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Silence and Peace

Keep It Simple

For some people, silence hanging in the air is a nightmare. They’ll say anything to fill the quiet, to make things less awkward, or to cut the tension. But the truth is, silence isn’t always a problem. It gets a bad rap for being boring; in fact, in a relationship—especially a long-term relationship like a marriage—it should be the most comfortable thing in the world.

Sure, in the early days of dating it’s normal to want to keep the conversation going. You’re going to be nervous about a lull or an uncomfortable gap where one of you is desperate to come up with something you have in common to talk about it. But in a long-term relationship, in a partnership, and in a marriage, silence should feel natural. Instead of being scared of running out of things to say or being worried about boring each other, we should embrace silence. You don’t need to be quiet all the time—that would be weird and probably a sign that something was probably wrong.

But once in a while, being quiet together is an important part of a healthy relationship. Here’s why you should embrace being mum with your partner.

It Shows a Level of Ease with Each Other

I’m a nervous chatterer. At a party, when meeting someone new, or at a job interview (aka if I’m nervous) I’m probably going to talk too much. So when I’m quiet with a partner, I don’t take it as a bad sign. It doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to talk about or that we’re feeling awkward with each other, it just means that I feel comfortable enough to be quiet with them. For some people, that might come easily. But for those of us who can chat away too much when we’re nervous, being able to be still with one another is a great sign.

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You’ve stopped performing for each other and you can just be yourselves.

You Can Really Relax

Along with showing how comfortable you are as a pair, being quiet together allows you to actually relax. Whether it’s watching TV or just having a lazy Sunday morning, you are going to want to be able to unwind with your partner. And silence can be rejuvenating. Once you get used to spending time being quiet together, it can become a restful, nourishing part of your relationship.

The Silent Treatment Should Never Be a Bad Thing

“The silent treatment” is often associated with having a fight in a relationship, but the truth is, silence should never be used as a form of punishment. Fights and disagreements require communication—you should be talking through them, rather than shutting down to prove a point. You should learn how to associate silence with being an easy way to spend time together—and realize you need to respond to tension with communication. It will do wonders for your relationship. Never let an argument turn into a stalemate.

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For an Introvert, It’s Even More Important

For some people, being quiet together isn’t just a nice side effect of being at ease—it’s a must. Introverts not only need time alone to recharge, they also need stillness. So if you’re an introvert yourself or you spend a lot of time with an introvert partner, it’s important that as a couple you respect each other’s need for silence. For some people, it really is a necessity.

At Some Point, You’re Going to Have to Be Silent

It’s also important to be realistic—if this is your significant other for the long haul, a future partner, or a spouse, you’re going to need to figure out how to spend time alone together. You can’t fill every car journey, every train or plane ride, every early-morning coffee chattering away. At some point, you’ll run out of things to say—or just get sick of each other’s voices. Think of the number of hours you might spend together over a lifetime…some silence is inevitable. Learn not to be afraid of it.

Once you’ve come to enjoy it, it will make your relationship so much stronger.

It Doesn’t Have to Mean Doing Nothing

There’s a stigma about silence being associated with being bored or doing nothing—but it doesn’t have to mean sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Being quiet together can mean going on a journey, but it can also mean both of you read a book or the paper in the morning. It can mean one of you scrolls through the internet while the other dozes in bed, or one of you works on a craft project while the other plays a game or does some yoga. Don’t think of being quiet together as embracing some kind of shared meditation—though if that works for you, great.

But remember that there are a lot of things you can do together in comfortable silence.

Being quiet together doesn’t mean your relationship has run out of steam—it just means that you’re comfortable enough to really relax together. Sure, you should have nights in which you can’t stop joking, talking, and laughing together—that’s part of what keeps a relationship exciting. But lying on the couch and relaxing together is part of what gives your relationship a solid foundation—and that’s just as important as anything else.

Walking Back Into Peace

How To Walk In God’s Peace

Practical Steps You Can Take

As singles, couples, moms or dads, we all face the temptation to be anxious about circumstances, loved ones and the future. But the Bible teaches that we can walk in God’s supernatural peace because we are in Christ Jesus. Jesus Himself is our Peace. We can resist the temptation to give in to worry. We can choose, instead, to abide in God’s wonderful peace.

