Friday, September 17, 2010

The Power of Compassion

The Power of Compassion

Complacency or compassion?
Tsunamis and hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, earthquakes and wildfires display nature's wild fury. Natural disasters strike worldwide, often leaving heart-rendering damage and human suffering in their wake. We often watch these tragedies unfolding on T.V., from the comfort of our warm, dry, safe homes. We sigh and even cry tears but soon return to our lives of ease and comfort, too easily forgetting the vast sea of suffering and turmoil of our fellow human beings. Worldwide response to these sudden, cataclysmic events is often uplifting and inspiring. Human caring is evidenced in many forms throughout the global community. People come together, recognizing the need to act with compassion and awareness of our interdependence. The spark of compassion in every human soul keeps hope alive that one day peace, harmony and unity among all races and peoples are possible.

Compassion with a purpose!
Our capacity for compassion is apparent as we learn how to manage crises and seek ways to prevent tragedies. Rick Warren's best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life", resonates with millions. Warren cites compassion as an integral component to finding destiny, direction and meaning in our lives. How high is compassion on our personal list of priorities? It is often a matter of choice. Do we choose to lend a hand or do we simply allow our neighbor's suffering to continue unchecked? Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist, author and Holocaust survivor, cites three methods for finding meaning and fufillment in spite of tragic circumstance: "1. Doing a good deed or creating a work. 2. Experiencing something loving or loving someone. 3. Turning unavoidable, unchanging tragedy into personal triumph."

Surviving and soothing suffering
Out of our own brokenness, we are free to choose, to act, to persevere. This response/able habit illustrates the Law of Compassion outlined in Chapter 5 of "Family Power": "The suffering and brokenness of another person can be truly understood only by having experienced the same or similar circumstance." Supportive outreach breaks the silence of those suffering in solitude. Common experiences coupled with compassionate action can allow us to fully experience love and loving relationships. The power of healing is enormous when we who suffer seek all the powers within ourselves, our compassionate support system and our loving
Creator. By choosing to change our attitudes, we can provide and receive the power of compassion!

Powerful Words for Family Power!
Dr. Ed

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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Power of Healthy Confidence

Confidence Defined and Balanced
Confidence is a "power-source" of personal attitudes that develop early in life. Our attitudes are shaped by our thoughts, values and belief systems-positive and negative. When beliefs are grounded in positive thought, an inner light will be reflected outwardly to others as confidence-our source of power. It's a personal value of infinite worth to be prized by all.
However, Dr. John Rosemond warns that parents, in their best efforts to develop self-esteem in their children, have often coddled them and made them more egocentric and self-centered. Healthy confidence (our personal power source) evolves from developing five essential areas of growth and fitness -physical, intellectual, emotional, relational and spiritual.

Physical Confidence:
Healthy body image needs change as children grow and develop. Confidence in one's appearance comes from a balance of appreciation, acceptance and embracing improvement where possible. Parents and peers can model positive, confident behavior, and body image, avoiding unfair comparisons. Also, healthful exercise, nutrition and controlling stress are basic to body fitness.

Intellectual Confidence:
We need continuous healthy stimulus in order to grow, compete and adapt in this world. Expanding knowledge through books, in nature, by observation and critical thinking. These acts empower the transformation of our minds. We gain wisdom by searching for truth, balancing conformity and diversity.

Emotional Confidence:
Feelings differ from emotions. Feelings are reactions that may or may not energize one to thought or action. Emotions are tools to help manage life's challenges and situations. Being response/able means controlling negative emotional attitudes such as fear and anger with positive powers such as grace, courage, respect, acceptance and forgiveness. Confidence builds courage and frees us from the control of negative emotions.

Confidence in Relationships:
Many persons grow intellectually, but fail in personal relationships. Partnering and relational skills are not adequately taught in most homes, schools, churches or workplaces.We often struggle to submit to the highest good. Our own self-interest conflicts with others. We need to respect and respond to the needs of others as we pursue our own goals.

Spiritual Confidence:
Norman Cousins observed, "our belief systems are the activators of our healing systems. Our beliefs represent the unique element in human beings that makes it possible for our minds to affect our bodies." Confidence comes from trusting others and trusting the excellence of the world we live in and in our Creator.

Lesson 4 in "Family Power" explains how to refuel your power and confidence. It also outlines the Law of Confidence: trust and respect for self and others. This is the foundation for basics of all relationships. Healthy Confidence requires discipline and power. By choosing to be response/able, you influence the direction and outcome of the confidence in you and those around you. Filling your mental fuel tank with confidence--building words of value, dignity and hope; words that will motivate you into a higher place of confidence; leading to the freedom of loving, trusting relationships.

