NEVER Stare In The Past!

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

It is okay to GLANCE back BUT NEVER STARE in the PAST!  While driving, if you stare in your rear view mirror you will probably crash.  However, quickly glancing in your rear view mirror  to ensure no rear end collision makes sense.

When we fixate on the past we often experience regrets, guilt, and complacency which diminishes our joy and happiness in the present.  Frequently when “staring,” we also make numerous excuses about our circumstances today.  We blame, blame, blame, our parents, our teachers, the government, society, and even what happened to our family 75 to 150 years ago.

Such “past” excuse-thinking just produces one excuse after another and creates a lack of responsibility for one’s life today.  Unfortunately, too many individuals and groups in society are “staring in their rear view mirror” in order to blame the “past” on any or most of their problems today.

Staring in the past may also make us complacent about daily goals and future achievements.  We can become so content with past successes that we lose a healthy ambitious desire for personal growth or future accomplishments.

TODAY:  Say aloud, “I will never have a backward stare, instead, I will and I can live for today and the future!”

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Fact Based Decision-Making

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Over the course of our lives, all of us will make numerous mistakes.  Unfortunately, most of those mistakes were due to thinking with our “heart” rather than thinking with our “head.”   In hindsight, we wish that we were wiser by looking at the objective facts.

When it comes to making decisions, this post is a friendly reminder for all of us to take the elevator from our heart to our head.  By evaluating the concrete facts in a “pro” and “con” fashion, we can increase the probabilities of making either the healthiest or correct choice with most decisions.

TODAY:  With significant decisions, use the “Rule of Three” by writing down three objective facts that support every important decision.  

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Have A Positive Vocabulary

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Empowering our mind is essential for a meaningful life and enjoyable relationships.  Life is just too short to waste time with unproductive, negative language.  Toxic words also hurt us mentally, emotionally, physically, as well as in our relationships.

A strong vocabulary includes phrases like, “I get to” help others; “I am choosing” to encourage others; “This is distressing NOT dangerous AND I can cope and handle every challenge”; “I will and I can” achieve my goals.

When we change our language for the better, we create an enthusiasm for life with a positive attitude for every situation and relationship.  For the word “crisis,” the Chinese have two symbols, “danger” and “opportunity.” With God’s help, when we have a positive vocabulary we turn our challenges into opportunities.

TODAY:  Only have a positive vocabulary to be mentally strong and enhance relationships with others. (September 6, 2017)

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Have Honest, Beautiful Communication

On Wednesdays I post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Sadly, I have frequently had a spouse tell me, “I just want to be totally open with all my thoughts and feelings.”   However, totally open communication can often be brutally blunt which devalues a spouse and damages a marriage.  For example, telling one’s spouse “that actress is stunningly beautiful” or “that actor is really handsome” is not only insensitive but vicious and almost heartless.

The opposite of brutally blunt is honest, beautiful communication, that is, lovingly sharing thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, with a sincere desire to strengthen a marital relationship. Our ultimate goal with family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and everyone, is to have Honest, Beautiful  Communication.

TODAY:  Let’s avoid being brutally blunt and make it our goal to have Honest, Beautiful Communication with everyone we speak with throughout this day and every day. 

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Focus On “Three” Daily Goals

On Wednesdays I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Enjoy your life journey by having a purpose for living every single day.  To live with a purpose develop the habit of incorporating “Three Goals.”  The wonderful “Three Goals” to include in your daily routine are: 1) an attitude of gratitude, 2) small, achievable tasks, and 3) serving others.

First, each day recognize what blessings or positives happened even if those good things are very minor. Second, happiness comes from doing and we need to pinpoint what we accomplished each day. Third, Christ came to serve and we follow His footsteps when we serve family members or friends or even strangers.

TODAY:  As your day concludes, identify at least three things for which you are grateful, three small tasks you achieved, and three ways you served others.  (May 24, 2017)

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Judge But Never Be Judgmental

On Wednesdays I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on Marriage, Parenting, or Life.

