Category Archives: Self-Discovery

How could loving someone be wrong?

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He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. According to folklore, small daisy petals plucked one-by-one hold the mystical fate of the female heart.

IMG_2277For the female heart that loves too much, the desire to be loved causes a defective analysis of the relationship, even for the intelligent and mature woman. Love conquers all, the saying goes, so a woman who longs for a man’s love tries harder and gives more in the relationship, and discounts his emotional distance, compulsive behaviors or broken promises. In an attempt to be “the one” who really understands him, the woman who loves too much sympathizes with a man’s current inability to love her back because of his past hardships or current struggles, and sees in him the man he could be with her love.

The woman who loves too much convinces herself that this man just needs someone to help him, to show him what love really is. He just needs to be understood and supported, and then he’ll be able to give the deep expressions of caring and commitment she longs for. She simply has to show him that her love will make the difference.

How could too much love be unhealthy? One would think that loving another person too much would be an attribute in a relationship. Sadly, that’s not the case. When women love too much they ensure painful relationships overflowing with great hurt, uncertainty, and disappointment.

Are you a woman who loves too much? A woman loves too much when her partner consistently mistreats her and yet because of a faulty analysis she can’t leave the relationship or change it.

In the New York Times Best Seller book Women Who Love Too Much, Robin Norwood writes: When being in love means being in pain, we’re loving too much. When most of our conversations with friends are about him–his problems, his feelings and nearly all IMG_0972our sentences begin with “he…,” we’re loving too much. When we excuse or tolerate his bad temper, moodiness, indifference, or put-downs as problems due to an unhappy childhood and we try to become his therapist, we’re loving too much. When we read a self-help book and underline all the passages we think would help him, we’re loving too much. When we don’t like many of his basic characteristics, values, and behaviors, but we put up with them thinking that if we’re only loving enough he’ll want to change for us, we’re loving too much. When our relationship jeopardizes our emotional well being and perhaps our physical health and safety, we’re definitely loving too much.

In spite of all its heartache and regret, loving too much is very common for women, and men, too. For many of us, it’s been a recurrent pattern that isn’t understood. In Love Smart, Dr. Phil McGraw writes: To get the relationship you want, you have to be willing to take an honest, even brutal, look at what’s going on and what’s going wrong.  love smart dr phil mcgraw

IMG_0968We need to look at the faulty analysis that causes so many women and men looking for love, to find unhealthy, critical partners instead, and why the qualities that initially attract us to a partner aren’t necessarily those that make the person a good partner. When we know a relationship isn’t good for us, why do we have trouble leaving it? Loving becomes loving too much when our partner is emotionally clueless, has an addiction, is critical, or controlling and yet, we cling to the partner he or she could be.

It’s an old cliche in the field of psychology that people are attracted to someone just like the mother or father with whom they struggled while growing up. This concept isn’t quite accurate. It’s not so much that the mate we choose is just like Mom or Dad, but that with this partner we’re able to feel the same feelings and face the same challenges we encountered growing up–we’re able to replicate the atmosphere of childhood already so well known to us, and use the same maneuvers in which we already so practiced and are comfortable with.

This is what, for most of us, constitutes love. We feel “at home” and comfortableIMG_1608 with the person with whom we can make all our familiar moves and feel all our familiar feelings. Even if the moves have never worked and the feelings are at times painful, they’re what we know best. We feel that special sense of belonging with the person, who allows us, as his/her partner, to dance the steps we already know. It’s with him/her that we decide to try to make a relationship work.

It follows that there really are no coincidences in relationships, no accidents in marriage. There’s no more compelling chemistry than this feeling of mysterious familiarity when a woman and a man come together.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What are you doing to have happiness?

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What are you doing to have happiness? Notice the question is not: Are you waiting for someone to stop doing or start doing something so you’ll be happy? Or: What situation do you need in place before your happiness can arrive? The question also isn’t: Who are you depending on to make you happy?

