Kindness

On Which Side Of Life Do You Look?

I tend to be that person who rolls out of bed in a good mood. I don’t just start walking slowly, I get up running full-throttle.   (Some of my friends find this obnoxious.) This morning however I felt anxious, overwhelmed and a bit blue.

When I got into the car to run errands, I found myself getting into a funk as I became increasingly impatient with the other drivers on the road. At the point where I came close to leaning on my car horn, I decided instead to turn on the car radio and surf channels. I chose to listen to a station that featured Broadway tunes.

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One of the first songs that I heard was from the movie and play Monty Python. The song was Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.

My transformation from grumpy to happy was almost immediate. It was hard for me NOT to be affected by the upbeat rhythm and cheerful lyrics. I am not sure if I actually smiled or I simply felt that I smiled.

This got me thinking about how easily we can go from one mood to another. Depressing news. Negative talk radio. Witnessing an accident. Each of these experiences on their own can cause negative feelings. Weddings. Births. People laughing. Each of these on their own can cause positive feelings.

Yes life has its challenges, and for many it doesn’t work to just think happy therefore be happy. However, and this is a big however, it doesn’t hurt to think happy. Watch happy. Listen to happy.

Life will always be comprised of ups and downs. If we can find a way to maximize the ups we can train ourselves to look for and find the good; we can then choose not to dwell on the little things that can put us in a funk.

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Each day find something that makes you happy. Take time to search look for a flower among the weeds. Instead of allowing noisy kids to annoy you, focus on their innocent faces. Determine if simply listening to classical or upbeat music lifts your spirits.

Enjoy the results of your new outlook on life!

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

You can buy the e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

or get a printed copy mid-summer when it is released.

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will teach you how to look on the bright side of life and improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

 

How Can I Get Others To Treat Me Better?

I have been talking with several friends lately regarding this topic:

My grandson was barely 5 years old when he was introduced to another 5 year old who lived in his complex. This boy started calling my grandson names while they played ball. My grandson told him many times to stop. When this kid called my daughter-in-law “fat” (which she isn’t), with total frustration, Travis said, “You have lost the privilege of being my friend.”

After a few days the mothers sat the boys down and they talked about sharing, getting along and being nice to each other. It was all very civilized and a great lesson on working through problems.

-football-or-soccer-players-shaking-hands-Stock-Photo-kids

Whether dating, working, being a part of a group or spending time with close friends and family, we all teach each other what we will and will not accept by speaking up or staying quiet.

You can appreciate the following examples: One friend said with regard to first and second dates that it is up to each of us to set a bar of behavior with the men and the women that we encounter. A co-worker, thirty years ago, heard that her new boss was a screamer. Before he had an opportunity to go off on her she had a conversation with him. On the first day of employment she went into his office and closed the door. In a very polite and calm voice she said, “If you ever start yelling at me, I will quit my job”. He never once raised his voice to Patty.

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I hear children talking to their parents with such contempt and distain. I hear husbands and wives talk to each other like they were enemies, not lovers.

Life is short. Choose to spend time with people who elevate others. Do the best you can to eliminate the negative people that come across your path. I try to be aware of my own behavior talking with others. I take responsibility when I am not my best self by admitting my mistakes and trying to be more understanding and objective with others.

If there are people in your life who bring you down, if there are people in your life who make you feel small, if there are people in your life who cause you to question yourself ask yourself why you allow this. Then make a plan to change the situation.

You are worthy of being surrounded by kind, caring and respectful people. If you don’t agree with this, ask yourself why.

Animal quote 0002

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

You can buy the e-book version by clicking this link, http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr or get a printed copy mid summer when it is released.

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

How Important Is Hope?

I have been nicknamed a Pollyanna my whole life.   According to Webster, a Pollyanna is a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything. It defines me to a tee.

For many like myself, it is used to describe a person who finds only the good in people and the good in all circumstances.

My friend of almost 20 years was telling me about a situation where someone she knew did some pretty insane things. I listened and then said one thing positive in her friend’s defense. My friend looked at me and said, “Man, you can find a flower in a field of weeds.” Okay, so I took creative liberties here. She probably said that I could find a flower in a pile of shit.

flower

I have to admit that she made me laugh and she made me think. Thinking and overthinking is what I do best. Reflection to me is the key to understanding ourselves and therefore making the changes needed to make better choices.

In trying to understand why I tend to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt, the word hope keeps popping into my head. I hope that people will be kinder. I hope that people will do the right thing. I hope that our children and their children will do better and be better.

A world without hope is a very sad place. Some may consider me naive. Others may consider me a sucker or gullible. The truth is that I would rather be scammed and taken advantage of by a person or two than to be guarded and suspicious of everyone I meet.

Perhaps by living in my world, those people will learn a little something from me then go on to find the good in others. At least this is what I hope.

