Empowerment by Faith

There is only one way to cope with the spectrum and diversity of life’s experiences and that is through Faith. There is power in having Faith and there is even more power in ‘knowing’ Faith.

Contributor: Simone Galy-Laquis

There is only one way to cope with the spectrum and diversity of life’s experiences and that is through Faith. There is power in having Faith and there is even more power in ‘knowing’ Faith.

‘Faith breathes life into one’s being and gives one a soul that knows to love, hope and trust, a soul that yearns Goodness and lasts forever’.

That is my definition of Faith as I know it from my experiences in life.

The Bible states in 1 John 5: 3-5, “This is what loving God is-by keeping his commandments…because anyone who has been begotten by God has already overcome the world; this is the victory over the world-our Faith.”

There is much skepticism and suspicion revolving around this topic of Faith. People say that Faith is beyond human reasoning. Some say Faith was suggested to regulate society. Some say it is delusionary and all superstition. Some believe Faith to be a logical defense mechanism. And of course some believe what the bible says and people say they have blind faith and there is power in that all the same. I will tell you this today with certainty, Faith is a process, our journey, and Faith is a Treasure worth hunting down. I have no evidence, only that life’s experiences have revealed to me that Faith is real and happening and is the means to conquer all.

Whilst it may be true to say that blind faith succeeds in overcoming difficulties, it is my hope today to reveal to you much more. Essentially, the Joy that comes with Faith in God as one decides to gain access to the Source so to speak is overwhelming and the power of God is imminent. For those who are atheists, I urge you to still continue reading.

I was born into Roman Catholicism and I still am a Roman Catholic. I have read the bible twice and each time I deduced various different meanings to its content, some things even contradicted Catholicism, which is an whole other subject for debate. Fundamentally I found that the thread running throughout the bible was Faith. Growing up I was always searching for deeper meanings to life (I even went as far as studying five other different Religions and their beliefs) and journeyed on many various paths in my quest to know God, though at the time I was not even aware that I was in search of anything necessarily, indeed it was a journey full of suffering, mistakes, derailment, many great challenges, pain, sadness and Joy! In so doing, I was able to unveil the Truth and I cannot be sure if it was ‘written in my heart ‘ from birth or if it became ‘engraved in my heart’ as a result of experiences. Either way, the point is I discovered the reality of our immortal souls and its potential strength through trust and Faith in the unknown, and though it may not always be what one expects or hope for, I can assure you that one ought to ‘keep the Faith’ and trust in the Master of all forces whom I call God. In this way one is able to accept the bitter with the sweet in life, with a heart full of gratitude and a mind and soul that are balanced. I learnt this intrinsically.

Many argue and question this belief, but I tell you that what I am divulging to you today is not merely a belief; it is real knowledge yielded through hardships that sculptured me and bequeathed onto me the limitlessness of God and the powerlessness of man. Signs were shown to me everywhere to display God’s everywhereness and everythingness. As my awareness of God’s presence ripened, I began to ‘see’ his Grandeur. The magic of each experience lingered in spite of pain, Joy and what have you, leaving me with: a measure of well-being, a sort of peace, a wealth of resilience and inner strength, a spirit of gratitude and contentment, an wholesome spiritual outlook, a keen awareness that one would want to nurture, a kind of trust and confidence that counteracts those who mock, insult, scheme, hate, pervert justice, a Faith that liberates me from anxiety and worry, a Faith that is beyond the price of diamonds, a Faith that is priceless. One must not be afraid of crises or to take risks for fear of making mistakes or failures..for it is at that very point that this sort of enlightenment occurs.

The problem that faces the world today is that everyone wants specifics, proof, sensationalisation and this contradicts the ‘victoriousness’ of Faith itself. I will not give details as it is not for giving. I can only tell you that each and every person must seek ‘it’ out, ‘it’ being that inner gut feeling inside that we all avoid confronting for fear of the unknown as it were. You’ve got to face ‘it’, explore ‘it’, grasp ‘it’ nurture ‘it’, curb ‘it’, fearlessly. ‘It’ may seem risky, but in challenging ‘it’ one learns to discern and make sound judgments. The only speculation and planning required is a little meditation, some reflection and a lot of elaboration.

I cannot know what people are thinking but I must tell you from my own experience that thoughts, as is the spoken word, are things of which one wants to be cautious. Many have spoken and lived to eat ones’ words and I have witnessed it and as can well be imagined one would want to purify one’s thoughts and deeds as well. One needs to think/speak/do, but think/speak/do so carefully, humbly and responsibly, which brings me to my next point. There is a God and He listens and waits and watches and intervenes. So be patient and kind always. Get busy, read, work, and help others so that thoughts do not stray idly into depression, anger or negativity.

Scientists cannot prove God’s presence, but they too “know” there is a sense of His presence everywhere and He governs justly. They will not confirm the possibility of eternal spirits and speak vaguely about unexplained ‘magnetic forces’ found here or there. Scientists look at Faith as a presupposition taught from parents because there is just not sufficient evidence to justify the deathlessness and everlastingness of a spirit yearning for a God, and there is much power in this process, the power of Faith. These are real processes that are occurring right now in people’s lives everywhere. Some recognize ‘it’ and run with their instincts, seeking intellectual perfection and Scientists will not emphasize to you the significance of an elaborate intellect because they need evidence for that too. So while Scientists are confusing everyone and people are losing Faith, Hope and Love, Life, so full of apparent contradictions, will not only always remain a mystery, but life will seem unbearably difficult to many. However, there is much significance in the bettering of oneself and the feeding of one’s intellect simultaneously with good intentions, with honesty and generosity…and this coupled with Faith enables us to live a fulfilling, happy and victorious life.

