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Speak Life – Speak Love

#Encourage #Elevate #Empower #TurningPositive #Speak Life

This is the first in a six week challenge series related to speaking life – improving our environment through the thoughts we foster and the words we express.

Speak Life – Speak Love

Speak Life - Speak LoveWhen you hear the word LOVE, what comes to mind? Is it an image of a teenage couple walking down a sidewalk holding hands? Maybe it is a mother looking into her newborn child’s eyes? Or maybe, if you’re like me, your mind quickly races to the section in the move, “The Princess Bride” where the clergyman says “Love … True … Love” (it’s a good movie — I recommend it if you haven’t seen it).

I make it a point to always tell my family that I love them before we hang up the phone or leave. My goal is to make sure there is no doubt that I experience this phenomenon called “love” in regard to them. However, what is love? That’s a deep question — there’ve been many songs written expressing this same question — however, the answer remains elusive.

I don’t claim to have all the answers to the question of love. If in doubt, just ask my wife — she’ll be able to confirm this easily. However, I believe there are different kinds of love. For instance:

• I love cheesecake

• I love it when the Oklahoma Sooners win their football games

• I love my friends

• I love my family

Each of these are a different type of love. One of the best ways to define each type of love is to examine how we express or demonstrate the particular type of love toward the object. For instance, in the example of cheesecake, I express my love of cheesecake by evaluating the qualities of the cheesecake to assess whether one is better than another and then, upon selecting the choice on, savoring each bite. (Ok, now I want some cheesecake) — hopefully this illustrates one way in which we express a type of “love” and how there can be different types of love.

So, tying this new awareness of love’s types and expression into the purpose of this article, how do we speak life by speaking love? Well, one way is certainly to do what I described previously and tell the people you love how much they mean to you. However, words without action ring hollow — so, how do we provide action to our words? This is the hard part — more importantly than telling the people how we feel about them, we must show them through our actions and interactions. Such expressions could be as simple as putting aside technology while they are speaking and focusing directly on them and the conversation (therapists refer to this as “being present” or “active listening”). It’s amazing how effective a simple task such as this can be at demonstrating love. That’s just one example of how we can Speak Life – Speak Love. What other examples can you come up with?

We’ve discussed speaking love through our words and actions for those we love but how do we share the spirt of love to others? Exactly the same way — through being aware of someone’s needs and accommodating them. It may be something as simple as holding the door for someone, and even paying for the vehicle behind you at the drive through. There are so many opportunities and the great thing is small examples such as this can be extremely impacting. I still remember the person who bought my lunch at the fast food drive through over a year ago! Tremendous message for just a few bucks.

So now we come to the challenge for this week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and I hope you do) is to find two people each day of this week (one you love deeply — family, friend, etc. and one you want to share love with through a kind deed or expression) and express that love — whether it be a kind word, a helpful deed, or just being present for the individual.

I encourage you to share your experience with this challenge in the comments below. What ideas did you come up with to express love? What was the response of the recipient? How did the exercises of “speaking love” effect you? I will be adopting this challenge as well and will be providing my updates in the comments below as well. I look forward to reading about your experiences this week.

Speak Life – Speak Love

#Encourage #Elevate #Empower #TurningPositive #Speak Life

Speak Life – Challenge Series – Introduction

Turning Positive - Speak Life

I have been somewhat lax in my participation on Turning Positive lately (OK, I’ve been largely absent the past few months).  In my defense, it’s been a very busy few months with school, the day job, enjoying time with family, and mostly, I’ve been extremely lazy.  Now that I read that, I have no excuse.  However, I have a renewed energy and dedication to focus on the frequency and quality of providing updated content to our site.  I also want to make it as interactive a site as possible, so I encourage you to participate, provide feedback, share ideas, etc.  My vision is for this to be a community-based site where we can encourage, elevate, and empower each other.

With that in mind, I have created a series titled “Speak Life”.  On each Tuesday morning over the next 6 weeks, I will post a different challenge.  Each entry in the series contains challenges related to encouraging, elevating, and empowering one another through “speaking life”.  Each of the challenges provides an opportunity to increase your experience with exercising positivity and subsequently experience the benefit of this exercise while making a difference to others.

These challenges are simple to implement, cost nothing, and if applied systematically and regularly, can introduce a significant improvement in your life and the lives of those you influence.  Are you up for it?  I know you are … and I will be attempting to complete the exercises along with you — I am not immune to the need to exercise Speaking Life.  As we go through each week’s challenge, I will provide updates on how I am progressing and what I am learning and I encourage you to share the same type of information in the comments section of each challenge.

Keep an eye out for the first challenge in the Speak Life series that will be coming tomorrow… until then, I will leave you with this link to the song “Speak Life” performed by Toby Mac.

It is my prayer that each of you continue to be blessed through Encouragement, Elevation, and Empowerment.

Scriptural Foundation:  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29 ESV)

Encourage – Elevate – Empower

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Whack-a-Mole Self-Esteem

Have you ever had one of those weeks or months when it seems nothing goes right? No matter what you do, failure is just around the corner? Nobody seems to care about you until you begin making some improvement and they come running over to push you back down — like a life-sized game of whack-a-mole..

