“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” -Mother Teresa
We all go through stretches of life when we are feeling lonely. My most extreme example of this came when I went off to college. I had a close set of friends growing up and was used to not needing to make new ones. When I found myself at college without my support base, I was intimidated and withdrew into my shell. I felt like a fish out of water and was lost as to how to proceed. That freshmen year was one of my toughest in life.
Have you experienced, or are you in, one of those times? It’s not something we talk about much. We feel like others will think we are weak if we admit how we are feeling. So we say we’re “doing alright” or “everything is great” and the truth remains concealed from those who might otherwise help. It begins to look like excessive daydreaming, loss of focus and drive, and disrupted sleep habits. Left to fester, loneliness can turn into depression and lower the long-term quality of our lives. There are ways to combat loneliness and rebuild self-confidence and joy. Here are 4 ways to break free from loneliness.
1. Know you’re not alone.
It’s important to understand that so many others feel just like you. Too often in these moments, we become overly self-critical, starting to believe we are unworthy. We become uncomfortable in our own skin. It’s a good time to work on self-improvement and things we could do better, but it’s more important to focus on what we already do well. Beating ourselves up irrationally will only make the problem worse. Focus on the positive aspects of your life, such as being a loving dad.
2. Initiate with people.
When loneliness starts eroding self-confidence, it’s easy to start isolating from others. Bad idea. It only opens the door for depression to bloom. Keep initiating with people. Devote yourself to serving and impacting the lives of others. Attend small groups at church or a local organization. Be proactive in putting yourself out there.
3. Try something new.
Being open to new things brings rejuvenating experiences, hope, and people into our lives. Perhaps enroll in a class like photography or culinary arts. Maybe join a sports league like bowling or softball. The idea is to engage in new interactions that will create chances for new relationships to develop. Start saying yes when you used to say no when opportunities come your way.
4. Go where the people are.
Accept that invite to dinner. Visit family you haven’t seen in a long time. Connect on social media to both new and old friends. Take a walk in a crowded area and breathe in life. Go to where the people are.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/2kdczb2c
After moving into a new house, a friend of mine worked hard to get to know his neighbors. It didn’t take long before he and his wife knew all the adults and kids on their block—all except for one dad. This one particular dad would never play with his kids, engage in conversation, or even make eye contact. He was completely disengaged from the community, but even worse, he was disengaged from his kids.
While it’s easy to see the problems in this situation, there are other common things parents do that are damaging. And sometimes we don’t even realize the harm we are causing. Here are 5 things parents should stop doing.
1. Stop yelling at your kids in public.
Every dad has instances of anger he wishes he could take back. But berating your kids in public is a double-edged sword, combining personal attack with public humiliation.
2. Stop trying to be the “cool dad.”
“Your kids don’t need you to be their pal; they need you to be their parent.”
Your kids don’t need you to be their pal; they need you to be their parent. Don’t try to dress like them or “stalk” them and their friends through excessive or awkward use of social media. Guide them through their experiences, but give them room.
3. Stop allowing them to have or do things that are not age-appropriate.
Life is hard for our kids today. The media bombards them with pressure to grow up too quickly. The world is trying to strip away their innocence. Don’t accelerate them to that point of no return by subjecting them to things they are not ready for, even when they beg you to let them. Just because all the other kids have an iPhone, go to a party, or go on a date doesn’t mean your child should.
4. Stop shielding them from all the consequences of their mistakes or messes.
How to Guarantee Your Teen Learns Nothing from Bad Decisions addressed what happens when you remove the consequences of their poor choices and their responsibility for them. Devastation is ahead for those kids who believe they never have to answer for their actions.
5. Stop living vicariously through them.
It’s hard enough for your kids to figure out what they like and dislike, what they’re gifted at and not gifted at. Don’t complicate it for them by trying to live your life again through them. Just because you were the star quarterback of your team doesn’t mean your child will be (or will want to be). Help your kids to find their own dreams and pursue them.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/3xy9wxc3
Having a diary is in no way just reserved for angsty teenagers but can be a very therapeutic tool for people of all ages. Sometimes it’s hard to even understand or put words to what we are thinking and feeling.