IMG_0830Some people are easily soared into joyful spirits. What’s their secret? Some people always seem to be in happy or good moods. But exactly what is happiness? Is this disposition genetic or dependent on specific neurotransmitters in the brain? Is there an unhappiness gene distributed to a select population? Scientists are searching for answers to these questions which means they still do not know what specifically causes depression, or for that matter—happiness.

Previously called Melancholia, depression has been recognized as a common condition for more than three thousand years with documentation noted from the 2nd century. Some experts think that depression is the result of learned experiences. Others say it’s all about brain chemistry. And then there are those who believe it’s all in the genes. I think a state of clinical depression can be a combination of these factors.

Similar to other disorders, there’s evidence to support that depression can run in families like diabetes or heart disease. So if a parent or grandparent experienced episodes of clinical depression that increases the likelihood at some point you will experience clinical depression. A depressed state of mind can also be a learned behavior acquired during childhood, just like negativity or anxiety.

IMG_0080 - CopyA tendency to be down in the dumps may have described some of the adults surrounding you in childhood. If as a child, you watched adults react to life mostly with sadness and despair; then today you may be more likely to display those same behaviors when things go awry. The body experiences many sorts of problems when its needed nutrients are in deficient supply. And Clinical Depression can be the result when the levels of serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine are at a shortage in the brain or off balance.

Everyone knows what depression feels like because all of us at one time have experienced its character traits of hopelessness, tearful hours, helplessness, sleep disturbances, eating changes, heartache, consuming sadness, and an inability to function. For most of us these episodes are not chronic, last a day or two; and usually result from life events. Most of us are able to adjust to the changes in life that are usually uninvited and demanding. We pout for a time, rebel at reality, express our frustration, but then accept “what is” and move on to tomorrow. But for those individuals who have learned to be depressed, experience a neurotransmitter deficiency in the brain, or are genetically predisposed to depression, snapping out of it is like trying to awake from a coma. For these persons a state of depression sags their enthusiasm, interrupts their ability to function, keeps them tearful, and often not wanting to wake up.

sun28 - CopyThe full extent of depressed individuals in our neighborhood, in our churches, in our offices, in our friends and family is unknown because the menacing stigma towards mental health remains strong in our culture. Ignorant people judge mental conditions as being the equivalent of being crazy, so many people do not seek treatment for depression. They suffer quietly because of the fear of rejection they would otherwise experience if more folks knew their struggles. The stigma can trigger attempts to self-medicate. Alcohol abuse or other substance abuse could be efforts to block the chronic emotional pain. Other actions could also mask a deep on-going sadness: obsessive shopping, compulsive gambling, or sex addiction.

This accounts for the strong isolation depressed individuals experience. Our culture still believes on some level that we shouldn’t need help or support for the problems or events that pre-empt our plans and land us in despair. There’s still the idea that it’s a weakness to seek counsel or take medication for mental conditions. On the contrary, it takes strength and wisdom to seek help, and I respect those individuals who do so.

IMG_0682Just like the common cold, the symptoms of depression are generally the same for everyone, but the same can’t be said about happiness. Scientists know more about the state of depression than they do about the state of joy. Taking into consideration that happiness is the most important goal in the lives of people, experts can’t even agree on an explanation for it. What is happiness? Is it being in a good mood? Is it having fun? Is it securing the approval of other people? Lots of money? No worries? What is happiness for you? Americans might say that happiness is a consistent state of well-being, void of stress, worry, frustration, and disappointment. This definition, of course, is not realistic, or is it?

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ABOUT THIS POST BY CLICKING ON THE ABOVE LINK “LEAVE A REPLY”

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Got two minutes to change your life?

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In the late 1800s, beloved poet Robert Browning  wrote, “This could but have happened once, and we missed it, lost it forever.”

Can you recall the details of last Tuesday? We have become insensitive to the passing of time. We’re immune to the dawns of each thanks1tomorrow, taking them for granted, with hardly a thought of the privilege, the new beginning—the gift of life they hold. How rude of us. How presumptuous. How ungrateful of us to not consciously behold every new day that magically unfolds in grandeur for each and every one of us to use. This day, this moment right now can but only happen once and it will be lost forever; don’t miss it.

