Resolve

In previous articles, we have discussed lessons from the Greatest Generation regarding community and respect. In this article, we will look at the resolve of the Greatest Generation.

 

Determination & Problem Solving

 

Resolve, as a noun, is defined as determination. As a verb, the word “resolve” means to find a solution to a problem or determine a course of action. This word is especially fitting for the Greatest Generation as they both had resolve and resolved many problems.

 

They were fighters. Nothing stopped them. If there was a natural disaster, they fought back. If illness or fire struck, they weren’t going to let it stop them. After all, they lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They knew what it meant to struggle against adversity, to lose loved ones, and to feel real threats to their way of life.

 

They had resolve to survive, to live free, and to improve the world. Nothing was going to stop them.

 

Resolving Problems

 

In order to survive and thrive, the Greatest Generation became excellent problem solvers. It was already in their blood. Pioneers and settlers across the country had, for years, been handed problem after problem to solve. They didn’t waste time blaming others for their problems. Likewise, they didn’t wait for politicians, ministers, or community members to solve their problems. Instead, they made decisions and took action to resolve the problems they encountered.

 

Helping Each Other

 

People didn’t, however, do it all on their own. When tragedy struck, the community jumped in to help those in need. If a barn burnt, they helped the family raise a new one. Similarly, if a family member fell ill or was hurt, neighbors pitched in providing meals, help around the farm, a place to stay or whatever was needed.

 

In return, that family would help other families in need. They worked together to collectively survive. In general, people participated as much as they could to help others.

 

As a child, I remember my dad pitching in to help store hay when a neighbor was injured, the men coming together to fight fires, women making food for neighbors, and people sitting up with someone who was sick or hospitalized. Yet, there was an expectation in that generation to take care of yourself. Fight for your own survival. Help from neighbors and family was just icing on the cake.

 

Today’s Resolve

 

Today, things have changed. People don’t seem to have the same type of resolve that they did even fifty years ago. Today people are very determined in some regards, but many people take survival for granted. It seems that some people feel they should be guaranteed survival or that laws should prevent every possible negative outcome in life.

 

Likewise, many people seem to lack problem-solving skills of the Greatest Generation. In many cases, people would really like someone else (e.g. the government) to provide them solutions. This can be the result of lack of experience with problem-solving, laziness, or learned helplessness.

 

How Did We Get Here?

 

Resolve didn’t change over night. It was a slow process. Modern medicine was an inadvertent contributor as doctors learned how to “save” people from so many injuries and diseases. Likewise, as schools grew larger and more structure was created around consistency of the education, students got left behind. In some cases people lost their problem-solving ability and others failed so often that they knew nothing else.

 

Along those lines, the government also contributed. Programs that intended to help people, sometimes taught them to rely on others instead of working with their community to survive. Of course, it does not help that much of the community support has been lost over the years. When you have no support, it is harder to build problem-solving skills. Thus, it is more challenging to be self-reliant.

 

Up Next

 

In the next article, we will discuss personal responsibility and how that interplays with resolve.

 

Respect

It is often said that the Greatest Generation was great because they went through The Great Depression and World War II. Their greatness, however, comes from something deeper. Individuals and society overall embodied characteristics at the core that led to greatness. In this article, we will discuss the quality of respect.

 

What Is Respect?

 

Respect can be defined as giving regard or having a feeling of deep admiration. In this context, the focus is on giving regard to people, places, and things.

 

When it comes to respect, my dad, a member of the Greatest Generation, has always led by example. Never in my too many years to mention, have I seen my dad be disrespectful to anyone or anything. He has always treated people the way that he would want to be treated no matter how alike or different they were from him. Likewise, he has always treated things the way he would want his things treated.

 

This behavior was born, in part, of a culture and in part from his family’s values. When you grow up in a large family like my dad did, you learn about diversity of thought and behavior. You learn to embrace differences and treat everyone with respect.