Many people find it easier to express emotions by writing them down. This may vary by which media you choose, but the point is that your words are out for you to observe outside if your own head. It may seem tedious at first but according to psychological research (Henry and Slomp, 2008), journaling may create a healthy self-care ritual that strengthens your emotional health and wellbeing.
2. Be mindful.
Mindfulness is a very hot topic in the health and wellbeing atmosphere now. Being mindful though, isn’t that scientific and doesn’t require much at all other than a willing mind.
Mindfulness-based therapy was however scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and promote overall emotional wellbeing in a 2010 meta-analysis by Hofmann et al. Practicing mindfulness entails you to focus solely and deeply on one thing. A common, but not the only way, to begin practicing mindfulness is through meditation.
3. Avoid high substance use.
In our society, drinking alcohol is socially and culturally accepted. What isn’t talked about enough is that it can have a significant impact on your mood and wellbeing. With drugs, it is a bit more obvious.
But any substance that you ingest will affect emotions. It is tempting to reach for a beer or glass of wine at the end of an emotionally hard day, some may even regard it as self-care. In all actuality, this way of thinking may be counterintuitive.
A 2014 study in Finland unsurprisingly found that frequent alcohol use is associated with poor mental health, especially with life satisfaction and psychological distress. While drinking in moderation tends to be perfectly healthy and normal for most, it is important to find your “moderation” that keeps you feeling your best.
4. Experience intimacy.
This can be with a partner in a committed relationship or anyone that you feel close to. Obviously with a partner being intimate can mean sexual intimacy, which happens to be fantastic for emotional and mental wellbeing. Non-physical intimacy in a relationship can be just as important, and can come in the forms of emotional, experiential, and spiritual intimacy. Being intimate allows you to feel vulnerable which to some may seem quite scary, but vulnerability is both a normal and healthy aspect of being emotionally grounded.
5. Get adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep can have drastic effects on our overall mood and mental health. In a 2014 review by Goldstein and Walker, the authors stated that sleep, specifically REM (rapid eye movement) sleep supports brain homeostasis to prepare the brain for emotional functioning the next day. On the other side of this, too much sleep can throw off our emotional health as well.
Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While not everyone may fall into this average, it is important to gauge how many hours it requires for you to feel your best. In addition to the quantity of your sleep, sleep quality is just as important.
Helpful tips for better sleep provided by the Mayo Clinic are: stick to a schedule, don’t over hydrate or drink caffeine too close to bedtime, have daily physical activity, manage your worries for the next day before bedtime so they aren’t heavy on your mind, limit light from screens around bedtime, and keep the bedroom cool and comfortable (aka an optimal environment for a good night’s rest).
Being honest with yourself is important. We tend to think we can only fool others, but as it turns out we can fool ourselves into thinking things that may not even actually be true about oneself. Learning self-honesty is a big step toward gaining clarity, fearlessness, healthier relationships, and more.
1. Envision your future self.
Research shows that many people view their future as a completely distal and different person than their current self. Visualization is a self-help technique that can help you conceptualize what your life may look like in the future.
It is basically a simulation created by your mind, and the more details the better. If your current self is in no way reflecting who you see your future self is, it may be time to explore some changes in your life to reach the truest version of yourself.
2. Be honest with others.
It is probably no shock that the more honest you are in general, the easier it is to stay honest with yourself. Those “little white lies” that are not necessarily harmful and maybe even protect others’ feelings sometimes may add up. If it becomes natural to bluff to others, what are you telling yourself? Even disregarding any religious or moral aspects, this is just another reason to train your mind to be honest the majority of the time.
