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Character, Courage, Conscience
05/13/2010
IconIf you're a frequent listener to my radio program, you've probably heard me say to someone seemingly immersed in a petty annoyance:' "You must have a charmed and uncomplicated life to have the time and energy to be upset about something that's ultimately so minuscule."'Yeah, I know that sounds snarky, but the point is made.' If your life is filled with the awe of the sky when the sun first comes up, scurrying to do some projects for charity, coming up with ideas to support a friend in emotional need, treating your spouse as though you adored every breath they take, having daily physical activity that makes you sweat and feel great afterwards, taking on a new challenge in a hobby or education at the local community college or adult extension, having a day a week you get together with buddies to play poker, make a quilt or whatever....when your life is filled in such expansive ways, then the quirky disappointments of family and friends will be shrugged off with a small smile and a lack of real concern.'Try activity instead of pouting or letting your anger simmer. More >>

Tags: AttitudeBehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceGratitudeHealthPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
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05/13/2010
IconLately, I've been asked quite often by callers if it is "okay" to apologize to someone for a wrongdoing even years after the offense.' I can understand why that question might be asked.' It can feel a bit embarrassing to have to face someone and face up to what you've done.' It is worrisome that they might not be gracious about your apology.'' It is possible that they might "lay into you."' It may be that they say "You caused me so much grief and pain that I can't forgive you."' They might not even be willing to talk to you.' Or, they might say, with tears, "Thank you.' That means a lot to me."It IS a big risk to take.' But the most valued things in life do come with a big risk attached.' That's part of what gives them value.You must remember, however, that whatever their response might be, you are doing the apology not to wipe the slate clean (damage is damage, and some never goes away), but because true repentance requires that you do what it takes to repair the damage.' That includes the sincere... sincere ...apology.' None of that "if you were hurt, then I'm sorry" nonsense.' That is pure annoyance!'So, if you truly have remorse (and are not just trying to manipulate someone into a situation which benefits you ), then apologize... anytime ...and tolerate their first and maybe second unpleasant reaction.''Seeds take time to germinate, and coping with an apology means the whole thing is brought up again in their minds.' Be patient and understanding.' While they may never forgive you, know that you still did the right thing. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourtesyForgivenessMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityResponse To A CallValues
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05/13/2010
IconMy birthday was a little over a week ago, and my husband actually got away with setting up a surprise party for me.' I went to the party location under the guise that we were going to use a 'Happy Birthday' coupon for a free dinner.' It was wonderful to see the many people who have meant, do mean, and always will mean something important to me (and the cake and dancing were great too)!I want to mention one particular gift:' a bocce ball set.' I sent out all my gift 'thank yous,' and when it came to the bocce ball set, I said something like ''Thank you so much for the bocce ball set.' I don't know how to play it, but, heck, learning yet another sport is a great idea!' Ha ha ha!'I added the 'ha ha ha' because I hike, I play tennis and badminton, I shoot pool, do yoga, race a sailboat and work out...and do at least one of these daily .' But then I thought about my 'joke' and realized it IS a very good idea to learn yet another 'whatever' all the time.' Part of the joy of being alive (and a large part of what keeps your brain and body healthy and your mood positive) is having purpose in your life and learning something new all the time.People who don't continue to grow, be challenged, learn and be involved in activities tend to 'contract,' have depression problems, and compromise the quality of their aging and actual life span.So, while this blog is not an ad for bocce ball, it is a suggestion (and don't forget who's making it!) for you to constantly challenge yourself with everything from crossword puzzles to chasing butterflies.' The more you are invested in the opportunities of living, the more you will enjoy it and be alert and happy. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceEat Less-Move MoreEducationExercisegrandchildrenHealthPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelativesValues
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05/13/2010
