30-Day Challenge: Be Positive

Positive smileJust a few weeks ago I was watching an awards show on television. At the same time I happened to also be browsing on Facebook. While on Facebook one of the groups I “liked” began commenting on the same show I was watching. I very quickly noticed that all of the comments being made in the group were negative. They all centered around how unflattering they felt someone looked.

I didn’t think much of it at first, but then it really got me scratching my head. The things I was thinking were very different then the comments they were making. I wondered why this group was so negative and what could be done to change their perceptions.

I made a promise to myself that I would go out of my way to only write comments that were positive and only respond to comments that were positive. Now don’t get me wrong, that does not mean that I didn’t periodically have unpleasant personal opinions about the things I saw and heard. But knowing personally how detrimental, painful, and infectious negativity is in our society today; it was simply my plan to balance the negativity that was being spread with more positivity.

How on earth, I thought, are we going to change the views of society if we continue to perpetuate the very negativity that we complain about?

As a child therapist, I often share with parents and teachers that they need to provide 10 times the positive reinforcement to each negative comment or reaction. This is considered balanced due to the heavy influence negativity has on people. I found myself offering the same advice to adult leaders. When evaluating their staff, it is much more productive to provide some positive feedback before offering the negative criticism. Again Balance.

Somehow balance was not in this group. What I saw was quite the contrary and it got me feeling really discouraged. Asking myself, how is this helping? Who is this helping?

What was designed to be a very uplifting and inspirational awards show was being beaten down with criticism and ridicule. What I saw was average sized women choosing not to wear spanx, showing their love for who they are (I mean that is what the awards show was all about wasn’t it?). What I read over and over again was, “that dress is not flattering”, “is she pregnant?” “Is it just me or is there something wrong with her midsection?”, and “what is up with her hair?” I was hurt as if it were me personally they were criticizing. But the reality is, it was me they were criticizing. I mean I looked just like some of those women.

Not feeling so good about the discouragement I was feeling, I committed myself to restoring the balance by being positive. Unfortunately I am but one of many million, but it only starts with one right? So, here I am again challenging you. For just 30 days focus on displaying positivity. Think twice before you type that Facebook or Twitter post. Is it something you would want someone to say to you? Is it something that will be hurtful? Is there something else you could say that would make someone smile? Go out of your way to look for the positive aspects of life and share them.

If the negative thoughts are just that overwhelming and you must say them, write them down and then throw them in the trash. For the next 30 days Be Positive. Can you do it? Are you in this with me? Will it help? What do you think? Share your thoughts. I’m curious.

Change your mindset, Change the world.

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Habits of Fear

“For the young are unconstrained by the habits of fear.” – President Barack Obama

For centuries we have been groomed from childhood to do things a cerbroken-chains 2tain way. Or not do things a certain way. We have to get all As. Or we are not good enough to even get all Cs. Those on top are afraid of falling down, and those on the bottom are afraid of coming up. It is a cycle, amongst many other unhealthy cycles, that we have found ourselves wrapped in and unable to disconnect from. We are generationally and culturally bound by these fears. Fears of what if.

What if…they are better than me? I get my feelings hurt? They don’t like my idea? They laugh at me? They disagree?

The reality is that many people feed off of others’ fears to mask their own. They sense it and take advantage of it, as a means of protecting their own insecurities.

So why are we giving them so much power over our lives? Without our fear, they are powerless. Powerless!

So I ask the question, what could we do if we were unconstrained? Unconstrained by the habits of fear.

-Would we step in and stand up to a bully regardless of who he or she was?

-Would we demand to be acknowledged, respected, and rewarded by our employers for our commitments at work?

-Would we stop for just a moment to assist someone no matter what their appearance?

-Would we give a stranger walking down the highway a ride to the next exit or better yet, all the way home?

-Would we acknowledge our own beauty to include: acne, surgery scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, dimples (not the ones on your face), muffin tops, love handles, and the list goes on?

I am sure you all are saying, “This girl is dreaming”. Well, yes I am. Dreaming for just one person each day to remove the sense of fear from their minds and walk in confidence. Not the kind of confidence that says I am better than you. No, that’s arrogance. But rather the confidence that says I am so great that I want everyone I meet to feel and be equally as great. Could you do it? Would you do it?

