Do You Want To Know What “It” Is?

Does this dress make me look fat? What do you think of my essay? How did I do? Did you like the cookies?

We all ask questions like these, but do we really want the truth no matter what? Do you want to know what “it” is?

Are you familiar with the old testament story of King David and Bathsheba?  David not only committed adultery with her, but had her husband killed and then made her queen.

David’s advisor Nathan saw the evil in David’s actions and soon made him see it as well by telling David a parable about a rich man who stole from a poor one. David was livid that the rich man could be so heartless. Then Nathan dropped the bomb: you are the rich man.

David knew he had done something reprehensible. He could have cast Nathan out from his court – but he didn’t.  He needed accountability.  He desired truth.

Sometimes we can be too involved or blind from our own denial that we don’t see things as they are. Do you want the truth, even if it hurts? My fingers are paused on home row. It’s a tough question even for me. I want to say yes because I know it’s the wise choice.  I can’t grow without truth. Yet it’s in my nature to avoid pain.

I think the best you and I can ask for is to have people in our life who are honest, but not brutal.

Instead-we-will-speakThe more I think about it, truth trumps pain.  I may not like it, but I don’t want sugar coated lies.  Does this dress make me look fat? Obviously or I wouldn’t be asking. You don’t need to quickly say yes. Tell me it doesn’t accentuate my best features or it’s a nice dress but I look stunning in the black one.

At the end of the day, I’m with Neo.  Give me the red pill. I want to know what it is.  How about you? Truth? Reality?  Or stay asleep in a fantasy world?

It’s time to wake up. Take the red pill. Find out what “it” is.

3 Ways To Get Noticed

You can write a better than great blog post, but if you only get a handful of readers, are you ok with that? Of course not. The point of blogging is to share your opinions, experiences, and knowledge with the world.

With a potential 3 billion people audience and 150 million bloggers worldwide, getting people to read your content is a challenge.

It starts with an intriguing headline.

Ask a question. Solve a problem. State a claim. Make a list.

Your reader has clicked in, now you need to deliver what you promised.

BAM! Get to the point.

We all scroll and skim. Trim the fat and get to the meat or we are off to the next headline before you can say, Tic-Tac Sir?

Dumb-and-Dumber

Next,

Give me eye candy.

Break up your text with cool-with-attitude pictures and images that invoke my emotions and make me want to stay awhile.

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Then,

Teach me.

Life-hack me. Tell me something I didn’t know. Give me a short cut or a brilliantly unique perspective.

Make me come away with thinking, finally, after so much digital time suck, I have found you.

There you are!
There you are!

Plus!

Give me a bonus.

Something I wasn’t expecting whether it be a tip on free stock photos or a link to Starbucks secret menu.

Most of us bloggers are small satellites in cyberspace.

small guy

 

To get noticed don’t be run-of-the-mill average. Stand out even once, and your audience will keep coming back for more.

How To Tell The Difference Between a Poser and a Real Friend

Mark Twain
Mark Twain

Do you agree with Mark? So do I. Then why would you or I, or anyone else seek out people who belittle their ambitions?

That’s the five hundred and seven thousand dollar question.  Maybe because you didn’t realize until now that a certain person was making you feel small. There are many passive-aggressive and other damaged individuals in our lives that pose as our friends.

How do you know if you have a poser verses a genuine friend?

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How do you feel after you spend time with this person? Lifted up or crushed down? Posers use you to make themselves feel better.  They don’t care about you because they are the center of the universe. Fake friends say things like,

You always. You never. What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with me?Nothing. Oh, something came up. Of course you can trust me. I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart. Who’s side are you on? I can’t stand her (Oh hi Angela, we were just talking about you! How have you been?!) 

I know you didn’t seek out this person who makes you feel small.  It just happens sometimes. And you certainly don’t deserve to have your nose rubbed in your mistakes or your flaws constantly pointed out. We are all flawed.  We all make mistakes.  We are the same. We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.  No one gets away with I’m better than you attitude cause it ‘aint true.

You are a nice person, and that’s why you haven’t said sayonara to this freak yet. Life is short even when you don’t think it is. Free yourself of toxicity! If it’s family, free yourself emotionally and learn how to deal with these difficult people.

Now seek out people who build you up, who make you feel important. Genuine friends don’t place conditions on your relationship and they definitely don’t pack a knife for stabbing you in the back.  You know the pure of heart because of how you feel when you’re around them. Do you feel loved? Encouraged? Happy? Accepted for who you are?  If you do, then that’s evidence you have got yourself a real friend, and a treasure!

friends

As the philosopher Balastar Gracián once said, True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

As you travel through life may you know the difference between the impostors and the real deal. And in turn find good fortune, and be blessed.