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Peter the apostle wrote, “[Cast] the whole of your care — all you anxieties, all your worries, all you concerns, once and for all — on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.” There are three truths we can glean out of this one verse:

God never intended for you to carry your own burdens.

He wants to carry them for you.

You have to do something when it comes to worry.

You have to cast worry off of yourself and trust God with your problems. It takes humility to say, God, I give this problem to You because You can take care of it much better that I can.

God You need to understand the Father’s loving care for you as His child. Only then will you fully release the weight of each problem to Him. Worry, like other negative thoughts, is actually a thief — stealing our peace, energy, time and joy

This Journey, we call, “Life”, can be quite difficult sometimes. And that is “OKAY!”

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Nobody ever says when we’re growing up that life will be easy, but few people ever tell us just how hard it can get. Of course, why would they? Who can look a child in the eyes and tell them that they will know pain and loss and heartache beyond anything they could ever imagine now? 

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But to feel pain and to experience difficulty is part of the human condition. 

It’s as much a part of life as feeling love, joy, and wonder. 

The truth of the matter is that being alive in a human body is a non-stop rollercoaster of duality. We, as human beings, are capable of feeling the most unbelievable highs of beauty and brilliance and the most soul-crushingly awful lows. We go through life not knowing what to expect next, and worse, carrying the weight of the burden of knowing that deep within ourselves is the capability to be as awful and nasty as the worst among us are. 

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It’s important to realize that loving yourself is about loving yourself completely, even those parts of yourself that you might not like.

You have to learn how to forgive yourself for being human. You have to realize that those parts about yourself that you feel are negative or imperfect are as much a part of you as your love, your kindness, your laughter, and your compassion.  

True personal growth isn’t about eliminating your dark side; it’s about coming to accept it. It’s about learning to love it like you would a sister or brother. Every rose needs manure, and every person needs their animal instincts in order to survive. Having these instincts sometimes means that we do things we end up regretting, and that’s okay.

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It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be depressed, to be sad, to be angry, to feel guilty, or remorseful – it’s all just part of being human.

Life becomes a much more peaceful and enlightening experience when you can feel all of these negative things without feeling ashamed at yourself for feeling that way in the first place; when you understand that you are only human, and that you’re set up to experience pain and sadness and fear from the very start.

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You don’t have to force yourself to be happy. You don’t have to feel any other way than how you feel right here, right now.

You are an infinite soul. You are the sum total of all possibility. You exist in multiplicities. You will feel pain again, but you will also feel happy. You will feel hope. Despair. Joy. Anger. Ecstasy.

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You’re a balancing act. And that’s okay! You were never meant to be anything else.

And that’s the truth of the matter; the thing beneath the surface that’s so obvious but that so few of us truly recognize – that there would be no love without loss. There would be no happiness without sadness, no truth without lies, no fullness without emptiness. We exist to feel all of these things, good and bad, and we feel all of these things because without black you cannot have white. You can’t have light without dark, or heads without tails. Polarity is the essence of all things, like yin and yang.

And this is what no one tells you, what no one talks about.

 Life is both beautiful and terrible, uplifting and depressing. Being a human is a difficult and messy, but manageable, situation. You have to recognize that we would not be able to appreciate the smooth without the rough; good and bad go hand in hand to give us the depth of experience that we wake up and take for granted each day.

Being human and being at peace takes effort, determination, compassion, persistence, and a whole multitude of other traits, but most of all it takes courage. It takes bravery to get up every morning and keep going when all you want is for everything to stop. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but being able to feel it and carry on regardless. 

You are strong; much stronger than you realize. Nothing lasts forever, not your pain, not your sadness, not your tiredness. This too will pass. And on the other side of it is the rest of your life – bad times, sure. But good ones, too. Love, laughter, learning, green fields, blue skies, and beyond.

I Don’t Have to be “Right”.

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It’s human nature to want to be right. After all, if you aren’t right, it follows that you are wrong. Right?

Who wants to be wrong? No one.

Yet, the need to be right can get you into a lot of tight spots. And it’s an approach that won’t help you change anything. Instead, it keeps you stuck.