But who has time to be grateful? Anyone? Time speeds by like a locomotive with a destination of needed sleep after a demanding day. Who among us when running into a grocery store on the way home after late meetings or soccer practice actually seizes the moment and says “I’m grateful for this green pepper?” Seems the experience of gratitude has been added with the others on the postpone list—the pending list—along with doctor visits, dental appointments, eye exams, and getting the Living Will done.

We’ll feel grateful later, when there’s time. Later, we’ll buy a journal and every day note appreciation and meditate on gratitude. If that’s your outlook, I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to take one minute today. Okay, two minutes—two minutes when you’re taking a shower, waiting for the microwave popcorn to beep or during a commercial. Take two minutes in your hectic day to bring to mind your attention to what you’re thankful for that moment, or from that day. Make a Mindful Gratitude List.

IMG_0942Give gratitude attention for 2 minutes today. Then tomorrow do it again, and the next day. You will soon notice a difference in your attitude. You will begin to experience every day more fully and with more appreciation for everything in it and everyone in your life. Well, maybe almost everyone. So, what’s on your Mindful Gratitude List today?  As Oprah Winfrey once told us, “It’s not easy being grateful all the time. But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you.”

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Who are you now?

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“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.”¹

sign2Are you defining your life today past on mistakes made a month ago, a year ago? If all the past errors in judgment were erased and all expectations from others were invalid, who would you be today, right now? Your future will be filled with negativity from the past only if you allow it to be poured into your current thoughts about yourself. Instead, take the wisdom—the positive—available from every mistake and from every heartbreak, and mold that into who you are at this moment forward.

“One of the best ways to educate our hearts is to look at our interaction with IMG_0108.JPG (2)other people, because our relationships with others are fundamentally a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.”²  It’s impossible to have a dysfunctional relationship with others unless you have a dysfunctional relationship with yourself. If you struggle with fears of disapproval, that fear will play out in all of your relationships with others—not just some relationships—all. Everything you do or say will be filtered through a fear of their rejection of you. That fear prompts you to be dishonest with others, to withhold your true opinions and needs, and to become whatever others want you to be. Look at how any unhealthy fears contribute to the status of your relationships, to the status of your life.

Stop at that crossroads. Today, make that powerful decision—who have you decided you really are? Share who you truly are with the people who matter and stay true to your real self.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

¹Anthony Robbins

²Dr. Stephen Covey

Divorce is a death, ready?

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Divorce is a death. It’s the death of a marriage and the death of a family union that impacts many relationships within the family core. Emotional pain, sadness, and uncertainties vibrate through every family member with rippling effects extending to the children.
divorce3Divorce is a crippling experience for adults, and a very, very long nightmare for children. Children do not possess the coping skills and problem-solving skills that even we, as adults, struggle to locate within us. Take the worry, fear, and hurt that an estranged husband or wife experience, and multiply that times 50–that”s the impact on children in a divorce situation. Even when children say they’re fine with it, they’re not fine. Children will think in some way they’re the reason mom and dad are divorcing–that’s it’s their fault.
The following info is a set of rules I’ve written for divorcing or separating parents to assist in healthy adult behavior and reduce the nightmare for their children.

THE DIVORCE BILL OF RIGHTS AND WRONGS

Do not tell the other what to do, or how to parent

Neither of you are in a position to expect or request the other to parent in a specific manner. Each of you have control over the parent you are only. You may not approve of the parenting style of the other, but unless the parenting method presents a physical or emotional harm to your children that can be substantiated in a court of law, you have no right to attempt to control the other’s method of parenting, or control the other’s life.

Do not fight in front of the children

Your children do not belong in your divorce. Upset feelings must be addressed divorceprivately with each other, alone. Never insult or bad mouth the mother or father of your children in their presence. It deeply hurts your children; it shames them. You will be tempted to do tell your children that their mother or father is a loser, or worse. DON’T DO IT. Your children love and need both their parent’s regardless of your opinion.