3. Take time for yourself to reflect.
What is the easiest way to avoid being honest with yourself? Avoiding spending time alone altogether. Alone time and self-reflection are necessary for optimal self-improvement and awareness.
If you are uncomfortable being alone, that may be a sign that you are in fact in the most need of “me time.” Ideally, this time can be advantageous by reflecting on your thoughts and taking an emotional inventory. Many people find it helpful to use a journal or some other creative outlet to reflect on their feelings. It may be an easier way to step away from, and view your thoughts objectively.
4. Notice how you speak to yourself.
An internal dialogue can be a good addition to your thoughts, but it can also be a negative one. The narrative you tell yourself about yourself, can basically translate to how you present yourself to the world. If you are repetitively lying to yourself in your head, likely that lie will become your reality. A common example is, Person A constantly tells themselves he/she is bad at math when confronted with any kind of mathematical problem. Even if in reality, Person A is perfectly average and adequate in mathematical knowledge, that person’s reality becomes that he/she is a person that is and always will be bad at math. The first step in managing your internal dialogue though, is just to notice it and what it is telling you about yourself.
5. Seek help.
Seeking help may mean professional help like a therapist or life coach, or it could simply mean confiding in a close confidant. If you find it strange to ask yourself honest difficult questions, maybe having someone else ask the questions will get you thinking, and then perhaps talking.
A therapist is obviously specially trained to counsel you through self-discovery and possibly uncover what could potentially be holding you back from self-honesty. It is entirely plausible to want to seek therapy but feeling you don’t need it as much as other people need therapy, like after losing a loved one or battling cancer. But in truth, we could almost all use a bit of counseling to help us navigate through life at any time.
As we live each day, it can be easy to get caught up in the busyness of our world. Following the latest trends and allowing social media and our friends to tell us how to think and what to feel. It can be hard to return to our roots and to know what you think when no one else is involved.
Self-awareness and self-understanding revolve around the idea of knowing yourself. It is about more than knowing that your favorite color is green and that you would prefer to drive rather than fly. It is about knowing if you recharge better around other people or by yourself. If you are happy with your job or activities. If you are satisfied with your life.
Five good ways to help you gain self-awareness and self-understanding are:
Spend time in self-reflection
Whether it is walking through a park, sitting in your room, or spending time doing a peaceful activity such as painting, sewing, journaling, or cooking, you need to reflect on yourself.
Psychologytoday.com author Bill George says that “You can’t gain self-awareness through knowing psychology. Rather, it requires a deep understanding of your past and current self. Experiences shape how we see the world. So, we have to reflect on how the world has shaped us.” The best way to understand yourself is to spend time with yourself.
Spend time in nature
There are many locations throughout our world dedicated as spots for humans to spend time outside. Typically, these places are provided by governments or other leading bodies and can be accessed for free or a small fee. Local parks, national parks, botanic gardens, greenhouses, and more all give humans a safe and peaceful place to relax and connect to nature.
Heart.org says that time spent in nature can help reduce stress, anxiety, disconnection, fatigue, self-involvement, and more. When we spend time outside, we can reflect, breathe, and take a moment to reconnect to our most primal self. In nature, there are no constant emails or smartphone alerts. There is only plenty of time and space to consider ourselves and our place in the world.
Receive honest feedback
It can be difficult for us to see our shortcomings. We often become so focused on all the good things that we do, that we are unable to see any areas for improvement. Receiving honest feedback from people you trust is the best way to see your areas that need improvement.
Harvard Business Review author Tasha Eurich stated that in her team’s studies on self-awareness, “we found that people who improved their external self-awareness did so by seeking out feedback from loving critics — that is, people who have their best interests in mind and are willing to tell them the truth. To ensure they don’t overreact or over correct based on one person’s opinion, they also gut-check difficult or surprising feedback with others.”
Think about others
By helping others, we help ourselves. When we empathize with other humans, we learn more about them. This understanding helps us to understand ourselves as well, providing a double benefit to caring for others.
