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Life Lessons from a 105-Year-Old

Life Lessons from a 105-Year-Old

I recently decided that I need to spend a little extra time with the women in my life, so I started visiting my 105-year-old great-grandmother at her home. This woman is extraordinarily special, and is capable of so much at her age. She continues to teach me new lessons, even unintentionally at times. She was brought up and has raised all of her kids in a rural farming area in Eastern Ontario, Canada. There are two lessons that she has taught me thus far that I feel will benefit you just as much as they continue to benefit me. These are life lessons from a 105-year-old.

1. Treat your neighbor the way you’d like to be treated

We have all heard the sayings “treat others with respect” and “treat others how you would like to be treated.” Both of these phrases come across as the same, but describe two completely different actions. My grandmother explained the importance of keeping a strong bond between you and your neighbors. It wasn’t a matter of giving respect and getting back; you earned it, and in return you received it.

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There are various ways in which relationships with our neighbors have changed over the years. I will give you a couple of examples of how we have grown more distant.

Meet and greet new neighbors

Rarely do I find myself approached by residents of an area I just moved into. In the past, as the “new family on the street” you would oftentimes find fellow neighbors casually bringing gifts to welcome you. Acts of kindness like these were a lot more frequent and random. My grandmother emphasized the fact that if she ever made too many baked goods, the extras usually went to the neighbors. Though some neighborhoods still show tokens of gratitude and acceptance, they have faded out for the most part along with common courtesy.

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Neighborly advice

When I am seeking instruction on how to complete a task, I usually use Google. Before the time of internet, our ancestors had to rely on the skills and assistance of others. If you were unable to build or fix something, you would oftentimes have to seek assistance from your neighbor. Payment wasn’t the main focus, either. Time and time again, neighbors exchanged favors rather then money. You treated each other how you wanted to be treated because you never knew when you would find yourself seeking help. Word spread quickly because everyone was so tight-knit, so you never wanted to burn your bridges with anyone for fear of a bad name.

2. Don’t go to bed angry

Another one of my life lessons from a 105-year-old is “Don’t go to bed angry.” One of the main reasons is the fact that we are ignoring what is bothering us, and therefore not fixing the problem. When we ignore situations that bother us and attempt to “sleep it off,” we are setting ourselves up for the same results when we are re-exposed.

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Example: When a wife does something that bothers her husband, the husband does not want to approach the situation due to fear of confrontation. This results in him bottling up his anger. The fact that he is not voicing his opinion on the matter not only leaves the wife thinking she has done nothing wrong, but also sets the situation up to be the same or worse next time it arises. By not approaching the actions we dislike, we are not finding a resolution and can soon expect the same feelings to re arise.

This fact was actually scientifically proven to be true. A group of neuroscience students from UMass Amherst found that when we go to bed immediately, or ignore a problem, it remains “protected.” This means that when you are exposed again, your response will likely be just as negative as the last time.

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Example: Someone witness to a gruesome accident that stays awake after the incident is less likely to have negative responses to crime scene images. You can read on the actual article here.

As you can see, there are various lessons that can be learned from someone who has experience. I continue to seek advice from my great-grandmother because I have learned that nothing teaches us more than personal experiences do. I will provide you with more life lessons from a 105-year-old as my visits progress.

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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