Wednesday, September 28, 2016

RIOTING IN N. CAROLINA


Recently a 43 year old man and father of seven, Keith Lamont Scott, was killed by police in Charlotte, NC. As is often the case, there are conflicting reports as to what actually happened. Currently, an investigation by a separate state agency is taking place to determine if this shooting was warranted or was an act of racial profiling. In any event, investigations of this nature can take months to complete. In the meantime, people are up in arms about another killing of a black man that, for many, appears racially motivated. Police in riot gear are trying to keep protestors from becoming violent yet their efforts are falling short.  Looting local businesses typically accompanies rioting and Charlotte is no exception. Along with physical injuries, there was an innocent civilian who was murdered by a civilian, all due to the chaos that is germane to violent protests.

I totally understand the anger and outrage at a presumed killing of an innocent individual, and protests, if handled correctly, can be a powerful tool in voicing one's concerns as well as influencing much needed reform. However, here are some of the reasons why protests of this nature do not work.

Flawed From the Get Go

First, upon hearing such news, people are quick to jump to conclusions and make assumptions about the guilt and/or innocence of all parties. This is typically decided by a predetermined mindset or belief that the person subscribes to. Rather than review all of the facts, they pick and choose those details which support their beliefs and discredit those that contradict them. Their actions are a reflection of those beliefs, however accurate or erroneous they may be.

Secondly, once an individual has made a judgment call, they are eager to disseminate that information in order to attract followers and thus gain momentum. When they condemn the supposed guilty party before an accurate determination can be made, their agenda incites hatred towards the alleged perpetrator typically followed by outrage and violence. Fear (that justice will not be served) fuels this behavior in an effort to gain power and control over their (perceived) oppressors.

Unintended Consequences

However, rather than achieve the positive changes they are seeking, the opposite actually occurs. Rioters lose the respect of the community and nation; they are seen as hate-mongers who are unable and unwilling to negotiate an issue rationally. Whatever trust and cooperation could have occurred between both sides is dashed as their actions support the belief that (based on their violent behaviors) they are untrustworthy.

While their concerns may be valid, their actions elude to another agenda. The deliberate destruction of another person's personal property, i.e. the looting of local businesses, damage to vehicles, assaults on innocent individuals, etc., suggests that their protest is actually an excuse to cause mayhem and destruction. Additionally, those in the black communities who accuse whites of racial profiling are only further hurting their cause for justice by reinforcing the violent image many people have of them as they engage in unjustifiable destruction and harm to their communities and fellow citizens.

The Path to Righteous Change

Violence is never the way to change. From a Karmic perspective one cannot engage in negative, hateful actions and expect to reap a positive end. In Biblical terms, (Galatians) God tells us that "You shall reap what you sow." Therefore, the only way to create justice is through fairness and rational, respectable actions. Ghandi stated it so eloquently, "I must first be the change I want to see in the world." It cannot be any clearer than that.

Relevant Questions

Here are the questions all agitators need to consider before engaging in destructive acts: will this help or hurt my cause? Will this make the situation better or worse, now and in the future? Clearly there is nothing constructive that has emerged from any of these riots. On the contrary: blacks have further damaged their image and race relations are more strained now than in prior years.

Authentic Power

While violent protestors are dangerously misguided in their way of thinking, that violence is power, the truth is that responsibility is power. Only when we take personal ownership for the sad state of our lives rather than blame others do we have the power to change it. Peace is power. "I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life" says God. God's way of love and kindness and concern for one another is the path to a more just and safer world. It is our Divine right to be free from harm and to be treated with dignity and respect. But that will not happen through the use of force. It will only occur when each individual chooses to be respectful towards all of humanity, even towards those who may be acting out; to rise above, to be the example of what is means to be fully human.

In Summary

When both sides are willing to come together in a meaningful dialogue to share their concerns and grievances, to listen not only with their ears but more importantly with their hearts, when they are willing to forgive the transgressions of the other party and put the past behind them, only then do they stand a chance at ending the hatred and coming together as one.

You cannot beat a child and expect him or her to trust and love you. Likewise, you cannot riot and loot and injure and destroy and expect others to respect you. "What you reap you sow." Positive change can only occur through positive actions. Let go of the fear and anger and hatred. Let God's way be your way. And in doing so, the world will finally find the peace and justice it is so desperately seeking.

Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you."