I can safely say that Love gives us hope and hope gives us Faith, and this is not some kind of figment of one’s imagination. Faith is ‘the journey’ that gives one the courage and fortitude to overcome the difficulties/obstacles in the world and we’re all in it right now, harmoniously, hopefully allowing for ‘mistakes’, and rising above restriction, with big-heartedness and kindness, so we can all be unleashed, responsible thinkers and doers, givers and receivers of Happiness, with and without shortcomings and it is all both biblical as well as cyclical. Faith does not collapse in the midst of calamity, Faith is indestructible in times of vulnerability, and instead of feeding the need to put a stroke of a judgmental brush or even to be on the receiving end of one, Faith teaches one to be tolerant, temperate and moderate. People may perceive this as coldness, but it is actually ‘knowingness’ that God ‘is’ and this empowers you to ‘overcome the world’. (the world being people with their ‘bad ways’) People with Faith are essentially unshakable and wake up every day with new eyes, renewed eyesight, insight, that give them ‘victory over the world’ as was quoted centuries ago in the bible and such people of Faith can be said to be ‘begotten by God’ so that they are able to discard little everyday irrelevant issues easily. And this is the Truth, it works…Faith is the process of getting to know God, through one’s interconnectness with others, by which one is enabled to conquer all and exist forever…Faith is all over the place, in every religious document, (Emunah) and hopefully throughout the world, breathing strength and life into souls for eternity.

by Simone Galy-Laquis

Simone Galy-Laquis was born and bred in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. At the age of sixteen she went to England to further her education. Two years later she returned to her homeland to manage one of her father’s businesses. By age nineteen she fell in love and married by age twenty-one. By thirty-one she had five children. She has enjoyed writing poetry since the age of six and has three published poems. Now at forty-three she spends her free time writing. She has a collection of sixty historical and inspirational unpublished poems.

How has faith played a factor in your life?

 

Financial Independence: 8 Tips to Achieve It

The goal should not be to get rich in life, it should be to enrich your life. Achieving financial independence is much more than not worrying about finances, creating time freedom, having passive income, and being in a position to live your dreams and help others – it is about reaching our full potential and not letting others define or determine it.

Contributor: Matthew Toone

Financial independence is possible. Unfortunately, it is often never achieved – much like all of our goals and dreams – because we don’t desire it enough, believe it is possible, or work hard enough for it. Just as detrimental, we become comfortable with mediocrity, allow others to dictate our decisions, become unwilling to put in the effort required to achieve our dreams, and never learn and implement the necessary steps that result in financial independence, time freedom, passive income, and our full potential being realized. Desiring financial independence is perhaps the first step; but we also need to change our thinking and learn how to not only achieve it, but be willing to put in the work necessary to obtain it.

Financial independence is actually more of a mentality than it is a dollar value in a bank account. It is more about not worrying and having time freedom than it is about being capable of always paying the bills. It is about overcoming fear and taking risks as much as it is about saving for retirement. And financial independence is all about passive income, not the balance of an IRA or 401(k). Unfortunately, the majority of people do not think this way – and this is made evident in the masses who get excited about pay raises and promotions, develop the typical employee mindset, and live far below their potential because they are unwilling to take risks, think and act differently, and understand the essential laws of success that also produce financial independence.

Thankfully, we can change! But even an understanding of the essential steps below is not enough – it is when knowledge and consistent action are combined that our goals, dreams, and financial independence will be realized.

1) Never Fall Victim to the Typical Employee Mentality: Stop thinking in terms of 9-5, manager and employee, weekends and holidays off, that is not my job or responsibility, etc. Doing more than you are paid to do will not only result in success on the job, but will undoubtedly carry over into other aspects of your life. But if you continually trade time for money, believe that job security is actually security, become content with mediocrity and being average, do just enough to keep your job, and actually think that a pay raise or promotion is the solution to your problems… then the only real hope you have is that your IRA and 401(k) will have sufficient funds to keep you alive after you’ve given 40+ years of your life to a company. And by all standards, that is not my definition of financial independence (or happiness).

2) IRA’s & 401(k)’s… Not a Recipe for Financial Independence: I find it ironic that our culture successfully convinces us that our family’s financial future will be taken care of by handing over our money to unknown (and often greedy) investors and companies who essentially are only interested in making a dime now – not in 40 years. And yet, what is more surprising is the masses of people who actually believe that financial independence is obtained by devoting (a better word would probably be enduring) 40+ years of our lives to a company, and think that an IRA or 401(k) will be the solution to their retirement and financial problems. Anyone who has ever achieved financial freedom has independently created it themselves, took risks, and was extremely proactive – never did these people depend upon a company or a retirement account to fully reach their goal.

3) Leaving Your Job to Start a Business is Actually Not the Answer: Realizing that a job, being an employee, and trading time for money will not produce financial independence is the first necessary change in mentality we must obtain. However, do not fall victim to the thought that being the boss, starting or running your own company, or even being an entrepreneur is the solution. Financial independence is not defined by having more power or larger pay checks – it is measured by time freedom, no financial worries, being the manager and investor and not the boss, and especially creating passive income. The goal is not to become the boss, the goal is to be the owner and hire a boss to do the work. The goal is to not earn more to be able to spend more, but take the excess money and buy appreciating assets that make you money.

4) Passive Income is the Key: Job security is not the same as financial security. Independence within your job is not even similar to financial independence. And trading time and effort for money is the exact opposite approach as making money work for you. The goal in all of your pursuits, and the key to actually achieving financial independence (hopefully long before the age of 65) is to take every extra dime and invest it into assets that actually make you money on a continual monthly basis. Whether it is cash flow from properties, interest from accounts, or even profits from the work of others from your own businesses – the goal is to create and buy assets that continually bring in a monthly passive income.

5) Change Your Mentality About Retirement: Our culture’s unfortunate perception of retirement entails working hard for 40+ years, trading our time for money in hopes of promotions and pay raises, trusting complete strangers to manage our retirement accounts, and sacrificing pleasure now in hopes of living our dreams in years to come. Truthfully, I want nothing to do with this type of retirement. And because of this, I am thus willing to put in whatever effort necessary, take risks, change my mentality, and learn and implement the principles that will result in financial independence – long before I reach the age of 65.

