Category Archives: Choice

What Do You Deserve?

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Do you pause with this question?

What do you deserve? Do you even know? Do you feel guilty for craving more in life?

First, let’s get that guilt out of the way. God, through Jesus, has liberated you self-confidence2from your own guilt and has provided your freedom.

God does not want you living in guilt, self-condemnation, despair, or sabotaging His blessings for you. That is not what He desires for your life. He wants you to have joy, affection, and achievement with your endeavors. God has given each of us talents, skills, gifts, and abilities for use to better our lives and help the lives of other people.

What do you deserve? You deserve happiness, love, and success. You deserve shelter and sunlight and shade and warmth. Done. You deserve to determine your destiny. Fini. You deserve the moon! And you have it. You deserve a universe! It’s all yours.

10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nBut, any negative thoughts you have about yourself can cause you to sabotage your relationships, success, and happiness. If you do not treat yourself with love and respect, you can not experience the love and respect of other people.

What do you deserve? If you do not believe you deserve success, you will not experience it. If you do not think you should be happy, you will not find happiness.

What words do you use every day? Critical words? Ones used to complain? Judgmental phrases? Sarcastic tones? Encouraging expressions? Caring speech? Words of gratitude?

Your words reflect your character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself. Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself.

Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Do they match the character IMG_0862you want to role model to others? Are they in agreement with the integrity you want to be associated with?

Jump on any negative thoughts about yourself. Refuse to criticize your mistakes or degrade your limitations.

Pay attention to your inner critical voice that degrades you. Realize it represents voices of those who criticized you in the past. Those voices don’t represent the truth today.

What do you deserve?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

How To Hate

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How To Hate

Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-worth and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. But organized hatred helps give new meaning to the lives of those who feel marginalized. That’s how to hate.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith used the technology of motion pictures to make Birth of a Nation, a film prejudicethat portrayed African-Americans as stupid, lazy and inferior, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan for standing up for the rights of the white supremacy majority. It was so effective in fostering hate against blacks that even Griffith himself was said to have been shocked.

One hundred years later, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof walked into a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17th with a mindset of how to hate. His reason for attending was to shoot and kill everyone there. For an hour, Roof sat with the group and participated in their discussions about Scripture. Later, Roof told police he almost aborted his plan to kill the group because they were so welcoming and kind to him.

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast wrote:

But that would have meant giving up the hate that filled the hollowness of being born of a fleeting reunion between his parents three years after their divorce and of getting no further in high school than the ninth grade, but wearing a jacket with an “Academic All Stars” patch rightfully worn only by seniors in the top 10 percent. 

He had compensated for that false claim by sewing two other patches on the jacket, flags of apartheid-era Rhodesia and South Africa, symbols for those seeking another kind of supposed supremacy. 

And his older sister, Amber, was to be married on Sunday. To have just left the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Wednesday night would have meant going to the wedding at the end of the week as a rank loser from a fractured family who could rightly declare himself supreme in nothing at all.

Even so, Roof seems to have understood in his moments of indecision that these warmly devout people of the Bible study group were putting the lie to his racism. He may have sensed that the faith filling their lives might also fill his own.

After an hour, just as he was apparently losing his resolve and his hate was slipping away, Roof seized it anew. He allegedly produced the Glock .45 automatic that he is reported to have purchased with birthday money from his father.

That was when Tywanza Sanders is said to have told him, “You don’t have to do this.”

Roof is said to have replied as if he were also trying to convince himself. He was not some loser. He was a champion of the white race about to start a race war.

“I have to do it,” he reportedly cried out.

His next words were the language of white supremacists. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not intended to hate. Everybody is born with an inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others.

IMG_2247It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

A zero self-worth is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we as a society stop the hate, end the prejudice, and embrace all human beings of all ages with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, then maybe the violence will end. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-worth are not extinguished.