 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

DEAL WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE USING C~U~R~B~APPEAL



We all have challenging people in our lives yet unfortunately few of us have been properly trained in how to effectively deal with them. Well, that's going to change today. In no particular order, using the an acronym "C~U~R~B  Appeal", you will learn tips that will better enable you to get along with difficult people.

C: Consequences  Very often when we are dealing with challenging individuals we fail to set limits and boundaries. We may be comfortable speaking up and addressing their inappropriate behaviors or attitudes. Additionally we might also comment on how we expect them to behave. However, that's typically as far as we get. Without motivation to change (which can either be a reward or a penalty) people are often inclined to continue doing what they're doing without regard for the feelings or impact it has on others. Much like our speed limits, if police officers only expressed a desire that we obey them rather than exceed those limits, few would comply. Imposing a ticket or points on the offender's license gives one ample reason to make the necessary changes. The key to effective consequences is following through with them.

U: Understanding  It's essential to realize that behavior is an outward expression of our internal issues. Those who are arrogant, vengeful, rude, combative, uncooperative, etc. are verbally or physically expressing what is bothering them inside, those issues that they have not yet resolved or healed. Individuals are not always aware of why they act as they do and are therefore powerless to some extent to change. Even though I may be understanding that one who is yelling and threatening me is operating from a place of fear (aggression is a need to self-protect from a perceived threat), I may not necessarily know the source of that fear and neither is it necessary. I only need to be understanding of their suffering and therefore compassionate that they are struggling with an unresolved issue.

R: Respect  Regardless of how difficult the individual may be, it is imperative to always treat them with dignity and respect. This can be extremely challenging as it is our natural inclination to want to put others in their place when they are acting out or to get even with those who have offended us. We also tend to assign value to people based, in part, on how they treat others. Those who are disrespectful or offensive have lower worth to us than those who treat one another with dignity. However, it is not our place to judge; neither do people have to earn our esteem. Respect is defined as "to value" and the one who assigns importance to all humanity is the One who created it. All human life has equal value. Respect is a God-given birthright. To offer it is a Divine responsibility. Additionally being courteous shows the other party how to be polite as well and hopefully they will follow your example.

B: Boundaries  Robert Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbors." In every relationship it is important to establish rules and regulations defining what is acceptable treatment and what is not. Too often, we are fearful of speaking up when someone mistreats us or treats us in a way that we find offensive or uncomfortable. "People should know how to treat one another," we proclaim. However, respectable treatment is different for each person. What one is fine with another may find appalling. Each person must be crystal clear in their own minds how they want to be treated - what is and is not permissible - and then clearly convey that to the other party. Without verbally expressing our desires, we cannot expect that every person will treat us in a way that we find acceptable.  Ideally, having boundaries in place precedes consequences. Once they are made known, one can follow up by also expressing the consequences they are prepared to enforce should the other person disregard their request. 

A: Appeal  Appealing to what matters to the other person , to what is important to them, is a powerful tool in gaining their cooperation. What strikes a chord within is more likely to result in an affirmative response than that which they cannot relate to. For example, one can appeal to their sense of moral values making a statement such as, "I know that it matters to you to always do what is right and fair." Pointing to issues of right and wrong, or to what is in their best interest can also enable them to adjust their attitudes or behaviors. "Do you think that your choice is ultimately going to be good for you? I'm concerned that it may not be and you certainly deserve to be safe/happy/healthy, etc." "How is this behavior/attitude going to benefit you?" is another powerful question that challenges the other person to reconsider their actions. "What is the more responsible thing to do? Is this a fair decision for everyone? Are you being a good role model for your children?" are all thought-provoking questions. Reach out and touch their "heart interests", what matters most to them. Share your concern for their well-being and in doing so you may very well gain their trust and cooperation. 

In dealing with those who require greater effort on our parts, it is imperative that we remove our own ego and operate from a place of spirit - kindness, concern, and equality. Remind yourself that everyone is struggling with their own unique pain and fear. It is not your place to put them in their place but rather to uplift them and assist them in creating the best scenario possible at that moment. With a little concern, a reasonable amount of patience, and the C~U~R~B Appeal Method, you'll increase your ability to better interact with those who are typically uncooperative with others. 

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

NEVER ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU!



