Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘personal growth’

An App for Relationships – Really?

I think we have a new entry for ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ – the launch of a new app called ‘Invisible Boyfriend (or Girlfriend).’ Seriously folks, I’m not making this up! It seems this new app will generate voice mails, texts, and even pictures to give the owners ‘believable social proof’ to their friends that they, in fact, have a ‘real-life’ soul mate. This sounds like a take off from a really bad T.V. reality program but which now with the magic of technology can be conveniently available on our cell phones.

Before any of us consider purchasing this type of pretend reality (not that we would of course) maybe we could simply look at our lives with gratitude for what we have and not what we may be tempted to think is lacking. That’s where the art and science of marketing comes in. If we can be convinced that we need to have ——- (fill in the blank) to be happy it means that obviously our lives must be unhappy without it. The sad part of this type of app is that people may begin to see their lives as lacking and fail to be grateful for the abundance each one of us has in one form or another. Like all things in life negative energy (lack) will generate more of the same back to us like an incredibly powerful magnet.

Let’s turn the end of the magnet around to the positive charge and accept that relationships exist in all colors, shades and hues. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ that can be cleverly package into the perfect anything. That’s why relationships of any type are both challenging and rewarding. It’s up to us to decide what we want and then work to achieve it. Personal growth and maturity are the benefits of the struggle.

The positive energy we generate when we are grateful for what we do have is a sure fire way to attract more lasting friends and deeper relationships that will last a life time.
Think about the last time someone (friend or family) made you laugh, really listened, hugged you, cried with you, or encouraged you as you faced a challenge in your life. They may not be your ‘soul mate’ but the reality is that they made a positive difference in your life. They were there in flesh and blood when you needed them most. They may have helped you hang on when you felt like giving up and helped you experience growth from a difficult experience.

Maybe life is about being grateful for what we have and not to allow ourselves to think we are not whole unless we search to find Utopia in a person, place or thing. I definitely know it is not inventing a pretend relationship. We are better and smarter than that because we know that we are exactly where we are supposed to be in life, surrounded by people who sincerely love and care about us. Now that’s something to be grateful for don’t you think? Too bad there isn’t an app for that!

Have a great few days!

Attaining Greater Happiness

Following up on two previous blogs on how to achieve greater happiness in your life, I have a question for you, “Are you living an intention driven life?” Whether we call it goal setting or positive intentions the purpose is the same; placing ourselves in the driver’s seat rather than the passenger’s seat in life. It’s about deciding to make things happen rather than let them happen. Each of us has the innate power to choose to live a life filled with purpose, optimism and attainment. Free will is the ticket that allows you to choose your perspective.

I read a quote recently from a 71 year old who said, “The last 15 years have been the best time of my life so far.” The last two words, ‘so far’ stops you in your tracks don’t they? In our youth filled culture it may, at first, strike you as incongruous to think that an elder would have the audacity to view the ensuing years with such optimism. Yet, others respond by mentally cheering on this mindset as we knowingly smile at the implications. It’s all about perspective isn’t it?

When we live with purpose by deciding what we truly want out of life (as well as what we will no longer accept) and begin to mentally project those positive feelings of attainment forward, the world becomes our oyster. Age no longer becomes an issue merely a fact. The adage, ‘the older the wiser,’ takes on a deeper meaning.

By choosing a life of on-going personal growth – intellectually, emotionally and spiritually- we begin to take charge of our life. We may even find the time and opportunity to help another traveler on their journey as we begin to live in a mindset of abundance.

Your personal challenge is to DECIDE to live a life from the perspective of goals and intentions rather than one of mere habits. It requires us to summon all of our personal strength to truly believe that we deserve to sculpt our own destiny and learn our life lessons with a minimum of challenge and a maximum of deeper personal understanding.

Whether you are 18 or 80 the choice is always yours – to decide to live more fully from a place of optimistic enthusiasm or remain boxed into a world of fear that often manifests itself through self-defeating habits and a mindset of ‘lack.’ Choosing a mindset of abundance rather than lack is your right. Go for it!

Today, I challenge you to analyze your life perspective. Look at your patterns bringing both your mind and heart to the task. Decide what truly gives you energy and what drains you. Take the time to write out the goals and intentions that will increase those positive experiences that energize you and then patiently sit back and wait. Congratulations! You’ve placed yourself in the driver’s seat now and the journey of your new life has just begun!

Have a great few days!

