Monday, January 21, 2013

E-Word Week 4, Jan 21,2013

We shall find peace. We shall hear angels.
We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
- Mother Teresa

Let a smile be your umbrella!  I love smiling. I confess I don’t always do it and am very bad about not having a poker face. But smiling truly is the best ice breaker, best non-verbal communication, best day maker, best everything hands down.

Who doesn’t like a smile? (And we are not talking about the evil smiles which aren’t smiles, just a turning up of the corners of your mouth.)

A smile is like an encouraging word without talking. Sometimes there is nothing you can say or do and a smile does it for you. Even at sad times there is a smile you use that is full of compassion and care for another person.

Smiles comes not only from your mouth, but from your eyes, in fact that is how you recognize a true smile, in the eyes.

This week, let some extra smiles be your encouraging words to others. Even if you aren’t feeling very encouraged yourself, or are down. A smile put out in the world almost always is reflected back to you. Or as I have experienced, you’ll receive a surprised look after flashing a bright wide smile at someone who wasn’t expecting one!

Go ahead, make my day: Smile!

Monday, January 14, 2013

You Know, It Really IS A Wonderful Life!

You should not let anyone make you feel like your life is NOT a wonderful life! Although usually it is US who make ourselves feel that way. We get down, things get us upset, we forget just why we are here on earth, there is so much negativity surrounding us in the news. It's easy to forget that it really is a good life we have here.  If you are reading this it means you at least have access to a computer or phone device that connects to the Internet and you enjoy the freedom of reading whatever you want. Of course it's not like that everywhere in the world.
   So should we not realize that and say thank you for that? Too often we forget all the "little" things we have going for us. So, stop and think about it. Do you have a family that loves you? Even if you are a parent, child, brother or sister, is there someone who cares whether you come home at night? Bet so!  What about a job. If you have one, count yourself very blessed indeed. If you are out of a job, thank God for the freedom to look for one and while you are thanking God for that ask Him for help in finding one. He's one guy who will ALWAYS be there to help. You may have to be patient because He hasn't found the right one for you yet!
   Begin this week looking at the wonderful things in your life. List them out if you have to and keep the list by your bed or on your desk.
   It IS a wonderful life!

E-Word Week 3, Jan 14,2013

               This week we’re talking about giving compliments. The how-to, that is!  I read in the Art of Manliness article that to overcome our negative and egocentric biases, we need to harness our inner Sherlock Holmes by observing more frequently and more keenly.
                Nicely put, because sometimes I am truly more focused on my problems, the world as I see it to notice other people having a new haircut, new outfit or whatever. I don’t consider myself a selfish person, but I realize I do focus more on my shortcomings and worry about other people’s opinions of them, than I do on complimenting others and looking for good things. While I don’t go around criticizing people to their faces, I also don’t make a point of handing out compliments on a daily basis either. Somewhere between these two things is where I want to be.
                So to begin, start on small stuff. Just this morning I was getting out of the car and the student in the next car had on one of those really cute knitted hats, the kind that has ear flaps, was pink and had big eyes on the top!  Normally I would have thought to myself, how cute and giggled. But this morning, working on my Encouraging Words, I actually spoke up and told her she had on a really cute hat!
                She smiled shyly and muttered, “Thanks!” 
                Sure my compliment was a really small thing, but it was a start!  The thing about compliments is they have to be sincere. If you roll your eyes while complimenting someone’s clothing, they may get the idea you are making fun of them. I remember those teen years too much, but it happened a lot then. Nice “Peace” t-shirt, Lisa”  giggle, snort.    Those kinds of compliments we DON’T need these days. But one that really makes another person feel good about something they’ve chosen to wear is a winner.
                The other thing about compliments is it helps if they are specific. Instead of saying, “You look nice today.” It helps more to say, “Wow, that purple color looks really good on you!” or “That sweater really brings the blue out in your eyes!” help the compliment-getter to know you are really paying attention. 
                So give it a try this week and see how it goes! Don’t over do it, you might get too giddy from all the adrenaline!  But try giving out a compliment a day if you can. See how it makes the other person look and feel, and how it gets you out of your self focused rut!  Good luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dear God...