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Click on the link below to get a copy of my book “12 Way To Discover What Makes You Tick”, available now on Amazon.com.

I not only hope you find value in it, I know you will!

http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Why Would I Buy A Book About Me?

Life is a gift. It is fragile and it is short. Take the time to know yourself. We spend much of our early life in school learning to read, conquer math and study history.

We then learn a job, how to maintain our car, operate our electronic devices and various other tasks required to get along in our world.

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How much time do you take to really get to know yourself? To understand how you ‘tick’? Along with knowing yourself, how much time do you take to really understand others and learn how they ‘tick’? Perhaps if you make this an integral part of your life, you will learn from both your successes and your failures. You will become more aware, and understand why you repeat your mistakes without taking responsibility for some of your choices.

I have found that if you take time to really get to know yourself and the world in which you live, your life will be more fulfilling and give you the happiness and peace that you truly want and deserve.

For a small investment, my book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick, could be just what you need to start the journey towards making decisions that you can feel good about.

Roni Kugler_final

Isn’t it time you invested in yourself?

Click this link to get your copy of the book that could have been named, Finally There Is A Book About Me!

http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Is There Really A Cosmic Plan?

I love this quote from Michael Josephson who is an inspirational speaker among his many other accomplishments. He borrowed the quote from Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”.

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It is really difficult to smile and be happy when a relationship ends, a family pet dies or close friends move away. It is, however, easy to feel only sadness, disappointment and loss.

I firmly believe that people come into our lives for a reason. And not all of these relationships are meant to be with us forever. This doesn’t mean that the time together should be looked at as a failure. A good introspective question would be, “Am I better off having had this experience?” Or, “Even if things ended badly, did good things happen from the time together?”

I try to be pragmatic when faced with breakups, displacement, and change. Some may say, “I am not emotional enough” or “it’s easy for me to just walk away”. I, however, don’t see it quite that way. I believe that I feel deeply. I mourn, I cry and I question. What I don’t do is hold on. Yes, that’s right, I move on. After all if we didn’t experience and accept change, we would all be living in the house we where we born.

President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” People say that life is a journey, yet too many are afraid of actually making the necessary changes to really live a full life.

Are you one of the many who are afraid to make a career change? Do you stay in a toxic relationship because you are afraid of being alone? When your family pet passes are you so afraid of having another broken heart that you don’t want to love another pet?”

Year-after-year if you find your life is not where you want it to be; if you wake up each morning and wonder why you are where you are; if you are more unhappy than happy on a balance scale, then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????

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Whether you believe there is a cosmic plan or a random plan, don’t sit around wishing for a different life. Figure out what you need to do to make changes. We are on this earth for a limited amount of time.

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Isn’t it time for you to take more control over your own destiny? Need to get a jump-start? Want to understand why you stay stuck? Need a little help in learning more about yourself and your decision making? Then you need my book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick which is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Simply click on the link below to order your copy. Give yourself a gift. I guarantee it will be the best $8.95 you have spent in a long time!

http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr 

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Now take on the day!

Do Your Friends Support You? Are You a Supportive Friend?

We all have an inner voice that is similar to a running dialog. I want to address the dialogs regarding positive and negatives messages. And more importantly, where do these messages originate from?

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When you think about your circle of friends, list out the ones that encourage and support your decisions and efforts. Then make a list of those friends who give you messages that are subtle or not so subtle filled with negativity that may cause you to doubt yourself. After you do this exercise, think about how much weight the positive people have on you and then the negative people. In other words, do you give up on a dream because of naysayers? Or do you forge ahead, putting their opinions on the back burner?

Many successful people have been recipients of attitudes similar to “You are not good enough” or “The odds are so overwhelming that you will succeed”. And on the list goes. A compelling reason for the success of these people is that they simply don’t buy into it.

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I’m not saying that good friends shouldn’t be the voice of reason. I am saying that it is not their job to rain on your parade. If there is someone in your life who is pursuing a passion or is trying something new, why would you want to be the person to bring him or her down? Why would you want to be the friend who causes them to question themselves?

Not everyone will be successful in his or her endeavors. Not everyone will get the results they desire. Take a hard look at yourself. What kind of message do you give the people in your life? Are you always pointing out the pitfalls? Do you tend play the “Devil’s Advocate” thinking that you are doing them a service? If you identify with this look in the mirror and ask yourself why.

My advice: try to be supportive and encouraging even if you disagree with what him or her. This doesn’t mean that you put aside good judgment. It just means you simply aren’t judgmental. After all, who is to say that success is measured by only one standard? Perhaps for some accomplishing an overwhelming task is the real reward.

turtle at finish line

The takeaway…the next time you plan to spew negativity, weigh whether it is your job to point out all the reasons why your friend should give up. If you honestly feel that your friend is making a terrible mistake be compassionate while offering encouragement and support. Choose your words wisely, and wish them good luck.