 

The Greatest Generation

 

Respect, as shown by the Greatest Generation, showed up in nearly every aspect of life. For instance, at school, children were expected to be respectful to the teacher. If they weren’t, it was almost a guarantee that their parents were going to take the teacher’s side in the matter. You just didn’t treat a teacher poorly even if they were only a couple of years older than you.

 

Likewise, people treated their neighbors, as they would want to be treated. If they were a different religion, spoke a different language, or had a different political affiliation, they still got help when they needed it. Similarly, one family would never consider ripping down the political banner on a neighbor’s house.

 

The focus on respect also meant that people respected the country, the military, government officials, the flag, the national anthem, and other symbols of America. It wasn’t that one side or the other was more patriotic. It was that everyone was patriotic. It was part of being an American.

 

Similarly, respect was prevalent in the business world. A handshake or someone’s word was as good as a written contract. Holding each other in high regard led to loyalty between employers and employees. People were loyal to companies and in turn often had jobs for life.

 

Respect affected many other aspects of life, such as, dating, marriage, religious worship, the police, and more. However, there were gaps in respect by some people. For instance, some people did not show African Americans the respect they deserved. Thus, it wasn’t perfect, but overall there was a high level of respect.

 

Lack of Respect

 

Since the 1950s, the amount of respect shown by people has been steadily decreasing. Various cultural shifts and changes within families led to this decline. Today, the amount of disrespect for people and property has skyrocketed to unbelievable heights.

 

Today, a significant number of people are not considerate of other people or their property. The on-going riots and looting are simply an act of disrespect. We can argue the reasons that they are occurring, but the fact is that people that hold respect as a value do not behave in this manner.

 

Likewise, so many people show disrespect to our country, our military, and our history. Although these are more extreme examples, respect is lacking in many other ways. Students and parents no longer show the same level of respect for teachers. Additionally, many businesses don’t have any loyalty or respect for their employees.

 

The Lesson

 

The world today has a respect problem. In many cases, people want or demand respect, but they don’t give it to others. It is unclear why anyone feels that they should be able to demand consideration and thoughtfulness from others while at the same time showing disrespect. This is a concept that is foreign to me.

 

When Aretha Franklin sang, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me,” she was stating that the man in the song needed to understand what it means to respect the woman in the song. Now, you might not always be able to ask each person in each situation what respect means to them. However, you can define what respect means to you. Once you know what respect means to you, conduct yourself toward people, places, and things in a way that is consistent with that definition – or better!

 

Remember to get respect, one must act respectful!

 

Community And Beliefs

I started to write about lessons I have learned from my dad and others in the Greatest Generation. As I did, I realized that our recent series about community (The Value of Community, The Loss of Community, and Building Community) had neglected to discuss a very important lesson that my dad had taught me about community and beliefs.

 

The Story

 

My dad has often talked about the political differences between his father and a particular neighbor. His dad would listen to news commentators and then decide where he stood on an issue. Invariably, this particular neighbor would end up on the opposite side of the issue. So, my grandfather learned never to engage in any conversation on topics that might be controversial or political with that particular neighbor. He didn’t avoid the neighbor or cut off his relationship with him. He simply made sure that they talked about other topics.

 

The Moral of The Story

 

The moral of the story is simple. Community is more important than any set of beliefs. Had these two farmers put their beliefs ahead of their friendship, they would have lost a sense of community. That simple act could have literally split the local community into factions decreasing the overall sense of community.

 

Can you imagine what it would have been like if they stopped supporting and helping each other because of some issue that had two sides? I do know that would have changed my dad’s life and my own.

 

I also know that even back 100 years ago, sometimes people did take sides and it was blown up into a major issue that split the community. One great example was Temperance. Some people believed alcohol was sent from Satan and should never be touched. Meanwhile, others indulged from time to time or at least believed they should have the right to do so. Issues like this did destroy communities at least for a period of time.

 

Today’s Challenge

 

Today it would do us well to remember this lesson. Currently, many relationships and lives are being destroyed simply because two people or two groups disagree. I know of real examples where people will completely avoid or harm other people because of their beliefs. In some cases, they won’t even talk to family because of differences in beliefs.

