Category Archives: Kindness

Why Don’t We Complain

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Have we become more stressed or more Zen-like?

Sure, we all tend to complain about ourselves–our day, our health, our work. That’s a real catharsis when we’re able to destress and release our frustrations. Life’s not fair, and that often is expressed with a justified complaint.

When it comes to inconveniences or less than ideal service, however, mostIMG_3285 people are preferring to go with the flow and let it go. Why don’t we complain? Have we become more compassionate towards those workers in front of us, seeing them as co-habitants of stressful living? Cutting them slack is like an invisible nod of I feel the strain of your job. 

An aversion to confrontation can also be a reason why we don’t complain. People would rather adjust to a defect or go without their request rather than object and risk an altercation. Why don’t we complain? It may be related to how stressed we are and a matter of picking our battles.

In 1961, William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote an essay that describes his amusing struggle to assert himself, called “Why Don’t We Complain?” It originally appeared in Esquire in 1960. He wrote:

Every New Year’s Eve I resolve to do something about the Milquetoast in me and vow to speak up, calmly, for my rights and for the betterment of our society, on every appropriate occasion… When our voices are finally mute, when we have finally suppressed the natural instinct to complain, whether vexation is trivial or grave, we shall have become automatons, incapable of feeling. (Read his entire essay here.)

One of Buckley’s reasons, 55 years ago, for why Americans didn’t complain was due to a reluctance to assert ourselves because of an increased sense of helplessness in an age of technology and centralized political power.

10d69f3e-9b69-4700-9155-2f934eb05151-mediumI can see how that conclusion may no longer be why we don’t complain. There may be people who don’t verbalize what they really think because they don’t want to make a fuss and be thought as difficult. The problem with that plan is that the people who really need to be heard, won’t be. If they don’t share what they think, how will they be heard?

As American’s, we must assert ourselves for the cause of equality and the demonstration of human kindness. Any abatement from this basic human right deserves complaint. Otherwise, we fail as a society.

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

 

What The Muppets Taught Me

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Is it odd to love The Muppets more than the average bear?

While it’s true, my family thinks there’s something seriously wrong with memuppet when I express overt enthusiasm for this peculiar gang of characters, I can’t help the goofiness they bring out in me. And I’m flat out gaga over the return of The Muppet Show this fall on TV. But more than their whimsical antics that string along my amusement, The Muppets have meted out some good horse sense.

Here’s what The Muppets taught me:

 

1. Stay playful

The Muppets peddle humor. Stress has no audience when I allow the child in me to be her goofy self. Any weight on my shoulders disappears at the arrival of laughter and silliness.

Laughter is the best medicine. In addition to helping the mind to stay positive, laughing triggers the release of endorphins in your body–the feel good chemicals and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Stay merry my friends. Engage in laughter is what the muppets taught me!

 

2. Use encouraging words

kermit-54237_640Kermit, the philosophical frog and ringleader, isn’t your typical skipper. He cares so deeply for his buddies that he thinks of ways to be helpful and encouraging, especially if any one of them is in a jam.

He’s the wise guru for a gang of seriously off-beat oddballs. He believes in the genuine goodness of the world. And that reminds me that I do, too. His consistent quest keeps me more aware that people need encouragement and compassion. And, being different is a rare and good thing.

 

3. Rock outmuppet3

Music makes my soul want to dance. It’s a power that lifts my spirit. It moves me. And who can go wrong with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem? A band stuck in the 60’s. Me, too!

muppet2When it comes to tickling the ivories, Rowlf the Dog plays piano like my good friend David Longo. He also has a pretty good singing voice. Rowlf, not David.

But nothing beats Kermit sitting on a log in a swamp, playingkermit1 the banjo and singing The Rainbow Connection, for lovers, and dreamers, and me. La da da di da da dum da duh da da dum di da ohhh

 

4. It’s okay to suck as a cook

I’ve pored over most of the gibberish cooking advice from the Swedish Chef. I’m relieved that food and utensils flying through the air is not as bad as I muppet1previously thought.

Thank goodness jogging back and forth along the kitchen counter is perfectly normal.

And to make a word salad, you simply talk to yourself or hum a nonsensical song. At last, a chef I can relate to! Bork! Bork! Bork!

 

5. Spread love. Pass it on.

It’s impossible to look at a Muppet and not feel some goodness in life.muppet5

Jim Henson created The Muppets in 1955 with a visionary passion. When he died in 1990, Disney eventually bought the rights to The Muppets in 2004. I’m thankful for the vision of love, morals, humor, and hope Henson played out with all his created characters. All the qualities of a well-played life, human and otherwise.

