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We’ve all heard the first verse — but what about the second? To me, the beauty of this work is in the piece as a whole. Here are both verses together.

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THE SERENITY PRAYER

Lord, Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace,
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His will,
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

Reihold Niebuhr


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Okay, okay. Maybe I came across a little too harshly in my post, Is He Inconsiderate Or Just Plain Mean? (May 4, 2007). It’s just that sometimes, we have to take deliberate action to change unhealthy patterns in a relationship. That post suggests some ways to do that.

In a healthy relationship, disagreements are normal and can be worked out in an adult-to-adult way. However, unhealthy patterns that develop can lead to dysfunctional relationships. Flinging sarcastic remarks or even vicious criticism at someone, especially someone you say you love, is not mature adult behavior. Neither is accepting that kind of behavior from someone else.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. If you really want someone to change how they act toward you, you must make changes first! That may not seem fair, but often, it’s the way that works best, especially in close relationships.

You may need to speak up, speak out, and set some boundaries to communicate that you will NOT allow yourself to be abused, not even verbally. It is possible to do this in a loving manner.

Remind yourself. No one deserves to be put down or belittled.

Change the patterns. Unhealthy patterns of relating tend to get repeated over and over. To change a pattern, find ways to respond in a totally different manner. Just don’t respond in the same way as usual.

Changing patterns is a method for reshaping how we relate to one another.

So you want to be nice? We are taught to be kind and helpful and accommodating. But if someone habitually directs sarcastic or critical remarks at you, it’s time to be nice to yourself and start changing how you respond!

Allowing someone to abuse you is NOT being nice — to yourself or the other person. To be kind and loving means expecting the best for yourself and your relationship. Not only “someday,” but right now.

Prepare for resistance. When you begin changing how you respond, the old patterns get disrupted. That can be very upsetting to the other person. More than likely, he or she will step up their efforts to hook you back into the old patterns of reacting. Be prepared.

Simply observe the resistance. Keep up your own efforts to change those patterns. Before long, you should see some positive results.

Don’t give up. Changing old patterns may take awhile. Also, it’s natural to experience some fear of causing damage to a relationship if you don’t act the same way you always have.

As long as you respond in a straightforward, adult manner, you are doing the right thing. The situation will likely improve. In the event it doesn’t, you will be in a better position to evaluate the relationship realistically.

Important Note: These suggestions are meant to help relationships be healthier and happier. However, they are not appropriate where any kind of physical abuse is involved.

If you are being subjected to battering or any form of physical abuse, do not wait another minute — get help and get out of the situation immediately. Find a safe place to go. Don’t wait until things get worse! Life is too short to live in fear.

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Copyright 2007. Carol Stewart and Licensors. All rights reserved.

A Role Model For You?

Most people agree on the necessity of good role models for children. But adults need role models, too.

The ideal role model is one that encourages us to develop our potential and become our best self.

We tend to think of present day public figures such as athletes, actors, religious leaders, and others as role models for children. Role models might also include the following:

  • Historic figures
  • Parents, teachers, coaches, family acquaintances
  • Fictional characters from books, television, folk tales or songs

Whether we are conscious of them or not, we all have role models — people we admire and look up to and want to be like in some way or other.

Do you know who your role models are?

Who helps you be the best you can be?

A water garden can be both beautiful and relaxing. Even a balcony or patio may accommodate a small water garden where you can go to meditate or just enjoy the day and soak up some natural light — a very good thing for wellness.

The simplest form of water garden requires nothing more than a container, water plants, and water. Even a young child can construct a water garden.

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Pots and Plants A flower pot with a solid bottom or a rubber plug in the bottom will work great. Plastic, ceramic, and clay are all fine.

Plants that grow nicely in water may be obtained from garden centers. Vary the plant selection with different textures, heights, and colors. Follow directions to determine the appropriate depth at which to place each plant in the water.

Water Fountain This garden, which I created in only a few minutes, also includes a water fountain in the shape of bamboo.

A water fountain is not required. However, it does keep the water moving, which helps prevent mosquito eggs from hatching. Another way to prevent mosquitoes is to use a product such as Mosquito Dunk, which is made for water gardens and ponds.

A fountain also creates a pleasant sound of trickling water. Setting the flow rate of the fountain will determine the sound level.