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Being Right is Human

Don’t beat yourself up if you know you tend to want to prove yourself right…often. It’s human nature to want to be right. We don’t like being wrong and consider it a reflection on who we are. If we are wrong, we think we look bad. And we will do just about anything not to look bad.

However, our need to be right can become an addiction. Like a bad habit, it’s something we do automatically or unconsciously, and we can’t live without it. It helps us maintain our sense of equilibrium. If we are right, we know we are okay.

I get it. I don’t want to be wrong either, and I like to look good. But the need to be right does me no good at all. It doesn’t help my relationships. It doesn’t change anything in my life for the better, and it doesn’t provide solutions to problems. And it definitely doesn’t make me happy.

You’ll never be happy as long as you insist others are wrong.

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Give up the Need to be Right

So, I suggest we give up the need to be right. One of my clients did it for Lent, but I recommend you and I do it now. Right now.

To give up your need to be right, first, you must become conscious of when you feel that desire to make someone or something wrong. Notice when your attitude turns toward, “They’re wrong,” “That’s wrong,” or “I know better.”

When you notice that happening, make a shift. Do something different. Specifically, drop that need to be right!

You can only do that when you are aware it’s happening, though. Like any addiction, you’ll break it by creating a new and more-positive habit. You do that by consistently doing something else.

Drop that need to be right!

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5 Ways to Stop Needing to be Right

I know of five ways to give up the need to be right. Give them a try.

  1. Ask the age-old question: Would you rather be right or happy? Most of us would rather be happy, but we often equate being right with being happy. In fact, when you make someone else wrong, deep down inside, you don’t feel good (or right) about your actions…or yourself. That’s why you’ll never be happy as long as you insist others are wrong.
  2. Consider that you want to be right to justify yourself or your actions in some way.Maybe you want to prove you are smarter, not wrong, better, or that it wasn’t your fault. Drop the justifications; the need to be right diminishes—or disappears. Your reasons tend to end up as blame and excuses, neither of which improve a situation, relationship, or how you feel about yourself.
  3. Stop telling yourself you aren’t proving the other person wrong but just proving that you are right. In fact, you possess the need to make the other person wrong. If you accomplish that goal, on some level, you believe you will feel better about yourself. (As mentioned, on another level you will feel worse.Instead, try allowing the other person to be right. Doing so is as easy as saying, “You know, you are right.” And those words do not mean you are wrong. Two people can be right.
  4. Start small. Taking small steps is good advice when you want to change any unsupportive habit. You could go cold turkey—break your addiction fast! Or look for little opportunities to practice dropping your need to be right.For example, don’t tell the waiter he took your order incorrectly. You said, “dressing on the side,” but the dressing came on the salad. You can eat it the way this one time or say, “I would prefer the dressing on the side. Is there a way we can correct this situation?” Or order another salad and ask, “Did you get that? I’d like the dressing on the side.”
    Let’s say your driving on the highway, and a car pulls sharply in front of your vehicle. Fight your urge to shout, “You’re a jerk! You cut me off! You don’t know how to drive!” Also, don’t give in to your desire to speed up and tailgate him or to pull around him and wave your fist at him through the window as you pass. Instead, consider that maybe you weren’t paying attention to his need to change lanes or merge and, therefore, didn’t slow down to let him in. Or admit, “Wow…that was a bit scary and dangerous. I’m glad we are both okay. I’ll give him some more space.”Get used to allowing for the possibility that you aren’t right and the other person is not wrong.
  5. Focus on what’s right with everything! The need to be right makes you focus on what is wrong. To counteract this tendency, stop looking for what’s wrong. Instead, look for what’s right. When you change your focus in this way, you’ll discover fewer opportunities to point your finger and say, “That’s wrong,” “You’re wrong,” or “I am right.”

Get used to allowing for the possibility that you aren’t right and the other person is not wrong.

Don’t expect your attitude about being right to change overnight. It takes consistent work to break the habit of proving everyone else wrong. When you eliminate your addiction to being right, you’ll experience improvement in almost every area of your life.