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

When You’re Left Out

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WHEN YOU’RE LEFT OUT – Dr. Sandy Nelson

As adults when you’re left out and rejected by a friend, it triggers childhood memories most of us can recall. Those cliques in class that excluded others in the playground games, or the secret chats by the lockers, or the in-crowd table in the cafeteria. Cliques that seemed to have fun seeing others isolated and alone.

Judith Sills, PhD, says in Oprah.com …being left out is not an inherently grown-up phenomenon. It is 1000213_10151708767561439_258385478_na grade-school agony that recurs throughout life. Being left out is an emotional drama that unfolds in three acts: discovery, distress, and, if you can get there, detachment. These psychological rhythms prevail whether you are reeling from the whispers of a group of girls at recess or excluded from a bridge game in your assisted-living home. Being left out is the dark side of friendship…

Female cliques—and the power they wield to trample feelings—are not just an unpleasant memory from junior high and high school. These groups that are aloof to outsiders thrive in the grown-up world too. It makes feeling welcomed as a newcomer difficult. When you’re left out, you know it. You feel it. It’s perplexing to be ignored or dismissed after a group has invited newcomers.

11046458_999199456780643_2534625398824416841_nDebbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul writes: Cliques tend to be more about power and control and less about the open door of friendship.

Clearly, there are good reasons to better understand the effects of being excluded when you’re left out. Humans have a fundamental need to belong. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships, says C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. This need is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history and has all sorts of consequences for modern psychological processes.

Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. The social rejection of when you’re left out increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance on difficult intellectual tasks, and can also contribute to aggression and poor impulse control, as DeWall explains in a recent review (Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011). Physically, too, rejection takes a toll. People who routinely feel excluded have poorer sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections, he says.

As mature adults, shouldn’t we be more embracing of people who have initiated their interest in our clubs, groups, or even our coffee house gatherings? Isn’t this the gift of affirmation and inclusion we all seek?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Traits of Toxic People

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TRAITS OF TOXIC PEOPLE – Dr Sandy Nelson

What is this mysterious crowd of individuals called toxic people? And why are they toxic? The personalities of toxic people are prone to traits found in codependency—they seek to control people for their own gain. Their thought process tends to be subjective and egotistical. Their behavior is chronically taxing and frustrating.

The agenda for most toxic people is to take advantage of others. They’re masterstoxic people2 of control—not the psychologically healthy self-control, but the psychologically unhealthy dominating control of others. They use people for their own specific needs.

Toxic people can appear to care about you, but typically the goodwill is not genuine, it’s a front, a scam. They resist supporting your goals for personal development because they want your time and attention to be spent on their needs and agenda. By degrading and criticizing you, they are able to lead you away from your pursuits and manipulate your devotion to theirs.

toxic people1Dr. Travis Bradberry states: Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. (read Dr. Bradberry’s article here)

You probably know some toxic people—they might be co-workers, they might even be friends, odds are you have a toxic person in your family, or you might live with someone toxic. Toxic people are sly. They edge their way into your life, and before you know it, they’re creating chaos and drafting you into their woes and problems. Toxic individuals are completely exhausting to be around and they can have a negative impact on your career and personal goals in life.

The distractions and stress that toxic people bring into your life are usually toxic peoplecostly. Most mental health clinicians would recommend ending relationships with a toxic people for your own well being. You deserve to have genuine friends and loved ones who value you without selfish motives.

Alexendra Palmer states: Detoxing makes you feel lighter, happier and healthier. Doing a food detox is easy, but what about getting rid of toxic people? (You can read Alexendra Palmer’s 5 Ways Your Life Will Improve After You Purge It Of Toxic People here.)

The sooner you remove toxic people from your life, the better.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Out of Focus

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OUT OF FOCUS – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Today, in the National Hockey League Western Conference finals, the Chicago hockey1Blackhawks will play game four with the Anaheim Ducks. The victor of this series will play for the Stanley Cup—the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League(NHL) playoff winner.

I’m a Blackhawk fan. I watch the games. I get the gist of hockey. I don’t know all the rules, but I think any idiot, myself included, knows that this game, among other things, takes focus and attention.