Dog comforting cat

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Do You Make Mountains Out Of Molehills?

For those who aren’t familiar with the expression, “Making a mountain out of molehill,” let me fill you in. While there are lengthy articles written about the origin of this phrase which goes back to 1484, the bottom line refers to someone who overreacts to a minor issue.

brother and sister fighitng

We had planned this family visit for a couple of months. My brother and his wife live out-of-state so our time together is always special. Well perhaps not always. “Why?” you ask. Let me tell you about our last visit. I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t due to my long wait at L.A.X when I went to pick them up. It wasn’t due to their long day of working then flying across the country. It wasn’t due to our lack of sleep. It wasn’t due to the 300 mile road trip(we spent the day going from one family member to the next). And lastly, it wasn’t due to my driving back alone the next day while my brother and his wife stayed an extra few days to visit with another brother and our mother.

So, you ask, “What was the discord?” As I said, this is rather embarrassing as we are both in our 6th decade. My brother and I argued, fought, and did much rolling of the eyes because he felt his golf clubs and luggage would not fit in the trunk of our brothers car, and I stood my ground and said it would.

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If there is ever a Guinness Record for the stupidest reason to fight, I believe we are a shoo-in! Now if this argument lasted the short time it deserved, there wouldn’t have been a problem. NO, this ridiculous fight actually defined the entire 36 hours I spent with them.

When saying “goodbye” I was well aware that our time together had been compromised, and neither of us was happy with the outcome of our visit.   My brother and I talk weekly so when I realized that several weeks had passed since we had last spoke, I decided to give him a call. I am the middle child and therefore the peacemaker by birth order. He is the youngest and I won’t address what therapists say about the baby of the family (after all this blog is meant to mend not inflame).

The first words out of my mouth were, “Are we okay?” My brother who doesn’t mince words simply said, “You are a pain in my ass, but I love you anyway”. After I acknowledged the same about him we were then on good terms.

The take-away: don’t let silly, stupid arguments become bigger than they are. Being right (and I was) isn’t always what’s important. And in case if my brother reads this and is now rolling his eyes, I say, “Let him write a blog and tell his side of the story”.

If there is someone in your life important to you and both of you are off-track, make the call, send a text, and/or write a note.   Do what it takes to make things right. Life is way too short to make a “mountain out of molehill”.

gray tabby kitten cat rubbing up against a golden retriever puppy dog in grass in a garden scene with pink flowers behind them.

gray tabby kitten cat rubbing up against a golden retriever puppy dog in grass in a garden scene with pink flowers behind them.

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Why Do Adult Children Cut Ties With Their Parents?

During a recent search on the Internet I discovered an abundance of adult children who have severed ties with their parents. There are many articles written as to why. Common themes are:

  • The children were raised in a child-centered home.
  • Parents did too much for their kids.
  • Parents concerned themselves more with their children’s self-esteem rather than teaching children self-control
  • Parents made decisions based on their guilt instead of using good parental choices.
  • The child is narcissistic.

So the list goes. The great majority of research that I have read puts the blame squarely on parents, not their offspring. I agree. My generation happens to be guilty of two things. First, they were and are way too involved in the lives of their kids. Second, they are afraid their children won’t like them.

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When did this happen? When I was growing up (wouldn’t you like a dollar every time someone said that to you?), my parents didn’t give a flying hoot if I liked them or was angry with them. They made parental decisions with the mantra “This will make more sense to you when you are a parent”. And, that was pretty much the end of it.

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My brothers and I were tormented by sleepless nights if we thought we were out of favor with our parents, not the other way around.

If your grown children are out of the house and the damage is done, do you feel there’s nothing you can do? Do you fear that you will never see them again or get to watch your grandchildren grow?   Do you feel you have no choice but to bend to their every demand? NO! NO! NO!

I say it is NEVER too late to start over. While my son was growing up I had conversations with him regarding mutual respect and expectations. I constantly redefined our relationship while maintaining my parental status. I a have strong opinion that your child should NEVER be your friend. That doesn’t mean you don’t hang with your kids. It doesn’t mean you don’t like your kids. It just means you don’t burden them with your finances, love life, or personal issues; these should be reserved for a close friend. I believe that when the lines of parent/child and parent/friend cross, the result can be unwanted advice, lack of respect and confusion.

My parents used to say, “You can talk to your friends like that, NOT your parents.” When you change the game by making your child your friend, the line becomes blurred. I believe the parent-child relationship stands on its own. We can have many friends, however, we have only one mom and one dad. Why isn’t this good enough?

Take a look at your relationship with your adult children. Is it working for you? Are you pleased with the way things are? If you answer YES pat yourself on the back, you did something right. However if you feel boundaries have been crossed and you and your children are off-track, then take action.