6) Recognize What Keeps You from Achieving Financial Independence: There are multiple reasons why people do not achieve their dreams and goals in life, but they all can essentially be summarized into three categories: fear, mediocrity, and inaction. Do you fear taking risks, and possibly failing? Do you fear because you think you lack the necessary knowledge or abilities to be successful? Are you content with mediocrity and being average? Is ‘just getting by’ or ‘that’s good enough’ or ‘it’s not worth it’ common thoughts (and thus actions)? Are you unwilling to put in the effort required to achieve success? If so, then financial independence most certainly will be forfeited, and the result may be a good life – but good is the enemy of great!

7) Being Rich is Not the Same as Being Financially Independent: True wealth is not determined by the size of a bank account, the house we live in, or the car we drive. True wealth is a state of mind more than it is an actual dollar figure. The individual who has no financial worries or obligations, has assets and employees working for them, has created a continual monthly passive income, and has resources sufficient to create time freedom and be in a position to help others – this is true wealth (regardless of how much income or profits are actually made). Comparatively, the individual who makes millions of dollars and drives the fanciest car and lives in the greatest mansion, is actually not wealthy at all if their expenditures exceed their income, they are trading time for money, they live in fear of their debts, their lives display being ‘rich’ only to keep up with the ‘jones’, they are entrenched in the ‘rat race’ in hopes that the next promotion will produce more time freedom (which never happens), and most importantly – they have no continual monthly residual income. Financial independence should be the goal – not being rich.

8) Understand That it is Achieved by Implementing the Laws of Success: As essential as all the principles above are, the reality is that no goal or dream in life is ever achieved unless and until we implement the laws that are foundational to all success. We must first desire financial independence, believe it is possible, have faith that we are capable of achieving it, change our mentality (as described above) and think big, overcome our fears and doubts, work hard every day in pursuit of our goal, and never quit until it is accomplished.

The goal should not be to get rich in life, it should be to enrich your life. Achieving financial independence is much more than not worrying about finances, creating time freedom, having passive income, and being in a position to live your dreams and help others – it is about reaching our full potential and not letting others define or determine it.

How are you achieving Financial Independence? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

If you’re interested in this topic, you may also enjoy one of these books:

Teaching Your Dog to be Independent

Some dogs are naturally more confident and independent that others from birth. In every litter there are puppies that are more outgoing and independent. Someone is always going to be the leader. But even if you have a puppy or dog that is not the leader of the pack you can still do a lot to help your dog feel confident and independent.

Contributor: Wayne Booth

There’s nothing happier than a happy dog. Most people would agree that in order to be happy a dog needs to feel confident and independent. Yet it’s also true that there are many dogs that, for one reason or another, cling to their owners. They may be anxious or fearful at times. You can teach your dog to be independent but it does take some effort on your part. Here are some suggestions.

First of all, some dogs are naturally more confident and independent that others from birth. In every litter there are puppies that are more outgoing and independent. Someone is always going to be the leader. But even if you have a puppy or dog that is not the leader of the pack you can still do a lot to help your dog feel confident and independent.

Once you bring home a puppy most people know that they should work on their puppy’s socialization. This means that they should begin taking their puppy out so he or she can see new things and meet friendly people. Seeing new things and meeting friendly people help build your puppy’s confidence. They show your puppy that he has nothing to fear from new things. They teach him that he should enjoy meeting people.

However, even if you work on this aspect of socialization with your puppy there’s another part of your puppy’s life that you need to consider. If you want your puppy to be independent then you need to encourage him to be independent at home, too. This is often harder than people realize. For instance, your puppy may be scared when something new and unexpected happens. Does your puppy hide when someone comes to the door or when people visit? Is he scared of loud noises or other things in the house? If so, then your own reaction to your puppy can determine whether he overcomes these fears and becomes independent and confident or whether he becomes anxious and clingy for the rest of his life.

If your puppy is frightened of things then you should take a calm and relaxed attitude toward them yourself. Show your puppy that there’s nothing to be afraid of. When strangers visit, show your puppy that they are welcome and encourage him to meet them. When there are loud noises that scare your puppy, try laughing and joking about them. If your puppy is scared of something in your yard, encourage him to investigate. Lead the way and show him that there’s nothing to worry about. Give him a pat and make a fuss about him when he overcomes his fears.

If you are bringing home an older dog then it’s possible that your dog may also need to become more independent, especially if he’s had any bad experiences in the past. Don’t force him to do things that really scare him, but do encourage him to look at new things and to meet people. If he’s clingy then give him lots of praise and encouragement when he shows signs of investigating things on his own. Do things that help him build his confidence. Try to make these things fun for your dog. As you work on building your dog’s confidence and helping him become more independent, things will become easier for your dog. He’ll start to enjoy things that used to give him trouble.

One of the best ways of teaching your puppy or dog to be independent is to start training him. Obedience training is a great way to build your dog’s confidence and help him become more independent. It encourages him to think and act and your dog will get lots of positive reinforcement in the process. You can also take part in training for agility and other dog sports that encourage your dog to be independent.

Depending on your puppy or dog, teaching your dog to be more independent can be easy or difficult, but it can be done. Take your cues from your dog. Don’t push too hard but don’t give up either. Remember that if your puppy or dog is scared and you offer too much comfort, you are simply reinforcing your dog’s belief that there is a reason to be scared. If you do this, then your dog will never become independent. Encourage your dog to be confident and independent and he will be a much happier dog in the long run.

Wayne Booth is owner of Canine Behavior Specialists in Nashville, TN where he helps people train and solve problems of all types with their dogs. Wayne has also been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network. Please visit the websites at http://www.CanineBehaviorSpecialists.com or the trainer school at http://www.K9-university.com

What is your dog’s biggest behavioral problem?

Happiness is Making it Independence Day Everyday

They took a stand. They said “no more!” No to oppression. “We will not be limited and we will not forfeit our right to happiness,” they said, “and no more giving up our power to choose the life we want.”

