Tag Archives: growth

Principles of Purpose:  Be Kind

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful
Practice ModerationManage ExpectationsResolve ConflictPlan Ahead
Have PatienceBe YourselfPractice AcceptanceBe Grateful
Manage MoneyBe Kind

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Aesop

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness.

While kindness has a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength. Kindness is an interpersonal skill.

There is a saying, “One good turn deserves another.” That means if you do someone a favor, chances are you’ll be repaid in kind. The same can be said for random acts of kindness.

They can create a “ripple effect” whereby the person you help may be inspired to do the same for someone else, and so on in a virtual cascade of kindness. In fact, according to psychologist Jonathan Haidt, just witnessing an act of kindness can prompt someone to follow suit.

Kindness At Work
Kindness of Interpretation

In theory, we all love kindness of course, but in practice, a kind person sounds like something we would try to be only once every other more arduous and more rewarding alternative had failed. Learning to be kind means acknowledging how boring kindness can (unfairly) sound.

So much of what we value is in fact preserved by kindness and is compatible with it. We can be kind and successful, kind and exciting, kind and wealthy and kind and potent. Kindness is a virtue awaiting our rediscovery and our renewed, un-conflicted appreciation.

What we tend to be most short of from others is kindness of interpretation: that is, a generous perspective on the weaknesses, eccentricities, anxieties and follies that we present but are unable to win direct sympathy for. The kind person re-tells the story of our lives in a redemptive way.

The kind person works with a picture of us that is sufficiently generous and complex as to make us more than just the ‘fool’ or ‘weirdo’, the ‘failure’ or ‘loser’ that we might otherwise so easily have been dismissed as.

The kind person gives generously from a sense that they too will stand in need of kindness. Not right now, not over this, but in some other area. They know that self-righteousness is merely the result of a faulty memory, an inability to hold in mind – at moments when they are truly good and totally in the right – how often they have been deeply and definitively in the wrong.

Kindness remembers how there might still be virtue amidst a lot of evil. Kindness is aware that when someone shouts an insult, they are not usually revealing the secret truth about their feelings; they are trying to wound the other because they feel they have been hurt – usually by someone else, whom they don’t have the authority to injure back. Kindness is interested in mitigating circumstances; in bits of the truth that can cast a less catastrophic light on folly.

RAK’s

RAK’s stands for Random Acts of Kindness. No matter small or large, a random act of kindness has been shown to create a ripple of positive health & well-being effects to others around us: coworkers, patients, clients, family, and friends.

Random acts of kindness may help to improve mental health. There is some evidence that working to help others can be a way to cope positively with one’s own problems. Some people find that their own problems seem less severe when they help others, and the positive regard many people receive when they do kind things can help improve their mood. While a random act of kindness is not a substitute for mental health treatment, it can help people feel better about themselves and those around them.

Being Kind To Yourself

Self-kindness refers to acting in kind and understanding ways towards ourselves. For example, instead of being critical (I’m so disorganized! I’ll never be successful!), our inner voice is supportive and warm (It’s OK that I missed the deadline. I worked hard and I’ll make it next time).

A sense of common humanity is the recognition that everyone makes mistakes and no one is without their weaknesses.

Accepting that we are not alone in our suffering comforts us with feelings of inclusivity rather than alienation. Finally, mindfulness offers a “meta-perspective” on our hardships, helping us to not exaggerate our distress and become engulfed by it.

Self-Kindness Exercise

1.      Think about the kindest, most compassionate person you have known—someone who has been kind, understanding and supportive of you. It may have been a teacher, a friend, or perhaps a friend’s parent. If you can’t think of someone in your life who has been kind toward you, think of a kind and compassionate public figure or even a fictional character from a book, film or television.

2.      See if you can single out the key factors involved in helping you to feel so cared about: the words, gestures, looks, or touch of this person. Now use these factors to help you become your own “nice person”—meaning that you can now provide for yourself the things this person provided for you.

3.      Try talking to yourself in the same way, using the same loving words or soothing tones. If the person physically comforted you, repeat this gesture toward yourself.

