inspiration

What Does It Mean To Be a True Friend?

Lately I have had more than my share of friends and acquaintances ask for my opinion on sensitive subjects, or just share with me a situation they are facing. These are work related, relationship related and family related…all very personal.

My first thoughts tend to be, “Do they want to just vent, do they want me to validate their choices, or do they want my honest opinion?”

I find most people just need to articulate their dilemmas and are simply looking for confirmation that they are reading the situation correctly. These people seem grateful to hear a different perspective regarding implementing what they already know. Sometimes just receiving validation that you are in fact on the right path is very empowering.

Lucy-Giving-Advice

The really challenging situations are when friends confide in me that they are doing something causing my brain to yell in big red letters, “RUN AND DON’T LEAVE A FORWARDING ADDRESS!!”

beagle-running-grass-230462

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Yet whether due to guilt, hopefulness, regret or any other emotion, the reality is that most every human being walking the face of the earth has occasionally experienced this.

So, what does it mean to be a true friend? Do you sit quietly as you watch a friend enter a tunnel hoping that the light at the end isn’t an on coming train? Or, do you tell them that you hear the whistle and see the smoke?

No one wants to rain on a friend’s parade or burst his or her bubble. No one wants to see their friends choose a path that is certain to cause heartache and sadness. We are faced with many situations in our lives where there isn’t a clear and right answer. I watched a TV show last year where a singer accused his former wife of giving up on their love. Her response was, “How could I know that the 9th time you went to rehab it would work”? She gave up on the 8th time.

My point in sharing the above story: No one really knows if this time the outcome will be different, even if the odds seem stacked against it.

Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I have decided to do the following: Unless I am asked my honest opinion, I will keep my thoughts to myself, although wondering whether I am indeed being a true friend. I welcome all comments.

crystal-ball

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.

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to 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. #lessons#choices#self-awareness.

Energy

Interesting thing about energy.  It can give you a boost, or it can bring you down.  When you are excited about your day, your job, your life there is a feeling that anything is possible.  And when your day isn’t going well, your job isn’t fun or challenging and your life seems dismal, your energy will be one of feeling depleted.
There are things we can’t change.  Sometimes the job is just work.  Sometimes the day is frustrating and boring, and sometimes our lives seem like there is more bad than good.
So, my thought is what can we do to keep our spirits up, our mood elevated and our overall outlook rosier?
My good friend shared with me that she did something today that she hasn’t done in quite awhile.  She sat in a quiet room and listened to a few hours of classical music.  She wasn’t productive.  She didn’t accomplish anything.  She did however, come away feeling upbeat, and rejuvenated and said to me, “That was good for my soul.”


So, what are you doing that is “good for your soul?”  Think about what things you can incorporate in your day, in your week, in your life that gives your energy a boost.

I Know This is Bad For Me!

I have heard many conversations this past week about people wanting to make changes.  Of people knowing that what they are doing isn’t working for them, AND YET!!
My hairstylist has a son who smokes and acknowledges it is bad for him, but he doesn’t stop.  Another friend chooses a toxic relationship over a healthier one while admitting it is insane.  And a friend who really wants to be more active and yet can’t seem to motivate herself to give up some of her more sedentary activities.

There are some experts that feel you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  Although all of these people will freely admit and acknowledge that they are very aware of what they would like to do differently, they can’t or don’t.
Changing one’s lifestyle isn’t easy.  Giving up what is comforting and comfortable isn’t easy.
Many stay in jobs they are unhappy in.  Many stay in relationships that no longer work.  Many choose unhealthy lifestyles.  And many have a difficult time making other choices with their leisure time.
What if you were to look at life as a blank piece of paper with the ability to make the picture any shape or color you want?   In one hand you hold the brush and in the other an eraser to recreate or start over when you need or want to.  Many people tend to think that once they have started or even finished the picture they should or have to live with the result.  What if you changed your thinking here?
I believe that the mind first needs to change.  Then perhaps we have a better chance of changing the behavior.

Easy?  Not always.  Worth it?  I guess time will be the best judge.  Would love to hear some of your experiences and thoughts.

This Land

The song says, “This land is your land, this land is our land.”  The words seem to have more meaning for me as time goes on.  Remembering the lessons of the legendary Johnny Appleseed who planted apple seeds after he would pluck a ripe apple from a tree has me thinking.
The concept is taking, but leaving for the next person.  Somewhere over the years I believe we have lost sight of the group and what is good for all, and we have spent more time concentrating on what is good for the individual.
I write a lot about being an individual.  I write a lot about taking care of us.  And, I am a strong believer in doing this.  I am equally a strong advocate of extending our hands and being there for our family, our friends, our community and the world we live in.
My grandparents had an extreme influence on me in developing a sense of pride in my heritage and the land they came to from what was referred to as the ‘old country’.
When I see people toss things out of their car onto the streets.  When I see people leave cans and bottles on a public wall.  When I see people finish something and not replace it for someone else.  IT MAKES ME NUTS!
Do you appreciate what was planted and left for you?  Do you plan on doing the same for the next generation?

