required in being positive. In a world where societal ills are constantly blasted at us on a 24/7 news cycle through radio, TV, internet, and social networking, there is a natural tendency toward negativity. In fact, the percentage of Americans taking some form of anti-depressant is supporting evidence of a prevalence of negativity. Therefore, a herculean effort is necessary to choose positivity.

Positivity is possible, but for the overwhelming majority of us, it doesn’t come naturally. What most articles and books on happiness and positivity talk about are attitudes, which is extremely helpful, but where they seem to stop is in the basic “how-to” of daily life. Having spent decades making the effort to attain happiness through positivity, I have some basic tips for anyone who is serious about doing what’s necessary to being happy.

Happiness Tip #1

Don’t gossip. Period. And what I mean by gossip is talking about someone who is not in the room and who has not given you express permission to speak to others about him or her. The ONLY exception to this is when an intervention is needed for the person’s own good. And even then the conversation should only be had with someone who is able to DO SOMETHING about the problem.

Don’t talk about someone behind their back under the thinly veiled disguise of asking for prayer for that person or because you are concerned about them. If you want to ask someone to pray for someone else, just ask them to pray. If you’re worried about someone else, pray for them, offer that person your assistance or a listening ear, then keep their confidence as though your life depended on it.

Don’t share what you know about other people’s business unless they have given you express permission to do so. If someone confided in you that he is having financial trouble, or conversely, that he just won the lottery, keep it in confidence. Without permission, it is NOT okay to tell others what’s been told to you, whether it’s good, bad, or neutral. If it’s bad, it’s definitely gossip, and gossip is wrong, always. If it’s good, don’t steal the other person’s big moment by revealing the great news before they’re ready. Consider also that some people may not want to tell everyone what just happened. In the analogy of winning the lottery, some people wouldn’t want the unsolicited requests that inevitably accompany a windfall.

It is not gossip to praise someone or to recognize and celebrate their character or accomplishments with others. Feel free to do that. In fact, the more of that in our culture, the better.

Psychology tells us that behavior that is recognized and rewarded is repeated. In other words, when we “catch people” doing something good and let them know that we value and appreciate what they did, and then tell others about the good that person is doing, that person (and everyone in our influence) is more likely to repeat the recognized good behavior.  In business, we say that, “what gets measured, gets done.” In other words, when people know that we are paying attention to their good character and their good deeds, they are more likely to do good deeds that show their good character traits.

So, the first step in being more positive and enjoying more happiness, is to eliminate gossip and other negative talk from our lives. Determine to replace those conversations with talk of “catching people” doing good. Watch for acts of kindness by people in our lives, by people with whom we interact, by total strangers, and by the people we hear about who are doing good in the world (you have to actively watch and listen for bright spots in the torrent of bad news).  In so doing we’ll be eliminating the negativity and increasing the positivity in our lives, and thereby increasing our happiness and the happiness of others. Increased positivity = increased happiness = better world.

Check back for more happiness tips.

 

About the author:  Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected].  

 

 

 

Posted on by Rhonda | Comments Off on Keys To Happiness #1

Who Will Hold Your Hand?

I’ve been with several people in their last hours of life. I’ve watched a young mother say goodbye to her two young children. I’ve watched an elderly lady ease into the sleep that she looked forward to for relief of her chronic pain. I’ve watched a dying man perk up and start talking with invisible people who had been dead for years. I assumed that they were the welcoming committee to ease him into eternity. I stopped by to say hello to someone I did business with, only to find him on the floor gasping for air. After I dialed 9-1-1, I put my jacket under his head, held his hand, and held eye contact with him until his spirit left his body. I held my grandmother in my arms and felt her take her last breath. And I whispered a song into the ear of my best friend as she lay dying.

One thing all these people had in common was that none of them would likely have been able to predict who would be there to hold their hands in their last hours on earth.

The young mother slipped into eternity in the peaceful presence of her father- in-law who sat at her bedside praying for her for hours. Think of that. Many people had streamed in and out of her hospital room, some of them staying by her side for hours. But it was as if she waited for those closest to her to go down to the cafeteria before she breathed her last. Her father-in-law wasn’t there when she was born. He didn’t know her when she was a little girl or even when she was a teenager. She met him for the first time in her twenties. Little did she know when she first met him, that this gentle soul would be there for her in a way that her own father, who had left when she was a little girl, never was.

The elderly lady who hoped for relief from her chronic pain was accompanied by the son whom she had left at age 14 to care for his two younger siblings when she left them all to be with a man who didn’t want children. Despite the fact that she had left her children homeless, hungry, and alone many years before, her oldest son, now a father and grandfather himself, was there with her, making sure she was well cared for by the hospital staff. It was that boy she abandoned who refused to abandon her, who held her hand as she slipped into eternity.

The dying man who perked up as though old friends had walked into the room, was a fragile, old man, scared about what lay beyond this life because he hadn’t been a very nice guy. In his last hours, he accepted the forgiveness of Jesus, and slipped out of this life holding the hand of the child he had abused throughout her entire childhood.

My colleague died holding the hand of a client he barely knew. My grandmother died in the arms of the child she had beaten and burned. And my friend was sung to by an outcast she had befriended when few others would.

All of this makes me wonder who will hold my hand in my last hours. Who will hold your hand? Will it be someone you least expect? Someone you barely know? Or will it be someone into whose life you’ve sown seeds of love? My wish is that I be in the presence of someone who I have helped to love into wholeness.

Someone who is capable of loving because of planted seeds that have taken root.

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