You Can Have Mental Toughness…

We all reach critical points in our lives where our mental toughness is tested. It might be because of a toxic friend or colleague, a dead-end job, or a struggling relationship.

Whatever the challenge, you have to be strong, see things through a new lens, and take decisive action if you want to move through it successfully.

It sounds easy. We all want good friends, good jobs, and good relationships.

But it isn’t.

It’s hard to be mentally tough, especially when you feel stuck. The ability to break the mold and take a bold new direction requires that extra grit, daring, and spunk that only the mentally toughest people have.

It’s fascinating how mentally tough people set themselves apart from the crowd. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to overcome.

When Thomas Edison’s factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing $23 million in damage, Edison’s response was simple: “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again.”

Edison’s reaction is the epitome of mental toughness—seeing opportunity and taking action when things look bleak.

There are habits you can develop to improve your mental toughness. In fact, the hallmarks of mentally tough people are actually strategies that you can begin using today.

1. Emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of mental toughness. You cannot be mentally tough without the ability to fully understand and tolerate strong negative emotions and do something productive with them. Moments that test your mental toughness are ultimately testing your emotional intelligence (EQ).

Unlike your IQ, which is fixed, your EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with understanding and effort. It’s no wonder that 90 percent of top performers have high EQs, and that people with high EQs earn $28,000 more annually (on average) than their low-EQ counterparts.

Unfortunately EQ skills are in short supply. TalentSmart has tested more than a million people, and we’ve found that just 36 percent of these are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.

2. Confidence.

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right.” —Henry Ford

Mentally tough people subscribe to Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed. This notion isn’t just a motivational tool—it’s a fact. A recent study at the University of Melbourne showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than others did.

True confidence—as opposed to the false confidence people project to mask their insecurities—has a look all its own. Mentally tough people have an upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because their confidence inspires others and helps them to make things happen.

3. The ability to neutralize toxic people.

Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Mentally tough people control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find common ground and solutions to problems. Even when things completely derail, mentally tough people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

4. Knowing how to embrace change.

Mentally tough people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.

You’re bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

5. Saying no.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Mentally tough people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem and foresight to make their noes clear.

When it’s time to say no, mentally tough people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

The mentally tough also know how to exert self-control by saying no to themselves. They delay gratification and avoid impulsive action that causes harm.

6. Knowing that fear is the No. 1 source of regret.

Mentally tough people know that, when all is said and done, they will lament the chances they didn’t take far more than they will their failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

7. Embracing failure …

Mentally tough people embrace failure because they know that the road to success is paved with it. No one ever experienced true success without first embracing failure.

By revealing when you’re on the wrong path, your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed. The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box, and to see the solution that you’ve been missing.

8. … Without dwelling on mistakes.

Mentally tough people know that where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy, which produces positive emotions and improves performance.

Mentally tough people distance themselves from their mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success.

9. Refusing to let anyone limit your joy …

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction is derived from comparing yourself with others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When mentally tough people feel good about something they do, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from them.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself with others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. Mentally tough people know that regardless of what people think of them at any particular moment, one thing is certain—they’re never as good or bad as people say they are.

10. … And not limiting the joy of others.

Mentally tough people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch to feel good about themselves.

Comparing yourself with other people is limiting. Jealousy and resentment suck the life right out of you; they’re massive energy-stealers. Mentally tough people don’t waste time or energy sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up.

Instead of wasting your energy on jealousy, funnel that energy into appreciation. When you celebrate the success of other people, you both benefit.

11. Exercising.

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more socially, intellectually, and athletically competent. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, which is key to mental toughness, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

12. Getting enough sleep.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your mental toughness. When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep, so when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

Mentally tough people know that their self-control, focus, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep, so they make quality sleep a top priority.

13. Limiting caffeine intake.

Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you but not so great when life throws you a curve.

When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. Mentally tough people know that too much caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

14. Not waiting for an apology to forgive.

Mentally tough people know that life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never say they’re sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life.

The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body, and holding on to stress can have devastating consequences (both physically and mentally). When you forgive someone, it doesn’t condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.

15. Being relentlessly positive.

Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time, and you’ll see that it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It’s easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.