So I stopped to think about what I focus on. Suddenly my mind was bombarded with a cazillion things that occupy my day and I found it difficult to sort it all out to even have a focus.

IMG_1577Should I focus on my attitude? Or topics for my blog? What about my family? How about those bills? How much housework should I get done today? Maybe I should focus on more research and reading. Then the phone is ringing, the doorbell goes off, the dog is barking. Wait, where are those tips about staying focused; they’re here somewhere on my desk where the cat is sleeping.

To accomplish anything takes focus. And to focus, we need to remove distractions that could take us way off track. We need to put down our phones, turn off the music or TV, defer conversations until later. Then we’re ready to sit down with concentration for the task at hand.

I think it’s wise to start the every day with intentions.IMG_1034

1. Set your intentions for your attitude. Envision your outlook for the day–one of gratitude, kindness, and giving.

2. Decide what’s tasks need to be accomplished. Set the priorities of what projects need your focused attention at work and at home.

4. Then focus on those priorities, without distraction, and you’ll be finished in no time.

Then relax and enjoy what remains of the day. Turn on that TV just in time for a hockey game! I bet you can focus on that!

images (96)Think about it!

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

Letting Go, Holding On – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Letting Go, Holding On

We’ve heard the phrase many times: The past is the past for a reason.

Did we not know that? What does it even mean?

It’s a nagging whisper to remind us that whatever or whoever we’re clinging to from the past should be let go. We need to set it down. It’s a jarring reminder IMG_2250that we can’t go back. The past is the past for a reason. It’s a sounding alarm.

How do we set down a past that occupies a great deal of our present thoughts? How do we let go of prior regrets, lost love, anger, and betrayals? These experiences may be dead in the past, but jeopardize our life, happiness and success today, right now.

When we can’t let go, we drag along with us a sack filled with yesterday’s aftermath that we refuse to leave behind. The sack is heavy so it holds us back, weighs us down, and handicaps our current efforts. We’re not able to keep up with the opportunities that are offered today. We may struggle to get ahead because we’re dragging around this sack of the past, we’re stuck in yesterday.

Dragging our pasts through life everyday will never allow us to change any bygone circumstances. Holding on to yesterday will not provide control over IMG_2321what has occurred. But we can be invested in our future and have 100 percent control over our thoughts and actions today.

The past is your history. It’s a history that may have been painful at times, but also made you more wise, more cautious, more kind, and more confident. You can honor who you were by becoming who you are meant to be. I love this quote by Jeffrey McDanielI realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go. How fitting after letting go is their return to the living in spring, more ample.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

 

Got complaints? – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Malcolm S. Forbes says: The best vision is insight. However, a lot of people have placed their vision on sights outside of themselves—on other people and mostly on what other people are doing wrong.IMG_3247

We will not improve the world by lecturing other people how they should be better while ignoring the responsibility to better ourselves. Obtaining insight requires us to look within ourselves for those traits that hamper relationships, fuel resentments, and assist in our misery.

We will have better self-respect when we have a better self to respect. We will have better relationships when we have altered the parts of ourselves that pump doom into them. We will have a better planet when we take responsibility to correct the mind-set in our private world.

IMG_3277The transformation of your life begins with an examination of your thoughts. In Everyday Grace, Marianne Williamson writes: Our thoughts, not just our actions, create our experience. If you’re not happy and successful, investigate your thought content. Look for hidden complaints, resentments and grudges. When you stop railing against other people and stop blaming other people for your lack of prosperity, your mind and heart are then in a position to receive the happiness and success you desire. Instead of asking what’s in your wallet today, ask yourself what’s in your head.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Problem Shattering Strategies – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Problem Shattering Strategies – Dr. Sandy Nelson

I’m the first to admit that I bought into the idea early on in life that my experiences day-to-day should not contain difficulties. I remember in my 20’s having the thought that if lived properly, I would be exempt from struggles and problems. You can imagine the turmoil and jolt this caused me when reality arrived. When problems would of course occur, instead of seeing them as a part of life, I viewed them as evidence that I was not doing something correctly.