Child, Parent or Adult – That is the Question

Years ago there was a book by Eric Berne entitled the ‘Games People Play.’ It was a popular read that was steeped in a deeper analysis of human motivation somewhat based on Freud. Berne explained the deeper concepts using three different approaches that we could relate to in our lives. His premise was that people typically use one of these approaches to avoid real intimacy or at least to get what they want out of life. Being honest with ourselves we all use methods of manipulation in our lives. Like everything else in life it is to the degree that we use them that either helps or impedes our growth. Berne labeled these three different approaches as the Child, Parent, and Adult perspectives. It is worth examining our typical responses as well as those around us to understand how these perspectives apply. We choose one of these perspectives to seek attention, recognition and ‘strokes’ from others. Early in life we discovered that one of them seemed to work better for us and over time it may have become a behavioral mode of interacting with others to help us control our circumstances. With everything in life the more we do something the better we become at it.

To begin, let’s look at the Child orientation. Think of a young child and frequently a smile will come to your face as they entertain us, and make us laugh at their behavior. We watch them as they are naturally spontaneous, curious and display a confidence to try new things. They just want to have fun right? But they can also be difficult if they don’t get their own way, or receive an immediate response to their demands. They can throw tantrums and exhibit a stubbornness and catastrophic view of events that are out of their control. Rather than ‘go with the flow’ they expect to control the flow because they just know people want to make them happy. After all, who doesn’t just love a child?

The next perspective, labeled the Parent approach, can involve problem solving, wise counsel and a feeling of safety and security. However, it can also result in telling, directing, demanding and judging. This can be the person who seems to think they have all the right answers – not just for themselves but for us as well. After all, many of us looked to one or both of our parents to give us an answer or an okay about something we wanted to do in our life. We looked for their approval. What type of message did you receive from your parent(s) about work, relationships, achievement and security. Are you modeling the same behavior you watched as a child?

The last approach, labeled the ADULT is one which uses a rational objectivity, acceptance of truth – without judgment or demands. An example would be that when listening to you explain a challenge or roadblock in your life asks you how you feel about it. They want you to process your feelings and grow from your inner discovery. They are cautious about giving advice because they realize that we are all on our own unique path and that the answer for one person may not be the right answer for another when dealing with human interactions. In spiritualism this approach would be compared to functioning in our higher self. Realizing that events happen for a purpose, a lesson and that we are basically actors on the stage of life living the parts of the script that we have written.

The beauty in examining our own behavior is that it can help us to determine areas or edges that we might choose to smooth out or areas in which we would like to expand our repertoire of responses. The more we examine ourselves the more confident and at peace we can become

Have a great few days!

Pat Yourself on the Back!

It is time to say goodbye to 2013 and look forward to the new year. I can’t tell you why but I just feel like 2014 will be a better year. This is a perfect time to take a moment to reflect on our successes and our near misses.

What are the three things that you are most proud of that happened in your life this year – the things for which you are most grateful? Add to those thoughts the one thing you will choose to handle differently in the future. What did you learn from each of them? It is often said that we learn more from our challenges than our successes. That may be true, however, everything we do has an inherent lesson in it. I believe that we have a greater chance for personal growth when we recognize and build on the lessons we learned from the successes we experienced. It helps to reassure us that we are capable of personal change. Thus, the three positives and one growth opportunity ratio makes sense to me. When you think about it, if each of us improved in just one area during the upcoming year the world would be an even better place. I believe in a focused approach to improvement. Choosing one thing to improve upon for the new year is doable. Less is more – it allows us to grow with confidence and ease. This type of year end review may seem counterintuitive but I believe it offers a stronger approach to self improvement.

When we take the time to reflect back on the year it is not for the purpose of beating ourselves up with thoughts of ‘I should have…’ but rather with thoughts of ‘the next time I intend to …’ The former statement basically causes us to find fault with ourselves but the later encourages us to turn the kaleidoscope ever so slightly and see the beauty in the fact that we survived the challenges as they were presented and learned from them. It also forces us to take the time to pat ourselves on the back for the lessons learned. A habit few of us practice on a regular basis. The year 2013 had significant challenges for many of us and yet we are able to say to ourselves that we made it through in one piece – we survived – and are as a result both stronger and wiser.

Before you go to bed tonight think about the three things for which you are most grateful and the one growth area you are willing to commit to in 2014. Remind yourself to revisit them on a weekly basis throughout the year. The repetition of thought/intention is important since the Universe delivers to us what is foremost in our thinking. Next year at this time you will be amazed at your feelings of even greater strength and self confidence.

As a post script I wanted to add that I am grateful this year to the thousands of readers of my blogs and the feedback I have received along the way. In my small way I believe I am offering ‘food for thought’ specifically on the topics of loss, grief, and lessons learned. The greatest lesson of all, of course, is that ‘All is as it should be,’ which allows us to face the challenges presented in our lives with a greater sense of confidence and assurance.

Happy New Year!