Be Sincere…not sarcastic. Keep it positive.

Did you know that the word “sarcasm” can be traced back to the Greek verb sarkazein?  According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary sarkazein initially meant “to tear flesh like a dog”.  It eventually was a reference for “biting of a lip in rage”, “gnashing your teeth” and today the more common reference of a sneer or hurtful remark. But if you think of the original meaning…that really paints a picture – doesn’t it?  A sarcastic comment at someone else’s expense may seem funny – but if you imagined that the comment tore at their flesh – you might rethink how funny it really was.

In my mid-20’s I was sarcastic.  It mostly happened when I was hurt by others. And I used it as a way to protect myself.  It was kind of like “I’ll say this before you can hurt me with your words”.  Over time, it was something that made me sad and made others not want to be around me.  I have learned that I spend the most time with myself! I want to be someone who even I would like to hang out with.

When I was a young girl, there was a show called “Maude”.  Bea Arthur was the actress playing the main character.  She was very sarcastic.  It was a hit show and they dealt with some serious topics from time to time. People would laugh when she would slam the door in someone’s face.  Or if she made a sarcastic remark that made the other person look stupid.  Looking back – she was mean. Sarcasm is not nice and it is definitely not positive.

Sincerity!  That is the way to go.  Merriam Webster Dictionary describes sincerity as “the quality of being free from pretense, deceit or hypocrisy.”  It is being honest, genuine, truthful, trustworthy, integrity.  Obviously, it is not as “funny” to people when you are sincere.  However, it is KIND.  It is POSITIVE.  I think that people are more likely to want to be around me when I am sincere.

Take some time today and think about which direction you tend to go in.  Are you sarcastic or sincere? There is always a choice.  Be someone who YOU want to be around… Be an inspiration to others to be positive.

Be Sincere…not sarcastic. Keep it positive.

Giving and helping others – matters.

I live in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, not far from Akron.  For the last week or so, we have experienced winter weather.  For several of those days, the temperature was below zero – with a windchill as low as -29!  I was thinking about how cold I am when I am outside – even though it is for 2 minutes at a time – walking to my car. Then it occurred to me that the people who are homeless – including children – are desperate for food, shelter and medical attention.  I am so fortunate to have a good job, warm home, food and medical benefits. Not everyone has that and they need our help.

Do you ever stop to think about those in need and how – at least in the United States – it seems that we are eager to give at the holidays?  At Thanksgiving and Christmas there are people raising money for charities and helping in soup kitchens and food banks.  With our frigid temperatures, we need to remember that people are not just homeless at the holidays.  They are dealing with this all year.

Covenant House – Help for homeless children is a resource in many places.  They need help and if the wrong person is there – someone who wants to take advantage of them… it doesn’t end well.  But if you or other good people are there to help – it can make all the difference.

A great way to keep positive is gratitude.  To be grateful for what you have and to share it with others. Something as basic as a new pair of warm socks means so much to someone who is on the streets.  A safe place to sit or sleep.  Not being beaten or threatened. A warm meal.  A hug or a handshake to let a person know that they matter in the world.  None of these cost much in terms of money. It is your time that is needed.

So here is my challenge – whether you are in a freezing winter place like I am or you are in a hot area where people need something to stay cool:  Be of service. Find something that you can do – for someone else.  Many people in these situations are just like you and I – but through a turn of events are on the streets.  Commit to doing at least 1 thing each week for someone in need.  If you feel better or positive – that’s because it is a good thing to do.  And if you are on the other end of this situation – accept the help.  Know this is given in love.

If you can’t think of something you can do locally, there are many charities that you can join in volunteering. Do something for someone else.  It will help them.. and you.

Life is an adventure – if you want it to be.

Last weekend I went to a retreat that was held in a cabin in the country.  It was beautiful there and the people attending were wonderful. It was a great experience for me.  Before the retreat, we were asked to bring pictures.  A picture of us from early childhood, teen years and young adulthood.  Also pictures that bring us joy, gratitude and peace. As I searched for pictures, I also found lots of different pictures of trips I have been on, people I have known and adventures I have taken. Life is an adventure – after all.