 

I predict that one day many people will look back on their estrangement from others with regret. Issues come and go as do politicians. Likewise, most people’s beliefs and perspectives change throughout their lifetime. So, to lose contact with family or even community members over such a thing seems to be putting the emphasis on the wrong thing.

 

Diversity of Thought

 

Somehow people have come to feel threatened by diversity of thought. This leads to the question, “What is so important about our beliefs that we are willing to destroy our relationships and our community over them?”

 

Exactly what led to this moment in time is likely a combination of factors. And, frankly, how we got here isn’t the most important thing at this point. Later, humanity can look back and analyze the decisions, schools of thought, and actions that led to this moment.

 

Instead, people should now focus on where do we go from here. One option is to keep things the way they are. If people won’t even talk and aren’t willing to listen, people can never come to an agreement. Thus, greater and greater division will occur among people. There is no way to stop it.

 

On the other hand, if there is a desire to bring people together, the first thing people should do is consider the importance of community. If they believe that humanity and our communities are critical to existence, then they become far more important than any individual belief. Like my grandfather, people will then find ways to coexist in harmony.

 

Second, people need to remember respect. That is one of the keys to my grandfather and his neighbor’s relationship. They disagreed on many topics, but they respected each other as people. Without respect, no community can exist.

 

 

In our first article on Community The Value of Community, we discussed the definition and value of a true community. In the next article Loss of Community, we discussed how the loss of community impacts people. And, in this concluding article on Community, we will discuss how you can contribute to building community.

 

Creating a New Community

 

In the first article, we discussed that a community can have any focus, not just people who live near each other. Thus, a person with a strong interest in a particular area may choose to create a new community related to their topic.

 

CMX, an organization of community builders, states that the four keys to creating a new community are: identity, trust, participation, and reward. Without an identity or focus, a community is simply a group of people. Once an identity has been established, a person can begin to draw in members. Trust with those members can be established by allowing them to contribute and share in ownership of the community. This will also help grow their participation and will encourage others to join the community. Lastly, but just as important, members should feel rewarded for their participation. A reward can simply be friendship or support.

 

Getting Involved In Community

 

Often, however, people aren’t looking to create a new community. Instead, they simply want to be a part of existing communities. To achieve this, a person must seek out a community whose purpose aligns with their own goals and interests. Perhaps the person is new to an area and would like to meet others interested in art. In this case, they might seek a Meetup or see if there are any art clubs in the area.

 

At times, people desire to belong to new communities, but they aren’t consciously aware of their own need. Therefore, it is a good idea for a person to take stock of their communities once in awhile. They may wish to ask themselves, “Are the communities that I am currently a member of serving me well?” “Are there other communities where I would gain value?”

 

The answers to these questions are really an assessment of the reward they are receiving and the community focus that they desire.

 

Join & Participate

 

Once a person identifies a community that they want to join, it is important for them to participate. This means that they need to be interested and active, not only with the community, but also with the members of the community. It is important to build one-on-one relationships with individuals in the community as well as the community as a whole.

 

Be Interested

 

Being a member of a community is a two way street. If a person only takes from a community without giving back anything, they are simply a parasite.

 

This is why it is critical to take an interest in others. A person can do that as they go about their daily life. Instead of being self-involved, take time to notice the sales clerk, waitress, hair stylist, or other person who is encountered. It is possible for a person to build a relationship with a person that they see regularly even if it is a brief encounter. All it takes is noticing, asking, listening, and caring.

 

It takes very little of a person’s time to make someone’s day. Sometimes a simple smile or acknowledgement can go a long way toward helping someone feel rewarded.

 

Although smiling isn’t always obvious behind masks, it is possible to let the other person know you are smiling. One woman did just that in a grocery store one day when she stated, “You can’t tell, but I am smiling.” That might be outside some people’s comfort zone. However, each person can find a way that is comfortable to engage with others.