In 2006, Kermit the Frog was credited as the author of the self-help guide “Before You Leap: A Frog’s Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons” — an “autobiography” written from the perspective of the Muppet himself.

Life’s greatest lessons. That’s what The Muppets taught me.

 

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

What Social Etiquette Reveals About You

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How do you treat other people?

Every day, it seems, I become upset by someone’s mistreatment of another human being. There’s always cruel words involved and a lack of compassion or mercy. It’s on the radio or in the newspaper or on the news–it’s everywhere.

It’s not difficult to show kindness. No expertise is required. It doesn’t listen1necessitate a lot of reading, or a college degree. It doesn’t even cost money–it’s free. It’s a social grace. One of the few humanity decorum’s becoming snuffed out, I fear, with the air of superiority from an increasing amount of people.

I understand how individuals can lose patience with social etiquette. They’re hurried with managing many aspects of their lives. Their busy seems to always be more important than another person’s busy. Plus, it appears they must save their polite and courteous actions and conversations for their friends or bosses, because they sure aren’t showing any social grace with strangers or who they consider nobodies.

10d69f3e-9b69-4700-9155-2f934eb05151-mediumAnd that speaks volumes. People who are unfriendly, or exclude others from their circle are usually conceited and preoccupied with their image. So they tend to be unkind to anyone they perceive as less successful. These are people who don’t tip waiters or bartenders or taxi drivers or hair stylists. They can be rude and demanding to those same people.

If you come across one of them, you might mention that every human being is entitled to the same treatment that he or she demands. Every person is entitled to respect, dignity, and kindness.

So says Mary Killen, author and columnist at The Spectator, “Having good manners boils down to treating others as you would like to be treated yourself,” she says. “You throw your civility and kindness on the water, and it comes back to you.”

Treating others with respect is an act of benevolence that comes back to you. That’s good karma.

I think that’s how it should stay. Social etiquette is good manners. And good manners know no social status. It belongs everywhere.

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

Constructive Criticism, My Ass

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Constructive Criticism, My Ass

I have a thing about the phrase “constructive criticism.” First of all, isn’t it an oxymoron? It seems like a complete contradiction. Plus, there’s no such thing as constructive criticism, is there? It’s not positive criticism. It’s criticism. Plain and simple. There’s no constructive part about it.

There are many people who use this catchphrase. Usually, it’s with a life is hardcondescending voice. It’s typically someone who is cranky, even resentful, and someone who hasn’t had a good laugh is years. “Can I give you some constructive criticism?” It’s a question that puts me on the defensive. If I’m already objecting to the tone of the question, does it matter if the advice or suggestion that follows is good or bad, or whether I follow it?

There are a million and one ways to make a suggestion, or even scold someone, without actually saying “you suck.”

We can be less sarcastic, less disrespectful when pointing out mistakes or blunders to someone under our watch. We can make suggestions more humorous such as, “You’ll pull less hair out if you try it this way.” Or more helpful with “Hey, let me show you what works for me.”

At one time, we all were doing something for the first time.

Why do we criticize other people at all? Is there a living single person knighted with the sole knowledge of all things deemed critical? If it’s not illegal, why do we have an issue with someone who does something different than we would? Does it matter?

daisy2It doesn’t matter. What matters is our kindness. Yeah, I know it’s like a sappy love song, but it’s true. Because it’s grown in the daisy field hills of love, kindness is a power that can drive out a lot of demons in people. I’ve seen it happen many times. People need kindness. Soon, they may pay it forward with some kindness.

Until somebody comes up with a better idea, spread some kindness everywhere you go.

I think the term “Constructive Criticism” can be tossed in the heap of outdated phrases like “Attaboy,” “Copacetic,” “Scram,” and “Cat Pajamas.” No, wait, not Cat Pajamas. I like the cat’s pajamas. 

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

 

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

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

 

 

Ditch That Godawful Attitude Here – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Beyond your heart beat, and everything, how do you know if you’re alive? Is there any excitement or interests in your life? Any passion?

Vernon Howard was a man on a mission. In his books and lectures, it was clear that each day he aspired everyone to experience an emotional awareness of being alive. He was probably one of the first trailblazers for mindfulness in the 1950’s with this statement Try to see what attitudes rule your day, then ask yourself what kind of a day you usually have.IMG_2308

What kind of days have you been having lately? Are you sick of the same crap? If the past week has been bleak and negative, or filled with resentment and criticism, chances are high that your attitude on those days has not been working well for you. The bold truth is that if you latch on to a negative outlook you’re experiences in life are going to be negative which then prompts a negative outlook, and so on.