Elevating Others

I seem to be hearing more conversations like this. “That driver just flipped me off because I tapped the horn.  Would he have preferred I let him hit me?” Or, “I turned a corner at the market and didn’t see her, until she yelled at me about being rude.  I simply didn’t see her.”
Instead of focusing on the above, I have also been the recipient of some very nice words.  A family friend said my blogs have meaning for her.  She finds value in what I say.  My beautiful daughter-in-law called me yesterday just to say she was thinking about me and loves me.
While I was listening to some friends last night talk about the lack of respect and complete disregard for others I shared some of the nice conversations I had been exposed to.
inspiration, lifting others
The mood of the group changed.  We all went from telling annoying stories of people to positive ones.  We all went from complaining to complimenting.  The mood of the room went from a downhill spiral to a feeling of elevation.
Is your mood going up or down today?
My thoughts these past few weeks have been taken with the very thought of simple kindness, sharing positive thoughts, and complimenting others. 
Anger and aggression is contagious.  Just think of mob rule.  Equally as contagious is a smile and a laugh.  If you had a choice of whom you would want to spend time with?  A grumpy old….  Or a giggling baby…
Which would it be?
Which one are you?

Bottom of the 6th.

Last night at dinner the discussion of my mother came up.  My mother is in an assisted living place and in her late 80s.  Around the table we had my grandson who is 10, a handful of 20 and 40 year-olds, my ex-husband, his wife and my son’s in-laws.
The reason I list all the above is to show the wide range of ages we have going on.
My ex-husband asked how my mother was doing.  I used a phrase that my brother uses (a baseball family, we are).  “She’s doing great for someone in the 9th inning.”
My grandson looked up at me with concern.  I said, “Well, Travis, I am in the 7th inning (again, we are a sports family).”  Without even blinking he said, “Naw, Grandma, bottom of the 6th.”  He then went back to playing on his hand-held device.

I have been thinking about this.  We are all somewhere in this journey called life.  We can all look behind and we can all look ahead.  Hopefully we do this with fond memories, and great future memories to come.

I have to constantly remind myself that it isn’t the time we spend living, it is the quality of our time here.  I don’t believe it is as important to be in over-time as it is to make each inning of our lives ones that have meaning and worth.
And, these are my thoughts on this beautiful Friday morning.  You?

The Game Called Life

In what my brother would refer to as the ninth inning of a person’s life, I will cop to only the 7thinning of mine.  I am still learning things about myself that honestly makes me smile.  Well, perhaps laugh is more appropriate.

I was led to believe that we become more set in our ways, as we get older.  I am finding the opposite to be true of myself.  I am less affected by change than I thought.  The small things that used to annoy the hell out of me have actually become small things.
This is very personal, as I understand not everyone flips this way.  I am becoming more patient (still a work in progress).  I am learning to be a better listener (although I am far from where I would like to be).  And, I am always striving to NOT take myself so serious (I do a fairly good job here).
When I look at the long haul of my life and not the day-to-day challenges I am pleased.  When I see where I started and how far I have come, I feel good.
Although we all go through life with our own script and each of our journeys is unique to us, we share many common threads.  For the most part, I believe we want to live a life of purpose.  We want to understand the world we life in.
I know for me this isn’t always simple or easy. I do know however, as long as I am in the game I will continue to check myself on a regular basis to see how I am doing in my awareness, growth and overall happiness factors.
How about you?

Failure Is NOT an Option!

While texting a very good friend of mine the other day I happened to mention that I had been trying to master a task.  Actually what I said was,” I have failed to figure it out, however I am still trying.”  He wrote me and said, “If you are still trying, you haven’t failed.”

Not only did what he say make me feel better, but I had to admit, he is right.
Whether we are learning new skills, learning to be more patient, or learning about ourselves, there is no failing as long as we continue the path.
I believe most of the people who are successful do not consider failure as an option.  They might alter their course a bit.  They might even abandon the plan or project.  What they don’t do is call it a failure.  They call it a learning curve or a lesson.  They take what they can from the experience and apply it to whatever they do next.
If someone were to ask you what your feelings are regarding trying and not accomplishing something, what would you say? 
Are you the type of person who would look at the lesson and learn from your mistakes or mishaps, and if not, why not?

Lemonade

It has always been my philosophy that when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  And, I love the expression, “Want to give God a good laugh, make a plan.”

In reality the above seems wise and comforting when someone else is faced with challenges and real life decisions.  The truth is, they are both quite obnoxious, when the subject is us and someone or something is pulling the carpet out from under our feet.
I now find myself the object of this virtual carpet.  And, I am struggling to find the comfort in a glass of lemonade or making God laugh.
Having said that, I know the drill.  I muster up the courage, and I look at all before me with the knowledge and experience that when one door closes another one opens.
I am famous for saying, “Life is a journey”.  I am famous for saying many positive, life-affirming catch phrases.  And, ‘if the truth be told’ (a phrase that is a tad over used), I actually have sipped the ‘Kool-aid’.
So, I make my lists, I prioritize my tasks, and I follow-up on leads.  All the while alternating my thoughts between ‘what will become of me’, to ‘what will the future bring’?
Today, I have made the decision that although the road can be bumpy, I will wear steady shoes.  And, although the air is breezy, I will wear my windbreaker.  And because there are slippery hills, I will carry my walking stick. 
And even though I would like to stick my head under the covers and not come out, in the end, I will take head-on whatever life throws my way and I will laugh with God while I add a little sugar to my large glass of well-deserved lemonade.

With an End, There is Always a Beginning

.

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 peoples 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’s resolutions from the people in my life.  To say, I am not guilty of this myself wouldn’t 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 2013 bring to me my family and my friends.
I wish everyone a safe, sane, and wonder filled New Year!  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 of doing just that.