 

Creative Solutions

 

In Six Ways to Build a Solid Community, Rebecca Fernandez talks about finding the right tools and strategies for a community. This is important for any community and also for each person desiring to have strong relationships. Like each community, each person must find the right tools that work for them.

 

Don’t hold back from creative solutions. Creativity is particularly necessary with the current restrictions. Options to consider are one-on-one video calls to build relationships with member of the community. If a relationship with a particular person is critical, a person might choose an in-person meeting.

 

Likewise, a community or person can look for fun relationship building options that work well via video, email, or other mechanism. People can even go crazy and start a pen-pal campaign to encourage relationship building.

 

It is important for people to go outside the norms of what has been done in the past. And, it is even okay to go beyond people’s comfort zones. It might just be that unique mechanism for relationship building that makes a community flourish!

 

Loss of Community

In our previous Article The Value of Community, we discussed what makes a true community. Additionally, we highlighted some of the value it can bring to a person’s life. In this article, we will discuss how the loss of community impacts people.

 

Cultural Shifts

 

One hundred years ago people depended on each other for survival. Impart this was because  travel was greatly limited. Thus, people who lived near each other were not only neighbors, but their children also attended the same schools and they often attended the same church. Many people lived in a rural environment, which was a great opportunity to create community.

 

Over the last century, however, people have become more independent. Additionally, travel has increased and the population has become more metropolitan centric. Also, in the name of safety, more and more restrictions exist regarding interactions between individuals.  Thus, changing the relationship between people and groups, volunteer activities, and schools.

 

These cultural shifts have led to a general loss of community. When people don’t know their neighbors, it is hard to have true community with them. The same is true of schools and churches, which may draw people from a wide area. People no longer have the same ties with those people that they once did.

 

Add to this that church membership has dwindled during the last century. Thus, the church community is no longer present in many people’s lives.

 

2020’s Contribution to The Loss of Community

 

The year 2020 has challenged community in ways never experienced before. The lockdown shuttered office doors, churches, and schools. Additionally, regulations prohibited groups from meeting in person.

 

Restrictions

 

People were shut-off from any groups or communities that they had been participants in. Even with online school or work, people were distanced from the relationships that they had only days before the lockdown. Working or learning remotely removes the strength of the relationship from the situation. You miss the personal interactions and the side conversations. Even the shared experience of going through the current situation is very impersonal.

 

Almost every group or organization had to figure out how to do things differently or stop meeting altogether. Many activities were completely closed down (e.g. gyms, yoga). For others, such as church, they became very one-way. Video services were possible for many churches, but they can’t capture the relationship aspect that church provides – no meet and greet, no breaking bread together, and no building of personal relationships.

 

Even situations that allow in-person attendance have less community than in the past. Two children, for instance, can’t share a private side joke because they are likely required to be six feet apart at all times. This may seem like a small thing, but it is these little moments that build trust, which is a key building block of community.

 

Impacts

 

The regulations and varying opinions on them impact trust and relationships.  Even wearing a face mask can dampen trust. This is through no fault of anyone. It is simply human nature to trust less what you can’t see.

 

Similarly, it is more challenging to know when a member of the community needs help if you can’t see their facial expressions or are viewing it over video conferencing. Although there isn’t strong agreement on how much communication is nonverbal, it is safe to say that the more nonverbal communication that is lost, the more difficult it can be to communicate even simple things. For instance, in a class, a teacher can take a quick look at her classroom and know if the students understand the material. This is much more challenging with masks and even more challenging over video.

 

Impact of Loss of Community on Individuals

 

As the sense of community is lessened either through cultural shifts or through the more extreme limitations that 2020 has brought, individuals can be greatly impacted. Unfortunately, the impacts are often the greatest to the most vulnerable.

 

The elderly and people that live alone without someone close to call for help need community relationships to survive. When those are lost, they struggle. Some of the struggles are to care for themselves and their home, but often the greatest struggles are with loneliness. Since humans are social beings, the loneliness and lack of human interaction can be devastating.