4.      Take a deep breath and take in the good feelings of loving kindness. 

List of 100 Acts of Kindness

101 Of The Best Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
Click to Enlarge

Principles of Purpose:  Manage Money

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful
Practice ModerationManage ExpectationsResolve ConflictPlan Ahead
Have PatienceBe YourselfPractice AcceptanceBe Grateful
Manage Money

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”

Will Rogers
Poor Money Management

Because of my impulsive nature and poor self-discipline, I have never managed money well. Growing up nobody taught me the value and importance of fiscal responsibility. When I had money I spent it. Immediately. I burned through money with no regard to the consequences. “A fool and his money…”

Three times I have had to rebuild my shoddy credit history because of this. I even claimed bankruptcy in 1997, only to crash and burn a decade later. Throughout my life I managed to fail financially. Time and time again my impulsivity and lack of fiscal responsibility caused me major problems. I just couldn’t save money, or manage the money that I earned.

Believe it or not, it has only been the last few years that I have paid strict attention to the money coming in and the money going out. Although I still struggle sometimes with impulsive purchases, I have limited the scope of damage by paying attention to my bank statements; something I really never did much of. As a result of my new-found responsibility, I have been able to stay out of credit card debt, settle old debts, and even purchase a home. However, if I do not remain vigilant, I know that I could easily slip back into financial immaturity.

Saving Money

Part of managing money is being about to save it! Saving money is nearly impossible for those of us living from paycheck to paycheck. With all the deductions and taxes, most of us struggle to maintain our livelihoods let alone save money. There’s an old adage when it comes to saving money that you should always “Pay yourself first.” That’s easier said than done with all the expenses most of us have.

The best way to save money is to make sure you take a percentage of your paycheck (that you can sustain and maintain) and put it towards savings. A percentage versus an actual amount works especially well for folks with different paycheck amounts each week. In order to successfully build a decent savings account it takes a realistic amount you can afford to put away each paycheck.

As I said earlier, it has only been the last few years that I have actually concentrated on managing my money; and today I am proud to say that I have a decent savings account. I’ve bought a few CD’s as well. For some of you all this might seem elementary; however, for me it’s always been a struggle. Even today I have to pay particular attention to what goes into the savings account. It is enough to live off of for 4 months. I’d like to get it up to 12 months. Then I would really feel as though I have accomplished something.

Credit and Debt

I got my first credit card when I was in college. It was a Sears charge card. I promptly maxed it out and then failed to make the payments on it. I have not historically done well with managing my credit. No surprise there.

Because I misused credit, I had to file bankruptcy in 1997. I recovered from that bankruptcy, bringing my score back over 700. I didn’t learn from my earlier mistakes, and my credit hit rock bottom twice more. Last year I negotiated many settlements with old creditors. My score is finally approaching 700 once again.

I now have just one credit card. If I can’t afford something, I usually don’t buy it. I have managed the one credit card wisely; using it for larger purchases in order to rebuild my credit. I then pay it off at the end of the month to avoid surcharges and interest charges.

Being overextended seems to be the American way. Foolishly we use credit to buy things we can’t afford. Then we are stuck making payments with the money we can’t afford to make the payments with. I suspect more than some of you are stuck on the credit hamster wheel: making minimum payments on credit cards and barely having money left over to have any kind of savings.

Attitude Shift

It takes a serious attitude shift about finances to manage money successfully. Spending money when you don’t have it. Using credit cards to manage daily life. Ignoring the need to save some kind of percentage of your paycheck. In today’s world, for most of us any way, eeking out a living is becoming more and more difficult. Making ends meet an almost daily challenge.

5 Ways to Empower Children with Financial Responsibility — April Rinne

At 57, it’s a bit late for me to be thinking about retirement plans and such. I no longer have that luxury. However, I do have the luxury of paying attention to my bottom line and ensuring there is money for emergencies. I also have a responsibility to my wife and daughter. I have savings accounts for them as well. The last thing that’s going to happen to my daughter is for her not to understand the importance of managing her money.

I am still a ways away from ensuring I have at least 6 month’s worth of living expenses securely tucked away in my savings account. But I am on top of my finances like never before.

Maybe I can avoid the calamities a future of money woes by being smart this time. It’s never too late to right the ship.