Instead of waiting for life to treat you better before changing a negative attitude, change your attitude first. Focus on the good in your life, find it, accept “what is” in everyday situations, be thankful for what hasn’t gone wrong, and then expect the positive. With that outlook, you’re bound for a good day which then prompts a good attitude!

IMG_2327Joan Baez reminds all of us that: You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.

Most of us are guilty at some time or another of taking life for granted. We’re blinded with the eluding belief that there’s always tomorrow, and next week. In taking life for granted we become immune to the treasures found in each day and instead complain about this or that unfairness. We’re indifferent with other people. Instead of filled with kindness and gratitude, we’re filled with indifference and resentment.

Each dawn is to be a celebration because it’s a gift.  If tomorrow’s arrival was up in the air, how would you live today?

FullSizeRender (7)

Dr. Sandy Nelson

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

5 Ways To Be Rejected – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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5 Ways To Be Rejected – Dr. Sandy Nelson

1. Think only of yourself

If you’re looking to be rejected among pals, co-workers, and even as a romanticme1 partner, make everything all about you. Be sure to make it obvious you have no interest in conversating about stuff that doesn’t involve yourself. Do that, and the goal to be excluded will be only moments away.

Healthy relationships require a mutual genuine caring for and interest in another person. As the saying goes There’s no “I” in Team.

 

2. Don’t compromise

Compromise? Don’t be silly. You want things your way. There’s no meeting half-way for you. All plans voiced by others are iffy until approved by what works best for you. Refuse to have any consideration for the needs or preferences of those around you and soon enough you’ll be left in the cold.

Making concessions with others is only necessary when you value a relationship and want to be a decent human being.

 

3. Act like a Know-It-All

You think you know everything. In fact, it’s a dumb idea for others to question knowyour authority on everything. The words: I don’t know never come out of your mouth. You’re a chatter box on thee way to do all things on earth and you’re happy to be the interrupty of conversations to point that out. So it should come as a no-brainer when you’re kicked to the curb because no one likes a Know-It-All.

I repeat, no one likes a Know-It-All.

 

4. Be dishonest

Here’s a good idea: make yourself look good using lies. Tell tall stories that inflate who you are, what you do, and who you know. In conversations expand on your fake talents and gifts to the world. Makes promises you have no intention of keeping. Forget having any relationships because that would require the real you, who even you don’t know anymore. When you dodge the truth, c’mon people know you’re lying, and those people will dodge you.

Real relationships require real people.

 

5. Practice prejudice

Acceptance is a word thrown around, but rarely considered by you in chats prejudice1about other people. No way. Suspicion is what you preach when talking about cultures and races different than your own. You denounce any way of living that doesn’t meet your authoritative standards. Judging and condemning people by the color of their skin is the least you can do. Your ignorance leads you to perceive that you possess supreme superiority. Rejection will be a cakewalk.

Here are two human enlightenment’s: 1. There is a God.  2. We are not him.

 

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

 

 

 

 

You Will Make A Difference by Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Someone once said:
The highest reward in life is not what you get from it, but what you become by it.

You are capable of doing something that makes a huge difference in this worldf5813ce0-8791-4e6f-a526-32c953e7bba1-medium (1) every day, HUGE! Do you believe it? Your caring attitude, your kindness, your respect for yourself and life makes a difference not only in the lives of those who cross your path, but also makes a difference within you. No one can be exactly like you. No one will make a difference exactly like you will.

We have great challenges as adults in this world. Many people believe themselves too inadequate to make a difference; too flawed to contribute. Great things are rarely done by great intelligence or great ability, but by average folks with great hearts who care. I promise, you will make a difference in the lives of everyone you come into contact with every single day. It will be either a positive difference or a negative one. It will be one of encouragement or of dismissal; kindness or cruelty; respect or rejection. Which difference will you make?

American social critic and scholar of education, Edgar Z. Friedenberg, said:
What we must decide is how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.

When we explore our personality and characteristics for positive features and urban-438393_640skills, it can be a bit awkward. We do the world a service; however, when we recognize how we are valuable in any scenario of need. What we can give is more important than why we can provide it.

Sharing specific talents with a community or volunteer organization goes a long way to better the world. Even if that’s not what you can commit to, it will make a difference and it’s takes no time from your schedule to smile and be pleasant to people you see each day.

Author of Think Great, Lailah Gifty Akita, wrote:
Encouragement is life. Many people would have given up in life without encouragement. May your words be gracious to those who hear it.

Words have no price tag. It doesn’t cost a penny to speak. But the impact of what you say holds life-altering power.

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