Having Hope

hope

It is really difficult to have a positive outlook on life when the negatives seem to outweigh the positives.  That’s where hope comes into play.  Sometimes the smallest amount of hope that something will improve, someone will see the light, something will happen the way I want it to, or someone will change their attitude can pull me through the most challenging of times, even when the chances of those things happening is pretty slim.

It’s so easy to slip into a downward spiral of negativity.  The more negative your thoughts and expectations are, the more negativity you are likely to experience. I have definitely found this to be true in the past where I would be thinking, “What more could go wrong?” while dwelling on all the negative things and people in my life. Invariably, something else would go wrong.  It was like a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way, even though many of the things that happened were completely out of my control.  They probably just seemed worse because I was waiting for them to happen and then would overlook any positives because I was so busy dwelling on the negatives. Continue reading

Coping With Conflict

peace:conflict

Conflict can’t possibly be avoided.  It appears to be everywhere, especially in my house. I even have family members who seem to enjoy creating conflict where there shouldn’t be any.   Everyone has different ways of dealing with it too, including within my family.  That’s what makes it challenging.  Of course, it would be nice if there was a lot less conflict to begin with because people were more tolerant, respectful, and cooperative and less stubborn, impatient, and selfish.  Unfortunately, I don’t see those things changing too quickly.  What would be REALLY nice is if there were better coping skills for dealing with the conflict because while we can’t control what other people do or say or what is happening around us, we can control how we react to it, at least some of the time. Continue reading

Feeling Content 

Feeling content has a lot to do with feeling happy about your circumstances and being grateful for who and what you have in your life.  That can be very challenging when your basic needs are not being met.  I’m not talking about food, shelter, and clothing basic needs, although I’m sure it’s difficult to feel content when those needs are not being met either.  I am talking about being respected and listened to and things of that nature.  It’s hard to look on the bright side and see the positives life has to offer when the people who are most important in your life don’t value and appreciate you or treat you with respect.  It also becomes difficult to live in the moment and enjoy the little things when there is so much negativity on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, I am speaking from plenty of experience.

I just read a quote that said, “When you learn to accept instead of expect, you’ll have fewer disappointments.”  This may be true to a certain extent, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to be treated with respect and kindness, to feel valued as a whole person, and to have others be honest with me.   Continue reading

Loyalty

loyalty

Loyalty is one of those things that is really important in any relationship.  It has to be earned though, and not expected, unless of course if we are talking about a parent being loyal to their children.  That should be expected.  The other way around though is a different story.  As kids grow older and start thinking more like adults, they start to see things differently, including their parents.  If one or both parents have been there for the child every step of the way, then there’s a good chance the child will feel a sense of loyalty to the parent(s).

When that’s not the case, the parent shouldn’t be surprised if the child doesn’t feel a sense of loyalty.  I think this is especially evident when parents split up.  It’s quite possible that a child will feel loyal to both parents if the child has had a good relationship with each of them, but when one or both parents haven’t been there for the child, the child is likely to lose that sense of loyalty.  I have experienced this with my own parent, and I am now watching my kids go through the same process.  It’s definitely a two-way street.  You can’t expect someone to be loyal to you if you are not willing to do the same in return.

The same can be said for friendships and romantic relationships and relationships with other family members. Continue reading

Not Losing Our Inner Child

nuns

The people who know me best tell me I have a very playful personality.  I was told once that I am not childish but rather child-like.  I would agree with that, and I think that’s partly because I never wanted to grow up in the first place (seriously, one of the poses I did for my high school senior pictures is me dressed in a pink dress with white tights and China doll shoes, sitting on the floor surrounded by stuffed animals, looking very much like a little girl).  I know when and how to be a responsible adult, but my inner child has always been there somewhere, waiting to come out and play.

As I have gotten older and had to deal with life’s challenges and responsibilities, that inner child has gotten quite lonely.  Not everyone can bring that side out in me, and I always look forward to spending time with the people who can.  It’s fun to be a little silly once in a while or do something only kids would typically do, like make a snow angel, especially if you are doing it with someone else or making someone else laugh in the process.   Continue reading

Getting Over The Hurdles

path no obstacles

The last several years it seems like no matter what is going on in my life or where I’d like to see myself, there are always obstacles to overcome … some of them little ones and some quite large.  Nothing seems to be easy.  There is always drama, and everything seems to be harder than it should be.  The really happy and enjoyable moments are few and far between.  Despite all of that, I still try to look at all of the obstacles as hurdles that I can get over, or maybe around, and not as permanent set-backs.

It really does feel like I am running hurdles sometimes where I just about get over one hurdle and there’s the next one right in front of me, but I am determined to keep going.  Sometimes it seems like I will never get to the end of the race either, because nothing that I would like to see change for the better ever changes, but I still keep going.  It’s the only way to get closer to the finish line, and I am determined to get there.  I know it’s going to feel so good once I finally get there, and that’s my motivation. Continue reading