The Effects of Constant Criticism

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I live with two people who are free with their criticism.  Some of this criticism includes such things as the way the spices are organized to the way I do my laundry.  If this was constructive criticism I wouldn’t be so upset.  However, it is not.  This is done specifically to make me feel “less than”. It takes a toll on a person, and I decided to do a little research into exactly what kind of effects this has on the person being criticized. One notable effect is that being constantly criticized can really affect your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.  This is true, since after I’ve been criticized I really feel sick, whether it’s a headache, upset stomach, or both.  Then I find that in the days following such an attack I just want to curl up in my bed, hide under the covers and do nothing.  It takes every ounce of energy I’ve got to continue on my path to change.

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When I looked up information on this subject, there was a lot of information regarding parents being overly critical of their children.   My parents were overly critical.  If I got a score of 100% correct, I was asked why I didn’t get 101%. When I graduated college with a double Major in four years, my Mother was upset that I didn’t also have a Minor.  My achievements were not recognized, only my “faults”.

So, I’m now struggling with this issue in my life, and either the attacks are getting worse, or I’m not dealing with the after-effects as well as in the past.  Being told to grow a thicker skin is not helpful, and not something I’d recommend to other people.  However, I try to look at the problems of the person who is attacking me.  As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they are attacking me has to do with them, not me.  If the criticism is valid, I look for the truths in it.  However, when the criticism is generally about how I do something, or say something, or in some cases just the very act of my being is the object of the criticism, then I try to remember that it’s not valid.   So, look into the critical statements, see if it’s valid and if it isn’t , consider the source.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-labermeier/negative-impact-of-criticism-_b_3829346.html

 

Finding Serenity

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Life can be pretty nuts.  Not only do we have to worry about what’s going on in our own lives, but there is also the human suffering that we all see every day – and a lot of that is not just somewhere “out there” in the world, but here at home.

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So, what to do?  How can we deal with all of this?  The stress of just daily life can be overwhelming. How can we find some form of serenity?  There is only so much that we can do as individuals.  Yes, there are letters to write and petitions to sign, but how do we find a way to cope with the stresses that need to be dealt with?

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Personally, at the end of the day I realize that there is only so much I can do to influence what’s going on “out there”.  I try to influence people who I come across each day.  If I think that someone who I don’t know looks really nice, I’ll tell them.  Just the look of surprise and happiness that I see on their faces lets me know that even though I may have hesitated to give them a compliment, it was the right decision.  And, although talking to a total stranger is hard for me, it was worthwhile.  So, let me know what you do to throw a little happiness out there in the world.  I’d love to hear your stories and advice.

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Your Attitude Affects Your Life

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In a way, that statement, your attitude affects your life, can be a little intimating. No one wants a bad life.  We all want to be happy, joyful and successful (however it is that we each measure success). When we want to change our behavior, we need to first change our attitude.  I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard all about an “attitude of gratitude”, and “thinking good thoughts”.  Yes, those are clichés, however, as with many clichés there is some truth to them.  If someone were to get up in the morning and think to themselves, I’m going to have a horrible, terrible no good day today.  We would think that they were crazy.  Who in the world would do that to themselves?  See, you do believe in attitude affecting behavior and change.

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So, today why not try something new.  Get up and think I’m going to have a great day.  Nothing is going to put me in a bad mood.  Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it and move on.  I’m going to try this, since I need an attitude adjustment – just like many other people.  Let’s give it a go and see if it works!

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Food and Exercise

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I’ve been on the Engine 2 Rescue Diet now for almost three weeks.  This diet is a no oil, no preservatives plant -based one.  How is it going?  Well, at times all I really want to do is to eat all the chips in the bag!  However, I haven’t done that, and it’s going pretty good.  I haven’t fallen “off the wagon” at all, and when I do get chip cravings, I tend to eat either some grapes – which are totally delicious, by the way, or an orange.

Learning how to make stir-fry without oil was a little hard to get used to, but I’ve got that down, now.  Tonight, is Chinese night, so I’m really looking forward to the steamed veggies with white rice.  A meal that I don’t have to cook is always a source of excitement.

