The Invisible Prison #2 – Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Continuing with the series of invisible prisons, this blog will address anxiety. If you did not read my last blog, I talked about a video I watched with Dr. Dharius Daniels, Senior Pastor of Change Church, Ewing Township, New Jersey, where he defined an invisible prison as an “unidentified, unaddressed, invisible, emotional issue that you erroneously assume would be straightened out by your spirituality.” I believe anxiety can also be unidentified, unaddressed and invisible. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. In his book, “Anxious for Nothing,” Max Lucado describes anxiety as “a meteor shower of what-ifs.”

So, what does anxiety look like? According to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety can manifest itself by way of feeling nervous, restless or tense; having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom; increased heart rate; rapid breathing (hyperventilation); sweating; trembling; feeling week or tired; trouble concentrating; trouble sleeping; and can also contribute to gastrointestinal problems.

For those who know me, they know that I have a “Type A” personality–I am organized and plan everything. In my personal and professional life, I tend to set lofty goals with self-imposed deadlines. Let me provide you with an illustration. Approximately 18 years ago, I decided to pursue my graduate degree. At that time, I was married with two children–a toddler and an 11-year old with a full schedule of school and sports activities. One thing I knew for sure was I did not want my family to be inconvenienced because of my recent pursuit. I wanted to be the good wife, supermom, and an awesome student all at the same time. After dinner and the kids were settled for the evening, I would go into my office and start writing papers (usually around  10:00 pm until 2:00 am the next morning). I thought I was juggling things quite well until I would lay down to go to sleep. When I laid down, as though I was running a marathon, my heart seemingly was beating a mile per minute. I could not turn my mind off–I remember lying in bed busy planning the next day–what would I wear for the next workday, what activities did my son have, had I packed the baby’s bag for daycare, what meetings did I have for work, what would we have for dinner, what was my next assignment for class, and about 100 other things were going through my mind. After many sleepless nights, heart and mind racing, and nervousness, I decided to seek professional help. I consulted a doctor who performed an electrocardiogram (EKG). The EKG results proved  negative for heart issues; however, the doctor informed me that I was more than likely experiencing anxiety. All of my family obligations, work responsibilities, school assignments, and self-imposed deadlines had taken a toll. I was prescribed medication, but was encouraged to relax more and exercise. Over the years, I have incorporated prayer and meditation–mindfulness, listening to music, exercising, reading, writing, coloring in my adult books, and my latest hobby of making birthday cards as a natural treatment for my anxiety.

In article titled, “10 Tips for Managing Anxiety,” Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D provides the following basic tips for managing anxiety:

  1. Accept that anxiety is a normal emotion and can be helpful. Anxiety isn’t unnatural–it’s a normal emotion that has evolved to help you deal with anticipated threats and challenges.
  2. Understand that anxiety can’t harm you. Perspiring, increased heart rate, and trembling are not harmful, nor are they signs of impending illness.
  3. Avoid avoidance. Avoiding the things that make you anxious never allows you to find out the reality of the threat–it may not be a threat at all.
  4. Check that your anxiety is justified. Is what you are anxious about really a significant threat or challenge.
  5. Consider being adventurous rather than avoiding risk and uncertainty. Try seeking out new adventures.
  6. No one is perfect–take a break from the rigid rule that make you anxious. Replace the rigid rules that you place on yourself with more realistic expectations.
  7. Refuse to let anxiety hold you back. Undertake some challenges that initially make you feel anxious.
  8. Recruit help to change. Enlist the assistance of family or friends to try to achieve these changes.
  9. Be aware of the bigger picture. Encourage yourself to embrace healthy living–regular exercise and a healthy diet.
  10. Seek professional help if you feel you need it. If needed, seek more structured support such as a psychotherapist or counselor.

For years, I lived in the invisible prison of anxiety–never wanting to give my nervousness, my increased heart rate, or sleepless nights a name; however, I have been released from its confines and imprisonment. I use this blog to call out anxiety and to free myself and others from its incarceration. I hope my transparency will  help someone who may be experiencing the same to be set free. Nothing or no one can imprison you when you confront it.

For additional information on anxiety, view Mayo Clinic’s article on Anxiety Disorders at (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961).

As always, I would love to hear your comments and please share with a friend.