Dearest God,
I know I drive people crazy by obsessively worrying about them. I know I have to leave them alone to make their own decisions. I know I have to stop using my fears to manipulate them into doing things they don’t want to do. There I’ve said it. Now I just need to act on it. That’s where you come in God. Please help me to detach with love from the ones I love, and leave them in your protective care. You know what’s best for them so much more than I do. So I pray that your will be done, not mine. Help me to love them in a way that will be supportive without stifling, encouraging without overpowering and concerned but not controlling. Lord I pray you’ll lead them in your ways and keep them safely under your wing.  Allia Zobel Nolan

Monday, January 7, 2013

E-Word Week 2, Jan 7

E-Word Week 2, January 7, 2013
And we are off, in week two of a brand new year. Yay us! This year’s new theme, finding encouraging words to use is something like being a positive person. So it has a two-fold purpose this year. Not only helping us become more positive people by looking for good things in other people, but also, actually letting others know they are being good people too. And to quote one of my fave characters in the movie, “Sahara”, “ It’s like a two for one deal, which I always think is better!”
Just this morning I received an encouraging word, or rather an encouraging email. A Girl Scout leader emailed me asking me to speak to her group about writing and how I develop my characters in my fiction writing. Nothing could have started my day better than being asked to talk about how to write books!  I love getting kids excited about writing!  So by her simple request, I had an awesome morning, first feeling a qualification for my writing skills and second, getting asked to encourage kids to do something I love doing: writing!
Sometimes that’s all it takes to make someone’s day.
But according to the article on Encouraging Words at  there is a list of reasons why we don’t compliment or give encouraging words to other people more. This is the list:
2.  YOU ARE SELF ABSORBED:  Most of us are more concerned about our own performance or behavior than is someone else messes up or performs poorly.
3.  YOU SEE EVERYTHING AS A COMPETITION.  Some of us, (including myself, I know, cough…ouch) see everything in life as a competition, or at least something we have to be able to do well.  And sometimes it’s hard to tell someone else THEY have done a better job at something than we have, you know , like writing an awesome article. (brain is noodling why can’t I get published like they just did?) See what I mean?   So we neglect to give compliments because it is admitting they are better than we are, when in actuality you are the perfect person to give the compliment BECAUSE you write too and know the value of a job well done! I didn’t say it this competition would make sense, just that it happens to the best of us!
4.  YOU ARE SHY  - no really. It’s like making cold calls in sales. It’s hard to just walk up to someone and say, “Hey nice job.” Or even worse explain why you thought it was a good job.
6. YOU ASSUME THEY ALREADY KNOW they did a good job, wrote a great paper, sang a great song, whatever. And honestly, even if they do already know that, it wouldn’t hurt to remind them.  I know I can sing decently, but it never hurts to be reminded because back to that  competition thing, you are always thinking you have do better or that everyone is better than you and you have to keep trying harder.
7. And last but not least, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. IF you avoid giving compliments because you don’t know what to say then keep reading these suggestions in the next several months!

                I missed a perfect opportunity today to give a compliment and I blame it on #4.  I truly was shy. I didn’t know this person and I felt funny just walking up to her and giving her a compliment. So I have a lot to learn by working on this year of Encouraging Words myself. 
                So, this week, your mission is to go through your day, and if you encounter someone doing something positive or whatever, practice your encouraging word by saying something to them. Even telling the store bagger to have a great day and thanks for bagging your groceries, is enough to count this week. Hey, it’s baby steps, man! So good luck and way to go for reading all the way through this week’s blog. Maybe you should begin blogging too, you already like to read, why  not take it a step further and write down your ideas on encouraging words. You can even type a comment below. It may be the first time but that doesn’t matter! The hardest part is beginning!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

E-Word January 2, 2013

E-word , Week 1, Jan 2, 2013


Just what in the world is E-Word? E stands for "Encouraging" and since that word is long, I've shortened it to a cute little internet savy letter. So now, this year, each week you can ask each other, "Oh, have you said your E-word yet?

E-Word isn't just a word. It can be a phrase, compliment or otherwise nice thing to say to someone. This year's weekly blog entry will be about Encouraging other people.

I was reading an article on the Art of Manliness site how humans are more wired to hear negative things than the positive things.

For example, you could compliment someone on their hair, dress, shoes, purse, jewelry and then tell them or you have a smudge on your eyelid, they will remember only the smudge on their eyelid!

No really it's true! Somebody somewhere, not me, got paid to do a study on this! Anyway, the point is supposedly we hear more negative things and react to them than we do compliments. The solution is to try to even out this terrible travesty of human interaction by giving meaningful compliments to people, family members, co-workers, someone you meet in a store, whatever.

It must be well meant, and no back handed compliment either, which is NOT a compliment to begin with in case that's all you ever give!

So now you can use the jingle, “Have you said your E-Word today?”

Or, “Hey, what’s your E-Word?”

Okay, I digress, but I am challenging you to a year of Encouraging Words to other! Compliment someone on their manners, or the job they are doing. It doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to sound true. No fake here people!

Think about how when you get a compliment, doesn’t it make you float for a few minutes? Someone compliments my singing and I get through at least half a day forgetting what a pain the computer was or how the copier jammed up again.

Try it, you will see it helps you feel better when you see that person light up. And if they don’t, keep doing it, take your encouraging word wherever you go.   Go on! You can do it, I know you can. You are so good at helping people feel good and positive about themselves! I really like that about you!