Little Sharon Niermann

Here is the picture I shared of myself at the retreat as a little girl.  I would describe her (ME) as a girl full of joy and ready for adventure.  I have this picture out all the time in my home, so it was easy to find.  I usually look at it and say to myself, “What would this little girl want me to do – to enjoy my life?” She would want me to enjoy the moments in life.  Be present and have fun.  Be confident like her.  Laugh and play and make friends.

 

 

Teenage Sharon

I was not as excited about sharing this picture of myself as a teenager.  I still had the thoughts of myself as a little girl.  I still wanted adventure – and I had some- but as many teenagers… I was also insecure. I wanted be a “cool” kid – but in my mind I wasn’t cool. I was still the person who loved to laugh and make friends.  If I could go back in time – I would tell myself that even the “cool” kids are insecure.  And to just enjoy being me! I wish teenagers could see that this is a time to enjoy and don’t waste time trying to be “cool”.

 

Young Adult Sharon

So then I have this picture as a young adult.  I got my confidence back.  My insecurities took a back seat to my desire for adventure, to make a difference, to be of service to others and to love others and be loved.  I had FUN!  I enjoyed the Moment!  I didn’t care about being the “cool” one!  I was more focused on being genuine and positive.

When I am driving somewhere and get lost – I don’t call it a problem.  I call it an adventure. When my plans don’t turn out the way I expected them to – I get frustrated at first.  But then I call it an adventure.  My life – YOUR LIFE – is an adventure.  We just have to choose to see it that way.  Don’t try to just survive each day.  THRIVE EACH DAY.  Your life is what you make it.  Make your life an adventure.

Be Positively Inspired.

We are all strangers – until we learn enough to be friends.

This week I had an absolutely amazing experience. I met with over 60 people from all over the United States and from various places around the world. We were all there for a training session about culture and leadership. Before I got there I knew a few names. But I didn’t really “know” anyone. I realized something during this experience. I could have remained strangers with everyone there. But I made a choice and so did many of them. It was the choice to learn about each other. As a result they are no longer strangers.

Toward the end of our experiences together, we took this group photo. This way we will always remember the time we spent together. But we also have memories, feelings, things we learn from each other and in some cases new friendships. This can only happen when you are positive and open to new things. You have to be open to change. Realize that your perspective can be adjusted when you encounter someone with a different perspective.

Some people at this event spoke different languages. But there were some things we found to be universal. Those things were: Music, laughter, enjoying a cold refreshment after walking the 95° heat, wanting to call or text our loved ones back home, being competitive and wanting to stay connected after the experience.

I am not saying that sharing a common experience makes everyone best friends. But if during that common experience you take time to genuinely get to know each other friendships can start.

The event that I attended was held in Orlando, Florida. After the event was over I was able to visit Walt Disney World. My first stop was on my favorite ride “it’s a small world.” I love this ride even though many people may see it as outdated in its design. Why? Because the song that goes with the ride is so true,

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears

It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears

There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware

It’s a small world after all…”

Do your part to make this smaller world. Take a risk. Get to know people. You may go from being strangers to friends. Be inspired. Positively inspired.

Believe in yourself.

It can be a struggle sometimes when you try to do something new. Especially when it’s something that you aren’t sure of but want to do well. Having confidence or believing in yourself plays a large part in your ability to succeed.

You may even have people around you who say you can’t do it – or give up. They – are – not – you. They are doing something called projecting. They are putting their fears and anxiety on you. It is your choice to take it – don’t. Just believe in yourself.

Seek out those people who believe in you. They will give you strength, encouragement and support! In the movie, “The Wiz”, Diana Ross played Dorothy and she sang to her friends – Believe in Yourself, Like I believe in You! You can watch that inspiring video from the movie by clicking here. Believe In Yourself

When you feel you are struggling- tell those people who are your friends and Champions. They will believe in you – until you can believe in Yourself again.