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I’ve been having Quaker Quick Oats for breakfast with some maple syrup, cinnamon, banana and blueberries.  At first I thought yuck! I hate oatmeal, but when I have it like this, it’s really good!  If I get hungry later in the morning (sometimes I’ve already eaten by 6:30, I’ll have an orange.

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Here’s a lunch that I love.  I just cut-up some onion, mushroom, squash and peppers, then I stir-fried them in a little water.  I put them on a Sandwich Thin (again, no oil), added a little no-oil homemade hummus and dug in.  I also ate the leftovers.  Good lunch!  Next week I’ll give you some dinner recipes.  I have to take pictures, since I haven’t gotten around to that, yet.

I’ll also eat a salad with extra veggies and chickpeas. If I still feel hungry I’ll throw a small red potato in the microwave and cook it up.  I’ll then eat it with some garlic powder.  No vegan butter for me.  This was actually a little strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and now like the potato with only some herbs on it.

I’ve added some more exercise to my routine also.  I now work-out in the morning, then go for a walk with my dog around eleven, then come home and work-out some more.  In the afternoon, I’ll do so again.  So, this is what I do:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do my Soloflex machine (yes, I’ve had one for more years than I want to admit), then a Denise Austin DVD with weights in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a Denise Austin Pilates DVD.  I hate Pilates!  Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll do a Fitness Blender video in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a bunch of Sun Salutations very slowly.  On the weekend, I usually mix it up with some Denise Austin workouts and different Fitness Blender videos.

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The whole process has been a major time-commitment, what with the meal planning, making things that I usually don’t from scratch and working out.  However, I’ve finally seen a positive change in my body.  Have you changed anything about your diet or exercise routine?  Let me know how that’s going for you.

 

Unity

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The only way to fight injustice in the world is make sure that we fight for all who are in need of it.  That means that we need to stand up not only for ourselves and our own concerns, but we must stand up for all the others who are marginalized.  We must stand and resist together.  It’s the only way change will occur.

 

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Is Motivation Garbage?

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Mel Robbins has a video out about how motivation is garbage, which I’ve linked below.  My initial reaction was wait, what!!  It’s a fifty-minute interview so it is a little long, but I highly recommend watching it, as she has a lot of good information to give.  In fact, I hope that people watch her videos since she’s really well informed, and is one the most engaging speakers I’ve seen.

Of course, the whole premise is that motivation doesn’t work, because motivation isn’t what gets you off your butt, action is.  Which is the truth.  We can all read motivational quotes until the sun goes down, but if we don’t actually do something the quotes will never help you.  Personally, I find that the best way to motivate myself is to think of all the times I’ve done something that I really don’t want to do, and to think about how not doing it will wreck my number of days that I’ve already done it.  This works really well with exercise and diet related goals.

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Motivating oneself is difficult, since action is the crux of the problem.  So, get off your butt and do whatever it is.  Make that goals list, break it down into steps, and just start.  Don’t wait until you feel like it – that, I’ve got to tell you, is never going to happen.  You’re never going to feel like change because change is hard, it hurts and it’s difficult.  Just do it!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCHPSo79rB4

 

Giving Things Up?

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I know that it’s the Lenten season for those of you who are practicing Christians.  Oftentimes people choose to give something up for the forty days of Lent.  I used to do that myself.  When I was a child I usually gave up chocolate.  This was not a big deal, since at my house there was never any chocolate allowed, with the exception of chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  Since I was the designated baker of the family (one of my Saturday chores was to bake cookies for the upcoming week), I simply made snickerdoodles or oatmeal cookies for those few weeks.

When I got older, instead of giving up things, I would make sure I visited one of my grandparents every week during Lent. Not only had I done something the made them happy, but I was also the only family member to hear the stories about Speakeasies, Jazz and illegal drinking in NYC during Prohibition.   Looking back, I realize that was a much better way of observing the spirit of Lent.

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Now that I’m an adult, I try to be more spiritual.  I don’t think that we should limit our spiritual lives to seasons, although it’s more difficult to reflect on the state of the world in a consistent manner .  In my own life I’ve found that if I try my best to follow the “golden rule” I can look at myself in the mirror.

Are you giving up, or giving this Lenten season?  Let me know your plans, and we can share suggestions to celebrate the spirit of Lent.