And who knows? Maybe it is. But mentally tough people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control. Instead of trying to start a revolution overnight, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power–their attention and their effort.

Bringing it all together.

Mental toughness is not an innate quality bestowed upon a select few. It can be achieved and enjoyed.

When and how often do I water my garden?

Garden Watering – When and How Often to Water

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One of the questions many people wonder, myself included, is, “How Often do I water my garden?”

Did not do any gardening this past season, finances were a little to tight for us this year.  Next year will be different.  Looking forward to a couple of plots next season.  😊

Watering your garden can feel like a mystery at first and takes a bit of trial and error to determine what’s best for your specific microclimate. These tips are sure to start you off on the right foot and give your plants a strong start, too.

When Should I Water My Garden?

The best time of day to water your plants is early in the morning before the sun is up.

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This allows your plants to have water throughout the heat of the day without being damp at night, which can lead to moisture-related diseases.

Additionally, be sure to water as close to the soil as possible, and avoid getting water on the leaves.

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How Often Should I Water My Garden?

In the summer, water deeply every three days or whenever your soil feels dry when you push your finger down into the soil.

When you are first establishing your garden, check the soil each day for moisture by placing your finger in the ground near the base of the plant. Reach your finger down as far as you can into the soil to feel the moisture level. If the soil is still moist, hold off on watering. If the soil is dry, give the plant a drink.

There are many variables to consider when deciding the appropriate amount of water each plant needs: the plant, your location and the season (winter or summer).

How Long To Water Your Garden

Adjust your watering schedule based on specific plant needs and the seasons.

In the summer, I either water with a slow drip for 1 hour every three days or 30 minutes every day. In winter, I might go a month or more without watering.

This depends on your climate and each year can vary slightly, so check the soil daily at first (as recommended above) until you get a feel for what is right for your area.

How to Water a Garden

Watering by hand vs drip or soaker hoses

I highly recommend using a drip irrigation system.

Having a drip irrigation system allows you to water without getting the leaves and stems of the plants wet, which increases the chances of them burning in the sun as well as the risk of diseases, like powdery mildew, during high humidity.

Should I Use a Timer to Help Water My Garden?

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Yes, definitely use a timer to water your garden!

A timer ensures that you are watering consistently, which is key for so many plants.

How to Water Your Plants While on Vacation

Install a timer and set it to water based on the schedule that is right for your location and season.

Once the timer is set up, you can carry on throughout your day without worrying about that task.

Plus, it’s one less item to worry about/plan for when you leave town for a long weekend or vacation.

I hope these watering tips help you feel like your gardening experience is less like a chore and more like a relaxing and invigorating hobby!

**Become a Better Person

“Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve all made mistakes throughout our lives that haven’t exactly put us in the best light–like bullying someone in school or telling what seemed like a little white lie. Chances are, however, you probably felt a little guilt and grew because of the situation.

I’m an average guy trying to become better in both my work and home life. I’ll never be perfect, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.

If you want to continue to grow as a person, here are 15 ways to make the most of yourself.

1. Compliment Yourself
Every morning before you go on with your daily routine, take a couple of minutes to give yourself a compliment. Whether you compliment your outfit, haircut, or how you recently completed a task using your unique skill sets, giving yourself a little emotional boost will make you happy. And, when you’re happy with yourself, that emotion can be contagious to those around you. Inspirational speaker Tony Robbins has a mantra he says aloud to himself most days to put him in a peak performance state.

2. Don’t Make Excuses
Blaming your spouse, boss, or clients is fruitless and won’t get you very far. Instead of pointing fingers and making excuses about why you aren’t happy or successful in your personal or professional life, own your mistakes and learn from them. When you do this, you will become a better person. When I personally started living up to my mistakes and downfalls, my life turned itself around. I became happier and healthier, and my relationship with my wife improved. We are happier than ever.

3. Let Go of Anger
Letting go of anger is easier said than done. While anger is a perfectly normal emotion, you can’t let it fester. When this happens, you may make unwise decisions, and more important, it may affect your health. Research suggests pent up anger can cause digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, and even heart disease.

To help you let go of anger, Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD, suggests you write your feelings down, pray or meditate, or begin to manage your thoughts.