We're all influenced by those around us and by what is occurring in our lives. Something as simple as the  weather can affect how we feel. A cloudy, rainy day can take an otherwise cheerful person and transform them into a gloomy Gus of sorts. Being stuck in traffic can alter one's mood from that of excitement for what begins as a day filled with great anticipation to one of frustration and agitation. Moods can be uplifted or crushed by outside circumstances and once that occurs it can be very difficult to regain the positive mind frame we originally had.

We've all witnessed, or even experienced, how others influence who we are and the way in which we behave. A rather timid individual can be persuaded to participate in a risky endeavor at the encouragement of another. Bungee jumping, riding a motorcycle, or traveling to a foreign country can prove advantageous as it enables the other party to become more adventurous and therefore expand their life experiences. Trying new foods, undergoing a fashion makeover, or studying a new culture can all help to bring a shy person out of their shell and into a more diverse world.

We've also witnessed how others personalities have been affected by those around them. My friend, Joe, was very self-conscious. Unhappy with the fact that he was missing many of life's joys by isolating, Joe made the decision to befriend people who were the exact opposite of him - outgoing and gregarious. In doing so, their confidence rubbed off on him and he found himself becoming more of the person he had always hoped he would be. And while these examples all seem to be beneficial to those involved, there are instances when the opposite can be true. 

I'd venture to say that we've all be subjected to people who are poor role models and even poorer examples of the kind of person we aspire to be. After Sharon's divorce in 2012, she began dating a younger man who was heavily into partying and the bar scene. Only an occasional social drinker, Sharon soon found herself drinking excessively in order to keep up with her new-found cohorts. Eventually, she lost her driving privileges due to a DUI as well as the respect of her family and former friends. Her life went into a downward spiral: she lost everything she had worked so hard to achieve. But most of all, she lost herself.

People often succumb to the bad behaviors of others. Your brother-in-law makes a nasty remark about you and you counter with one equally as offensive. Your boss hires her daughter as the new office manager. Resentment is high as the employees all ban together to make her work experience an unpleasant one. Pressure to participate in a behavior you find repugnant is intense. Do you concede or maintain your principles of treating everyone with dignity and respect?

Our world is filled with those who are poor role models. It's easy to get swept up in the drama and feel pressured to relinquish our values. One who has high levels of moral integrity must never allow themselves to behave in an corrupt manner. One who is trustworthy can never lie or cheat or steal due to the coercion of those who engage in such unsavory acts simply because everyone does it.

Never ever allow anyone to bring you down to their level. One must always maintain their standards of integrity in order to be happy with who they are. If you do not approve of or like a behavior in another, such as arrogance, selfishness or rudeness, why would you want to embrace that as a part of your lifestyle? In doing so, you become exactly what you dislike in others and thereby lose all respect for yourself. When I was about ten years old, the group of girls I played with would all get together after school and go over to Nancy's house. We'd sit at the dining room table and choose one person to make fun of. One by one, we'd all say unkind things about her. This was not how I was raised, I thought. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But in an effort to fit in, I went along with the others. I allowed them to change who I was: a kind and thoughtful child. I hated myself and thankfully this activity was short-lived. But I learned an important lesson that has served me well for my entire life: and that is to always be true to myself and never allow anyone to change who I am.

I now refuse to allow anyone or anything to change me in any way. I carefully weigh all that enters my life from people to experiences and make individual determinations as to how I will allow them to influence me. 

Before being swayed by another person's attitudes or actions, ask  yourself the following questions:
1. Is this in alignment with my basic values and moral principles?
2. What possible consequences would I or others face should I engage in this behavior?
3. How will I feel about myself during and after the event?
4. How will I be viewed by others?*

Never engage in any activity that causes you to:
a. violate your personal principles and values, creating inner turmoil and conflict.
b. feel embarrassed or ashamed during or afterwards, regardless of whether or not anyone else is aware of what's transpired.
c. become unhappy and angry with yourself.
d. lose self-respect.

Never ever allow another person to change who you are. Always maintain your principles and values. You are the one who will ultimately pay the price or reap the rewards. Be smart; be self-loving.