Judging is an important skill for a healthy life and marriage.  Judging is assessing or evaluating a situation, ourselves, or an important relationship for the sake of improvement.  However, being judgmental is not healthy because the intention is rooted in malice, resulting in arrogance or a pompous spirit just for the sake of feeling superior over someone else.

Hence, it is healthy to regularly judge our personal words and behaviors.  Likewise, in a marriage, a partner may at times assess a spouse or relationship if the goal for that evaluation is improvement.

For example, if a spouse is an alcoholic or has explosive anger, evaluating the situation may correct that unhealthy behavior.  Unfortunately, an alcoholic or raging spouse will often defend themselves by telling their partner, “You are being judgmental.”  However, such an appraisal is not being “judgmental” but instead only an assessment of those unhealthy behaviors with a genuine motive for improvement.

TODAY:  Let’s assess our personal actions, and if married, evaluate our relationship in order to recognize aspects that may need growth and development.  (May 17, 2017)

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Improve Life and Relationships: Try An Experiment

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

Fear can paralyze us to not make any attempts to improve our lives and relationships.  The nineteenth-century theologian Soren Kierkegaard said, “To dare is to lose one’s footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose one’s life.” So every improvement can only happen through taking a risk, and that can often be somewhat frightening.

One way to overcome fear with risk taking is to view every new attempt as an experiment. The very best thing with a successful experiment is the opportunity to improve an aspect of your life or relationships.  On the other hand, the good thing with every experiment is the result can never be failure even if the outcome is negative.  Every failed experiment is only temporary and provides feedback that we need to do something different with the next experiment.

TODAY:  Try an experiment in order to improve an area of your life or an aspect of a significant relationship. If successful, great!  If not, view the result as valuable data or information and try something different with a new experiment

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De-stress: What Does It Matter In 5 Years?

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

What was stressful or really bothering you on March 15, 2012?  Or what was stressful during the month of March 2012 or even the entire year of 2012?  I estimate that 95%+ of us cannot remember any specific stressful situations from the month of March 2012.

My point:  Whatever is stressful during this month of March 2017, we will not remember in five years.  Through prayer and with God’s help, we will cope and handle the challenging situation just fine.  Most of our problems usually pass, the difficulty generally does not persist and stay with us.

TODAY:  With any stressful challenge ask, “WHAT DOES IT MATTER IN 5 YEARS?” and realize that in March 2022 we will probably have forgotten any concerns from today. (March 15, 2017)

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Experiences Really Make A Difference

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

A good goal for bringing more joy, contentment, and happiness to our life is to create memorable experiences.  In fact, a research study found that people who spent money on experiences rather than physical things were actually happier than those who focused on purchasing items, whether expensive or inexpensive.  Look back over your life and ask, “What happy moments do I really remember with fondness?”  I think your answer 95%+ of the time will be your individual and relational experiences.

Hence, design memorable experiences both personally and relationally.  Find fresh, exciting individual experiences; create wonderful, new experiences with your spouse; have regular or weekly experiences with your child; and find new sightseeing or vacation experiences. Material things don’t last but memories of experiences last a lifetime.

TODAY:  Begin developing your own list of future experiences that you want to enjoy in life either by yourself or with others. (March 8, 2017)

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Honor Your Spouse and Others By LISTENING WELL

Every Wednesday I will post a practical wisdom thought or suggestion on marriage, parenting, or life.

God commands children to “Honor your father and mother” and God tells parents to “not embitter” their children.  What is the very best way to “honor” and “not embitter” a spouse, child, or parent?  LISTEN!  When we listen well to our spouse or anyone, we are honoring them by conveying that “You are my Number One Priority, not just one of my many activities, and I will listen to you!

Here are some thoughts on how to listen effectively.  Look the person directly in the eyes; ask questions for better understanding; do not interrupt; remove any distractions; suspend any judgment; and summarize often the content of what was said.

TODAY:  Be a wonderful listener throughout the day with everyone and help them feel special, valued, and number one in importance. (March 1, 2017)

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