Someone once said: There’s not a single human being who has dodged the experience of difficulties in life.

My life changed when I realized that what was wrong was my thinking! See your difficulties today not as evidence that you’re flawed, rather proof that you’re alive! Seek solutions, check your thoughts against reality, and seek the coping CAVTL1oWYAAqihQskills needed to overcome! Here are the strategies most useful:

1. If at all possible, give yourself 24 hours to process the problem and brain-storm possible solutions. Rarely are their circumstances where a decision is required immediately. Time provides you a chance to not react in the moment which almost always makes things worse.

2. Gather as much info as you can about the situation and dilemma so you’re able to respond with facts.

3. Seek wisdom from someone who may have experienced the same situation, or who could advise you. Gain support and encouragement.

4. Keep your feelings separate from reality. Going forward, your action plan needs to be based on what’s true, not what you feel.

5. There’s no benefit in blaming yourself or feeling sorry for yourself. In fact, it can make matters worse. Accept that in the real world everyone screws up and makes mistakes, even you.

problem6. Take responsibility and follow through with the best solution for the problem.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist specializing in Motivational Psychology, wrote: Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Dealing With Change

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It’s quite humorous to think we can cling to a comfortable redundancy—days ord83194e0-d432-4f1b-a35d-5ac0bd979803-medium years of routines that have brought solace through familiarity. We even may be proud that nothing can or will change us. I envision the universe chuckling at our unwavering stubbornness as the seasons and currents are ever-changing and taking us with it, ready or not.

Lucy: Do you think anybody ever really changes?
Linus: I’ve changed a lot in the last year.
Lucy: I mean for the better.
—Charles Schulz

How silly to think we can be the only elements in a vast universe unaltered by time or change. If we realized how natural and often we alter our opinions, the idea of change would not be so scary. The truth is that we change constantly. Our taste, our preferences, our appetite, our hairstyle, and our favorite color are just a short list of aspects in our lives constantly being altered.

President John F. Kennedy said: Change is the law of life.

We can resist change—even refuse to change, but that will not stop change from occurring. The seasons consistently change and so do our circumstances. The people in our lives change, too. Everything is in constant modification. Today, look around you and note the things that are in a state of constant change—trees, flowers, children, pets, gasoline prices, appetites, even moods. We redecorate to make a change. We even move for a bigger change.IMG_2946

But sometimes change is no laughing matter. Unwanted change requires a letting go of a security and safety found in a way of life we’ve always known. This is true when we lose someone or something close to us. As life thrusts us forward, what we leave behind is a part of ourselves. Loss causes a basic and radical alteration in all those experiences of assumptions underlining our lives. It demands a reconstruction of who we are, without what we had.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Is rudeness a profession?

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Unkind people are prevalent. It seems likely that your daily path will bring you images (3)face to face with rude people. They’re the ones who seem to resent wherever they’re going and because you happen to be going in that direction, they resent you. They bump into you and just keep going. They can’t be bothered holding a door for anyone or giving up a seat for someone. If you ask them something, their spiteful reply sounds just like a snarling bulldog. Most people who have made rudeness a profession can be pretty intimidating and their mantra seems to scream, I just don’t care.

At that point you have a decision to make. Will you return rudeness for rudeness, or will you refuse to allow anyone to alter your character and remain in self-control? You may want to give this bulldog a piece of your mind, but that would mean losing your peace of mind. The examination of good manners is to be tolerant with bad ones.

images (1)To use poor manners on someone displaying poor manners is against your better judgment, isn’t it? The more your patience wears thin the longer your mental list becomes filled with objections and criticisms. And in no time your words, too, may be snarling like a bulldog. Don’t do it. Don’t let a jerk gain control of your attitude. Refuse to change your character because someone else lacks one.

Kindness matters. Manners matter. And the world needs a heavy dose of both.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com