* It is a common belief today that one must not concern themselves with what others think about them. I am not one who subscribes to this modern-day  philosophy. I do believe other people's opinions of us can be useful as they help us to understand how others see us. Perhaps they recognize something in us that we are not aware of, either unintentionally or because we're in denial. Once realized, we can have a better understanding of ourselves and an opportunity to correct an inappropriate behavior.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

LIVING IN THE PAST HAS IT'S PERKS



I think the majority of people would agree that it's unhealthy to live in the past. After all, we're all familiar with the new age philosophy, "Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift, That's why it's called the Present".  Living in the past holds us back from being able to embrace the present moment. People hold on to childhood fears, adolescent pain, betrayals, bitterness, anger, etc. Even in terms of fond memories: very often when the present is difficult we are quick to recall "the good old days" when life was theoretically better. In our nostalgia, comparisons to better days gone by conjure up feelings of sadness and loss that easily translate into resentment, unhappiness, bitterness, and hopelessness. In our minds, life will never again reach those standards of excellence.

Recalling mistakes we've made in the past is also considered counterproductive as it can lead to remorse, regret, low self-esteem, and self-loathing. On so many levels, living in the past seems to be a bad idea. Or is it? Are there ever any benefits to revisiting a previous time? Actually, yes.

The past has several perks:

Learn from our mistakes: We all know that poor choices can be some of life's greatest teachers. Recalling times when we made mistakes can reinforce reasons why we are better off not repeating them. Understanding what we did or didn't do, how it impacted our lives in a negative way, and how we felt during and after the encounter helps us to make smarter and wiser decisions in the future. In this way, the past becomes a point of reference for future decision making.

Moving beyond: By revisiting an unfavorable event from our past, we can often view it from a different perspective as time has passed. Being older and presumably wiser, we are now able to re evaluate the experience and gain deeper insights and understandings of what happened and why, and how it has impacted us since. We also have the ability to change how any situation continues to impact us. What once scarred us can now be healed through a new-found awareness and no longer be a negative force in our lives. 

Motivated by prior successes: There are times when we have all enjoyed success on a variety of levels.  Other times life has been difficult and times have been lean. A quick trip down memory lane to a prior time when we were at our best can help motivate us out of our current slump and put us back on track for success. Use your past successes to propel you on to newer and greater things. Remember: success breeds success.

Fond memories of comfort and joy: I love looking at old photos. They bring back vivid memories of some of the most fun and memorable times in my life. Doing so provides a moment to relive a joyful time and evokes feelings of fondness and happiness once again. Recalling what brought us the most pleasure is an incentive to recreate those moments or to embark on new adventures that are exciting, loving, and memorable, those that we can later reference once again trigger memories of comfort and joy. In the case of the loss of a loved one, fond memories of that individual can be a powerful tool for healing from the loss. Pain is replaced by warm recollections of the one we loved and helps to keep that love and memory of them alive.

A gauge of progress: Very often it's difficult to see how far we've come in life. We work hard but our progress seems infinitesimal by comparison to others or to what we imagined it should look like. Only when we revisit our starting point are we able to see just how much we've accomplished. This simple act can boost our morale, restore our hope, increase our self-esteem and confidence, and motivate us to continue putting forth effort.

So while it's evident that revisiting the past has several perks, there are a few caveats. Just like an amusement park, it's fine to visit but you cannot stay there forever. At some point, the park closes and all visitors are asked to leave. Enjoy the past when necessary but don't reside there indefinitely. Use it as a perk for living in the present and planning for the future. In that way, it will serve you well.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Anger Exchange: Give Up These 7 to Gain This Instead




If you've read my book, The Secret Side o f Anger, or attended one of my lectures on the topic, you know that while there are thousands of events that can trigger anger, there are actually only three root causes: hurt, fear, and frustration. In any given circumstance, you can trace anger back to one or more of these causes. For the purpose of today's show, I've going to cover seven erroneous belief systems and/or behaviors that fuel our outrage, how we can relinquish them, and what we will gain by doing so.

Give up:
1. Limiting or inaccurate beliefs: It's not uncommon to make statements such as "It's impossible" or "I can't do that." In doing so, we are putting constraints on life's possibilities and restricting our chances for success. Beliefs such as "I'm not good enough" erode our self-esteem and lead to a life of depression and failure. Feelings of hopelessness (the very definition of anger) and frustration (a root cause) lead to anger, outrage, and despair.
Gain: A positive outlook allows for unlimited possibilities and fuels desire, hope, and effort. Excitement, determination, and accomplishment replace hopelessness, self-loathing, and anger. Self-confidence rises out of our continued successes.