Do not place your children in a surrogate adult position

Adult responsibilities belong to adults. Don’t request your children to fill the role of your ex-spouse. Boys should never be expected or encouraged to be the man of the house. Girls should never be expected or encouraged to be the lady of the house. If your children are assuming adult responsibilities that your ex performed, stop them. It’s your job. You’re the adult.

Do not punish the children for the situation

If you think you’re worried, devastated, and upset, your children are 50 times more worried, devastated, and upset. Refrain from taking out your frustration on them. They need your reassurance and encouragement. Remember, they are living in a situation that resulted from their parent’s choices and decisions. They had no say or control over whether their parent’s would divorce or remain married.

Do not place your children in a position of having to choose one parent over the other

divorce2Children are not weapons or tools to use to get back at your ex; nor are they pawns for manipulating or punishing your ex. If you need your children to love you more than their other parent, that’s an unhealthy issue that your’s, not theirs. Your children love and need both of their parent’s. Encourage that and never interfere with the relationship with their other parent. Never ask or demand that your children side with or against a parent.

Do not lose self-control

If you feel compelled to yell, scream, rant and rave at your ex, do so where your children can’t hear or see you. Your children are learning from you, and you want them to learn self-control and healthy, correct ways to handle anger, right?

Do not dodge responsibility

Your thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and behavior are your responsibility; and belong to no one else. Stop blaming. Stop complaining. The situation may be unfair and not of your choosing, but it’s here. How you deal with it is your responsibility now. You own your life and your choices. Seek adult support. Wise people seek help. It takes about two years to recover from a broken relationship.

Do not get lost

Whether you want to be or not, you’re a role model and mentor to your children. They are watching you. Your children are learning from our words, divorce1moods, attitude, body language, behavior and priorities. They are learning whether a family has value, how to treat each other, how to resolve conflict, and how to handle disappointment, hurt, and frustration. They are learning how to, or how not to, endure and survive. They are learning what’s really important in life, about honor, and what self-respect is. They’re learning all this from watching you and listening to what you say. Keep your head up, remain in self-control, and display integrity.

Do not refuse to keep new rules

Follow any and all rulings of the court. New and appropriate boundaries need to be implemented and respected. There are privileges your ex no longer has and privileges you no longer have. You have no right to know or ask anything about the other unless its about your children. Honor new boundaries and treat your ex with courtesy regardless of how you are treated.
Feel free to contact me for any support and guidance you may need.
Think about it. In caring, Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

What is it about you that others can see?

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When you don’t believe the truth about your importance and significance you may incorrectly think that the approval of others is necessary to feel okay about yourself. Refuse to believe the self-delusional notion that you can control another person’s thoughts and opinions toward you. The more important it is to you to gain the approval of others, the more tempted you are to pretend to be someone you’re not.
Everyone wants to be well thought of and like; but you do not have the ability to IMG_0497 - Copydetermine what others will think about you. You do have the ability to determine how you are going to think about yourself. The most important opinion of yourself is not the one decided by others. The most important opinion of yourself is the one you, and you alone determine. You can respect yourself only when you have a self to respect. This will be visible to those around you and evident in conversations. Focus on seeking your own approval about choices rather than needing the approval of others about the choice.
You show people who you are through your attitude. Your outlook and manners are always on display. If you think that you’re inadequate or inferior to others, IMG_0486 - Copythen you believe lies about yourself. Accepting and believing that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect is a necessary step towards seeing yourself in the correct light. That dignity and respect needs to begin with you—you need to treat yourself with dignity and respect. Pay attention to how you treat yourself, and refuse to beat yourself up for mistakes or degrade yourself for falling short. Instead, encourage yourself and applaud your efforts.
You’re the primary force assembling your life today. Other people or situations do not determine your life. Your attitude of mind does. Your belief in yourself does. Your regard for yourself does. Realizing that enables you to become aware of thought patterns that set you up to be disappointed and feel defeated. Is there something about your attitude or your opinion of yourself that is sabotaging your life?
Think about it! In caring, Dr. Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net


 

A Star is born and guess who it is?