Contributor: Joseph Liberti

Making A Declaration

They took a stand. They said “no more!” No to oppression. “We will not be limited and we will not forfeit our right to happiness,” they said, “and no more giving up our power to choose the life we want.” 

The authors of the Declaration of Independence  put themselves at risk and in harm’s way. And they faced separation from friends and loved ones they might lose favor with. 

They wanted freedom that much. 

How about you?

How much do you want your personal freedom – your ability to determine the life you want? How will you get it?

Your personal freedom – your ability to choose your happiness is not something you need purchase or even develop. As the writers of the declaration said in the most famous sentence in US history: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I say:

Your freedom is your right! And your power to create that life is your spiritual inheritance.  

Reclaim your freedom now! Declare your independence today, and everyday, from limitation and discontent. Say “no” to living for the approval of others. Say “no” to letting your fear keep you from going for what’s important to you. Say “no” to holding back. Say “yes” to speaking your true voice and expressing your magnificent authentic self. 

Some have said the cost of freedom is vigilance. Your freedom to be is won in small battles with your ego. So to be free you must be vigilant and determined. You must say “no” to self-criticism whenever it arises and say “yes” to self-compassion at every opportunity. 

You must say “no” to compromising your integrity in times of hard choices and say “yes” to living your values. You must separate yourself from fear and doubt in the face of challenge or change and trust your intuition. Say “no” to a job that promises the illusion of security and guaranteed misery and say”yes” to your passion and doing the right thing.

As you assert the truth of your freedom, your self-esteem and self-worth will naturally rise and your self-confidence will be expressed in a mindful way of being, ease and peace of mind.

Take back your power. 

Declare your independence – today and every day!

And choose your happiness now!

Joseph Liberti, President of EQ At Work coaches leaders and coaches to liberate the power and creativity of their authentic self.

Source

Senior Independent Living, Bridging the Gap Between Wants and Needs

Maintaining one’s independent way of living is important for all individuals, and in particular seniors. As they get older, oftentimes seniors lose some of their abilities to function like they once did, but that doesn’t mean that they also lose their will to do so. A senior independent living facility provides the means for the elderly to maintain their independence while offering them access to the physical assistance they might need.

Contributor: C. Meyman

Maintaining one’s independent way of living is important for all individuals, and in particular seniors. As they get older, oftentimes seniors lose some of their abilities to function like they once did, but that doesn’t mean that they also lose their will to do so. A senior independent living facility provides the means for the elderly to maintain their independence while offering them access to the physical assistance they might need.

In California, in fact, senior independent living is such a hot button topic that it has been taken to the state legislature. As San Luis Obispo Times’ recently reported, among the top proposals being put up for consideration in California is “AP-10, which would require that all senior independent living facilities have at least one staff member trained in basic emergency treatment.”

The purpose of this proposal – and other ones like it – “is to help preserve and enhance the quality of life for older Californians and their families.” A high-quality senior living facility understands the importance of this quality of life for both its residents and their loved ones. To that end, it goes to great lengths to ensure its senior community residents enjoy all the amenities and creature comforts of home they are seeking.

At the same time, a top-notch facility takes immense strides to eliminate the isolation and/or loneliness that can arise at senior homes. Making senior residents’ and their loved ones’ concerns its number one priority is a mission all senior independent living centers should embrace. Above all else, the best ones incorporate the highest standards of personal dignity, respect, quality of life and compassion for seniors.

WebMD recently addressed the topic of independent living for people with dementia. Living on their own can be difficult enough for seniors without adding brain dysfunction to the mix. And the health experts stress that such a goal can still be accomplished: “Addressing safety, medical issues key to independent living” for people with dementia.

The article focused on keeping dementia patients home as long as possible, but when that option is no longer feasible, a senior independent living facility can help address the “numerous health, safety and supportive care needs that aren’t being met,” according to a new study in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Indeed, the study showed that just one percent of senior Alzheimer / dementia patients were having all of their needs met in terms of “safety, health, meaningful activities, legal issues and estate planning, assistance with activities of daily living and medication management.” That’s where a senior independent living center can bridge the gap. Such a facility expertly and compassionately attends to guests’ health and safety needs while, at the same time, allowing them to take advantage of a vibrant social scene as well as take part in a wide range of cultural activities.

When a safe, comfortable and convenient living arrangement is called for without surrendering one’s full independence, a senior independent living home is the ideal solution. What’s more, such a facility affords residents a place where memories can be made and friendships can be formed.

The McGregor Home offers several housing options for the retirement community including senior independent living.

Source: EZine

Independent You: How to Free Yourself for a Loving Intimate Relationship

We all love to celebrate Independence Day: fire-works, parties, drinking and eating, being with friends, maybe even with lovers (if we have one at the time). And we keep celebrating Independence Day once a year, year in, year out, as if this is something which has been engraved into our yearly routine, became part of our life-style, for ages.

Contributor: Doron Gill, Ph.D.

We all love to celebrate Independence Day: fire-works, parties, drinking and eating, being with friends, maybe even with lovers (if we have one at the time). And we keep celebrating Independence Day once a year, year in, year out, as if this is something which has been engraved into our yearly routine, became part of our life-style, for ages.

But then, does celebrating Independence Day make us independent, free and able to pursue our own wishes and desires?

To put it more clearly: why are we accustomed to celebrating Independence Day on a regular yearly basis, and have not been accustomed to pursue our own independence on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? How many of us are enslaved in our own behavioral patterns, driving us to sabotage our relationships time and again, without us doing anything to learn what’s going on, what we do wrong, and consequently free ourselves from old patterns, change whatever needs change and empower ourselves to develop a truly healthy, loving and successful intimacy? Why is it so much easy to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day rather than our own?

One simple answer is, that we have learned to celebrate Independence Day from an early age, so it became something we have been accustomed to, while we haven’t learned to develop our own independence, freedom of mind and of expression.

Another explanation is, that it is easy to “join the club” and do whatever others are doing: this doesn’t require any deep thinking on our part; any deep commitment. We do what others do, we feel we belong, we are part of: So easy! So enlightening! So wonderful!