Remember that you are unique – special- and you have talents and skills! Be proud of yourself when you reach a goal whether it’s small or HUGE. And be proud of yourself- even if no one else notices your accomplishment.

Just believe in yourself- like I believe in you.

You are a Warrior!

Deep inside you – whether you realize it or not – is a Warrior.  A part of you that will not give up.  That part of you that can see there is more to you and your life than meets the eye.  We all have obstacles to overcome and hardships in life.  Some obstacles may seem insurmountable and unique to our own life.  But that does not mean that giving up is the only option.  Draw on the inner warrior who is ready to fight for a good and positive life.  A life that YOU are working for and making happen.

How I imagine my inner warrior.

When you have an obstacle that seems impossible, imagine your inner warrior.  It can look like you or not.  It can be the same gender or not.  It may be a lion or a spirit.  Whatever that inner warrior looks like – it is unstoppable.  It is the part of you that says – “THIS. IS. HAPPENING.”

We don’t always have the energy to make things happen.  Or we have lost our confidence.  It’s important to remember that we are human beings.  We get tired.  We get down and can feel defeated.  As long as we don’t stay in that mindset forever, then we are able to call on that WARRIOR and say – LET’S DO THIS!

Take a moment today.  Close your eyes.  Imagine your Inner Warrior.  Introduce yourself and make a promise to remember them during your day.  Draw on that imagery when you are feeling depleted.  YOU are a WARRIOR.  That is in you.  Don’t give up!  Stay Positive!  Stay Inspired!

No Man (or Woman) is an Island.

“No Man is an Island” is a phrase in a poem by John Donne.  It speaks to the fact that we are part of a larger world or community.  Some people think that they have to do everything themselves.  And that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  Acknowledging that we need help and that we are all connected in some way is part of how I stay positive.

Oil Painting by Martha Kremer – No Man is an Island

Like many people, when I have felt alone and unsupported, I isolate.  This is what many people do and it is actually the opposite of what we need to do to feel better!  We are NOT ALONE.  Whatever you are going through, I guarantee that there are others out there dealing with the same struggle.  Reach out to others and know that you are part of something greater.

This doesn’t mean that everything will be sunshine and roses.  But it does mean that you will have people to be supportive and listen to you. In the world there are also people who will not understand your struggle or your point of view.  That’s okay!  They are human beings who have struggles different from yours.

Your journey in life is just that – YOUR Journey.  No person can do it for you.  But you are not on that journey alone.  There are companions out there on their own journeys that will cross paths with yours.  You can get to know others and share some of what you have in common.

You would be amazed that the person who works in your office, live in your neighborhood, works out at your gym – only a few feet away – has had pain, joy, anxiety, silliness, beauty, heartache, love, concern, fear and confusion … just like you.  Why is that?  Because you are a human being and guess what? They are too! Talk to people… and you will find it to be true.

We are all on this journey of life together.  Find those who understand and let them know that you understand too.  No Man – Or Woman – is an Island.  We are in this together.  Stay Positive.  Positively Inspired.

You are special.

Have you ever heard of Fred Rogers, from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood?  If not, please see a movie that I highly recommend called “Won’t you be my neighbor?”  If you do know who  he is, what comes to mind when you hear his name?  For me it is kindness, patience, smiles, friendly, positive and the “land of make believe”.  His show came out the year that I was born and I watched it all the time.  Many of the things he spoke about and taught to children through his shows, apply to all of us as human beings. He was a living example of inspiring people with being positive.

Mr. Fred Rogers – You are Special.

He told people that they are special.  When it comes down to it, we are special.  We are unique.  There is no one else exactly like us in the world!  Even if you are a twin, you have your own thoughts, feelings and ideas.  When you have a hard time being positive, remember that.  It is a wonderful thing to know that you have special talents that you bring to the world.  Don’t hide them.  Don’t keep them to yourself.

