Browse Category: Personal Growth

The Unexpected Irony of the Positive Thinking Movement

GUEST POST BY JANET RICHMOND

Janet RichmondThe very thing you think would not happen with the Positive Thinking Movement is the very thing that has begun to crop up. Thinking positively has unwittingly created a backlash of sorts in that it sometimes has become a reason to judge others. Many of us have heard someone say “I can’t do it” (whatever the “it” is for that person) and then don’t we often jump in and say, “Don’t be negative. Don’t program your failure before you start” (or something along those lines). Often this comes from real caring as we don’t want that person to give up on themselves or to be discouraged. However, let’s think about those words.

First, “don’t be negative” immediately finds fault, implying that the person is doing something wrong. Secondly, the statement dismisses how the person really feels. The assumption is made that a negative feeling needs to be ignored/bypassed/instantly dismissed and instead, a solution to the problem is often suggested. And third, the advice offered is not something that could actually resolve the problem because often it is not a viable solution. If consciously deciding to do or not do something always worked, then we would never need to neutralize anything. Therefore, this kind of statement feels as unhelpful and hurtful as the statement (that we have all heard from time to time and most of us don’t like) of “just get over it.”

More extreme examples would be when we say things like, “She’s just so toxic I can’t be around her.” Or often there is a decision made along the lines of, “I just can’t deal with any more negative people in my life and from now on I’m just going to surround myself with positive people.”

The goal generally is then to get away from a person/s because they are “bad” for you in some way. Yet what I hear is a judgment that someone’s negative behavior, attitudes or words means that they are a bad person. This reminds me of something I learned when my first-born arrived. I was a single parent and as such read everything I could get my hands on as to how to parent. There was much to learn but one thing even now sticks out in my mind. It was the idea that when a child is misbehaving – whether having a temper tantrum, hitting the child next door or purposely wrecking havoc in some way – that we need to be clear with the child that it is the behavior that we don’t like and disapprove of and not the child. It is important for the child to know that we love him or her no matter what. Of course, all children will misbehave in some way. However, the problematic behavior does not define the child as a bad person. It only defines the action.

This is in essence what I’m trying to explain with the derogatory term “negative people”. As adults, the ‘misbehavior’ can become more extreme and more potentially hurtful including emotional, physical and psychological abuse. So it is easy to lose sight of the fact that it is their behavior we do not like. However, like with the child, the behavior does not define the totality of this person, though it sometimes is the knee-jerk reaction we have. When we call people “negative” please understand that this label dismisses the whole person in one blow.

I’m not saying that anyone should stay around people who hurt or abuse. But even though it’s important to take yourself out of the line of fire from behavior that is painful, it doesn’t mean that we need turn around and be hurtful and judgmental back. In fact, there is nothing positive about doing that because what we are doing here is finding fault and thus, we are being negative ourselves.

Also, we don’t like being judged by others either. It hurts and the judgments lack understanding, empathy, and respect. The underlying foundation as to why someone behaves the way they do is so complex that we have no way of knowing (because we can’t look into another person’s soul and mind) what that person is actually going through nor could they know the same about us. And in time, if we thought about it, wouldn’t we most likely not feel good ourselves for having placed those toxic and negative labels on someone else? In reality, these people are as wounded as we are, though they find their own way to cope with the pain, hurt, confusion or self-loathing. Thus, they lash out for their own reasons, like we all have lashed out many times in our own lives or have handled our pain in some other potentially though not intentionally hurtful ways.

My point is that it would be a shame to abuse the highly important concept that ‘thought is powerful energy’ by using thoughts/words as a weapon. In a very real way, judging others as negative also becomes a justification to cast ourselves in the role of the good person and the negative one in the role of a bad person. It’s divisive in nature. In a very real twist of irony, the whole trend to think positively ends up justifying our negative judgments of others!