Marianna Pogosyan’s article on Psychology.com talks about how we are neurobiologically made to empathize with other humans and animals. Empathizing is a building block of our morality, and not only does it help us be better leaders and improve our relationships, but it also helps us improve ourselves.
Make time for yourself
You will spend a lot of time doing things for other people throughout your life. Make sure you spend enough time doing things for yourself as well. Take up some space to do the things that you love. Among your self-reflection, take time to care for yourself such as a relaxing bath while you think.
Meg Sellg author from Psychologytoday.com recommends that you discover your VITAL Signs. V for values, I for interests, T for temperament, A for around-the-clock activities, L for life mission, and S for strengths.
Author Tchiki Davis at Psychologytoday.com says that "Self-awareness requires self-examination. Be aware, though, that an honest, non-judgmental self-analysis isn’t easy. We tend to berate ourselves for our failings or fantasize about how great we are, when neither is actually the case. We all have a unique mix of “good” and “bad” traits, but we are largely unaware of them. In order to self-reflect objectively, we need to quiet our minds and open our hearts, forgiving ourselves for our imperfections and offering ourselves kudos, but only where we deserve them.”
Eurich says that “Leaders who focus on building both internal and external self-awareness, who seek honest feedback from loving critics, and who ask what instead of why can learn to see themselves more clearly – and reap the many rewards that increased self-knowledge delivers.”
These five tips of spending time in self-reflection, spending time in nature, receiving honest feedback, thinking about others, and making time for yourself can help you to continue to gain self-understanding and self-awareness in your life.
When my niece was five, my brother became a single dad. The divorce got a little messy at times, and Alan had to make some decisions to make sure he didn’t lose his daughter right along with the marriage. One of Alan’s most important—and most difficult—commitments was to be consistently positive with his daughter’s mom. He chose to speak positively about her, to treat her with kindness and respect, and to always build her up in the presence of their child. He stuck with his plan, with great resolve, even when he knew he wasn’t being afforded the same courtesy in return.
I’m not suggesting my brother did everything right, but I am pointing out that one of the best things he could do for his relationship with his daughter was to treat her mother with consideration, sympathy, thoughtfulness, and support. Let’s not let our ideas about fairness become confused with what is right for our relationships and our children. Here are 5 reasons divorced dads should always take the high road.
“When a dad stops being married, he doesn’t stop being a dad and a role model.”
1. It’s the right thing to do.
When a dad stops being married, he doesn’t stop being a dad and a role model. Regardless of what led to the end of a marriage, we always have the opportunity to treat the mother of our children with kindness and consideration.
2. Our kids are smart enough to figure out the other parent’s faults without our coaching.
If the other parent is being unreasonable or ungracious, that’s something our kids will figure out soon enough. Fostering hostility only hurts our own relationships with our children.
3. Kindness is foundational to healing.
Separation and divorce are always painful, and everyone needs to heal. Our kindness will facilitate our own healing, our kids’ healing, and our former spouse’s healing too.
4. Children learn from our behavior more than from our words.
Watching the way we deal with stress and challenges teaches our children more clearly about doing the right thing than any lecture we could offer.
5. When we put others ahead of ourselves, everyone wins.
We live in a competitive culture. We want there to be winners and losers, and we think we have to be first. “If my ex-spouse looks like a loser, then I look like a winner.” Sorry, but that’s not going to fly. This may be counterintuitive, but everyone looks good if we make our competition look good. Dad looks good if he makes mom look good, even if they’re divorced. Putting others first is the first step to moving forward ourselves.
Source: All Pro Dads - https://tinyurl.com/f4wh7xxh
"It is my firm belief that the best way to fix the world - a handyman's dream,
if ever there was one - is to fix yourself." - Jordan B. Peterson
Raising a child as a single father can feel intimidating. It seems like everywhere you look, there are messages saying how influential a mom is on her kids. It can leave you feeling like you’re not enough on your own.