2. Complaining: By its very nature, the act of finding fault with a situation or person focuses on the negative. Our expectations of how things should be or how another should act have not met our standards. Negative thoughts can only lead to negative feelings such as disgust, disillusionment, and anger.  Gratitude is the antidote to criticizing.
Gain: Finding something, anything, to be grateful for enables one to see the goodness and benefits that surround them. In that way, one experiences joyfulness and gratitude rather than disdain.

3. Need to be right: Like kerosene to a flame, the need to be right is a guaranteed accelerant of anger. Rooted in low self-esteem, one needs to prove their level of intelligence, their worthiness, and/or superiority over another in order to feel good about themselves and to maintain a particular image in front of others. When two parties disagree, needing to prove one's authority over the other will invariably end in a fight. Disagreements do not necessarily equate to issues of right or wrong but may instead indicate a person's preferences or opinions. Work on strengthening how you feel about yourself and the need to be right will vanish.
Gain: This one simple shift will dramatically improve the quality of your relationships as others   begin to feel more comfortable in your presence. Your confidence enables you to be more open-minded and relaxed while enjoying the other person's company more. The possibility of offending or alienating the other person is dramatically reduced.  

4. Control: The need to control is based in fear. It's normal and healthy to be concerned about how one's life progresses as we all worry about our own well-being. In any situation, we try to create the outcome that will be best for us (and others if possible).The one who has greater control appears to have greater influence on the outcome. One lacks trust in the natural progression of life or in the capabilities of others. The need to have a predetermined result leads to anxiety and worry, underlying causes of anger.
Gain: Letting go and allowing life to unfold naturally means having faith and trust in one's ability       to adapt to their changing circumstances. Additionally, it illustrates a faith in God that what is meant to enter or exit our lives is always for our higher good. Relinquishing control makes way for a relaxed and peaceful approach to life.

5. Judgment: We are typically harsh in our assessment of others. We form critical opinions that create a hierarchy of value among us. Judgments are formed through the practice of comparisons: we compare others with ourselves or with what we consider to be normal or acceptable. We fail to allow for individual circumstances, personality traits, beliefs, abilities, etc. Judging creates tension in relationships on every level.  Negative and unkind thoughts about others lead to resentment, anger, disgust, and so on. Replacing judgment with understanding allows one to be more compassionate and supportive.
Gain: One immediately gains self-respect when they choose to no longer criticize or compare    others. Allowing each person to navigate their own life in their own time and way reduces stress and arrogance within the critic as they become more compassionate and kinder beings. One's reputation for being non-judgmental serves them well in every aspect of their life. Additionally, personal relationships become less confrontational and more enjoyable. 

6. Resistance to change: Many people don't like change because along with change comes the fear of the unknown. It's not actually the uncertainty that people are afraid of but more specifically how they will be affected by it. When change is forced upon them they seek to maintain the status quo and become angry and resentful at the thought of someone forcing something upon them. Even necessary variations can cause anxiety and fear, underlying causes of anger. Accepting that change is both necessary and beneficial can help alleviate one's fears. Building self-confidence, the belief in one's abilities to thrive in any new circumstance, is empowering and freeing.
Gain: The more accepting one is concerning any of life's conditions the less effort is expended in resistance, anger, bitterness, and fear. One is free to live a relaxed life eager and willing to face     every new adventure life has to offer. A spirit of courage and enthusiastic anticipation allows for joyful living.

7. Blame: People are often eager to hold others accountable for any unfavorable events that occur. They blame others for how they feel, the poor choices they've made, and the sad condition of their lives. Blame renders one powerless as it transfers authority to another. If someone else is responsible for the condition of my life then that indicates that I have no power or control over myself. That is simply not true. I have intellect, free will, and choice. While I may not be able to fully control what occurs around me, I always have control over how I respond to it, perceive it, use it, and allow it to affect my life. Personal responsibility is where our personal power lies. Blame implies one is powerless (another definition of anger) and that invariable leads to distrust, bitterness, resentment, and self-pity.
Gain: Those who take full ownership for their feelings, choices, and life in general definitely feel stronger and more effective. They understand that they have full authority to change whatever is not working for them. In this way, their determination and perseverance will eventually provide the kind of life they are seeking. 

When you give up each of the above mentioned behaviors, you will discover that there is greater ease to living, an improvement in most relationships, a greater sense of gratitude and joy in life, higher levels of self-esteem and confidence, and a new-found respect for one's self. But the greatest gain in this process is inner peace.  This is by far the most  precious gift one can acquire in life. For without inner peace, nothing else truly matters. 

Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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