But then, as Independence Day approaches its end, as night falls upon the nation, upon the city, upon us, we go to bed and wake up next morning as if nothing has happened, nothing in us has change: we are still who we were, enslaved in our own habitual ways of doing things, struggling to continue with our search for a successful intimate relationship, looking for a partner who will fulfill our needs and desires, only to realize, once more, that the road to a satisfying relationship is still a long-shot away…

How to become truly independent!

As much as you have become used to celebrate Independence Day on a yearly basis, by the same token you can – even should! – become used to pursue your own independence, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis!

What does this entail?

Pursuing your own independence means, you decide to dig deep into the reasons which have made it difficult for you, until now, to find the relationship you have been looking for. “Digging deep” is not easy – no wonder you might have avoided doing it until now! But then, without looking inside and taking responsibility for your failures in relationships (rather than blaming others or the “circumstances”) you can’t release yourself – free yourself! – from whatever needs, fears, emotions and behaviors have driven you to sabotage your relationships time after time.

Freeing yourself and becoming independent is a first step towards a healthy and successful intimacy

It is only when you understand how you shot yourself in the foot until now, that you become able to take the necessary steps to stop using the same damaging ways in which you have managed yourself until now – ways which have failed your relationships time and again. It is only when you stop these damaging ways from reoccurring that you become able to change in a positive direction. It is only then that you can find a partner with whom to develop a successful intimacy.

The reason being, that only when you free yourself from your old damaging patterns of thought and behavior; only when you truly understand how you have sabotaged yourself until now, that you are free to begin adopting new ways of interaction, of give-and-take in a relationship.

It is only when you free yourself from your own needs, fears and issues which have dominated your life until now (such as: the endless need to receive love; the fear of being along; the feeling that “without a partner I am worthless”) that you can really take control of your life (rather than having these needs, fears and issues control you), thus make sensible decisions about partners and relationships.

It is when you free yourself and your approach to intimacy from a strength, rather than from a weakness (i.e., driven by fears and needs), that you stop letting yourself fall into relationships which are not for you, (or, even worst, let others take advantage of you or abusing you).

When you have freed yourself from your own damaging issues, and approach intimacy from a strength, you will not continue falling, time and again, into relationships with partners who are not for you who might, at the end of the day, will leave you, once again, alone, disappointed, embittered, sad, wondering “what’s the hell is going on, again?”.

Make your own Independence Day comes true

You don’t need to wait year-long to create your own Independence Day. You can begin creating it right now! Releasing yourself from old damaging habits, fears and needs and taking control of your life is something you shouldn’t wait for “to happen” – since it won’t, unless you initiate it, unless you pave the way to accomplishing it, paving your way to your own independence, and hence to a successful intimacy and to happiness.

There is a saying: “Better late than never”. And the soon you begin freeing yourself, the soon you will be able to celebrate your independence, coupled with a successful intimacy!

Doron Gil, Ph.D., an expert on Self-Awareness and Relationships, is a university teacher, workshop leader, counsellor and consultant, and the author of: The Self-Awareness Guide to a Successful Intimate Relationship.” In his book Dr. Gil teaches you how to free yourself from needs and fears which sabotage your relationships, become independent in your own way, getting up the strength and becoming empowered to develop a successful intimacy.

Source: EZine

8 Tips for When You’ve Not Socialized in a While

If you’re a new parent, have perhaps had a change in personal circumstances, moved location or introduced a new lifestyle and are now being offered opportunities to go out when you’ve not socialized in a while it can be hard to motivate yourself to leave the house and make the effort to join in.

Contributor: Susan Leigh

If you’re a new parent, have perhaps had a change in personal circumstances, moved location or introduced a new lifestyle and are now being offered opportunities to go out when you’ve not socialized in a while it can be hard to motivate yourself to leave the house and make the effort to join in.

– You may have apprehensions and concerns. What about money; how much will it cost, what about the incidentals like taxis or babysitters, nails, clothes and hairdressers? How about the other members of the group. Are they ‘all’ vibrant, sophisticated ladies or successful businessmen? Will I fit in, what about my conversational skills?

– What if you do feel frumpy and out of date, not smart enough? Sometimes a small touch can make all the difference, like a new haircut, a brightly coloured top, a distinctive piece of jewellery. But remember, it’s not your size or what you’re wearing that makes you attractive and interesting to others. I doubt those are an issue for you when meeting someone new. Give your group credit for being equally discerning and knowing what’s important. Being good company and interested in others is what makes you a valued, integral part of any group. People like you, not your style of shoes or colour of lipstick.

 Take baby steps at first. Be selective about the invitations you accept, so that you’re already interested and inclined to go along. Make sure that there are several appealing factors; you’re comfortable with several members of the group, the place you’re going to is somewhere you’d enjoy. You may prefer to go for a meal or a film rather than to a noisy, busy bar, or are happiest with an activity like ten-pin bowling or a class, choose whatever you feel most relaxed with.

– Do you feel that you’ve been out of the mix for so long that you’ve lost the art of adult conversation and have little to talk about that’s not child, work or home-related? Determine to fix that by watching a little popular TV, keeping up to date with the news, listening to others and being attentive to what they converse about.

– And remember, joining in and being a good audience member as well as an interested listener, or being fine when others prefer to talk about themselves will ensure that you become a welcome addition to the group. Listening is a good fall-back position to adopt.

– Give yourself time to get ready, even if you allow an entire day. Set aside time to wash your hair, to decide what you’re going to wear. The hassle of getting ready, often a source of fun to other people, can be an additional stressor if you’ve not socialised in a while.

– Would arriving there with someone else be easiest for you? Perhaps arrange a lift or offer to drive so that you’re going with a ‘friend’ and can chat, enjoy each other’s company and not feel daunted by travelling alone.

