Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Be Kind to You

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Whether it's not exercising three times a week or eating an extra slice of cake or running five minutes late for work, we tend to belittle and berate ourselves with all the vitriol of our worst enemy.

Why do we engage in such destructive behavior? A range of factors could contribute to such a mindset, ranging from an overly-critical parent, spouse, or teacher to a hard-wired belief that we must be perfect. Regardless of the cause, the effect can be quite harmful.

There's a difference in admitting our mistakes and resolving to do better next time and yelling at ourselves and calling ourselves names. I'm one of the worst offenders. If I don't write one day, don't go and exercise, gain weight, or don't eat right, my mind inevitably responds with negativity and the "Should Committee" starts their barrage.

An example: "You should have ate the chicken instead of the greasy hamburger...you shouldn't make excuses for not going to the gym...you should go even if you feel awful."

It's become like a bad habit.

I'm trying to change this by choosing to respond to myself as a friend might.

In other words, if one of my friends came to me and said, "I skipped my work-out again last night. I had such a headache. I couldn't do it. Now I hate myself!", I certainly wouldn't reply, "You're right. You're a loser. How dare you not exercise? Don't you know you're supposed to work through the pain? You're an idiot." Of course not! Yet that's how we talk to ourselves sometimes, isn't it?

Yes, there are times we need to be firm with ourselves. But you can be firm and kind.

So today, if you make a mistake and feel the need to give yourself a good tongue-lashing, don't. Instead, pretend that you're talking to a good friend, and respond to yourself with kindness.

I'll be trying to do the same.




Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Year in Review: 2014

Oh, am I glad to see the end of 2014. What a year! It had some very severe downs and some really great ups! I am going to focus on the ups instead of the downs, though, because it's a lot more fun, right?

So here's a few of the "ups!"

1) My brother got married in April and we had a wonderful time as a family. I'm so glad that he found someone to spend the rest of his life with.

2) My book, Nebraska POW Camps, came out! I did several book signings and sold lots of books (though not enough to make much on the royalties!). It was great to meet so many people interested in this topic.

3) This is perhaps the biggest "up" of all:

I GOT AN AGENT.

I think I've been waiting for 10 years to write that sentence! It was so surreal how the entire thing happened, and I plan to write up a "when I got the call" story that we writers always dream about. Suffice to say that I am thrilled. I look forward to working with her.

For this year, I decided to pick a word that will shape the course of the coming months. And that word is: determined.

I am determined to get back up when I fall down.

I am determined to work hard.

I am determined to lose this 15 pounds I gained over the last four months.

I am determined to pray more and to grow in my faith.

I am determined to quit whining and feeling sorry for myself.

I am determined not to let my health become my identity.

I am determined to listen to what God wants me to do instead of blithely doing my own thing.

Here's to a new year!

Happy 2015!

One Day at a Time

I've always tried to live with this mentality: One day at a time. Unfortunately, when I implement it, I fail spectacularly. But for this...