Could you imagine if someone like Thomas Edison had kept his talents to himself? Or how about Alexander Graham Bell? Those talents led to lights and telephones!!  If your special talent is listening to others who are in need, who are struggling — share that talent.  There are many people who feel that no one understands and that no one listens to them.  They need your special talents.

Some people feel that telling others they are special leads to a feeling of entitlement.  I don’t agree at all.  Entitlement comes because people don’t learn how to appreciate what they have.  That it totally different from being told that you have value.  You matter.  You are special.  If you are struggling to find the positive in your life – remember that there is always another chance to turn things around.  A chance to choose to be positive and happy.

I challenge you to look in the mirror once a day and tell yourself, “You are Special.”  At first, you may think this is silly and you may laugh or joke about it.  But if you keep this up, overtime, YOU will believe you are special.

Thank you Mr. Fred Rogers for bringing such a positive attitude to all of us who watched your shows, sang your songs and loved you.  May we carry the positive message to others, that you are SPECIAL – JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU.

Success! How do you measure it?

Everyone has a different definition of what success means to them. Some focus on the financial. Others on a particular job. Some have a particular goal like running a marathon. Success for me is all about being the best human being I can be. Of course I have career goals. And things I would like to achieve in my life. But am I a human being that I would like to spend time with? If you had to spend 24 hours a day with someone just like you would you do it? Just so you know you do that already!

I’ve heard many celebrities who have an obsessive goal of achieving success through winning awards, possessions and money beyond their wildest dreams. And that most of them found that those things did not bring them happiness. In fact they were waiting for a particular feeling that they thought success would bring – but it felt kind of hollow.

I think it’s important to look at how we pursue success. Are we kind? Or do you treat others as stepping stones that you walk all over to achieve your goal. I think it’s important to achieve goals ethically and to be kind in the process.

I know a lot of our world measure success as having a big house with a swimming pool and a luxury car in the driveway. And if that make someone happy I am not here to judge them for that. But I am actually happier since we downsized from our house to a condo. Less than a mile from my house as a community center with a swimming pool. And I love driving my little Honda Civic! To me material things give a fleeting feeling. But the real deep down things in relationships is what makes me feel successful.

Being a success in whatever you do requires a commitment. Sometimes others will not agree with you. Sometimes others will doubt you. Sometimes others will be watching for you to fail. In the end it’s not what others say or do it’s how you handle it.

reba

The great country music artist Reba McEntire said “To succeed in life you need three things: A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” I agree with her completely – we need to have a dream, stay committed to it and keep our sense of humor.

Stay positive! If you can stay positive that in itself is a success!

Being positive isn’t always easy!

If you are someone who follows my blog you may notice that periodically I take a few weeks off. That’s usually when I am having a hard time staying positive. Disappointment, irritations, resentments and things not going my way prevent me from staying positive. That happens when you’re a human being. The important thing is to not stay there in the negative feelings. Choose to turn your attitude around to being positive.

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I have also come to appreciate that you can’t enjoy the view from the top of the mountain unless you have also been in the valley. What I mean by that is that you can only appreciate the positive when you have experienced the feeling of being negative. When I feel negative it is like a feeding frenzy! Everything feels like the worst thing ever. When I feel negative even good things feel bad. But when things turn around in my thinking and I go back to being positive, everything feels good. Like everything is going my way.

Have you ever been having a bad day and and then you stub your toe? And then your coffee spills all over your white shirt? And you’re carrying the groceries into the house and the bags break? And then you forget that you missed an appointment that you made months ago? Everyone has those times! I promise you that they don’t last.

But you have to look for the good! Make a list of all the things that are good in your life! Remember that “this too shall pass”. No bad day lasts forever. It is up to you to make a change in attitude. Some people will say – but you don’t know my situation – an attitude change is not enough. If that’s the case, remember you have choices! Think long and hard about what you choose to do in your life. Make choices that will give you a happy life, joy and positivity. It’s up to you to make that happen.

Even I get down and feel negative. I get it. Life is hard. But this is MY Life – I get to choose. I choose to be Positively Inspired. How about you?