 

If the person is hearing impaired, as many older adults are, distancing and mask wearing take an additional toll. In this situation, the person may not understand what is being said to them. Thus, they become very frustrated trying to communicate. This may result in withdrawal from interactions with other people.

 

Another vulnerable community are those people with PTSD. When a person leaves the military, it is critical that they keep in touch with their military family as that is a very important community. If they don’t keep strong connections, the effects of PTSD can intensify.

 

Similarly, each time a person moves, changes jobs, graduates, etc., they should take special care to maintain their connections to those communities while building new relationships. Otherwise, they become vulnerable to loneliness and depression. It is important for people to recognize that if they don’t have a strong connection to people (a strong sense of community), it is much easier to simply not participate.

 

Up Next

 

In the next article, we will discuss steps each person can take to build community for themselves and others.

 

The Value of Community

The Value of Community is the first in three-part series on Community. This article explores the true meaning of community and the value it brings.

 

What is Community?

 

The word “Community” may bring to mind a town, apartment complex, a subdivision, or a general neighborhood. However, community, generally stated, is not a place, but more of a feeling and a belonging.

 

A community can be any “group of people with a common characteristic.” Merriam-Webster lists several other related descriptions, but they all come down to multiple people that share something in common. In some cases, it might be a location or a specific profession. It could also be a specific interest or a common history.

 

One might simply view community as a group of people. Yet, community is more than that. True community requires relationships with others without those relationships it is simply a group of people. In other words, you can group people by any characteristic, but that alone does not make them a community.

 

For example, you may have experienced a situation in your life where you lived in an area, but didn’t feel as if you were a part of the community. Perhaps you were an outsider or the people just didn’t build relationships with each other.

 

Having a sense of belonging requires some level of caring about other members of the group. That caring brings with it the knowledge that member of your community will be there for you when you need them. Likewise, you will drop everything to help a member of your community.

 

In rural areas where families have lived near each other for multiple generations, the sense of community runs deep. They know who does and doesn’t belong. You can be treated like family simply because they knew your granddad.

 

Types of Communities

 

Groups that can form a community include many types beyond people that live near each other. Churches are one of the most common examples. They have common beliefs, some sense of shared history, and common experiences. They build strong relationships with each other and often consider other members of their church family.

 

Schools, particularly small ones or ones with a particular mission, can become a community. It can also apply to a subset of a school. For instance, the school band or the basketball team may create very strong bonds with each other.

 

The same can be true in work environments, for groups with the same interest, for clubs, or Meetups. Each of these can simply be a group of people. However, with the right environment, they can become a community.

 

The Value of Community

 

The question is, “Why is community so important?” Well, you can think of a community as an extended family. It provides you support when you need it, opens the door to new possibilities, and can help celebrate the joys in your life. They can even be there for you when you don’t ask and sometimes even when you don’t know that you need someone.

 

A great example occurred twenty plus years ago. On that day, one neighbor called to another, who lived about a quarter of a mile away, to ask what was wrong.   The reason for the call was simply that the second neighbor’s husband had taken the corner by the first neighbor’s house faster than normal. They simply knew each other’s habits and cared enough to check up on the other family. As it turned out, the man had gotten a call about a fire at his brother’s house about a mile away and he was on his way to help save his brother’s home.

 

Because the neighbor checked to see what was wrong, they learned what was happening to another member of their community. They were also able to go assist. The home was saved and the community became stronger.

 

Up Next

 

In the next article, we will explore the loss of community and its impact on people.

 

 

Love vs Hate

Love and hate are two competing strong emotions that can take complete control of your life. They are very different. Yet, they are very much the same. Some might say that love and hate are two manifestations of the same emotion.

 

Defining Love and Hate

 

For the purposes of this article, when we are talking about love  and hate, we are talking about strong overwhelming positive or negative emotion toward something or someone. When we use love and hate, we mean intense and powerful emotion that impacts a person’s judgment and leads to irrational action.