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The Invisible Prison #1 – Need for Approval

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

One of my favorite past times is watching YouTube videos. Recently, I stumbled across a minister I had never heard of–Dharius Daniels, Senior Pastor of Change Church, Ewing Township, New Jersey. The title of his message on this particular video was titled, “The Invisible Prison”–immediately I was intrigued. Pastor Daniels defined an invisible prison as an “unidentified, unaddressed, invisible, emotional issue that you erroneously assume would be straightened out by your spirituality.” He went on to say that an invisible prison is difficult to identify because it has no visible bars. Although thousands of people are incarcerated in penal institutions for various crimes annually, I would venture to say more of us are confined to our own invisible prisons. So let’s name a few–low-self-esteem, insecurity, anger, jealousy, bitterness, control, anxiety, and a need for approval or acceptance. Each of these emotional issues can imprison us without we realizing it. We can go to church every Sunday, sing in the choir, usher, and serve on as many boards as we want; however, Pastor Daniels warns if we do not address the root of these emotional issues, we will continue going to church on Sunday for praise and worship and walk right back into our invisible prison cell when we leave the church building.

In an attempt to minister to the inner self, God has moved me to write a series of blog posts addressing invisible prisons. The first emotional issue I would like to address is the need for approval or acceptance. In an article titled, “What Drives Our Need for Approval?,” Lauren Suval states, “When we aren’t met with approval, we no longer feel safe and protected. When we meet ridicule or rejection, it can undermine our view of ourselves. If we internalize this kind of negative feedback, we can begin to doubt our personal worth. This threatens our sense of security and disrupts our inner harmony.” Because I believe social media has escalated this emotional issue, I decided to interview my 19 year-old son, Kevin, to get his perspective on the subject:

MOM: Kevin, have you experienced the need for approval?

KEVIN: Yes, in high school, I was struggling to fit in with crowds. At the time, I didn’t know who I was so I was trying to figure out what crowds to be in; oftentimes, steering  down wrong roads. I would get lost in the crowd, but wasn’t really working on myself. I wasn’t spending time with myself to figure out who I really was. In high school, I always needed to be around someone to make me feel good about myself or to be cool

MOM: What do you think caused your need for approval?

KEVIN: I began to feel that way after quitting football and after my weight gain.

MOM: What were the repercussions of your need for approval?

KEVIN: I started losing myself. Everything was negative–I was a negative person and did negative things. I didn’t take care of myself (i.e., weight gain); I was just lost. I was partying in crowds that I shouldn’t have been in.

MOM: How do you believe young people are seeking approval?

KEVIN: As a young person, we want to be popular and for everyone to talk about us.

MOM: How do you believe social media has played a part in the need for approval?

KEVIN: I feel social media is a battleground. You are competing to have more followers, competing to be seen, and competing to be cool. If you have a lot of followers, everyone knows you. Everyone looks at how many followers you have.

MOM: How did you overcome the need for approval?

KEVIN: The turning point in my life was when I was by myself and closed off from everything. I could talk to myself and God. Also, meeting new people bringing new positive energy in my life was a big part. As soon as I started finding myself with the positive energy, I started eating right, losing weight, and became a positive person.

MOM: Do you feel that a need for approval is an invisible prison? Do you know what I mean by invisible prison?

KEVIN: Yes, an invisible prison is when you are locked or incarcerated inside. I believe the need for approval is an invisible prison because people can act like someone they are not, but their inside is trapped.

MOM: Thank you, Kevin, for allowing me to interview you.

My son and I have had our challenges, but I am extremely proud of him for acknowledging his emotional issue. I am grateful for his insight, maturity, and his newfound sense of self. He has lost approximately 70 pounds and is coming into his own. There is nothing more rewarding than finding the YOU that God has destined you to be.

Just because I interviewed my teenager, does not mean adults do not suffer from this same emotional issue. If this issue goes unchecked, you can be a 75 year-old still seeking the approval and acceptance of others. In an article titled, “Ten Steps for Overcoming the Need for Approval,” Jo Tavengwa offers a few simple changes you can use to address this emotional issue:

  1. Acknowledge the fact that you are hunting for approval. Once you are aware you are seeking approval from others, you can begin to attack the issue within.
  2. Practice the art of speaking your mind. Stop saying what others want to hear. Hold on to your ideas, values, and beliefs–they define who you are. Speak your mind and let the chips fall where they may.
  3. Find your crowd. Seek people who accept you for who you are. Choose people who choose you; the ones who you can be your true self with.
  4. Do things for you. When you set yourself to new tasks, evaluate whether it is for your own self-growth.
  5. Take control. Trust your intuition, your gut instinct, and do what feels best for you. Take advice from others; however, you must always make the final decision in anything that concerns you.
  6. Meditate. Meditation will feed your soul. It will help you to relax your mind and reduce all the anxiety you feel you need from external validation.
  7. Allow yourself to grow. When you always have room for improvement, you are more likely to free yourself from needing approval. Challenge yourself everyday and accept failure and feedback as a platform for growth.
  8. Change your focus. One of the best ways to eliminate the need for approval is pursuing activities or tasks you are interested in, without asking others for their permission. Prioritize yourself and do things for you.
  9. Establish who you are. Have a clear definition of who you are. Know what you believe in, and understand your morals. Be confident with those ideals, and let them keep you grounded. Stand up for what you believe in, and do not let people sway you from what you believe in. If you stay headstrong, nobody will dare push you around.
  10. Be yourself. Stop worrying about what others think of you, and focus on yourself. It is often very difficult to accept all the little things that make you YOU. If you learn to love yourself fiercely, you will find that nobody will dare to love you halfheartedly. Let go of all the insecurities that are holding you back, and in turn, learn to love yourself for your flaws and your quirks.

If you have a need for approval, determine where this emotional issue took root so you can work toward being released from this invisible prison. By doing so, you can be on your way to being the best YOU you can be. As always, I would love to hear your comments on the subject and please share with a friend. Also, please check out Pastor Dharius Daniels on YouTube–he has an amazing ministry on change and transformation.

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Too Blessed to be Stressed

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”Matthew 6:25-27 NIV

As I grappled with what to write about this month, I settled on the topic of stress because of my own experience with the subject. My intent is to bring awareness as to how it can silently impact your body. Many of us lead hectic lives in a world where multitasking has become the norm. Our lives have become engulfed with work, family obligations, children’s events and activities, church affiliations, organizations, and countless other things. In a world of “busyness,” how can we minimize stress and the effects it has on our bodies?

For the past nine months, my life has been very stressful dealing with grief, my job, church obligations, preparing for my son’s graduation and for his next phase in life. I am sure you have heard the cliche–“To blessed to be stressed.” Well, it is definitely easier said that done. I know I am blessed, but I was still stressed.

In January, I was sitting in my hair stylist’s chair expressing concern for my unexpected hair thinning–the back of my hair had become “paper thin.” I told my stylist that I thought the thinning was due to a change in the weather. She laughed at me hysterically–I really did not think it was funny. She was blatantly honest stating that I did not realize how much stress I had been under and I refused to admit that it was stress. I have to confess that when something is bothering me, I will suppress my feelings and work myself into a state of oblivion. I don’t consider it stress–I consider it busy. Masking emotional pain and replacing it with multiple tasks was my usual modus operandi (MO). I want to believe I am always in control of a situation; however, the loss of my hair was concerning and had definitely caught my attention. Although I did not feel or look stressed, it had manifested through my hair causing the thinning. Yes, stress was the culprit of my hair loss. Although, I practice mindfulness, the stress had taken a toll on my body. As a result, my stylist cut several inches off of my hair to make it healthy again and I decided to make some changes to better balance my life which included a lot of “me time.”

In an article in Women’sHealth titled “9 Ways Stress Messes with Your Body,” dated May 1, 2017, Ashly Oerman offers the following symptoms of stress and how to mitigate the effects:

  1. It makes you exhausted. Stressing out triggers your brain to release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream which quickens your heartbeat, gives your brain more oxygen, and releases extra energy to help your body deal with the stress. Frequent stress can cause your brain to limit the amount of cortisol it sends into your bloodstream causing you to feel lethargic.
  2. It messes with your libido. Chronic stress can impact your body’s production of estrogen, which keeps your reproductive system in working order. In times of stress, concentrate on eating a healthy diet and cutting back on processed foods to help ease this symptom.
  3. It makes it hard for you to poop. Chronic stress can impact the hormones released by your thyroid glands, which regulate your metabolism among other things. If these hormones get derailed, it can lead to constipation.
  4. It makes you break out. When you are really stressing out, the level of sex hormones, called androgens, elevate causing acne to flare up.
  5. You can’t remember anything. Traumatic stress (stress that occurs when you feel a threat to your life or a loved one’s life and feels like intense fear or helplessness) seriously impacts your hippocampus–the area of your brain where your memories are stored. This kind of stress causes the hippocampus to actually shrink making it difficult to remember facts, lists, the entirety of an event, or long gaps of time (from minutes to days).
  6. It screws with your manicure. If you have a bad habit of picking or biting your cuticles, it might be how your anxiety is manifesting itself. Picking at your fingers can lead to an infection since you use your hands for most everything.
  7. It makes you gain weight. A University of Kentucky study found that dieters who learned stress-management tactics were more successful at losing weight than those who did not. The connection between reducing stress and losing weight could be that it helps to cut back on stress-related binge eating.
  8. You could lose some hair. A increase in androgens can also cause your hair to shed more than usual, usually three to six months after a super stressful situation. This unfortunate side effect should only be temporary, and a balanced diet can help the cells in your hair follicles heal back to normal.
  9. It makes your back ache. When you are stressing, your heart rate and blood pressure rise and your body pumps out hormones to assist with your fight-or-flight response. This combination can cause your muscles to constrict and intensify the aches you get from sitting at a desk all day. You can combat stress-related back pain by standing up every hour and stretching.

Have you experienced any of these symptoms? If you have, stress could possibly be the cause. As we continue to lead our busy lives, be sure to include proper diet, exercise, and down time–take the time to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. For me, I am planning for more reading, writing, relaxing and more trips to the beach this summer. Remember, we are most definitely too blessed to be stressed!

As always, I would love to hear your comments and please share with a friend.

 

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Know Your Why

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

Last weekend, I attended a financial services conference in Winston-Salem, NC. There were several inspiring and motivating speakers; however, I found one common theme for each them.–“Know Your Why.” Your “Why” is your purpose–what God created you to be.

Several years ago, I was in counseling and the counselor asked me a simple question, “Who are you?” My response was typical–I am a wife and mother. Not satisfied with my response, the counselor repeated the question–“Who are you?” Unknowingly,  I had been identifying myself with my roles in life and I absolutely had no idea who I was as an individual. That was definitely one of my “Aha” moments.  After that counseling appointment, I began a personal quest to find my true identity and discover the purpose for my life. I was in search of my “Why.”

It is crucial to differentiate your identity from your job or your roles life–it could be devastating. Reason being, my roles in life have changed several times, but since finding my true self, my identity has remained constant. My role of a wife ended with divorce; my youngest son will be graduating from high school next month; therefore, my role as a mother will be shifting–he won’t be needing me as much; and my role of daughter and caregiver ended last year with my mother’s passing; however, I now proudly serve in the role of grandmother or “Mimi” to my two adorable grandchildren; and hopefully in a few years, I will be retired; therefore, I will not be identified by my job title. In his book, “Know Your Why–Finding and Fulfilling Your Calling in Life,” Ken Costa states, “Our destinies are what He calls us to, but they are never a substitute for our identities–knowing who we are, knowing that we are uniquely and passionately loved by God. If we come to the end of a phase at work, then we are tempted to think of ourselves as having no further value. But if we are secure in our identities, we know that the end of an era is not the end of our destinies. There is always more to come.”

Forbes Contributor, Margie Warrell, offers the following questions in an article titled, Do You Know Your “Why?”–4 Questions to Find Your Purpose:

  1. What makes you come alive? It’s about connecting with what you’re passionate about, knowing that when you focus your attention on endeavors that put a fire in your belly, you grow your impact and influence in ways that nothing else can.
  2. What are your innate strengths? What are the things you’ve been good at (sometimes wondering why others find it so hard?) Are you able to see patterns and opportunities amidst complexity? Are you creative, naturally adept at coming up with ‘out of the box’ solutions?
  3. Where do you add the greatest value? Knowing your strengths and where you can add the most value–through the application of your education, skills, knowledge and experience–can help you focus on the opportunities, roles and career paths where you are most likely to succeed and therefore find the greatest sense of accomplishment and contribution.
  4. How will you measure your life? People who don’t stand for something, can easily fall for anything. Deciding how you want to measure your life means making a stand for something and then living your life in alignment with it.