Does this ever describe you? It certainly describes me.

oI struggle with extremely low self-esteem and subsequent depression. As a result of this, I put too much emphasis on what others think about me. In fact, while writing this, I’m concerned that you, dear reader, will think even less of me now that I have disclosed this dark secret. Nevertheless: I feel it important to share this in case it might help someone else.

The recent prominence in the media regarding celebrity suicide has brought about an increased awareness of the effects of depression. The truth is, many who are depressed fail to demonstrate any symptoms publicly. In fact, many of the funniest or seemingly happiest people we know suffer extreme forms of depression.

The fact is, depression is a disease … it’s not something somebody can just “snap out of”. Nobody intentionally chooses to become depressed. It occurs over time and governs huge portions of one’s life. Like a cancer, depression attaches itself to other negative factors (negative self image, low self-esteem, withdrawal from friends, reckless behavior, etc.) which increases the negative effects in the individual until life becomes unbearable and there seems to be no relief available.

I know this post doesn’t sound very positive — after all, the name of the site is Turning Positive. The fact is, sometimes life has some negative factors and we simply have to face them and deal with them. There is a positive aspect though even with this subject. …there are caring people available to help. Counselors can work with us to help us understand ways we can cope with these feelings and even work to improve our self-image. Additionally, if a chemical imbalance exists, physicians can work with you to provide the appropriate materials to help correct the imbalance.

It is important to realize that the depression and the associated issues didn’t occur overnight and we shouldn’t expect an immediate cure. Rather, healing from depression is a journey. For my journey, I find that focusing on my faith helps me through these times. The scriptures describe God as ”a friend who is closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). That is very comforting when I feel abandoned.

As with this week, just when I’m starting to feel a little better about myself, something happens to knock me down and shatters my self image. When that occurs, I begin feeling like I am drowning in an ocean of self contempt and while there are many people watching me be swept away in the current, nobody is interested in throwing me a lifeline. This of course is irrational as there are people who care – my emotions simply cloud this fact.

Indeed, my progress can often be defined with the lyrics of the old country and western song that describes someone who takes “one step forward and two steps back.” However, as long as I keep getting back up and continue to put one foot in front of the other, I figure I’m making progress.

Choosing to be Unhappy

Yesterday was a miserable day.  I woke up determined to have an awful day and did everything in my power to make it so.  I succeeded.

Wait a minute?  Did I read that correctly?  I chose to have a miserable day?  Yep, that’s right.  If happiness is a choice, which I firmly believe, unhappiness is also a choice.  Let me be honest though … it wasn’t a miserable day … it just wasn’t one of my best days.  Throughout the day, I continued to be in a sour mood and my self talk was at negative end of the scale.  I realized  I was keeping myself down but didn’t seem to want to change my perception.  Am I alone?  Have you been there before?

Continue reading “Choosing to be Unhappy”

Family Gathering

Let’s face it … life and death are all about proper quantities.  Take water for example; we need it to survive. However, when we have too much of it, we drown.

I saw a recent post on a Facebook site where readers were challenged to come up with a four-word sentence that ruined Thanksgiving. There were a number of very funny ones such as Continue reading “Family Gathering”

Dissecting an Earworm

Many of us remember the dreaded school year where we learned we must complete that one course. You know, the course that makes girls squeamish and boys apprehensively excited.  No, not sex education… the class I speak of is the middle school biology class where each student dissects a creature to understand it’s anatomy. Continue reading “Dissecting an Earworm”

Can an Earworm Actually Make You Happy?

During a recent class on developmental psychology, we were discussing various treatments for psychological impairments and one of my classmates explained that she uses music as a therapeutic intervention for many of her clients. I thought, “sure, music is used in many ways to augment or define emotions”. After all, that is why movies pay such exorbitant amounts to have scores created to accompany the dialogue.  Continue reading “Can an Earworm Actually Make You Happy?”

The Power of Emotions in a Natural Disaster

Many of us are aware of the effects of Hurricane Harvey that the U.S. gulf coast states are currently experiencing.  What you may not be as aware of is the fact that even those who are not directly affected by the storm can experience significant stress as a result of it.

Natural Disaster

Continue reading “The Power of Emotions in a Natural Disaster”

Five Ways to Unlock the Mystery of Happiness

We live in a society filled with emotion. Happiness, sadness, fear, embarrassment, anxiety, and shyness are just a few examples of these emotions. As humans, we cannot interact with people exhibiting these emotions without them affecting us. In a nutshell, psychologists refer to this phenomenon as transference. Continue reading “Five Ways to Unlock the Mystery of Happiness”

Sculpting Student’s Minds And Hearts

I discovered today that one of my favorite professors in my master's program had passed away in February of this year. I met Dr. Joan Phillips while attending an art therapy course at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Phillips was the instructor for the course and she was one of those larger than life individuals who exude so much energy, excitement, and positivism that you can’t help but admire them as soon as you meet. Continue reading “Sculpting Student’s Minds And Hearts”