4. Practice Forgiveness
Joyce Marter, LCPC, suggests you forgive and let go of resentment. She notes, “If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. Take time to meditate, and give thanks for the wisdom and knowledge gained from your suffering. Practice the mantra, ‘I forgive you and I release you.'”

5. Be Honest and Direct
How would you feel if a loved one or business partner lied to you? Chances are you would see that as a violation of your trust. If you want to be a better person in either your personal or professional life, you should always tell the truth and state as clearly as possible what you are trying to convey. Learn to articulate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in an open and honest manner.

6. Be Helpful
Whether giving up your seat to an elderly person on the subway, assisting a co-worker on a project, or carrying in the groceries when your spouse comes back from the store, being helpful is one of the easiest and most effective ways to practice becoming a better person. I find that the more I help others, the better I feel about myself and everyone around me.

7. Listen to Others
As Jeet Banerjee notes on Lifehack, “listening to people and giving everyone a voice is one of the greatest things you can do.” He adds that he “got to meet some of the most amazing people, close some of the biggest deals, and develop connections that will last me a lifetime all because I took time to listen to people. Being a good listener can change your life in a positive manner.”

8. Act Locally
It may not seem like a big deal, but supporting a local cause, donating clothes, or buying from local farmers’ markets or businesses are simple ways you can help your specific region. You may not be able to save the world, but you very well could make a difference in your neck of the woods. Get to know and care about your community.

9. Always Be Polite
How much effort does it take to say, “Thank you,” or to hold the elevator door open for someone? Not much at all. However, these acts of kindness can make someone’s day. I decided a few years ago that it doesn’t matter if someone is ultra rude, condescending, or worse. The way someone else behaves is not going to determine my behavior.

10. Be Yourself
Tiffany Mason has five excellent reasons on Lifehack why you should be yourself. These include being able to align yourself with your values and beliefs, establish your identity, build courage, create boundaries, and find focus and direction.

11. Be Open to Change
Whether trying a new restaurant, traveling to an unknown part of the world, or doing something that has always scared you, you should always be open to change. This allows you to grow because you experience something new. It helps you be high functioning and self-confident if you are not wary of change.

12. Be Respectful
How would you feel if you had just cleaned your home and someone came in and tracked mud everywhere? You’d probably be a little ticked that they hadn’t taken off their shoes. Take this mentality and apply it to everyday life. For example, don’t toss your trash or cigarette butts on the floor of public restrooms or sidewalks just because someone else will clean it up. Be respectful of others’ time, thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, feelings, work, and everything else. You don’t have to agree with any of it, but people have a right to their opinions and yours is not necessarily correct.

13. Don’t Show Up Empty-handed
Going to a party this weekend at your friend’s apartment? Make sure you don’t arrive empty-handed. Even if you’ve been assured that there will be plenty of food and drink, bring along a little something to show you appreciate being invited.

14. Educate Yourself
If you don’t understand why one country is invading another, take the time to educate yourself on the current event. Ask a person intimately connected with the event for his or her thoughts. Remember, we’re all interconnected, and being aware of different cultures, different people, and what their lives are like can make you a more well-rounded individual. This will also help you understand points of view different from your own.

15. Surprise People
How good does it feel to make someone smile? It feels pretty good, right? Surprise your loved ones or co-workers now and then, with a gift, a night out on the town, or by offering help when you know they could use it.

Becoming a better person doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible. Believe in yourself and know that it is possible!

What other tips have you found useful for becoming a better person?

Random Thoughts We Have In The Shower!!!

We think of a lot of really random stuff in the shower, don’t we?

It used to be you’d just think it and then ignore it. Maybe you’d decide to tell a friend or two.

Well thanks to the Shower Thoughts Reddit, we are now able to share these incredibly dumb, yet insanely brilliant, eye-openers with the rest of the world.

Here are some of the best shower thoughts to ever make their way online.

Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple
Keep It Simple

Being Alone & Loneliness, they are two very different things…

Since the late 1980s, scientists have been tracking a whale across the Pacific Ocean.

It sings at a sonic frequency higher than any other species of whale: at 52 Hertz, just above the lowest note on a tuba.

The whale calls out; no one answers.