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You were born with an instinctive, endless amount of self-acceptance, and self-love. It’s innate. Think about it. You were created with ten fingers and toes, billions of brain cells, a specific DNA, a heart that would pump gallons of blood babyfor years, and an endless supply of self-acceptance, and self-love. When you came into this world, you possessed no fear of disapproval. As a baby in the hospital you didn’t compare yourself to the other babies next to you. You didn’t stay awake in your crib worrying that you might not measure up. You didn’t lie in the arms of adults wondering “Are you mad at me?” As you started to explore your world as a toddler, you existed in glory. You freely showed goofiness and laughable antics. You weren’t concerned if your actions would make you look stupid. You weren’t hung up on avoiding mistakes and appearingbaby1 better than others. You believed you were the Cat’s Pajama’s–fantastic, important, and special! You were open, free-spirited—full of enthusiasm. You didn’t fret over your appearance. You weren’t concern with what someone was thinking about your dance moves or your conversation with toys. You believed in who you were. Your self-love wasn’t shown in self-conceit—it was a sincere and humble certainty that didn’t need to knock others to feel good about yourself. You believed you were special and significant and that others were too. Your world was one of self-love and because you loved yourself, you treated others the same way—with love, value, and acceptance.
Then it started. It was unintentional, of course, yet it shook your world of self-love and slowly, little by little, that self-love dimmed as you believed what some well-meaning adults were saying about you when they were upset, angry, or frustrated.
Children don’t know what is right or wrong, good or bad until an adult tells them. The methods that some adults use to tell kids what’s wrong and bad often, unintentionally, crush a child’s self-love. To avoid raising self-centered, baby2narcissistic kids, well-meaning adults quickly criticize kids who think of themselves first and what they like, want, or need. These kids are told that to seek what pleases them is selfish. When kids express their self-worth by stating their wants, ideas, opinions, and thoughts, they are often scolded. These kids then, sadly, grow up listening and believing what they are told, and conclude that there must be something wrong with them for wanting what they want, liking what they like, and needing what they need. The free-spirited child who once beamed from self-love fades into self-doubt and fear.
What surfaces is a child (and later, an adult) who’s set on pleasing everyone else to avoid rejection, disapproval, and possible withholding of love. Some adults indirectly destroy children’s inborn self-love and teach them to love others instead; not to love others and themselves, but others instead of themselves. Children are taught to honor teachers, ministers, coaches, but not themselves. They’re instructed to respect the neighbors, but not themselves. They’re taught IMG_0684 - Copyto love their parents, siblings, Gramma and Grampa, but not themselves. To be kind to their pets, friends, babysitters, and cousins; but not themselves. They’re told to be gentle with toys, books, pillows, and clothes, but not themselves. They’re taught to remember their mittens, homework, and library books, but not themselves. These children learn that the correct thing to do is to forfeit themselves, give up their own needs, and ignore their own opinions for the approval of other people.
I want you to plow through all the Childhood Programming you received growing up, set it aside for just a minute, and remember who you really are. You’re special and significant, and deep inside yourself you know that’s true. No matter what someone says about you, there’s an inborn part of you that wantsstar to take a stand for what you say about you. You want your own approval. You want dignity and self-respect. You want to stop needing others approval and start wanting your own. Deep inside, you know you deserve more in life. Self-love is the source of all other love.                                                                                
A Star is born and it’s you. Think about it!  -In caring, Dr. Sandy
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

When it comes to love relationships, how many of us want to modify a few things about the other person?