Christian comedian, Michael Jr. states, “The key is not to know “What,” but to know “Why,” because when you know your “Why,” you have options on what your “What” can be.” (See attached video). Several years ago, I found my “Why.” Because of my own trials and difficulties in life, my mission became to empower individuals to attain balance, transformation, and achievement into all areas and aspects of their lives addressing the needs of the whole person (emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial). My “What” is my life coaching business, writing inspirational blog posts, and facilitating financial workshops.

What is your “Why?” It does not matter if you are a chief executive officer (CEO), investment banker, a custodial worker, or fast food worker, you should have a clear and distinctive view of your true identity. Ken Costa states, “No matter what others say about you–whether you are unemployed or employed, whether you have a history of failures behind you or a catalogue of success–you are infinitely worthy, chosen, valued.”

As always, I would love to hear your comments and please share with a friend.

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Invest in You

“Do you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price; therefore, honor God with your bodies.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

As I prepare to facilitate another 12-week financial workshop at my church, I came across an article titled, “5 New Warren Buffet Quotes That Can Help You Invest Better.” Warren Buffet is one of the most successful investors of all time. He is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns more than 60 companies including Geico, Duracell, and Dairy Queen. As of March 2, 2018, Buffet’s real time net worth was $86.6 billion (www.forbes.com/profile/warren-buffet). Buffet states, “It’s common knowledge that the central idea of investing is to buy when share prices are low and sell when they are high; however, many people do the opposite.”

We can also apply this same concept to our personal lives. Often times, we give so much of ourselves when things are going well or at a high. We dedicate ourselves to our jobs, family, organizations, etc.  When we have depleted ourselves or we are at a low, we have trouble replenishing our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. I am a single parent; I have a full-time job; I have a life coaching business; I am heavily involved in my church; I am a writer; I try to be a great support for my family and friends; and I am currently studying for my Series 6 Exam to obtain my securities (investment) license. So, how do I accomplish it all? I had to learn BALANCE! I have come to rely on my own personal “Top 20” practices:

  1. I have a relationship with God.
  2. I love and appreciate ME.
  3. I invest in others.
  4. I have come to the realization that I don’t always have to be busy.
  5. I have learned to rest and relax without guilt.
  6. I don’t have my cell phone constantly by my side.
  7. I leave work at work.
  8. I manage my finances well.
  9. I rely heavily on my electronic calendar to schedule appointments and activities.
  10. I have established designated times for my church and life coaching responsibilities and study time.
  11. I don’t let anyone monopolize my time.
  12. I exercise regularly including yoga.
  13. I have changed my eating habits by eating more fruits and vegetables, eliminating fried foods, rarely eating red meats, and increasing my water intake.
  14. I journal and write as my therapy.
  15. I meditate and pray often.
  16. I get at least 7-8 hours of sleep almost every night. I try not to work on anything past 8:00 pm because whatever I am working on will be in my thoughts when I go to bed hindering my sleep.
  17. I have designated times to watch TV. I DVR my favorite shows and watch them when I have my TV time.
  18. I play music often–music soothes my spirit.
  19. I spend a lot of quiet and alone time. It is in my quiet time that I get my inspirations for my blog.
  20. I have learned to let go of past and present hurts. Whenever I feel negative emotions, I meditate and pray to calm my spirit.

In an article titled, “Top 10 Ways to Invest in Yourself and Why It’s So Powerful,” Megan Tull states, “Investing in yourself is one of the best return on investments you can have. Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others.” Megan provides the following top 10 ways to invest in yourself:

  1. Set goals. Learn how to set personal and business goals for yourself. If you’re not taking the time to set goals, it’s like driving in the dark with the headlights turned off.
  2. Honor your intuition. You can show yourself love by trusting your gut and honoring the message that it’s sending. Listening to your intuition will allow you to make better decisions.
  3. Invest time in your creativity. Your creativity doesn’t have to diminish as we get older. Creativity can be the catalyst in the manifestation of continual learning and lifelong activity.
  4. Invest in building your confidence. People who know their value have something to say and others will listen. You can invest in yourself by developing and understanding the value that you possess and offer others.
  5. Read educational books. Books or audio books are an awesome resource to build your knowledge and expertise in any area.
  6. Attend seminars and workshops to expand your knowledge and skills in your business and/or personal life. A This will also give you the opportunity to meet and interact with individuals who are like-minded.
  7. Take care of your health. Eat right each day, fueling your body with nutrients. When you focus on eating organic and healthier choices, you will feel better and have more energy.
  8. Choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice. Happy people choose to focus on the positive aspects of life, rather than the negative. They are not held hostage by their circumstances.
  9. Work on your bucket list. If you don’t have a bucket list, then it’s time to start one. Your bucket list is meant to be a list of everything you want to achieve, do, see, feel, and experience in your life.
  10. Invest in a coach. A coach can assist you in putting all of these strategies into action. A coach is your partner in success. It is their job to assist you in creating and implementing your success plan, so you can become the best you that you can be.