It’s been nicknamed the loneliest animal in the world.

Keep It Simple

Loneliness.

It’s become a dirty word, loaded with shame and stigma. No one admits to feeling it.

Scientists diagnose ‘loneliness epidemics’ as if it’s an infectious disease. We fear hearing the word spoken aloud in case we catch it.

It terrifies us.

Perhaps that’s why children are sent to their rooms to be alone as punishment. Adults without families are automatically pitied.

But wait — isn’t there a difference between solitude and loneliness?

We use the two interchangeably because we’ve been conditioned to think of them as the same state; someone who spends time alone must, naturally, be lonely.

But that’s not the case.

Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling.

Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice.

This brings us to an interesting paradox: if you can master solitude, you’ll never feel lonely again.

Keep It Simple

Connected but alone

From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the same purpose: to bring us closer together.

Today, we’ve reached peak hyper-connectivity. We can cross oceans at the touch of the button, speak to someone, anywhere, 24/7.

We’ve never been so connected — superficially, at least.

And yet, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely.

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a loneliness minister.

Australia organized a Coalition to End Loneliness.

One in five Americans reports rarely or never feeling close to others.

And a recent study of over 20,000 people found that nearly half of respondents sometimes or always felt lonely.

The technologies connecting us are isolating us.

Keep It Simple

Here’s the truth about loneliness

Loneliness is an internal state that doesn’t — as most people assume — depend on external factors.

In fact, it’s largely unrelated to what’s going on around us.

You can be surrounded by people, lying in bed next to your partner, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

Keep It Simple

Our fear of solitude is really fear of boredom

We read our phones while we brush our teeth. We listen to Podcasts on the subway.

We can’t simply be. We feel compelled to always do.

We can’t allow ourselves a moment of self-inflicted boredom.

We’re scared of where this boredom will take us.

Of what we will hear in our heads if we lapse into true silence: hopes, dreams, shame, embarrassment… Fear of failure.

We want to be entertained, constantly. The alternative — introspection — intimidates us.

And so, we drown out our discomfort with distractions.

But that doesn’t mean the discomfort will go away.

Connected yet lonely

Keep It Simple

The Western world promotes two glaring contradictions:

1. Know yourself.

2. The human species is born to be social.

We’re told happiness comes from within.

And yet, we’re never taught how to be alone with ourselves.

We put enormous effort into training children in how to be social.

We send them to playgroups and playdates.

We tell them not to fight, not to swear, to be polite.

But we deprive them of one thing: the capacity to be alone, and content.

We celebrate self-esteem. But we stigmatize spending time with the person we should know, and like, the best: ourselves.

Keep It Simple

The joy of being alone

Real solitude is almost impossible to experience in the modern world.

And for some, this makes it the ultimate privilege.

Being sent to your room as punishment?

It should be a reward,” says Sara Maitland, author of How To Be Alone.

“It should be: ‘You’ve been so good that now you can go to your room to be by yourself and do anything you like!’”

Some people choose a life of complete solitude. Others know they can harness times of stillness to find answers to questions, solutions to problems.

After a certain amount of time by myself, I’d begin to panic.

But others, I’d push through that initial discomfort. And it was on those days that my most original ideas came to me. Boredom is the most important emotion that helped me to grow JotForm to almost 4 million users.

Solitude deprives you. It stretches you. It illuminates. And this breeds creativity.

Zat Rana describes this process perfectly:

When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow.

The world becomes richer, the layers start to peel back, and you see things for what they really are, in all their wholeness, in all their contradictions, and in all their unfamiliarity. You learn that there are other things you are capable of paying attention to than just what makes the most noise on the surface.

Alone but not lonely: how to utilize solitude

Keep It Simple

Solitude is scary because it reminds us of how small we are. We realize that the world has, and will, continue turning on its axis without us.

We are insignificant. In some ways, it’s a preview of death. That’s why it requires great inner strength to be alone. To know that you are not going to disappear into thin air without human contact.

That strength is a muscle we can exercise through deliberate practice.

And like any fear, the only way to overcome solitude is to face it. Ease yourself in, with 10 minutes, then 20, then 30, of solitude a day, or week, or month.