My Thoughts on Social Media

Everyday I ask my self why do I bother with social media?  Why am I on Twitter? I’m not a rockstar.  Why do I write for LinkedIn? I can’t compete with the influencers. I am an amateur photographer  with less than 20 followers on Instagram and have a no frills WordPress blog. I do everything the gurus tell me to do.

  • Retweet
  • Engage
  • Converse
  • Use hooks
  • Blog regularly
  • Follow back
  • Tweet links, photos, have a Paper.li,
        and so on.
and so on.

Still, I am so small. Pale blue dot kind of small.

I think social media has been bad for my self-esteem.

Unless you are in the camp of the gurus, big star musicians/artists, famous founders/ entrepreneurs of successful companies, high Klout score tweeps- whatever that means…

Social media might be bad for your self esteem too.

How do I know this? Because I just do. I work in psychiatry. A long time ago I was a teenager in public school. I was the tallest girl in my class. No one asked me to the prom.  I’ve raised three kids. I blog. I get self-esteem.

P1130608Do you feel alone, faceless, passed over?  Have you hurt inside when a troll directed an opprobrious comment at you?  Have you felt dejected because your favorite band, artist, author, colleague, influencer never acknowledges, retweets, likes, or follows you?

Maybe it seems like all your followers or connections are eggs, fake celebrities, f-bomb droppers, spammers, or tweeps who don’t speak your language.

I say social media is a self-esteem mutilator and reminds me of high school. A place I tried so hard to fit in, but never could. God, it was brutal.  And life in the digitalsphere can be brutal – if you let it.

So don’t let it.

Get your self-esteem boosts by living in the real world, not the digital one.  Post with the intent to lift up others, and you’ll find yourself lifted too.

Surround yourself with those you love, who love you.  Be in the presence of real people. Get out, enjoy your life. It’s a vapor that is fleeting.

If you find a real friend or connection on social media, consider yourself lucky.  I am lucky.  I now realize social media is what it is and I’ll use it my way: to share nuggets of truth, inspiration, beautiful, fun things with you. If someone doesn’t like what I share, oh well.  I won’t let it crush my spirit.

I won’t pretend to fit in.  Because I don’t.  And I can honestly say, I’m fine with that.

Do You Really Want to Know What Your Doctor Thinks of You?

Did you know you have a right to see your medical record? And if you find a mistake you can request it to be corrected, or if you disagree with something your provider noted, you also have a right to write your own note stating that.

So why do we feel like we are snooping when we steal a glance at our “chart”? It’s our record, our right. Or are we afraid of what we might find out?

Health Information Privacy rules of protection has been around since 1996.  Along with the right to view your chart, you have the right to:

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I hope you want to know what your doctor thinks of you – your relationship with your provider should be one that is based on mutual respect and trust.  If you find out otherwise, it’s time to find a new health care partner.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: How Common is it?

Columbine-Memorial

Research shows that 7% of American adults suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. That’s a respectable number. Compare it to other medical/mental health issues:

1% have Celiac disease

3% have Hepatitis C

2.6% have Bipolar Disorder

30% have High Blood Pressure

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as:

A pathological anxiety that usually occurs after an individual experiences or witnesses severe trauma that constitutes a threat to the physical integrity or life of the individual or of another person.

Per the DSM-5, PTSD is diagnosed if a person exhibits specific behaviors, such as flash-backs of the terrifying event, nightmares, intrusive or disturbing thoughts, avoiding places that bring back bad memories, numb feelings, edginess, restlessness.  It’s normal to experience these after any life-threatening or traumatic event, but with PTSD the feelings and behaviors persist after a reasonable time.

PTSD is mostly seen in war veterans, child abuse victims, and those who have survived awful incidents such as rape, torture, kidnapping, car accidents, plane crashes, bombings, and natural disasters.

You may have it.  A relative might.  Maybe a co-worker or a neighbor does.  Without a doubt you have brushed against someone who suffers from it.  I see patients with it every day as they have turned to self-medication with either drugs or alcohol.

Here’s something to think about – because we don’t know what other folks are going through let’s be generous with consideration. Don’t unnecessarily argue. Be a peaceful driver. Hold a door. Don’t post derogatory comments on someone’s blog. Give the benefit of the doubt. Get to know people.

Harper Lee quote

It sucks when people are mean.  It sucks more to have PTSD.  If you have it, please get help.  Talk to your health care provider or a trusted companion.  There is hope and healing. If you don’t have it – be thankful, and be nice.  Look around you and remember 7%.

The Top 6 Traits of Likable People

We all want to be liked.  It feels great to see likes on a blog post (hint), and even better to hear someone say, “I really like you!”

Hearts

But what really makes people more likable than others? Is it attractiveness, wealth, tone of voice, style of dress, mannerisms, or standard of hygiene?

Research tells us that our qualities such as level of success, fame, and good looks might initially interest others,

but by far, we like people who have good personalities.