 

There are other less emotionally powerful definitions for the words, but those usages are excluded from this discussion. For example, we are not talking about cases where people off-handedly state, “I love pizza.” Generally, this usage  really means that pizza is one of their favorite foods. Now, if they love pizza so much that it drives controls their life, that would be love.

 

Similarly, we are not talking about situations where someone mentions something and the other person says, “I hate it when that happens.” In that case, they really mean dislike. The response has much less emotion than the word “hate” would indicate. Instead, we are focused on cases of true hostility.

 

Manifestation of Love And Hate

 

Some people find it very easy to use the word “love” and to express strong emotions. These people find it easy to love and often just as easy to hate. Meanwhile, others are very reluctant to use such strong expressions of emotions. This is believed to be a difference in the insula in the person’s brain. It isn’t that it controls the emotions a person feels, but that it controls the intensity of that emotion.

 

The stronger the intensity of these emotions, the more likely they are to flip from one to another. For instance, it becomes very easy for a person to love someone and then end up hating them for the very same characteristics that drew the person to them.

 

Likewise, a person can have an initial dislike to someone. They may even tell their friends how much they dislike the person. Then, something flips and they end up in each other’s arms. It happens in the movies and in real life. Their initial strong dislike was really an attraction.

 

The connection between these emotions can lead to love-hate relationships where a person both loves and hates another person simultaneously. Alternately, the person may toggle between 100 percent loving the person one minute and completely hating the same person the next minute. These relationships are made possible because of the thin line between love and hate.

 

Costs & Benefits

 

Love is healing. It also breeds more good things. So, people might ask, “What is the downside of that?” When it comes to love, the thing people struggle with most is vulnerability. One cannot love without being vulnerable. For people who like to be in control at all times, their fear of being vulnerable can keep them from being open to love.

 

On the other hand, hate is damaging. It also requires that you are vulnerable, but it opens you up to all kinds of negativity. When it occurs from time to time, it is perfectly normal. However, if a person holds onto hate for long periods of time, hateful emotions can impact them not only emotionally and mentally, but also physically. Various factors come into play, but simply put, it changes the chemistry of the body, which can trigger illness, anxiety, depression, and a host of other issues. Furthermore, it changes a person’s thinking and drives negative behaviors.

 

What many people neglect to realize is that hating someone or something creates an intense bond between the person and the object of their hatred. Hating only hurts the person doing the hating. It does no harm to the hated although it does give them power over the hater. Joanna Kleovoulou, a clinical psychologist, summarizes it this way, “Holding onto Hate is like letting someone live rent-free in your mind.”

 

Creating Love and Eliminating Hate

 

Since hate is harmful, the obvious solution for good mental and physical heath is to convert hate to a more positive emotion. Change begins by the person acknowledging their feelings of hatred. Then the person must explore the source of those feelings and honestly questioning whether such strong feelings are warranted.

 

It may simply be that feelings of dislike have been blown out of proportion. Perhaps discussions with friends or family have led to stronger outward emotion than what is appropriate for the situation. In this case, awareness may be all that is needed to shift to a more neutral perspective of the situation. If that is not enough, a person can focus their intent on letting go of the strong emotions and allowing objectivity back in.  With understanding and focus, love can actually replace hate.

 

Sometimes, however, a person has real fire burning inside them about someone, something, or a situation. Generally, this is when someone has personally harmed the person or their loved one. Letting go of hate in these situations is often more challenging, but even more important because the emotion is often so strong.

 

In these situations, the person can begin as previously mentioned by acknowledging the hate and understanding the source of those feelings. As, they move forward, the focus should initially be on refraining from statements or actions that add fuel to the fire. The next step is to work toward releasing the emotion associated with the hatred. To do this, the person can focus on what is truly important. With this focus, objectivity becomes a possibility.

 

Make a Choice

 

Remember both hatred and love draw things to you. Wouldn’t you rather draw into your life good things that bring you benefit?

 

Believing is healing

Do you believe you can heal? You probably do if you have a paper cut. But, what about when you encounter a more serious wound or disease? Do you still believe you can heal? If you don’t believe, you likely can’t heal. But, if you believe, you just may heal. Believing is healing.

