Choices and decisions

  • Change and challenge,  Choices and decisions,  Personal growth

    How to fix things

    “Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” ~Maya Angelou This is the time of year when I focus intently on fixing things I don’t like about myself, or things that aren’t working in my life. Self-improvement, after all, usually involves effort as well as introspection. But when something is broken beyond repair, or a bad situation is totally out of my control, the best thing I can do is adjust my attitude. I can change how many calories I consume in a day, for instance, but I can’t change…

  • Change and challenge,  Choices and decisions

    Adjusting our perspective

    “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya Angelou Writing my own life stories — and helping others write theirs — has been a lifelong fascination of mine. In the process, I’ve learned (and witnessed) how we often allow our experiences to define us. We might label ourselves as “survivors” who had the courage to overcome a personal challenge or tragedy. Or we might see our bad fortune as an excuse to throw a perpetual pity party. Writing about our lives (in a private journal or a workshop) motivates us to take a closer look at…

  • Choices and decisions,  Civility and manners,  Friendship and relationship advice

    Point of view

    “If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird The word “empathy” gets tossed around a lot these days, usually in reference to insensitive people who seem to lack it. Simply put, people without empathy view everything solely from their own perspective, putting their own needs and desires first. They hear only what they want to hear. They believe their personal opinions and biases are the universal…

  • Change and challenge,  Choices and decisions,  Personal growth

    What thrills your soul?

    “Dismiss whatever insults your own soul.” ~Walt Whitman Today’s quote got me thinking about everything that “insults my soul” — from unpleasant chores to road rage on the highway. Life presents everyone with all sorts of negative encounters, including filthy bathrooms in public places. And I won’t get started on our current (malodorous) political climate. There are dozens of other toxic behaviors we tolerate and things we cling to, even when they’re long past their expiration dates. We might practice habits that no longer serve us or do more harm than good. We might allow people to mistreat us, or take us for granted, just because that’s the way they…

  • Change and challenge,  Choices and decisions

    Changing with the seasons

    “Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. The past is closed and limited; the future is open and free.” ~Deepak Chopra Change isn’t easy. I was thinking about this yesterday while cleaning and organizing my closets for the fall season. Change is hard for all of us because some of the things we keep (or cling to) aren’t necessarily bad things. And I’m still in favor of saving a few treasures for sentimental reasons. Seasonal closet cleaning is an apt metaphor for all kinds of change. Some of…