The Dragonfly Forest

They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. Actually, Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning. You are a Dragonfly if you are: ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphic, Asperger’s, NLVD, autistic…

Thursday, February 26, 2015

3 steps for a more Joyful life

I am often asked by others how I develop so much empathy. I didn't really "develop" empathy, I was blessed with a very emphatic brain and an abundance of mirror neurons. Here are 3 things you can do to have a more joyful life!

I was raised to be a kind & caring human being.  My parents made sure I was exposed to great people like, Dr. Leo Buscaglia.  I watched his videos and I eye & ear-read his books.  His messages resonated in me and I began living my life more consciously - with the goal of connecting with others and bringing them joy.  

You too can live a life of joy - here's 3 ways

First, bring joy to others & be less self-centered!
Watch this short clip of Leo explaining how:
Isn't he great?  This is one of my favorite things to do- since I was first able to drive.  

Second - Forgive others for their negative behaviors.  I am very accepting and forgiving of others.  People often tell me that I should stop this practice because the people who treat me bad do not change; but I can't change who I am just because they choose to be mean.  

Here's Leo discussing having the courage to be forgiving to people who are unkind!  (He is quoting something I recently posted in a Dragonfly picture quote- because it is my life motto!) 
This is what my parents have taught me!  If you want a good life practice forgiveness (of yourself & others)!  

Finally, "Live like you are dying!"

You have only one life to live so live it well, do good things for others.  If you have treated someone poorly forgive yourself and make amends.  If someone treats you poorly then forgive them - remember that they are just living a self-centered life.  So to have a joyful life create joy for others.  Do this on a daily basis & I promise that you life will feel and be so much better.  Hugs to you my Dragonfly friend!   

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Jesse Ruben helps teach kids to focus on the positive and empathy

Many children WILL be bullied this year. Schools districts will enforce an Anti-bullying policy and plan but these don't work. Most anti-bullying programs actually focuses on bullying.  What you focus on you WILL expand!  School districts will be creating more bullying situations not reduce them.  So what do we do?  We focus on how we want the students to behave - with empathy.  I have written a few times about how empathy is the antidote to bullying here are those links - Empathy the antidote to bullying and Empathy is the key.  

So as the school year begins remember to focus on the positive and the positive will come.  Love this video of Jesse Ruben singing his song "We Can" to elementary students.  This is a great example of focusing on the positive.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Focus on YOU to be happy

 Something to think about:

Why are you doing what you are doing?  Sometimes we do things to please others.  If that is the case, I hate to inform you that you are not being true to yourself.  You need to focus on YOU!  The journey in life is not about making other people happy, it is about finding your own happiness.  I often hear that someone's happiness is making other people happy. This is great if these people are in the service field.  If you are doing so because it is your job or hobby but to make people happy in order to gain approval or to have the person like you is the wrong intention. 

Focusing on you does not mean you ignore others.  It just means that you are not trying to compete with others.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why do we mistrust and distrust?

Why do we mistrust and distrust?   A better question is really- why do we trust at all?   

According to Erik Erikson, the most important period in a person's life is between birth and 18 months old, during the stage of trust vs. mistrust.  Children depend on their parents to protect and nurture them.   Unfortunately, not all parents can be trusted.  Some parents cause their children pain - intentional and unintentional.  This causes children to learn not to trust and yet they still have hope that the person who is put on this earth to take care of them will keep them safe and protected.  

What Erikson seems to miss is how this isn't the only time in a person's life that trust is a vital area of concern.  Yes, children who learn to mistrust during these very beginning years may continue to have trust issues throughout life.  This does not mean that children who develop strong trust during this stage will never encounter times where they struggle with trust. 

Another time in a person's life mistrust and distrust are formed is when a child attends school.  We trust that school districts will protect and educate our children.  We trust that teachers will have enough knowledge to teach each individual child. This trust is broken when the school does not protect children and cannot or choose not to educate children.  Yep, some school districts and teachers actually make a conscious decision to NOT provide a student with their free and appropriate education.  For some this trust is broken just once but for many each year is a repeated betrayal of trust.  Many of these children develop learned helplessness (check out my past article on this to fully understand). 

We also have to trust in our relationship with others. We have all different types of relationships everyday - friends, coworkers, family, romantic...   A relationship with another person is often very tricky because it is not always congruent.  At times, one person is more vested in the relationship than the other person.  Humans are egocentric, so they engage in relations with others to get specific needs met and this requires us to trust that the other person is able to meet those needs.  There are many people who violate this trust.  You will encounter people in your life that will use you for their own benefit.  

What we have to understand is the importance of mistrust and distrust.  Mistrust is often a general sense of unease and apprehension while distrust is based on negative experiences or reliable information that a person is deceptive and their motives and intentions are harmful. 

Some distrust is functional and good for us so we do not get taken advantage of or our rights violated.  - here's a fun example of functional distrust: 

Distrust can also be dysfunctional.  High levels of distrust can cause a person to avoid being vulnerable with anyone and negatively impact relationships. The main reason for this is when a person expects they can trust someone and that trust is violated it causes more psychological damage than if a person was expecting to distrust someone and experienced trustworthiness instead.  

The insight I want you to get from this is that your mistrust and distrust are not necessarily negative thoughts you need to change.  They are there to keep you protected.  The more aware you are about your own levels of mistrust and distrust the better you will be able to know when you have crossed over into dysfunctional distrust.  

My goal is to be more aware of my own levels of trust, mistrust, and distrust so I can keep myself protected.  

We must remember that actions speak louder than words so if someone tells you that they can be trusted pay more attention to their actions.