Support for Plants and Fountain Depending on the depth of the container, you may need to prop up the plants so they won’t be sitting too low in the water. Keep it simple.

The fountain and plants in my water garden are supported by a large plastic flower pot turned upside down. Then, a wide, flat rock rests on the upside down flower pot beneath the fountain and plants. Cleaning the water garden at the end of the season is easy if it is not full of rocks or gravel.

Except for one floating plant, the water plants are all in the small pots they were in when I purchased them. If necessary, a rock may be placed in the top of each pot to weigh it down so it doesn’t fall over.

 

Water Garden Safety If your water garden includes a fountain, be sure to use an extension cord that is made for outdoors. Use extreme caution if very small children will be around the water garden, even a very shallow garden.

Enjoy your garden!

FORGET THE BEST?

Is it habit?

Is it the way our brains are wired?

Are we just spoiled by having too much?

How do we forget so easily?

Every minute of every day holds something to be grateful for. Yet we forget.

When we forget, we deprive ourselves of one of the most important abilities we possess for being happy!

“BUT MY LIFE’S A CROCK!” you say. Do you want to change that? Then, you MUST stop and remember any little thing you can think of that is good in your life!

Can’t think of anything good? Impossible! You can think of something. Do this many times per day. Remember as many things as you can.

You can only think of one good thing? Then remind yourself of that one thing many times per day.

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS. The more things around you are going wrong, the greater the need for focusing on the good things, however small, that you already have in your life! This is called “The Law of Attraction.” Like attracts like. What you focus on is what you get more of.

Gratitude is like the proverbial “green thumb” — it causes more good things to grow!

TRY THIS. Every day for a week, start the day by writing down 5 things you are glad to have in your life. Don’t just think them.

Write them down — 5 people, 5 qualities, 5 places, 5 anything for which you are grateful.

Let me know what happens!

Copyright 2007 Carol Stewart. All rights reserved.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Loneliness is a self-imposed sentence. So why do you punish yourself? You don’t feel worthy — worthy of respect and acknowledgement and love?

It’s easy to isolate ourselves when we feel that, for whatever reason, we don’t deserve to be loved.

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It doesn’t matter. Just remember that you are worthy.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE . . . . No matter how you are feeling right now. . . .

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Just think for a minute . . . .

There is someone who already loves and cares about you. Now think–who is it?

Everyone needs someone to love who brings out the best in them. Someone with whom they can feel safe. And loved.

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Are you in the habit of being alone, whether you want to be or not?

Even in a crowd?

If your present situation does not bring you JOY, just remember . . . .

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Even if you don’t already know it, someone needs your help . . . right now. Who might that be?

Even if you don’t know it, someone is looking for someone like you. Someone to love — and be loved by.

Maybe you haven’t met him or her yet. It doesn’t matter. Are you willing to wait for the right time? The right person?

Maybe he or she is in your life right now. Are you willing to acknowledge that person’s love right now? Then, reach out to them. Reach out and love them the way they deserve to be loved.

You will never regret the love you give.

And remember . . . . YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Your friend,

Carol

P.S. — What have you learned about loneliness? What have you learned about love? Tell me about your own experiences. Just click on “Comments” to respond. I welcome appropriate comments!

Copyright 2007 Carol Stewart and licensors. All rights reserved.

TOUGH TIMES

How do you keep going when things get tough? What do you do when things seem to be going wrong and falling apart?

START WITH THE BASICS
The first thing is to be sure you are taking good care of yourself.

  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat good quality food, especially green vegetables and adequate protein.
  • Take a multi-mineral vitamin supplement.
  • Drink enough water to stay adequately hydrated (8-10 cups).

GET OUTDOORS
Spend some time sitting or walking outdoors every day, preferably in a pleasant place. Natural light can lift the spirit and make you feel better.

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QUIET TIME
Spend some time in prayer, meditation, or relaxation.

STAY IN TOUCH
Isolation can increase depression and feelings of loneliness. Leave the computer for awhile. Get out of the house. Go where there are people you can talk with in person.

  • Spend time with family.
  • Visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Volunteer. Someone needs your help. Spend some time doing something useful for someone else. It will work wonders for you, too.

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ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Above all, ask for help from the appropriate people — family, friends, pastor, health professionals, and anyone else who can help you with your situation.

 

Copyright 2007 Carol Stewart and Licensors. All rights reserved.