I came across this quote that has stuck with me for some time.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear”. – Ambrose Redmoon

I am committed to the greater goal of making this world a better, safer, happier place for my sons by making that goal more important than my fears. I am not afraid to stand alone, but I sure would like some company. Is anybody with me? What are your fears and what personal goal would you like to place above that fear?

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No U-Turns: Dig Deeper

Two days ago I started exercising again after a 4-month break following abdominal surgery and a move back to the mainland. The workout, which consisted of 30 minutes of Insanity and 1 hour of power yoga, was tough; but I got through it. One hour later, however, I could feel my muscles tightening up. To tell you the truth they were screaming at me. And then the dreadful 2 day later pain kicked in full swing. I found myself holding on to everything possible to make it up and down the stairs, in and out of my car, and let’s not even talk about the challenge of sitting on the toilet. Through this pain, I recalled the instructor repeatedly saying, “You’re not tired” and my response every time was, “Yes I am”. I had been here before, both as a student and a fitness instructor. Deep down I knew that in order for me to get past this pain I had to keep charging through it. And so, two days later I hear my girlfriend say “take two Aleve, get back in that gym, and dig deeper”. There was no turning back. No U-turns for me. To turn back meant I would one day have to feel this level of pain again. No thank you.

This is how trauma recovery works. You first acknowledge the awful pain you feel. You cannot avoid or deny the pain because it demands to be recognized. Blame that on our biological make up. So go ahead and let the pain have its moment. You then give it the necessary treatment it needs to begin to heal. Whatever that is for you: therapy, coaching, support groups, journaling, crying. The next step is to find a support system, even if that system involves just one person, and you allow your vulnerable self to be challenged to “dig deeper” and forge through the pain. Before you know it you will begin to feel stronger and the pain will take its rightful submissive place. Are you ready? There is no turning back now.

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30-Day Challenge: Do Something!

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -Will Rogers

Every so often we may find that we have become stagnant in life. We just get stuck. Now this does not always mean we are depressed or unable to take care of daily life functions. For some, things can actually be going okay. We just decide that because things are okay, then we don’t have to do anything. But are we really satisfied with being “okay”? Is that all we want in life? Is it enough to just be content? The immediate response for many of us might be, “yes”. But let’s think about this for a moment. The world is changing around us and, in many areas, at a rapid rate. If we are not evolving with it, there is a chance we might get run over. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to get run over; especially when things are okay.

So my challenge to you this month is to simply Do Something. First pick a goal. Will it be better self-care, more relaxation, going back to school, finding a new job, getting over that break up? Once you have identified the goal, do something related to it everyday. Yes everyday. I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I am looking forward to some wonderfully positive life habits being developed. Now get to it!

Endora Crawford, Ph.D.

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Resilience: How to Bounce Back from the Bumps of Life

“Don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom” –General George S. Patton

Why is it so difficult for us to get back on track when we get derailed by life experiences? Periodically in our lives we get knocked off track by unexpected events such as the loss of a job or worse, the loss of a loved one. Heartbreak and heartache are life’s bumps that can turn us upside down making us feel like a turtle on its back. And just like that turtle, we struggle by ourselves to get back on our feet. The reality for many of us is that we cannot do it alone. As humans we are programmed to need others. When we allow others to help us we find that even with just a gentle push, getting back on track is easier than we ever imagined. And so, you allow someone to give you that push and you get back on your feet…now what? This is where the work begins. You then have to take that experience and reframe it into a teachable moment. Too often we want to ignore or deny that dreadful experience and pretend it never happened, giving it open field to grow and fester deep inside. Or we do the opposite and obsess over it to the point of giving it full control of our lives and future actions. How successful has this been? Not very, I presume. How about this option: Acknowledge the event and the great impact it had; embrace it and then ask yourself, “What was the lesson here for ME?” Was it to have more patience, be more tolerant, show less jealousy, take time out for myself, interact more with others, slow down, do more, forgive, start loving myself?  When we are able to reframe the experience into something positive, we can then get on with life with a new perspective. That’s resilience! Now you know. Let’s get to work.

“When you know better, you do better”. –Maya Angelou

Endora Crawford, Ph.D.

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