– Arrange an emergency escape route, like having a friend phone after a couple of hours. Then if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to get away you can claim that you’re needed elsewhere, make your excuses and leave. Knowing that someone’s checking in on you can be a relief and remove the stress of feeling trapped and obligated to stay until the end.

– Remind yourself that’s it’s important to stay connected with the outside world – you’re not ‘just’ a partner, parent, employer or employee. Continue to invest in your individual identity and treat it as an important part of your relationship both with yourself and with others.

– Consider how you’ll feel if you decide not to go. Of course, it’s your choice at the end of the day, but rather than decline why not commit to going for an hour or two? You can always leave early if you start to feel overwhelmed, but remind yourself that it’s more likely that you’ll find that everyone’s there to relax and have a pleasant time too. They’re all similar to you, also with issues, troubles and concerns, equally in need of a night off. Discover how much better you’ll feel once you’ve gone along and joined in.

By starting to socialise again you’re reclaiming your identity and living a bigger, more expansive life. And so often others share your fears and concerns. Remember, you’re not alone!

Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She’s author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net

Source: EZine

July’s Optiscope

An optimist rocks the body they have while they work on the body they want. So free yourself of the self body shame, and advocate for everyone’s right to feel sensual and alive in their own skin. Embrace a little self-acceptance this weekend and give yourself permission to not only ADMIT that you have quirks, but also to embrace and celebrate them.

Contributor: Ann Poorboy

An optimist rocks the body they have while they work on the body they want. So free yourself of the self body shame, and advocate for everyone’s right to feel sensual and alive in their own skin. Embrace a little self-acceptance this weekend and give yourself permission to not only ADMIT that you have quirks, but also to embrace and celebrate them.

We all have individual lumps, bumps, curves, swerves, scars and such. On a personal note, I remember my husband walking in to the bathroom and asking me what all those bruises were. They weren’t bruises they were cellulite. We’ve all had those moments about one body part or another, but let’s not our imperfections take up more of our emotional energy than our perfections. We’re going to take self-shame out of that game. With “bikini season” fully upon us, we’re delving into your horoscope to help you understand and dismantle the sign-specific anxieties that could tempt you to hide during the year’s most social and celebratory season.  

ARIES:

As confident as you may come across, many Aries can be secretly neurotic or anxious, spending way too much time in your head. You’re a competitive sign who likes to be the best at all you do, and if you can’t win, you’d rather not play the game. Well, THAT is no way to go through summer! Ultimately, you’re a leader, and if we’re going to transform the world’s narrow beauty standards, someone has to make a radical first move. Yep, Aries, it might just be you (again). Some of the greatest trailblazers of the zodiac share your sign. So get this (pool) party started. Be the first one to cannonball off the diving board.

TAURUS:

As the zodiac’s most sensual and sensory sign, you are one of the signs most prone to body image issues. Although you may exude confidence, you can be privately stressed about wanting to look perfect, spending hours getting ready (and missing the damn pool party or barbecue with your fretting). You’ve got great taste, Taurus, so spend a little more on your swimsuit, sexy cover-up, sandals and chic resort wear. Having impeccable style—and yes, a little couture—always gives you a confidence boost. Hey, you’re worth the high-end summer splurge…and if you really have to rationalize it, well-made clothes last longer and are a better investment. Make a ritual of getting ready, rubbing sunscreen into your skin, and sipping iced tea with a slice of orange. Then know when enough’s enough and run to the beach or pool while the sun is still shining.

GEMINI:

Embrace the eclectic, Gemini. Being the sign of the Twins, you’re the mix-and-match royalty of the zodiac—so enhance your complexity instead of trying to hide it. Maybe you’ve got a tiny chest with a badonkadonk bottom, or matchstick legs with pendulous pecs. Symmetry is overrated, Gem. Don’t be afraid of being “too much”—because you already are, so just own it…and work it! Play up every feature you want. Rock swimwear in eye-popping colors and “clashing” patterns (camouflage bottoms and gingham top? Why not?). On anyone else, it could be a fashion faux pas, but on you, it’s sartorial genius. If you’re in a social setting, get everyone to laugh and relax by starting an interesting conversation or saying something so out-there that it loosens up the stiff and self-conscious vibe.

CANCER:

We won’t cue the tired “crab hiding in a shell” metaphor to explain your sign’s aversion to swimsuit season. But…if the crustacean cover-up fits…well, maybe you still shouldn’t wear it. Your sign is ruled by the moody moon, which draws you to sandy beaches and ocean tides like a siren’s call. But are you even enjoying your cosmic home turf? For better or worse, your sign rules the chest and stomach, which means you’re either the first one to rip off your T-shirt…or you’re cowering under a terry towel and a strategically ruched tankini. Enough tummy-shame, Cancer! Take your style cues from sexy belly dancers, who rock their rolls and entice with their ample abdomens. Adorn your midsection with jewels and chains, or wrap a filmy scarf around your waist.

LEO:

Oh my, everyone is looking at you! Um…no they’re not, Leo. Your sign is ruled by the Sun, which means you OWN summer. But like that great ball o’ fire, you may fancy yourself the center of the solar system. That can manifest as either swagger OR extreme self-consciousness. We recommend you choose the first option. Own the beach like a self-anointed mayor of that sandy surfer’s paradise, and get to know, well, everyone. Use your warmth to make others feel welcomed and at ease. Do THAT and you won’t have time to think about how your ass looks in your swimsuit.

VIRGO:

Pick, pick, pick. You’re the zodiac’s perfectionist and you want to look #flawless in the eyes of your beach beholders. And since you’re your own worst critic, this can be a slippery slope. For you, body anxiety is shortcode for social anxiety, which Virgos have in spades. It doesn’t matter if you look like Beyonce (also a Virgo)—your nervous energy will trump your ability to enjoy basking in sunshine. It might also make other people edge away from you as you fret or nervously chatter their ears off. Take a deep breath. And another one. Do a few hip circles to ground yourself (maybe in private). Listen to your favorite music. Virgo is also the sign of service. At a party, help the host greet people, pass out drinks or towel off kids. Being useful helps you ease into the scene and shift your focus off of yourself.