Lastly, the pervasive attitude that negative thoughts/actions/behaviors are proof of a negative person even have us judging ourselves: “If I were just more positive maybe some good would come into my life.” And with this thought, we pour on more self-criticism and self-attack. The effect of finding fault and blame is the same except that we are now using it against ourselves.

Bottom line: let’s become more conscious and aware. Let’s use some understanding in the same way we have become understanding of the behavior of alcoholics, people with OCD or people who are depressed. Becoming conscious and aware is not the same as excusing the behavior and making it right. But it brings the whole person (including ourselves) into the Light of acceptance and understanding.

– By Janet Richmond, janetrichmond.com
Contact information: janet@janetrichmond.com or 818-516-0248

10 Tips to Staying Youthful

Recently I was at the annual Hay House I Can Do It conference in Pasadena, California. I got to see a number of amazing speakers who addressed the mind, body, spirit collective.

One of the speakers who stood out for me is someone I’ve seen a handful of times before, Dr. Christiane Northrup. A physician, author, mother, inspirational speaker, and pioneer in women’s health, she addressed aging in her keynote on Saturday evening. A couple of the things that she said really stuck with me and they were:

  • Stop telling people your age – I love sharing my age, got to work on this one.
  • Stop acting your age – I’m notorious for not acting like an adult, nailed this one.

Her reasons were pretty clear: we have preconceived ideas about what certain ages should bring. And not only do we have those preconceived ideas, so do other people. It leads to ageism!

YouthfulOver the course of the past week I spent time with a number of my girlfriends and gathered a handful of additional tips for remaining youthful.

  • Laugh – Laugh at yourself, laugh at life, just find something to laugh about daily.
  • Forgive – Holding onto grudges, anger, resentment and all that other negative nonsense puts stress on your body, and stress leads to wrinkles as well is bad health.
  • Move – Get up and dance, run, walk or play if you can. If you can’t, then wiggle your arms and legs or flap them like a bird. Just find a way to move your body joyfully for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
  • Look to the future – Quit focusing on the past. It’s nice to reminisce but having something to look forward to – events, goals, treats, etc. those give you motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Hold on to memories, let go of stuff – Do you really need the stuffed animal your first boyfriend gave you back in high school or the silk flower you got for Mother’s Day 12 years ago? Things require energy and attention and so do people. Where do you think your energy is best spent?
  • Keep learning – Even if it’s learning to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, if you continue to learn and expand your knowledge base you have greater likelihood of staving off cognitive impairment associated with aging and you’ll have cool things to talk about with your friends and family – instead of repeating the same old stories.
  • Make new friends – Create new relationships in your life, and not just with people who are exactly like you. By creating and nurturing new relationships you’ll be exposed to new things and you’ll tick off a few of the other items on this list.
  • Find a purpose – Whether you take a job, start a business, do volunteer work or whatever it is, having a purpose that is greater than you, a connection to something that needs you more will continue to motivate you to keep actively participating in this wonderful thing called life.

Read more: My Lesson in Aging Gracefully

copyright Kimberly Rinaldi 2015

3 Irresistible Questions to Get Your First Date Coming Back for More

Guest Post By SARAH SPENCER

So, for whatever reason, you’ve found yourself back in the unenviable position of being in the dating pool. If you have the good fortune of casting your line and reeling in a good catch, how do you keep them interested?

Take a look at David Snyder’s NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) video on “How to Make Someone Love You in 20 Minutes or Less.”

Yes, it’s over an hour, so here are some of the highlights:

1. Is S/he worth my time? Ask open-ended questions first so you don’t invest a lot of time (or money) into a dating disaster. Let’s say you’re at an art opening and there’s a cash bar. You can ask “Hey, great event. Do you know what the drink specials are?” Make it specific and unassuming. If they engage, great! Follow up with “So what brought you here?” Glance at their feet – if toes point toward you, keep going. If not, move on.

2. Career/passion: Lead up with “So, are you here for work or fun?” “What do you do?” and “How did you ‘fall’ into that?” The piece resistance? “What keeps the spark alive – what do you love to do?” Using subtle words like “fun” and “fall” work on the subconscious and start moving the attraction needle in your favor.