Remember to invest in yourself before you give to others. Striving to invest in ourselves emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially will allow us to become the best version of our true selves. As always, I would love to hear your comments and please share with a friend.

 

 

 

 

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Sandpaper and Pearls

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV

In my previous  management position, I supervised an employee whose (from my perspective) main objective daily was to make my life a living hell. Every morning before I left for work, I would pray and ask God to cover me with his full armor to repel the personal attacks. It never failed; when I arrived at the office, I had to face some type of criticism, undermining, or blatant disrespect. Despite my relentless efforts to have this person removed, I soon realized that it was not as much about the employee as it was about the lesson I would learn from the person. I believe God allows irritating people into our lives to act as sandpaper. You may ask, why sandpaper? Merriam-Webster defines sandpaper as a stiff paper that has a rough surface on one side and that is rubbed against something to make it smooth. I believe these people enter our lives for our own personal development transforming our rough edges into smooth ones. The sandpaper may take the form of a person who is controlling, resentful, spiteful, annoying, sarcastic, rude, hurtful, or simply infuriating. I must admit, I was not always the calm, collected, meditating person that I am today. I could go from 0 to 60 in a split second. Throughout my life, God  has used this employee as well as several other irritants to smooth my rough edges. Today, I am slow to react to the negative behaviors of others; however, I believe I must still have a few remaining rough edges because occasionally, I still encounter sandpaper people.

Speaking of irritants, do you know how pearls are made? Michelle Bryner, in her article titled, “How do Oysters Make Pearls?,” explains that a natural pearl begins its life inside an oyster’s shell when an irritant, such as a grain of sand or a bit of floating food, slips in between one of the two shells of the oyster and the protective layer that covers the oyster’s organs. In order to protect itself from the irritation, the oyster will quickly begin covering the irritant with layers of nacre (the mineral substance that fashions the oyster’s shells). Layer upon layer of narcre coat the grain of sand until the pearl is formed.

It is inevitable that you will encounter someone who ruffles your feathers from time to time; however, it is how you react to these situations that will make the difference. The next time you come across an irritating individual, remember it is only God refining and transforming you into the magnificent pearl that you are. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome. . . (Genesis 50:20 AMP)

I will leave you with Marcia Reynolds’ helpful tips for preserving your peace of mind when you encounter insensitive and rude people in her article titled, “How to Deal with Annoying People–Turning Down the Flame When Your Blood Boils.”

  • Accept that being quiet does not mean being weak. You don’t always need to stand up for yourself especially if there is nothing you can do about a petty situation. Pick your battles wisely. Fighting the good fight needs more of your energy than the minor conflicts.
  • Consider how silencing your reaction might shift the mind of the difficult person. Often people who react negatively regret their behavior when they calm down. But if you counter with negative energy, they are more likely to stick to their story and justify their jerkiness. If instead you surprise them by shifting your attention elsewhere, you remove energy from the fight. They might give in once their ego is no longer involved.
  • Manage your non-verbal behavior. If you are going to stay out of the fight, don’t roll your eyes, mutter under your breath or make an ugly face as you turn away. You are still sparking the fire with your gestures.
  • The best thing to do is take a big breath, let it out slowly and focus on breathing comfortably. You are strong when you control your reactions. The disrespect the person is showing has nothing to do with you personally.
  • Choose one word to anchor your mind until the need to react passes. Choose “compassion” or “tolerance” for the person who obviously is not happy. Choose “calm” for your own peace of mind.
  • Think more broadly. What will this matter tonight, tomorrow or into the future? What is more important to you, getting the last word in or living a long, healthy and somewhat peaceful life?
  • Regularly rest and rejuvenate. The more emotionally balance you are, the less the jerks will trigger you.

As always, I would love to hear your comments.  Please share with a friend.

 

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