LIBRA:

Are my bikini straps symmetrically aligned? Did I miss a spot on my legs while waxing? Were my lash extensions damaged by the chlorine in the swimming pool? Body consciousness brings out the vanity in your sign, Libra, but there’s something deeper at play. Instead of worrying about your contouring (of your makeup AND your figure), go make some friends. Your sign’s social skills can be unparalleled and you have a knack for putting people at ease. To paraphrase your signmate Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in the swimming pool. Compliment people’s swimsuits, cover-ups, backstrokes and summer glow. Before you know it, you’ll get the same accolades in return. But also, Libra, remember that your sign can be overly reliant on compliments to feel good about yourself. Listen to some self-love affirmations by fellow Libra Louise Hay. Then give inner peace—and your two-piece—a chance.

SCORPIO:

See but don’t be seen? Yeah, we’ve spotted you hiding between those opaque black sunglasses and mirrored aviators, Scorpio. I know you well because I’m one too. You look sexy but impenetrable—and frankly, it seems kind of lonely. Scorpio is the sign of power and control. The trouble with that? You’re painfully aware of hierarchies and can get stuck sizing up (and protecting) your place on the food chain. The downside? Obsessing over social rank prevents you from connecting with people, making friends and having fun. It stops you from being vulnerable and getting past superficial appearances. Really, Scorpio, life is too short for that. Remind yourself that most of this drama exists in your own imagination. Now get out of your head…and into the damn water.

SAGITTARIUS:

Thanks to Nicki Minaj (a fellow Sag) and a slew of other celebs, hips, thighs booties have come into vogue. Your sign happens to rule these areas of the body—which would be good news IF the “look” didn’t also require a tiny waist, a flat stomach and the disturbing absence of cellulite.  But you don’t need to torture yourself in a waist trainer (as if). Find a sexy-yet-comfortable suit that flatters your proportions and coloring, then wear it with attitude. Sagittarius is one of the zodiac’s most inclusive signs, so why not help change the cultural conversation about beauty by proudly flaunting your own figure at any size? Bring that unapologetic Sagittarius style to the fore. Bonus: Your blunt humor can also break the tension at stiff poolside gatherings.

CAPRICORN:

Standoffish much? When you feel self-conscious, your response is usually to become reserved, donning a poker face along with nondescript swimwear. But in your efforts to NOT be noticed, the opposite usually ensues: People start wondering, “Who is this person and why does she think she’s better than us?” Argh! You don’t (okay, maybe a tiny bit?). But in an unfortunate astrological lot, Capricorn insecurity can read as snobbery. When you feel threatened, you go overboard to make sure nobody knows it, holding your head high and marching past the chattering masses in your tasteful designer resort wear. Try this: Instead of retracting into yourself, make eye contact, smile and say hello to people. A little warmth and friendliness can spell the difference between being viewed as an ice queen or a sun goddess.

AQUARIUS:

You’re the sign of group activity, so it would take a lot to keep you from gabbing with your crew on the pool deck or leaping into an impromptu beach volleyball game. But Aquarians have a secret neurotic streak and you can be VERY body-conscious, comparing yourself to everyone around you. You’re a bit of a paradox, because although you’re highly individualistic, your sign also has a deep core need to belong. The tension between these two contrasting needs—to stand out and fit in all at the same time—can be a bit of a head trip that plays out as a body image breakdown. One easy solution is to hang out with people who adore you for who you are, instead of trying to join a (swim) club that wouldn’t have you as a member. Choose your tribe as discerningly as you’d select a bathing suit or a non-toxic, cruelty-free sunscreen.

PISCES:

You’re the zodiac’s Fish, the sign that’s most at home in water (or at least, right near it!). But since you’re also a HSP (highly sensitive person) by nature, you absorb other people’s energy easily. At the beach or poolside, you pick up vibes in a magnified way, which can throw you off your aquatic game and fuel self-consciousness—no matter how glamorous your getup may be. Center yourself before joining a group gathering. You might even want to do a little protection ritual to “shield your field” before going anywhere that’s not a private beach or swimming pool. Here’s what NOT to do: Knock back cocktails or wine to soothe your nerves. Your sign is famous for not knowing your limits, and you could easily surpass them, which will blur the very boundaries you’re trying to create.

The New Look of Concrete

This new look comes as a result of advanced technology and products that allow us to embark on concrete grinding and polishing that creates a highly smooth and high-gloss surface with a professional finish. No longer simply used for structural purposes, concrete is now a desired aesthetic look that many now desire for their developments.

Contributor: Emma Riley

Concrete is a composite material of aggregates bonded together with cement that hardens over time. That’s the boring part. What people have used concrete for over the centuries is perhaps more interesting, using it to build our cities and most frequented event spaces. Today though, concrete has a brand new look that has become increasingly popular for both commercial and domestic purposes, used to create a stylish and unique finish for indoor spaces.

This new look comes as a result of advanced technology and products that allow us to embark on concrete grinding and polishing that creates a highly smooth and high-gloss surface with a professional finish. No longer simply used for structural purposes, concrete is now a desired aesthetic look that many now desire for their developments.

Benefits 
Concrete is highly durable material. This is the reason it is used so much in developments throughout any major city or town – stadiums, housing developments, roads and infrastructure all use concrete as an integral part of their design for its strength and durability. In addition to this, the polishing process initiates a densification of the material hardening the concrete slab and maximising its durability. The attraction of a floor surface that has an extremely long shelf life and resilience against scratches, cracking, water damage and blemishes is clear.

The aesthetic appeal is a large factor in the material’s increasingly common usage. Far from a simple grey floor space, polished concrete can be unique and elegant depending on the process and ingredients used to create it. Various colours and patterns are also available making it a surprisingly versatile flooring option. By using different variations of aggregates, sand, stains, dyes, decorative engravings and stencilled graphics, a beautiful floor finishing can be achieved.