As I’ve written before, there’s great power in doing nothing at all.

Letting your boredom take you will be uncomfortable at first. It might be painful — even profoundly so — but before long, this will ease.

The interesting thing about the 52 Hertz whale isn’t its loneliness. After all, it can’t be lonely; loneliness is a man-made condition.

No. What sets the 52 Hertz whale apart from other species is its self-reliance. Its strength.

It’s so powerful that it can survive for decades completely by itself.

Luckily for us, solitude will always be a choice, not an existence. It’s true that humans are born to be social.

But when we find strength — rather than fear — in solitude, we will live far richer lives: with others, and with ourselves.

Struck Down, But Not Destroyed…

Keep It Simple

In the movie Creed, boxer Adonis Creed takes a brutal punch in the fight of his life, and gets knocked to the ground. He hits the floor hard. The people in his corner are shouting, “Get up! Get up!” His opponent is on the ropes celebrating, thinking it’s over.

But while Creed is out, his mind is scrolling through all he’s been through up until that point, and all the people who love and motivate him. Like a jolt, he’s up before the count of ten — and is back in the fight.

Creed’s boxing life may seem to bear little resemblance to our lives as believers. Though we encounter battles, we don’t train intensely for them, with dedicated professionals to put us through our paces and shore up our weaknesses. We don’t know the time, date, and location of our next bout, such that we can show up prepared. Our battles are spiritual, seemingly upending the comparison.

But as the apostle Paul showed, boxing (like running) provides a vivid metaphor for the Christian life (1 Corinthians 9:26).

Keep It Simple

You Will Get Hit

We often don’t see it coming. It could be a health crisis, loss of a loved one, an employment shake-up, betrayal, or some form of persecution. Or maybe it’s something we’re aware of, something we thought was mild or temporary, but it “hits” when it morphs from hill to mountain.

The question is not whether we will find ourselves in a battle, but when. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). Paul likewise says it’s part of our privilege as believers. “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). We remember vividly the times we have been hit. Many of us are still recovering.

Moreover, we have an enemy who specializes in sucker punches. He schemes how he will execute, watching for opportune times, hitting when he thinks it will connect with force. Nothing touches us apart from the sovereign sanction of the Lord. The Lord uses it for his purposes and for our good. But there’s a reason he tells us to remain fully clothed in his armor. Forces are arrayed against us, shooting fiery arrows. There are times we will get hit.

Keep It Simple

You Will Go Down

Sometimes we are hit with such force that we are knocked down. Life takes a hard tilt, and the effect is tantamount to being thrown face down to the ground. The circumstance is devastating, the pain excruciating. Try as we might, in that moment it is difficult to grab hold of any semblance of joy or hope.

The apostle Paul wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). We rejoice that, because of Christ, we are not crushed, despairing, forsaken, or destroyed.

But the other words are true, as well. For the sake of Christ, we may find ourselves afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.

Peter drives home this reality as well when he says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). The ordeal is fiery, and it does come upon you. It packs a knockout punch.

The enemy’s goal is to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The Lord’s goal is to grow us in faith, trust, and endurance.

Keep It Simple

You Can Get Up

When we are hit hard and knocked to the ground, it feels as if our strength is gone. The bruises of hurt, heartache, and pain keep us pinned. As in Creed, the enemy celebrates, thinking it’s over. But the Lord is faithful. He has given us powerful truths to hold onto when we are down — truths that help us get up, again.

“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ” (Romans 8:39). God himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us after we’ve suffered for a little while (1 Peter 5:10). Even this — being hit so hard that we are knocked to the ground — will work together for good (Romans 8:28).

We remember that Jesus was once down, crucified, and buried and, for a time, the enemy surely rejoiced. But Jesus rose on the third day, and the same power that raised him from the dead is at work in us who believe. We get up because we’ve been graciously given eternal life, and what we endure in this life cannot compare to the glory to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).

We never stand alone, (though, at times, you may feel alone), toe-to-toe with the enemy, in our battles. Our God, mighty in power, fights for us. Shod in his armor, we stand firm. And even if we’re knocked down, the truth is that he is upholding us with his hand (Psalm 37:24).