Living Life Well: Your Gut

living_life_well_on_recoverywise

Gems for living a life of wellness. Lessons I have learned, or am learning, during this crazy journey through life.

We have deep within us a wellspring of wisdom.  Some would call it intuition.  Learning to listen to your intuition is a slowly learned process.  I can’t tell you how many times I  didn’t listen to that tiny inner voice or paid attention to that tiny feeling that was trying to tell me that I was about to do something stupid.

results on justruminating men's blog

Deep down you know when you’ve made a bad decision.  You know when you’ve got to apologize, make amends, put things right.  Deep down you know when you are about to do something that goes against your grain.  But you do it anyway!  Often, with unpleasant results.  Trust me, I have been there, done that, bought the shot glass.

If you can tap into that inner voice or feeling the feeling, you’ll find it can help.  It will become more than a mindless parrot perched on your shoulder, chanting “You messed up again” after the event.

Try running stuff past your inner you, before doing things and see what reaction you get.  As with anything, the more you do this, the easier it is to accomplish.

mirror on justruminating men's blog

I want to clarify here.  When I say listen, I don’t mean listen to what goes on in your head.  Now that really is where the insanity lies.  No, I mean a stiller, quieter voice.  For some it’s more a feeling than a voice–what we sometimes call gut instinct.

“Follow your gut” is advice you may have heard before.  I was taught a method whereby before I am about to make a decision, I go in front of the mirror and ask myself if it’s a good idea.

Trust me, when you are standing in front of the mirror and asking yourself out loud your own opinion or advice on something, you will find you will never steer yourself wrong!

Living Life Well: Living For Today

living_life_well_on_recoverywise

Gems for living a life of wellness. Lessons I have learned, or am learning, during this crazy journey through life.

Everyday we wake up is a fresh start, and we can make of it what we want, write on that blank canvas.  So, whatever the past was, let it go.  Don’t live in the past!

past1

There is nothing you can do to change anything that has gone on before and so you must turn your attention to the here and now.  I know that it is hard to resist the allure of dwelling on what has gone before. 

But if you want to be happy and successful at life, you have to turn your attention to what is happening for you right now.  You might be tempted to dwell on the past because it was awful or because it was wonderful.  Either way, you have to leave it behind because the only way to live is in the present.

If you’re revisiting the past because of regrets, then you need to be clear that you can’t go back and undo what you’ve done.  If you hang on to guilt, you’re only damaging yourself.  We’ve all made bad decisions that have adversely affected people around us that we professed to love but whom we treated disgracefully.  There isn’t a damn thing you can do to wipe the slate clean.

past on justruminating men's blog

If you can, try to see the past as a room separate from the one you live in now.  You can go in there but you don’t live there anymore.  You can go visit, but it isn’t home anymore.  Home is here and now.  Don’t miss what is happening now because you were too busy looking back, or later you’ll be busy looking back at this time and wondering why you wasted it.

Carpe Diem!

Living Life Well: Spiritual Discipline

living_life_well_on_recoverywise

Gems for living a life of wellness. Lessons I have learned, or am learning, during this crazy journey through life.

Spirituality is an active relationship with a power greater than yourself that gives your life meaning and purpose. When you work a spiritual program, you consciously and actively attempt to become a part of something bigger, greater, and powerful than yourself.

Belief in a Higher Power takes you out of the center of your universe and offers peace of mind and serenity by an awareness that there is a power that is not restricted by your weaknesses and limitations. Through spiritual development you can create new confidence in your own abilities and develop a new sense of hope. It is through a spiritual program that you can reach with hope and a positive attitude toward the future.

In working on your spirituality you do have to be open to the possibility of a Higher Power and be willing to structure your life in such a way as to spend time alone each day to interact with your Higher Power. It is important to examine your values and look within yourself to determine whether your life is in harmony with those values.

Spiritual discipline is a consciously chosen course of action. Discipline is uncomfortable for many of us recovering addicts. We have lived lives of immediate gratification, and disciple is the reverse of that. The purpose of spiritual discipline is freedom from the slavery of self-indulgence. Spiritual discipline includes prayer and meditation, spiritual fellowship, and regular inventory of your spiritual growth.

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