Maintenance of this surface is incredibly easy. As a single solid unit, there are no areas where dirt or corrosive material can hide. This means that no unwanted areas of grime need to be handled with costly and expensive cleaning methods. Moderate cleaning products applied directly to the surface are all it takes to keep polished concrete looking fresh and clean. Other materials such as wood may need much more care and attention when it comes to long term maintenance. In order to achieve a desirable finish, waxing treatments and constant cleaning is sometimes necessary – but not with polished concrete flooring.

As a result of the easy maintenance of this product, hygiene levels are usually much higher in developments that integrate them into their designs. The cleaning process is much faster first of all, but also the material does not harbour any bacteria that can be transmitted to humans if not attended to. This is especially useful in kitchen layouts.

Downsides 
While there are many benefits to using polished concrete floors, there are of course some downsides that may not make it the perfect option for your home or development. The biggest one ironically is also one of its greatest attributes – due to the high strength and durability of the material, dropping anything delicate or expensive on this surface will likely result in damage. In contrast to carpet or linoleum, a phone, laptop, vase or chinaware may not survive a fall to the floor.

Another drawback is that it can be cold to the touch when not directly exposed to the sun or within a heated room. Those who like to walk around bare foot in their homes may find it uncomfortable. Also the consistency of the finish across the entire surface may vary slightly, especially with large scale spaces. The changes might not be drastic, with the floor probably being only slightly lighter around the perimeter, but if you are a perfectionist, or if you are designing a development where attention to detail must be exact, then you may want to think twice about using polished concrete flooring.

Our best advice is to go and experience it for yourself. Check out any new development that has integrated the material into their floor space and consider how it might be used in your own. There are also plenty of online examples that you can also browse to get a better sense of patterns, colours and textures.

Advance Group is the UK’s leading specialist in concrete floor management which includes grinding, maintenance, polishing and restoration. They are Safe Contractor approved and are qualified under the Retro Plate System. They are also members of the KSG Group and are IICRC accredited. Advanced Group’s valued clients have included BT, Warburtons, Hammerson, Balfour Beatty, Wilmot Dixon and Workman.

Understanding the Difference Between Clinical Depression and Emotional Slump

The first thing that people need to understand is that depression is much more than an extended phase of intense sadness. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, an author and psychiatrist, depression, manifests as an outcome of biological issues in the brain and is an extremely complex illness with a set of challenging symptoms.

Contributor: Susan Navarez

Owing to celebrities like Michelle Williams, Kristen Bell, and Demi Lovato who have openly shared their experiences with depression, the latter is nowadays being discussed more openly than ever before. Yet, due to the stigma attached to mental illnesses, people are still scared of talking about the “issue” and do not know how to differentiate between the symptoms of a depression and a temporary emotional slump.

Given below are a few ways which can help one distinguish between a temporary depressive state and a form of this.

Understanding depression

The first thing that people need to understand is that depression is much more than an extended phase of intense sadness. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, an author and psychiatrist, depression, manifests as an outcome of biological issues in the brain and is an extremely complex illness with a set of challenging symptoms.

Dr. Brain Cassmassi, a psychiatrist and mental health consultant in Los Angles, shared that in order for an individual to be diagnosed with clinical depression, they need to meet certain criteria after undergoing a bout of sadness exceeding two weeks, for most part of the day, or every day. Some of these criteria include changes in appetite, changes in sleep pattern, fatigue, a sense of guilt or worthlessness, and a sense of apathy. In some cases, the individual may also be suicidal.

Clinical depression Vs temporary depression

According to Dr. Barbara Nosal, Ph. D., therapist, and chief clinical officer at Newport Academy, in the case of clinical depression, at least five symptoms typically persist for more than two weeks. On the other hand, if an individual is suffering from temporary depression, only two depressive symptoms would be present. Also, if an individual can still find enjoyment or pleasure in things and hobbies that made them happy in the past, it is not a sign of clinical depression. In the case of a clinical depression, it can be extremely challenging to derive enjoyment out of any kind of activity. Additionally, the afflicted individual also battles feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

Temporary episodes of depression usually have triggers that are easier to spot. Dr. Cassmassi elaborated that major episodes of depression, on the other hand, can occur without an easily identifiable trigger, especially for individuals with a history of repeated bouts of the mental disorder. Dr. Nosal shared that triggers such as social isolation, trauma as a result of abuse, major life changes, or conflicts in personal relationships can trigger clinical depression.

Dr. Cassmassi also stated that while passing thoughts of suicide are common to both situational and clinical depression, if anyone has more defined thoughts of suicide, it is a major sign of clinical depression that needs immediate medical intervention.

Treating clinical depression

Clinical depression can be treated with a combination of medicines and certain psychotherapies. The most effective therapies designed to help patients with clinical depression include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and attachment-based family therapy (ABFT).

CBT helps patients identify self-defeating thoughts and judgments that make life more challenging. The therapy focuses on teaching the patient to think differently so that the negative thought process can be broken and replaced by a more positive one. DBT offers specific skills like emotional regulation and mindfulness, while MET helps in resolving any kind of initial resistance to treatment. ABFT, which is especially designed for adolescent depression, repairs the parent-child relationship and the family system. Dr. Cassmassi said that therapy is a good option even if someone is going through short-term depression. With the help of a skilled therapist, an individual going through temporary depression can learn to handle the next emotional down-period or the next stressful event in a much better manner and prevent the episode from turning into a full-blown clinical depression.

Seeking help for depression

Depression affects more than 7.5 percent Americans, aged 12 years and above, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the help of a comprehensive depression treatment plan, comprising therapies, medications or both, clinical depression can be effectively managed.

If you or a loved one are looking for a reliable depression treatment facility, get in touch with the Medical Concierge of California. Our team of medical experts will offer you all the required assistance and help you overcome the disorder. You can also call our 24/7 helpline 866-594-8660 or chat online with our counselor for more information about our evidence-based depression treatment plans. Medical Concierge is known for customizing their plans to suit each and every patient’s requirements and medical history.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/10092465