 

Why Believing Is Key

 

Believing is one of the four pillars required for healing . When you believe that you cannot heal, your energy is infused with pessimism and negative thoughts. In this state, you consciously and subconsciously stop trying to heal. Your energy dims and it is very difficult to be motivated toward healing.

 

In contrast, the belief that you can heal sparks your energy, brightening it and energizing it. Then, your energy goes to work healing you even when you are focused on other things. Your healing is amplified and it becomes easier and easier to heal. Even when full healing is not in the cards, believing makes your life much better than when you do not believe.

 

The Power Of Believing

 

We know someone personally who was fighting multiple debilitating medical conditions. Her situation got so bad that she could barely leave the house. Then one day something changed. Despite questioning herself, she started taking actions toward healing. She did yoga, changed her diet, and made other adjustments. Slowly, she began to improve. Although her conditions are deemed incurable, today she is healthy, active, and free of medicines.

 

Staying Positive Even When The Odds Are Against You

 

Even when full healing is not in the cards, believing makes your life much better than when you do not believe. Michael J. Fox is a good example. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he was only 29 years old. Initially, he did not take the news well. He was in denial and fell into depression and alcoholism. However, he too hit a point where his life changed.

 

He stopped drinking, acknowledged his disease and he started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. He had a new focus on helping people. Since then, he has shared his message of hope, encouragement, and gratitude with patients and supporters. His optimism and belief in a cure hasn’t healed his disease, but it has healed him as a person. Today, he continues his work with the foundation and his work as an actor.

 

Choosing To Believe

 

When you choose to believe that you can heal, it changes your energy, which can change you mentally, emotionally, and even physically. In The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton discusses scientific research into the impact of thoughts and beliefs on the cells in a person’s body. This is an indicator of how important thoughts and beliefs are to the physical aspect of your being.

 

With the belief in healing, comes optimism and determination. Thus, you are much more likely to take actions toward healing. This concept is quite simple. If you think something isn’t going to work, you aren’t likely to do it or at least not do it regularly. On the other hand, if you believe that medicine, exercise, rest, or whatever is prescribed will heal you, you are much more likely to follow the doctors orders.   Thus, your actions also help drive healing.

 

You Have A Choice

 

Thus, when faced with an illness or injury, you have a choice. You can believe that you can heal or simply succumb to it. Belief in healing doesn’t guarantee that you will heal as there are other factors involved. However, believing that you won’t heal nearly guarantees that you won’t.

 

Creating Reality

We are all born into a set of circumstances. Some may be good and some less so. As we mature, we become more and more able to control our future destiny. Still, sometimes it doesn’t feel like we have choices. However, although not in control of out initial circumstances, we really are in charge of creating our own reality.

 

Transforming Reality

 

Any person’s reality can be transformed into a different life. It isn’t always easy and it may be more challenging for some than others. However, with hard work, changes to one’s reality can come to fruition, creating a new reality for the person.

 

Alice Johnson is a great example of someone who transformed her reality. After falling on hard times, she became involved in a drug deal. Subsequently, she was arrested and sentenced to life in prison without parole despite having no prior criminal record.

 

Despite the dire sentence, Alice made the most of her time in prison. She was a model prisoner who became a certified hospice worker and an ordained minister. She did so well that the ACLU and other groups started helping her fight to get clemency. Her initial application, one of thousands, was rejected. Then in June 2018, she was finally given clemency.

 

Since her release from prison, Alice has co-authored a book After Life: My Journey From Incarceration To Freedom,” which is described as very inspirational. She has also become an advocate for criminal justice reform. As a result, she recently received a full pardon.

 

Elements of Reality

 

So, what creates a person’s reality? Many things go into a person’s reality. As mentioned earlier, a person must start with their circumstances. They cannot jump from working in the fields to running a technology company overnight or without a lot of work.

 

However, they can change their situation by steady hard work that combines their talents and experiences.

