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Live Life to the Fullest

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Live Life to the Fullest

Life isn’t easy. Sometimes scars run deep. People we love die. Family, friends and coworkers say and do cruel things. Not everything we want to happen in life, does and often things we don’t want to happen, do. We all have our share of heartache; things that make us question who we are and what we want from life. Things that leave us stuck.

Yet some individuals muster the strength to push through. They’re able to rise above life’s challenges rather than sink. How?

The answer is RESILIENCE. These individuals have the ability to bounce back from setbacks to live happier, purpose filled lives. It’s something we all aspire to and often all we need is the right mindset. So here are ten ways to build resilience and live happier, fuller lives.

1. Develop a more positive attitude

This doesn’t mean ignoring the pain or denying the problem, it means choosing to be optimistic, choosing to look for the good in each and every situation. This is hard in the moment. We all need a good cry and plenty of time to grieve life’s disappointments, but don’t dwell there forever. Choose to see setbacks as isolated incidents. Choose to not beat yourself up—the world is not out to get us even though it often feels that way.

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Instead, think three positives for every negative. Choose to be with positive people who encourage and inspire you, who appreciate and understand the depths of your soul.

2. Embrace change

Don’t be afraid to mix things up: get a new haircut, redecorate a room in the house, try a new hobby, travel, learn a new language, visit a different museum or restaurant, switch out the same ‘ole Starbucks drink for a new one. The point is, live. Try new things. Allow yourself to be open and willing to new people, new ideas, and new adventures. The less resistant we are to change, the easier it becomes when something unexpected shatters our lives—and it will. Life is full of change. Expect it. Welcome it. Don’t let a fear of change numb all the good life has to offer.

3. Face problems head on

Denial leads to hopelessness whereas problem solving leads to solutions and helps us feel a sense of control. Take time to reflect and then brainstorm a list of solutions. Be creative. Find more than one. Ask others for help, preferably people who have been in the same situation or who know you well. Allow yourself to be practical and impractical before narrowing solutions down. Then Act.

Remember: it’s your choice to stay in a miserable situation. Don’t just pretend the problem isn’t there. Do something.

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And for problems that don’t seem to have a solution. Reflect. Pray. Meditate. There are some problems we cannot fix. Some things we cannot change. Some wounds that will not heal. Sometimes, all we need is time. And an ability to press on in spite of it all.

4. Forgive yourself

Shame kills joy. We all make mistakes. Rather than destroying your future with your past, give yourself grace. Who you were. What you’ve done. It’s history. Don’t let it rob you of your life. Don’t give it power. Ask for forgiveness and let it go. You deserve grace and compassion. Believe that. Believe you are worthy. Beating yourself up year after year doesn’t change the past nor does it heal you. Learn from your mistakes. Encourage others. Only then can you truly be free.

5. Pursue your dreams

Learn what excites you, what motivates you, and go after it. Set short and long term goals. Make a plan. Put it on the calendar. Stay focused. Following our dreams builds confidence and provides a sense of purpose. If you’re unsure what enlivens you, see a career counselor. Determine your interests and skills. What makes you smile? What makes you feel alive? Don’t sit around waiting for your dreams to find you. Work toward them. Take action. A step forward is always closer to your dreams than no step. And when roadblocks slow you down, which they will—fight. Work hard and don’t give up. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.

6. Seek support from someone you trust

Sometimes life is just too hard, far too messy to take on alone. We all need an extra shoulder to cry on, someone we can rely on, who will help us see through our fog.  We all need someone who understands us, who won’t judge us, who will help us succeed at life. Whether it’s a friend, family member, pastor, or therapist, find a person who’s been there, who can help you feel less alone. They’ll equip you with tools to achieve your goals and face adversity.

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7. Make yourself a priority

Exercise. Eat healthy. Dance. Take nature walks. Paint. Whatever lifts you out of the fog, do it. All these activities will help boost energy and self-esteem. Get a good night’s sleep. Enjoy a bubble bath. Get a massage. Read a favorite book. Whatever it may be, make it a priority.  If we expect to take on life’s challenges, we’ve got to build ourselves up, spoil ourselves, show ourselves some compassion. Taking care of oneself, nurturing one’s soul, will boost confidence and ready us for whatever challenges life brings.

8. Laugh often

Laughter really is the best medicine. When times get tough—laugh! It helps us gain perspective. Breaks us free from our prison of despair. Watch a funny show. Read a comic. Hang out with friends who make you laugh, who’ll help you not take yourself so seriously.

9. Show yourself love

Our perception of ourselves, positive or negative, determines our behavior. If we believe we are unworthy, we act that way. But who we are is not determined by others. It is determined by us, by our own inner thoughts. We alone destroy ourselves— from within. With lies we tell ourselves. With past pain and words that echo through our mind.

So be compassionate. Each morning, look in the mirror and give praise. Say three positive truths. Force yourself to do it even if it seems cheesy. The world is not always kind; if we depend on others for approval, we’ll be waiting a long time.

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10. Don’t compete with others

We run our own race. It’s that simple.

Look for self-improvements. Set new goals. Dwell on your accomplishments. If we’re always striving to beat So and So, we risk losing ourselves. Comparing our life to others never brings happiness or contentment. We’ll only feel more out of control. There will always be someone richer, prettier, smarter, more athletic, healthier, etc. so the only person we should compete with is our past self.

Life isn’t always going to go our way and that’s okay, it’s what makes life exciting. But If we love and take care of ourselves, if we pursue our dreams, if we laugh, and focus on the positives, and if we seek solutions–we will be resilient. Life can throw anything at us and we’ll be ready. We’ll rise, even if it’s an inch by inch crawl out of our pain to be happier, more complete, people than we ever were before.

Featured photo credit: Happiness is excitement/Nancy Kellan via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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