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As a kid, I didn’t have good role models to learn what was healthy in a love relationship. I didn’t observe any affection or compromise in a marriage. I did witness daily arguments, a lot of bantering about who was right, and daily IMG_0908 - Copy - Copy - Copyrescue-control tactics to conform who was wrong. So by the time I reached dating age, I was ready to start my own search and rescue operation with men. 
As Robin Norwood says so spot on, “How can we explain that it isn’t the person he is that we find so attractive, but the person we’re convinced we can help him become? How can we admit to ourselves or others that we’re in love with someone who doesn’t yet exist, and enchanted with our power to make him appear?”¹
The truth about love is we don’t love instinctively. We learn to love. What has IMG_0200.JPG (2)become instinctual for men and women isn’t to love and respect each other. The far and few between male/female relationships throughout history that were based on love and mutual respect have not been enough to leave us footprints to follow on the relationship path. There are too little cases of love’s ideal union. There is an abundant history, including Adam and Eve, of conflicts, disappointment, criticism, blaming, rejection, resentment, betrayal, death sentences, and historical lines of broken hearts.
The past tells us that’s it’s not an initial impulse to demonstrate acceptance of one another, and that’s what we’ve learned, and learned well. It’s more intuitive for us to debate and fight in relationships, than to demonstrate love. When men disappoint us, our first urge isn’t to look at the situation through the eyes of love, understanding, and forgiveness. We don’t make compromise our first task. No, our first impulse is anger–to argue. We’re more comfortable clinging to self-righteous anger than we are around hugging or paying tribute to our partner. Either way, or even both ways, isn’t this screwed up?
What have been your dating experiences? C’mon say something!
Thanks for your time and replies. -In caring, Dr. Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

¹Daily Meditations for Women Who Love Too Much, Robin Norwood

What do you need to have to be happy?

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“There was a period when I believed stuff meant something. I thought that if you had matching side chairs and a sofa that harmonized and some beautiful lamps to light them you would have a home, that elegance signaled happiness.” ― Anna Quindlen

Does your happiness depend on the belongings and possessions that surround you? Does money really buy happiness?

wealth4I think that the more stuff we need to have to experience a sense of happiness and self-worth, the more dependent we are on the objects of this world for cheerfulness. This can be a very flighty way of life. To withhold our meeting with happiness until we attain a list of stuff to possess—certain cars, boats, a specific house, neighborhood, attire, vacations, furnishings, income, and lifestyle—is an unnecessary delay of joy. Sure, those items may be welcomed, but since reality indicates that only five percent of the world’s population can protract such a life, it is all the more valid reason to not define happiness on possessions.

An unfortunate amount of people look back over their life in a series of wealth2possessions. They view life by what they have pursued and acquired, not by what they have lived, learned, and experienced. “Well I got the boat in ’92, the VP job in ’97, the Hawaii condo in ’98, the Porshe in ’01, the yacht in ’03, and the ten acre estate in ’05.” Life is a series of moments in relationships, not a collection of possessions.

The impression that happiness requires lots of possessions is a lie. The notion that wealth will make you happy is a lie. The opinion that success is determined by possessions is a lie. Many people chose to focus on what they lack, what is wealth3unfair, what they should have; and are blind to the good fortune already bestowed to them.

To live consciously in the moment with gratitude is easier said than done. It seems more common to harp on the events of the past and cite its hardships as the reasons for why the present is lacking the desired possessionswhy the present isn’t what it should be. This conclusion can destroy any possibility for happiness and success right now.

Today, remain determined to dwell on the good fortune already given to you. Notice if you are allowing any negative conclusions to influence your happiness and success today.

Tell me what you think! Leave a reply!

Thanks for your time and comments. In caring, Dr. Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

As the director and producer of your thoughts, are you strengthened by them or disabled?

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“Thought is power.”

IMG_0905 - Copy - Copy - CopyIt’s too simple to take your thoughts for granted. It’s too dangerous to take the faulty position that you can’t control your will or purpose. You have the power to make choices; therefore, you have the power to choose the content of your thoughts. The term “Positive Thinking” does not include ignoring the frowning realities of life. Positive thinking refuses to be consumed by frowns. As the director and producer of your thoughts, are you strengthened by them or disabled?
IMG_0452(2)The highest reward in life is not what you get from it, but what you become by it. You’re capable of doing something that makes a difference in the world every day. Your caring, 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 can make a difference exactly like you can. Today, value your uniqueness, and watch how much you value the uniqueness in others.
Thank you for your time and comments. ~In caring, Dr. Sandy 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net