The top character traits of likable people are trustworthinesswarmth, kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, and empathy.

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Think about it. Do the people you like the most have “good” personalities?  Do they make you smile, make you feel important and good about yourself? Do their eyes sparkle when they smile at you?  I bet when they ask, “How are you?”, you are certain they really want to know.

We like to be heard, to be noticed, to be recognized.  A warm hug, eye to eye contact, a kind word, the feeling that we are not being taken for granted, made fun of, judged, or criticized – but accepted and respected is what makes us feel liked.

Have you doubted your likability, or wondered why certain folks are a people magnet?

Pause and consider these six traits.  How many do you have? How many do “they” have? It’s not a worthy goal to seek popularity for an ego boost.  But it is a honorable one to be trustworthy, warm, kind, and empathetic: you will become more likable and in so doing,  will make yourself happier in the process.

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The Meaning of Life in One Word

It shocks me at how many folks zip through life at breakneck speed, starting many a day behind schedule and ending it complaining  there is not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

They forget to eat, don’t know how to stay healthy, or don’t recognize when they are sick.

I have been asked… what is the point? Why am I so unhappy? Where did I go wrong? How can I do this? What is the reason for it all?

Why am I here?

I sometimes feel like the wise mystic who sits atop a mountain waiting for pilgrims to come and ask,

What is the meaning of life?

It’s always been a simple answer.

Live.

The meaning of Life

Love God.  Love your neighbor.  Do good.  Love what you do.  Bloom where you’re planted.  Give.  Take care of what you have.  Be non-toxic.  Plant hope –  reap joy.  Shine.  Be kind.  Forgive.

Be a daisy.  Daisies are tender, light, unassuming, bright, golden, stirring, profoundly elegant, pure. They show their beauty without having to do much – they quietly blend in yet stand out.  Daisies are everywhere and each time I see one I look, and look a second time.  They are alive, and beautiful.

We rush through our lives so eager to grow up, get a career, make/spend tons of money,  climb to the next rung on the ladder.

We are forever looking back or fantasizing the future that we neglect the present.

The here and now.  This day, this hour, this moment.

I’m not saying don’t ever look at the past – reflection is necessary for growth and learning.  And only a fool wouldn’t make plans for the future.

The point is to find balance, and in the process don’t forget to live.

Daisy

Self-esteem: Is Yours Healthy?

We all want to be liked. It’s part of being human.  We are social beings who need to belong, to be accepted by others.  Our self-esteem and success are intricately woven to what others think about us.  It is rare to meet someone who is not hurt by a rude comment, a bad review, or an insult that was neither provoked nor justified.

Just look at social media –  there’s like buttons on every platform. People buy followers so they look rock star popular. I stopped following new folks because I don’t know who’s real and who’s not.

I don’t know why I did it, but I joined Instagram.  I have 7 followers and I am fine with that.  I am a minnow in an ocean of sharks, and it’s ok.  My self-esteem is not dependent on how many followers, likes, shares, retweets,  comments, or views I get.  And I’m learning to not let the mean people I encounter on my day to day adventures have a say in my self worth.

What about you? Do you find yourself feeling dejected if you don’t get likes or retweets? Are you overly critical of yourself,  fail to speak up for yourself or avoid expressing your opinion?

Self esteem is your sense of self-worth or personal value.  In Maslow’s hierarchy he put it towards the top of  the pyramid.

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds

If you are hungry, sleepless, homeless or your life is threatened, you aren’t concerned about belonging and self-esteem until your basic needs are secure.  Once those are taken care of we can pay more attention to and develop our self esteem.

Is your self esteem healthy?  Try the Rosenberg Self Esteem quiz for starters. Click here and take the quiz, note your score, and then bounce back here and I’ll explain more.

If you didn’t score in the healthy range, don’t put too much stock into this simple 10 question quiz. It isn’t an end-all-be-all-carved-in-stone result.  It is a tool that can be useful in determining where you’re at.

Our self-esteem can fluctuate.  Everyone has low times, high times, and in betweens.  However, if you, or someone you care about consistently voice self depreciating comments,  or exhibit other behaviors that suggest poor self worth, it is important to recognize it  and work towards improving it.

It’s nice to be liked and wonderful to be noticed. But that can’t be the basis for how you value yourself.  Being momentarily hurt by a rogue comment or a two-faced acquaintance is normal.  Have a one minute pityfest, and then let it go. Brush it off your shoulders like lint and watch it fly away.  Those people don’t matter.

You matter. Be kind, do your best work, make your corner of the world a better place and love yourself – embrace your gifts, your flaws, and enjoy who you are. That’s a healthy self-esteem.

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.             ~W.C. Fields

Cheers to the New Year!

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Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!

William Arthur Ward