But I’d argue that not only are you able to raise incredible kids as a single dad, you’re also uniquely positioned to do it. You have opportunities that two-parent families don’t. If you parent with purpose, doing these 7 things, your kids will notice, model your behavior, and grow in incredibleness.
1. Watch your words.
As a single dad, your kids are listening to your voice more than anyone else’s. It can be tempting to speak negatively if you feel like you got the short end of the stick—your wife passed away, your divorce was unwanted, your finances are a burden. But the words you use as you navigate raising a child as a single father will set the stage for how they handle difficult times.
2. Practice forgiveness.
It’s been said, “When we refuse to forgive, it’s like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” You possess a unique opportunity for your kids not only to hear you practice forgiveness but also to see the transformation that forgiveness can bring.
3. Never stop the conversation.
”If you’re raising a child as a single father, chances are you have a strong bond. You probably have rich and intentional conversations. Make this your thing: You and your kids talk. There’s nothing they can’t come to you about. Start a conversation with your kids that never ends.
4. Be accountable and hold them accountable.
When your kids hear you say, “I knew better and should’ve done this differently,” or “This kind of behavior isn’t how we act in this family,” it communicates that you have standards that everyone is held to. Even though life in your home looks different from another family’s, both Dad and kids are still expected to take responsibility for their actions.
5. Focus on gratitude.
You can probably name a dozen reasons life is tough. But for each of those reasons, you also have a reason to be thankful. “It’s hard paying rent on my own” becomes “Thank you, God, for a warm bed.” And “If I don’t make dinner, it’s not getting made” becomes “I’m so glad we can sit around the table to eat together.” Speak these words out loud and your kids will learn to focus on gratitude, too.
6. Find good mentors.
After my divorce, I moved in with my parents and my sons got to observe married life. Even though they were still young, I am grateful that they got to watch the interaction of a husband and wife. Pick out a few influential people in your child’s life (such as a teacher, coach, aunt, or uncle) and let them know you appreciate the example they’re setting. They might even step up their mentoring game.
7. Show them how to make sacrifices.
“Never give up what you want at the moment for what you want most.” I read that at a meeting 15 years ago and have applied it every day since. You might sacrifice the new shoes you want because you know your son’s feet are growing fast. Maybe you sacrifice getting in the last word with your ex-wife because you want your kids to see what self-control looks like. Help your kids identify what is most important to them—academically, spiritually, socially—and then set an example of sacrifice so they can focus on those priorities.
Source: All Pro Dads - https://tinyurl.com/y7554btj
Psychologists define assertiveness as “the ability to express yourself in a calm, open, and direct way while still respecting others.” Assertiveness is the intermediary between an aggressive and passive style of communication. It is rated as a vital skill that improves the quality of life and relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
Assertive people take a point of view and defend it while helping others understand their point of view. People who lack this skill have their boundaries constantly violated by others. Assertiveness is a skill and is associated with self-confidence and self-respect. Like all skills, assertiveness can be learned with a little bit of time and discipline.
Learning assertiveness is a wise choice as psychologists have proven that being assertive helps reduce stress, control anger, and improve the overall quality of life.
This article shall discuss tips you can use to learn assertiveness.
You need to have a strong belief in your value to be more assertive. This involves gaining a good perception of yourself and your value. The foundation on which assertiveness is built is this high self-value and belief. Once you value yourself, it's easy to protect your boundaries and kick against everything that tramples on your rights and dignity.
Standing up for your needs and wants also becomes infinitely easier with a healthy self-value and confidence. Care should, however, be taken as self-confidence and self-importance are separated by an extremely thin line.
Self-confidence is understanding that your needs, feelings, and thoughts are as important as everybody else, while self-importance is thinking they are MORE important and overrule every other person.
Boldly Voice Your Wants And Needs
A tip to being assertive is to confidently state your wants and needs and ensure they are met. Do not wait for another person to miraculously perceive what you want, as you might have to wait forever. Identify what you want and clearly state it to avoid other people making this decision for you.