IconGuilt and longing are two very human emotions that often blend into a desperate glue that keeps people stuck in situations they ought not to be in.' Whether it is with family, friends or a prospective spouse, trust that small, smart voice inside of you which repeats the mantra you try to ignore: "This is destructive or dangerous.' Let it go or get out." Decent people feel guilty about pulling away from a relationship because "it will hurt the other person's feelings," and decent people just cringe at the idea of causing another emotional pain.' That's nice, but guilt is a cue that what you're doing is wrong , not that what you're doing is something somebody else just doesn't want or like.' There is no intent to hurt in this situation.' There is only the intent to preserve one's own emotional and physical safety and/or well-being.Longing is a natural condition - i.e., wanting something to be right and good because you've invested in it, and because it is a good thing to want:' a great, happy, healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship is always a blessing.' However, when that is clearly not the case, then withdrawing is the healthiest and, therefore, right thing to do.' It is difficult for people to give up their dreams, but you have to remember that the dream is not the problem.' The current object of that dream is the problem.' Take your dream and plant it where it can actually grow well.Remember, there is no growth without discomfort or outright pain.' Consider growing pains of the emotional sort just a natural course of events as you mature, and make wise decisions.'Choose wisely; treat kindly.' Treating kindly won't work if you haven't chosen wisely. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConsciencePersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconA number of people have expressed to me that they feel somewhat guilty that their lives are so blessed and/or peaceful right now while people are being blown up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places - and by their own countrymen!' Or that people are suffering and dying by the tens of thousands in Haiti in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake."How [they ask] can I dare to have a good day when all of this is happening?"I think that's a good question asked by decent people.'The answer is simple:' what choice do you have?Shall you undermine yourself and those who count on you by crumbling under the awareness of this cruelty of people and nature?' Does that add to the miserly of the world?' YES.' Does that minimize the misery of the world?' NO.Your job is to do and be your best and to bring light into darkness in your own mind and home, and among family, friends, and community.' Where you have the wherewithal and the expertise to extend that to deserving people and places, do so because all humanity benefits by your action of caring - if not aided directly , then at the very least inspired by your example.Where you can't extend yourself to some place around the world, be cognizant that compassion and love in a circle around you has a ripple effect to help perfect the world for whatever moments of bliss might exist.' They add up.'Whether close at hand or off to a distant land, when you extend mercy, you do an act which magnificently defines humanity. More >>

Tags: AttitudeBehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityCivilityHealthHopePersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
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05/13/2010
IconLet's talk about having conversations.' You read that right - I didn't goof and actually mean confrontation , which typically is what I hear most about on my radio program.' It is not a good plan to think of trying to communicate something delicate or important to someone by approaching them through the lenses of battle, which is what confrontation implies.There are ways to deal with another person on difficult issues that don't necessarily feel like the throwing down of a gauntlet (an attack against which they have to be defensive).' The moment you get someone's defenses up, the quicker the whole situation degenerates into a "lose/lose" predicament, usually making things even worse than they were.If the information is to a loved one, start out with a "Sweetie" or "Honey" or something that sets the tone as one of friendship, love or caring.' Continue with the explanation that it is to improve the situation that you're coming to them (because you don't want the relationship hurt by misunderstandings or errors in judgment or word choice).'' Then they know that you are not attacking them, but you are trying to preserve the relationship and they will be more open to hearing your point of view.It's also important to start out with some verbal "gift," i.e., that you compliment them with sincerity by suggesting that you understand what their position might be, but that you're confused, hurt, upset or worried that ________ [fill in the blank].' Remind them what you've meant to each other and how you want that to continue, and that this is a glitch which can be remedied with mutual consideration and understanding.If you're up against a reasonable, caring individual, things will go well.'If you're up against an un reasonable, self-centered human being, things will go well if you walk away.Rule number "PRE-one:"' Don't wait for emotions to fester.' Handle things as they happen before you work yourself up to the point that you can't be reasonable. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourtesyFriendshipsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconThe other day, someone made an honest comment to me about a gift I gave them - a rude comment, but an honest one.This is the sort of circumstance I hear about a lot on my radio program.' Callers get very upset about some small moment of discomfort, stupidity, rudeness, thoughtlessness - you get my drift.' It sends them into a tizzy, because I guess they yearn for this perfect world where everyone else's behavior conforms to what it is that makes them happy.People are largely busy with their own lives, and they don't always monitor their mouths or body language.' Sometimes, they're prone to say things without consideration of how it might be received.So, back to my story - I just laughed.' Look, my feelings can get hurt just like yours.' But since I am "Dr. Laura," and because I have the experience of over six decades on the planet, I have learned to choose what will annoy me.' When you have friends and acquaintances, you have to' 1) cut everyone some "stupidity slack" once in a while (as you would have them forgive you);' 2) look at the totality of that person and realize that, percentage-wise, they're "fine," and 3) decide whether or not their action was intentionally meant to do you harm or was just a quirk of their personality.When someone is downright evil, please avoid them.When someone is simply a bit thoughtless of others, then put them in their place...in your mind, that is.' Know that they have this "quirky-ness" and in the future, don't have expectations for them that are out-of-proportion.You can still be friendly, and even be friends, once you accept their limitations.So, if you don't have a "goat" to get , they can't get your goat! More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseCourtesyfeministaFriendshipsMorals, Ethics, ValuesSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI thought I'd continue with the theme of new beginnings during the first week of the new year by telling you a "biggie" for me - something I had to learn at a deeper level than just on an intellectual level.' I took up the game of pool about a year ago.' And like everything I do, I jumped into it "full bore" and with ferocity unmatched by any other living creature.' I practiced hours every day in this mad-like rush to conquer this goal as soon as I possibly could.In general, my enthusiasm and full commitment pay off in learning and conquering new goals, but there are some that actually require a dispassionate approach.' That was tough for me.' I got thoroughly emotional whenever I missed even one shot!' I quit several times out of utter frustration.'Fortunately, I have a great coach/teacher who keeps trying to get me to be quite robotic.' He has me do what amounts to a ritual routine with each shot:' look at the shot and imagine it happening as I put chalk on the cue tip.' Then, put the chalk down and I pretend I'm doing the shot once or twice in the air, then get way down on the table and do practice motions up to the cue ball and then fire.Once I am down, no more thinking, moving, judging...just faith that my mind and body have this covered.'This took the better part of a year to learn.' But it works.The too easy frustration with myself comes from a most critical father's constant berating of me, and taking up pool has helped a tremendous amount with getting rid of that knee-jerk response.'I was setting up my weaving loom the other day, and everything was going wrong.' The set-up looked seriously trashy.' But instead of getting down on myself (like I would have done before), I just smiled, leaned over, cut it all off the loom and threw it away.' I walked away feeling quite accomplished!' Why?' I just accepted that sometimes it doesn't work - thrown away yarn is not the end of the world - and having the calm to make that decision to come back and loom another day is a big victory!I hope this story helps you. More >>

Tags: AdoptionCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentCourageParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRegarding Dr. LauraResponse To A CallStress
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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityEat Less-Move MoreExercisePersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI was asked the other day what New Year's resolutions I'm making.' I couldn't come up with any, not because I'm in denial about having to change anything about my life, but because it's just that I live each week, much less each day, already making those changes that I choose.'I like the idea of frequent "small course changes," rather than abrupt, major alterations in one's life.' I find that the latter kinds of changes are harder to keep, since they are such a divergence from normal reality and routine.So, I'm not trying to talk you out of losing that 100 pounds, or finishing the roof on your house all by yourself.' I just believe that it's unrealistic to put yourself in front of a 100-foot-tall pile of whatever with a spoon and told to "go at it."If it's weight that you want to lose, forget about that, and just decide not to have salad dressing loaded with fat calories, and just decide to walk 1 mile with music in your ear - iPod-style.' When that gets too familiar (or starts to feel "old"), then decide that you have to eat smaller portions and ride your bike for 1 mile each day (but I recommend doing that without the iPod, in order for you to hear traffic).'Get it? Small things are easier to stay with, because you get instant gratification, which we all love.The weight?' Don't get on the scale more than twice a month.' Just revel in those small changes.' The weight will take care of itself.' And then, you can go shopping for new clothes (yay)! More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentEat Less-Move MoreExerciseHolidaysNew YearNutritionPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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