3. Childhood experiences: At this point, you can look for a quieter place to talk and ask “I’m curious, where did you grow up?” “Cleveland? What did you used to play?” “You loved to play Batman? Any other games?” “Bikes? A girly bike or banana seat?”

After asking these questions, you are now embedded in these experiences of his/her subconscious.

Reflective listening: Don’t just ask the questions and walk away – be genuinely curious. There is nothing sexier than someone who listens and REMEMBERS what they’ve just heard. Reflective listening is simply repeating the story back to them. DON’T paraphrase – remember the words EXACTLY as they were told to you.

The eyes have it: Make sure you look your potential date by holding their gaze in one eye. No, it’s not a staring contest, just care about what they’re sharing with you, open your heart so you create a heart-to-heart openness trigger. This loving gaze creates a powerful neurological connection.

When I was dating, the minute I stopped making every man I dated “The One,” and just simply enjoyed getting to know someone new, I thoroughly enjoyed going out. By using these questions, the conversations flowed more easily, the connections were deeper and friendships were built long after my dating days were over. My dating experiences inspired my novel, “A Man to Honor You,” a paranormal romance focused on finding your soulmate.

Your soulmate arrives when you feel s/he is no longer missing. Love the ones you’re with and best wishes on making some new (and meaningful) connections.

– Sarah Spencer

2015 New Year’s Reflection

2015 ArrivesI came across this in my Facebook notes. It’s from five years ago – Dec. 11, 2009. While so much in my life has changed, so much remains the same. I have added my updated thoughts below in blue.

1. I’ve come to realize that my weight: is relevant to my health, not my happiness. And completely out of control. I need to get this resolved this year. I’m getting too old to keep making excuses for not being as healthy as I should be.

2. I’ve come to realize that my job: is awesome! And ever-expanding. I’m doing things now I couldn’t have imagined two years ago let alone five!

3. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving: I truly relax, yes even in traffic.

4. I’ve come to realize that I need: help too sometimes. And I’m getting better at asking for and receiving it.

5. I’ve come to realize that I have lost: nothing. I have let go of attachment and know that something better always comes in.

6. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when: I want to help and for some reason can’t. I’m aware that I still have to work on control issues.

7. I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk: I will pay for it later.

8. I’ve come to realize that money: not a measure of anything, but it is a means to greater freedom.

9. I’ve come to realize that certain people: should be avoided for your own sanity, welfare and highest purpose. I let them go with love.

10. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always: have a twisted sense of humor. And a bit of a potty mouth.

11. I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s): is not me and will not respond as I do. And she understands me better than I understand myself some days.

12. I’ve come to realize that my mom: really did do the best she could with what she had. And she still is.

13. I’ve come to realize that my cell phone: is an extension of my consciousness. If my cell phone rings alone in a forest and I am not there to hear it, does it really go to voice mail?

14. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning: it is Friday and I didn’t do the Thursday night pre-cleaning lady pick up, so they don’t think we live like animals. Seriously, coffee cups and shoes multiply through out the week. I’m enjoying some creative work before I romp and play with my puppy.

15. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep: I am an adult and if I don’t get enough sleep it is my fault alone. I can now blame this period of insomnia in my life on menopause.

16. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking: don’t I have real work to do today?  I need to step away from the computer and enjoy the rest of my day off.

17. I’ve come to realize that my dad: is in a box, on my bar, across the dining room from me. And his birthday is next week, I have to put his card out. He is also in my life and work daily, even from the other side.

18. I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook: I get to spend inane moments with my own thoughts. Sometimes I share. And I probably share more now than I did five years ago.

19. I’ve come to realize that today: is moving on with out me. I need to run some errands, cats need food.

20. I’ve come to realize that tonight: I will make dinner and pack for a short trip, more stuff to do. While Mr. Rinaldi is at a board meeting, I’ll get to have dinner with a very dear friend and spend “girl time” catching up.

21. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow: we have a Christmas party and then we leave for a few days to celebrate Rick’s birthday. is not promised to any of us.

22. I’ve come to realize that I really want to: become a certified Yoga instructor next year. Impact the world in a greater way than I initially thought I could – to help others see the miracle and wonder within themselves.

23. I’ve come to realize that the person who is most likely to repost this is: certainly not Rick. I believe each of you should make this reflection an annual tradition, to see where you are and where you’ve been.

24. I’ve come to realize that life: is not a dress rehearsal and sending love to any situation helps.

25. I’ve come to realize that this weekend: Rick and his “evil” twin Bob are getting old! And no matter what, they will always be nine years older than me!

26. I’ve realized the best music to listen to when I am upset: anything Disney!

27. I’ve come to realize that this year: I found strive for balance, I sometimes misplace it but I know where to find it for the most part. And I launched a radio network – and we have 1 million listeners monthly! And I’m working on being in the moment and celebrating my successes, rather than viewing them in my rear view mirror and moving on to the next endeavor.

28. I’ve come to realize that my exes: were perfect, exactly the way they were, for someone else.

29. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should: spend more time in meditation.

30. I’ve come to realize that I love: everyone as an extension of myself. The concept of separateness is an illusion.

31. I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand: most electronic devices or their instruction manuals, I would rather just push buttons and see what happens. I am a 4 year old in that respect.

32. I’ve come to realize my past: was a wonderful chance to learn, change and grow — especially the painful stuff.

33. I’ve come to realize that parties: are to be attended, no more sitting home and being a hermit. And thrown, and planned, and spontaneously allowed to happen!

34. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified: of nothing. I am occasionally uncomfortable, but the things that used to terrify me are all gone. I can KILL my own spiders now THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

35. I’ve come to realize that my life: is AWESOME! A glorious miracle filled with magic and wonder. And while I love who I am and what I do, I especially love the connections we share, those are the things which make it pretty damn awesome!

When you are ready to let go of the things that are holding you back, I’m here to help.

New Year, New You! (Ladies, This One’s for You)

beauty.1When we approach a new year, we’re often reflecting on the past as well as looking forward to the future. The commonality for most of us is that we typically see something we might like to change.

And while I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, I do look at the first of the year (as well as the month or so before my birthday) as a time for making personal change. Girly changes. Since these times of the year coincide with opposing seasons – winter and summer – the girly changes I’m talking about are usually beauty and accessories.

These changes are great pick-me-ups when you got the winter blahs (or for me when I’m facing the harsh realities of getting older). So what do I do to get a new perspective?

Makeover

This is the time where I can spend hours in Sephora. A pop of the current seasonal color on my lips, eyes, or nails can make me feel more feminine, more powerful, and just better in general. Just remember to play up your eyes or your lips – never both.  Ask for assistance; the staff in Sephora especially are there to help. Let them show you the latest trends and make recommendations for things you might not otherwise have tried.

New Hairdo

While I have been blonde, brunette, a redhead and a few other colors that simply don’t exist in nature, hair color has never frightened me. I’ve gone from long red hair to cropped platinum blonde overnight. A change that was so dramatic my own sister didn’t recognize me when I attempted to sit at a table in a restaurant and join her. And where I’m comfortable making dramatic changes in my hairstyle I know most women aren’t. So try some highlights, add some bangs, or simply go for a straight blowout. Whatever it is, just don’t be afraid to try something new.

Accessorize

A scarf, the right handbag, the perfect little slingback heel, a hair clip, a stack of bracelets or that perfect leopard print flat – any one of these can make a statement. It isn’t just enough to have the basic wardrobe down; these statement pieces are what can bring the WOW factor to your look and to how you feel.

“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” ~ Clairee Belcher, Steel Magnolias, 1989

Get unstuck in the New Year! Listen in (mp3)

Copyright Kimberly Rinaldi