 

Choices

 

When a person adds good choices to those elements, their reality begins to evolve. Each setback or sign of adversity must be taken as a gift. If like Alice, the person takes the opportunity to identify lessons and blessings of the situation, they will be propelled forward toward a new reality.

 

Thus, choices become critical in driving a person’s reality. If the person chooses or believes that they can do no better than where they are today, they will still be in the same position tomorrow and the day after. However, if a person chooses to thrive, there is no holding them back.

 

Speak Your Truth

 

The other key element to creating an amazing reality is for a person to speak their truth. It is very important for people to speak up stating their story. They can acknowledge their earlier situation. However, even more important, is to acknowledge where they are and where they are going. It must be their truth and only their truth. No one else’s story matters unless it is a story of inspiration to the person.

 

Speaking one’s truth is critically important for overcoming the naysayers and people that desire, for some reason, to hold the person back. A person’s truth, when presented in a caring, logical way is always powerful.

 

Paint Your Reality

 

The reality people paint is their choice. Just like a painting, your life is a canvas. It can be transformed by choices, tools, and talents. A person can choose to leave it as is or can create something very sloppy or unimaginative. Another person with the same talents and similar experiences might create a painting that is very dark and bleak. Meanwhile, yet another person might use the very same paints to create something strong and optimistic.

 

The choice is yours. What reality will you paint?

 

Gifts of Adversity

In our recent article “The Lessons of 2020,” we discussed the various lessons that 2020 is currently presenting to people. In this article we take that idea a step further and discuss the idea that the challenges presented to us in life are actually gifts. Looking at life this way will transform your perspective on everything that happens.

 

Adversity Shapes Your Journey

 

In Matt Kahn’s book “Everything is Here to Help You: Finding the Gift in Life’s Greatest Challenges,” he argues that although people may not prefer adversity and challenges, they can actually be gifts. These situations can greatly shape our journey going forward.

 

Great examples are The Great Depression and WWII. Not a single American escaped the touch of either. People dealt with some aspect of each nearly every day. Families feared for the safety of their loved ones. Meanwhile, many were angry and frustrated with their personal situation. There was plenty of sadness and judgment to go around.

 

Out of these experiences came “The Greatest Generation,” which refers to those who lived through the Great Depression and fought or supported the war. In his book “The Greatest Generation,” Tom Brokow talks about how “personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith” were important values of the greatest generation. These values were built on the back of adversity.

 

Thus, these people were shaped by these events. One could argue that we don’t know what the values of these men and women would have been if neither the Great Depression nor WWII had occurred. Although this is true, it is guaranteed that these events shaped the remainder of these people’s lives.

 

The Gifts of Adversity

 

Kahn points out the gifts of loss, fear, anger, judgment, sadness, disappointment, and jealousy among others. Although he talks about many of these from the perspective of your ego or soul, these “gifts” can impact many aspects of a person.

 

Fear, when justified, can literally save your life. Other times it can help you make better choices than you would otherwise.

 

Sadness, loss, and disappointment are a bit different, but still very powerful gifts. These gifts are ones that can give you appreciation for what you had in the past and what you again will have in the future. Without them, you would not appreciate the blessings nearly as much.

 

When Gifts Become Burdens

 

The key to these gifts giving you value is to not let them become a burden. For example, fear is useful to human beings. However, if you become parallelized with fear about everything, it is no longer valuable. Instead, it hinders living your life.

 

The same is true of loss or disappointment. If you allow that loss to consume you, moving forward is not an option.

 

Embracing The Gifts

 

If you embrace the gifts with the perspective of looking for the lessons or the blessings in the adversity, your life will change. Instead of getting caught up in adversity and risk becoming obsessed by it, you will more easily be able to see a way forward.

 

The simple act of looking for a lesson or blessing in something, no matter how bad it is, immediately changes your life for the better. Why? Because you are no longer focused on the adversity. Instead, you are focused on finding something positive. So, next time you are faced with adversity, ask yourself, “What is the lesson or blessing in this?” It will transform your perspective.