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Tag Archives: self-help

Validating Circumstances

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There is discussion these days about the impact that our friends and our lifestyle decisions have on our personal and professional development.  New research shows we tend to develop traits of those with whom we spend the most time.  Experts say our “Top Five” play a role in our decisions.  As the  adage goes: ” We are the company we keep.” Often, we don’t have a choice.  Our families, for instance.  Sometimes we find ourselves alone,  or with friends who don’t have our interest at heart but wield influence.  Sometimes we may simply be on a crowded bus or airplane for a sustained period.   Worse,  many of us daily must be part of less-than healthy work environments that offer no opportunity for growth, personally or professionally.


We are not at the mercy of others. We are valuable.   Our thoughts are powerful.  Daily, we have the opportunity to make choices that validate us.    We can dismiss situations in which our personhood is not valued if not physically, then at least mentally.   No is not a four-letter word.   We can detach from people who consistently invalidate us by constant criticism,  lateness, manipulation or misuse of our time.  The same for clients or employers who don’t  treat us well or compensate us appropriately.     When no one else is in the room, or when emotional terrorists seek to destroy us, we are still armed.  We have God. We have ourselves.

The Real Thing

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Koko, the celebrity cat and Jean Claude, the black Bombay,  are back at their primary residence at CCL’s in Washington, D.C.  Koko  enjoyed her stay at my house.  Several nights she left me a little surprise, a toy mouse,  which faced  me at the door to my bedroom.  Later she would  remove it to play with it during the day.    The mouse  looked very real but it didn’t frighten me ,as a gardener I’m not afraid of bugs etc.  In fact,  I found Koko’s intent  to amuse and please me genuine and touching.

Authenticity  and being “who you are” is  the latest personal elevation trend.   Life coaches and other success gurus  are constantly urging people to be their “authentic selves.”  Yes, “keeping it real ” is the so-called new path to personal and professional success.    Alas,  for some the notion of being geniune is beyond their grasp.  There are a lot of phonies who seek to  impress or manipulate.   Their fear of who they are has engulfed their souls. For them “keeping it real” is  about as real as the toy mouse Koko presented to me in the morning.



Changing Your Mind

The other day I saw a facebook post agonizing over a decision to be made. One thing I’ve learned in my time off is that, you just make the best decision you can make at the time you make it. But here is the secret in that sauce – it’s ok to change your mind later.

I’ll use an example. I moved. To a much smaller house. I went to Ikea and in my rush paid to put together a TV stand and a daybed and bought a dresser on Craigslist. After looking at it, I realized that I wanted a different TV stand, different dresser and a smaller daybed. I will ultimately come out the loser financially in this transaction, but the winner on what I want. Had I not gone with my original choices, based on the information I had at the time I made those decisions, I wouldn’t have ultimately wound up with a better choice.

We feel as if each decision is irrevocable, but unless the decision is really life or death, it is not. You have the option to change later. Changing may mean some form of loss such as money or time. But inevitably, as the circumstances around your first choice change, it’s ok to change your mind. Don’t change your mind on a whim, but do change your mind on the basis of change in the information.

And it will turn out ok.

Expanding One’s Dimensions

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Yesterday was a restful, enjoyable Fourth catching up on some loose ends.  Tuesday, Roxie’s remains were removed from the alley. If only it were so easy to remove her memory.  Getting perspective has helped.     Jean Claude, the black Bombay cat,  seems to have settled down after time at CCL’s house.   I did a radio interview yesterday about the attack that killed Roxie.    DC Animal Control has expanded its case to find the dogs and their owner.  Healing continues.  There are a lot of people  I know who deal daily with grief, loss, the deteriorating health or sudden death of a loved one/and or family member. They handle their life situations with aplomb, letting joy not bitterness dictate their circumstances. They take the higher road to personal growth by expanding themselves and anchor themselves to new tomorrows filled with hope and promise.  The hurt and pain is still there over Roxie’s demise but I know I should  honor her memory  and I must continue to grow as well.

Know Thyself

Many of you have been following this blog for awhile and so you know the behaviors of the two cats. But one of the things that is interesting is when their behavior goes too far. We all have limits. There are limits between parents and children, work colleagues and limits placed on us by society. With animals, you have to set the limits early and keep reinforcing them. One of the days to do it this is through consistent reward and punishment. You reward behaviors you want and punish those you don’t want. The trick is that if you are punishing a behavior, you have to catch the animal doing it in the act. Unlike humans, cats and dogs have no real memory from an action and a consequence. If your cat jumps on the furniture, you can’t punish her an hour after the fact. Pavlov proved this and it is has been repeated.

So the reason for my long-winded story is that there are certain limits the cats have at each of our houses. For example, Roxie has very rarely peed at Azeena’s house, but she does so at my house with impunity. Window blinds are literally purchased  by the multiples at Azeena’s because  Jean-Claude breaks them at his grandmothers, but leaves mine alone.

In life the one thing  you can control is your behavior. You cannot control others, but you can control yourself. There are times when we all feel like we want to push our limits. Test the waters and see how far we can go. In some cases, this is a good thing – Can I go back to school full-time while working full-time and other times, it’s best left alone.

As a Libra, I spend my life looking for balance between stretching my mind, my self-examination and trying to stay grounded. Like Jean-Claude walking along the fence railing it is a hard act and requires constant attention. But I’m up for the challenge.