Make a plan to sit down and communicate with your children… not by email or text; not with your child and his or her spouse present; one on one. Talk about how much you love them. Talk about some of the mistakes you have made. Then arrive at a common ground where you can redefine your relationship and forge a new bond.

Don’t miss another holiday or family event without your adult children present. Make the effort. Do not blame. Do not yell. Open up your heart and listen.family dinner

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

Why Do People Call Life A JOURNEY?

Life is a journey. It’s an easy catch phrase for explaining all we must go through in order to gain the wisdom that seems to come in the third chapter of our lives.

Greeting cards, tee shirts, and inspirational material all refer to life being called a journey to help those people who feel “life is just a challenge” and “what’s the use”.

Journeys worth taking come with some predictability, some surprises, and if we are really lucky interesting stories that can be shared with our family and friends.

Beverly Hillbillies

One of the best journeys I have taken was to Europe when I was in my 30s. My friend and I planned to visit France, Italy, and Switzerland. We had three weeks to see cities and countrysides. We talked about tours. We talked about scheduling our days to get the most out of our adventure. Then we made the decision to only make two reservations: the first night and the last night in Paris. With that in mind we purchased materials to help us navigate our journey.

We knew we wanted to spend a limited time in big cities. We were both excited to explore the countryside where we were privy to castles, small villages, and areas where the locals live. I made it my personal mission to have an éclair in every town. By the end of our trip I became quite an expert regarding quality éclairs. Long walks and an occasional bike ride kept me from outgrowing my clothes.

When I recall this trip I think about my life. The truth is that not every plan we make is actually realized.

There have been many times that I felt lost. There have been many times when I wasn’t happy with my life. I believe when we are young we can’t see the value in making mistakes or making bad choices; we only feel disappointment and confusion.

If we are fortunate, we learn that all we have gone through actually makes us who we are. It is hard to appreciate success without failure. It is difficult to understand loss without love. And for many it is hard to believe good times can happen while going through extremely bad times.

I have a friend who had lived through a few really bad years. Every conversation with her was about how she didn’t want to go on because life had so little pleasure to offer. Her pain was unbearable having experienced major losses.

Less than two years later she is quick to laugh and smile. She is upbeat, positive, and feels her life has meaning. This is not to say her life is without sadness and challenges. What happened to cause such an extreme change? She took control by making decisions that give her peace and security. This is so empowering.

Jounrey Picture

We don’t always have an easy journey. It is rare to live through decades without experiencing loss and sadness. It isn’t the journey that makes a difference in who we become, it is our reaction to it.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation that knocks you on your ass, try to find something positive about it. When life shits on you find the humor in it. And most of all, look for the lesson so you come through your journey a better and wiser person.

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Do New Year Resolutions Really Work?

Before summer even ended, I noticed that stores had already put up displays for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now, barely into October, I see advertisements for Christmas. No wonder the months and years fly by.

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This got me thinking about all of the people who plan on waiting until the first of January to implement the New Year resolutions that they have put off for yet another year. The diet. More exercise. Cleaning out the garage. Going back to school. Being nicer. Volunteering time at shelters. And so the list continues.

I found myself going over a blog that I wrote two years ago on this very subject. It dawned on me that making and then breaking, New Year resolutions is actually a lifestyle. Those who truly make the changes they desire in their lives really don’t need a magical date. The ones who actually achieve their goals do it quietly by making small and large changes on a daily basis throughout the year.

Is there a reason you are putting off your dreams and wishes for another two and a half months? If you can relate to the following blog that I wrote over two years ago and you are laughing, I challenge you to start today. Make a list of the things you would like to change. Hold up a mirror and ask yourself what it will take to attain your goals. Then find a way to make it happen.

I published the following blog in December, 2013.

The accepted definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. I would venture to say that if this were really true, we would all fall under the insanity definition at some point in our lives.

I consider myself relatively rational, pretty much grounded, fairly pragmatic, understanding and for the most part accepting of other people’s points of views and visions.

To my friends who are now screaming, “ARE YOU KIDDING”? I did use words like ‘relatively’, ‘fairly’, and, ‘for the most part’.

So, with this in mind, I do have to wonder why year after year and decade after decade I hear the same promises, and New Year resolutions from the people in my life. To say that I am not guilty of this myself would not be entirely truthful.

I haven’t always known what is good for me, but I have pretty much always known what isn’t. I haven’t always known what works for me, but I have pretty much always known what doesn’t.

So my thoughts at this moment as I look at the end of yet another year and the beginning of a new one are: 

  1. What changes will I make?
  2. What will I continue to put up with?
  3. And what will next year bring to my family, my friends and me?

As another year now comes to an end may your hopes stay high and your dreams be realized. If you want kindness, be kind. If you want understanding, be understanding. And, if you want to achieve your goals, don’t let anything or anybody get in your way.

success_kid

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.