Remember to stick to your demands once you state them as long as the demand is reasonable and made with respect. Stating your needs in an aggressive or pushy way might ruin your relationship and make people less likely to see things your way.
A sure sign of non-assertive people is the inability to say No. While saying no can be quite difficult, especially if you're beginning your journey to being more assertive, saying no is essential to being more assertive.
Say no if that's what you feel about a request or solicitation. A common reason people give for saying yes even when they do not feel like it is trying to avoid conflict. However, always saying yes to all requests is a sure way of reaching a massive conflict shortly as you cannot satisfy everyone. Protect your time and interests by saying no when that's what you feel like on the inside.
Don't Try To Manage People's Emotions
Saying no can leave most people feeling sad or disappointed, and it is a common mistake to fall into the trap of trying to make them feel better. This is usually a bigger error than always saying yes. When you say no, and people act resentful or angry, acknowledge that they might be having a hard time and move on.
Avoid the mistake of trying to make them feel better or responding in the same way they reacted to your assertiveness. As long as you made the best choice for yourself and you were courteous about it, move on and let them handle their emotions themselves.
Research has linked self-confidence to being assertive. If self-confidence is an issue, it can be quite difficult to say no to a request by your boss right after reading this article. A good way to being more assertive is to start small.
You can request a different table at a restaurant, say no to an invitation to watch a game, or saying no to a child throwing a tantrum for candy. Develop your assertiveness step by step. These baby steps, when constantly practiced, build the foundation of a life of assertiveness at the highest level.
While assertiveness can be learned, it requires constant practice, time, and dedication to master it. Take a step today by practicing the tips recorded in this article, and you'll soon find yourself being more assertive.
What are the things you want your daughter to become? When she is all grown up, there will be a moment when you’ll just know. It happened to me. There is a sudden revelation that goes something like, “Oh my gosh—we really did it. This is a full-grown woman standing here talking to me.”
When it happens, you’re going to start flashing back through all the phases from diapers to graduations. Everything that happens in those years influences the woman she’ll become—and you’re living those years now, as your daughter grows before your eyes. Here are 5 things you want her to become.
Competence breeds confidence and you want her to possess both of those traits. We know the challenges adulthood will bring, so we want to be sure she’s armed with the necessary skills to make a way for herself. This includes participating in her education and providing extra support when needed, teaching her necessary life skills, and most of all, being present throughout her childhood as a loving role model. She will be prepared for the future with the skills you are teaching her instead of dealing with the frustration of inexperience.
You want a daughter who achieves in her education, gets along well with family and community, and has a broad array of interests and abilities. You can accomplish this by taking her on varied travels beyond tourist traps, exposing her to the many forms of art and sciences, and via service work in the community. A person who is well-rounded will be a more empathetic and effective adult leader.
Self-awareness is a conscious knowing of personal character strengths and flaws, and being tuned into individual motivations, desires, and abilities. We can cultivate self-awareness in our daughters primarily with consistent and honest feedback—with both praise and correction. The person who lacks self-awareness moves into adulthood unable to accept criticism, which creates unnecessary delays in growth and progress. They might also waste valuable time chasing pursuits for which they aren’t suited. We can further encourage self-awareness by teaching her how to set goals and priorities, practice self-reflection, and keep a daily journal of thoughts and experiences.
4. Filled With Integrity
Is she who she claims to be? Do her actions back up her words? To help your daughter become an honest person with strong principles and convictions, model what you want her to become. Children absorb what they see in their parents, so when she sees her father, be sure what she is absorbing is a man of honest character who stands on high moral principles.
A compassionate person has sympathy and concern for everybody’s lives and not just his or her own. We can develop compassion in daughters by teaching basic manners like saying “please” and “thank you,” modeling acts of kindness, volunteer service, and being emotionally available and comforting. Here is a deeper look into how to raise a compassionate child.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/ebn2p85j