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The Power of Change

Family Power Blog/Column # 3
Dr. Ed Hollenberg
August 16-31, 2010

Embracing Change
As another school year begins, we recognize change is a fact of life, the one thing we can count on. Many changes we face are chaotic, disorderly and unplanned. But with the change of natural processes there is an order, a highly predictable plan.Think of the constant forces of change in our bodies as we grow from infancy to toddler, child to adolescent, adult to aged. Slow, continual change evolves in the world around us - population, consumption, marriage and divorce, birth and death, homelessness, crime and violence, wars and tribal conflicts, economic and political change... life goes on.

Change & Growth
During infancy and childhood, choices and change are almost the complete responsibility of parents. Curiosity must be encouraged but safe-guarded. As physical and emotional changes develop during adolesence, the body is growing, yet the brain does not reach adult maturity until age 22. This is a period of challenged response/ability. Guidance and stability from parents, teachers and adult mentors are vital. Every teenager needs a role model other than Mom & Dad. The adolescent brain needs good purposes, values and a sense of destiny.

Changing Habits
Perhaps we feel helpless because so much change is out of our control. Change is also a choice as it pertains to our attitudes and habits. William James wrote, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. Ridding ourselves of faulty, negatives thoughts and actions by concentrating on positive desires and emotions. To choose and to act response/ably, one must visualize desires, clarify actions and reject enslavement to old, reactive patterns.

Change Your Future
Industry consultant Phil Crosby made a powerful statement on change in lives/homes, "The culture we now have...we don't need to condemn it...all we have to do is describe the future the way we would like to (see it) and then march down the yellow brick road." Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we parents can envision our children and families marching to our destiny as we see it. Imagine, daily, how you want to change and it will happen! Your life will change - it is inevitable. The only question is when, how and how much...positive or negative. It is your choice. Grow...transform...renew your life

Powerful Words for Family Power!
Dr. Ed

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Family Power Blog # 2
Dr. Ed Hollenberg
August 1-15, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?...

Communication is building bridges, connecting those bridges can be a very complex process. Sharing differing viewpoints is a daily challenge for government leaders, co-workers, families and friends. Effective communication skills are vital for progress and peace. This powerful process requires lifelong study and practice. Chapter 2 of "Family Power" outlines several positive habits for growing in communications.

Eliminating Noise and Distractions:
Physical and psychological noise often makes communications difficult. Advertising, electronic devices, traffic and movement distract our focus. Many times, in conversations, we do not listen actively, instead thinking of what we want to say next. A response/able listening habit is asking, "Is this what I hear you saying?" Value the person and the message by saying it back. Our own perceptions may not be as accurate as we think! Maintaining eye contact is also key, looking directly at the other person beyond the cosmetics, hair, clothes and other physical features.

The POWER of Words:
George A. Miller observed, "The most powerful stimulus for changing minds is not a chemical or a baseball bat, it is a word." Dedication to study of language is important as is understanding that word meanings are often found in a person's perceptions and experiences. Words can kill or correct - wound or heal - lift up or let down - motivate or stagnate. Words can be reactive or responsive. Subtle differences often prove significant. As Mark Twain noted, "The right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

Non-Verbal Messages:
Two thirds of our communication with each other is non-verbal. 7% in our choice of words, 35% in the tone of our voice and 58% in body language such as postures and gestures. Raising one's awareness of non-verbal communication requires active listening and concentration. We must watch and listen for the suppressed, unexpressed desires and concerns of others. To understand non-verbals requires face-to-face conversation. Phone conversations, e.mails and other passive forms of communication pale by comparison.

We can all live richer, fuller lives in harmony at work, home and in our relationships if we practice empathetic, loving communication skills. For many of us, it requires a journey of many years to process words and ideas more response/ably. Perhaps this old poem says it best: "The wise old owl sat in the oak, The more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can't we be like that old bird?"

Powerful Words for Family Power!
Dr. Ed

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Powerful Plan for Money Management

A painfully slow economic recovery, salary cuts, and high unemployment weigh heavily on the minds of so many married couples these days. Stress and money issues often lead to conflict in marriages. Marital counselors estimate failure to manage finances is the top issue of conflict between husband and wife. Nine out of ten couples report they argue more about money than sex. The Great Physician-Jesus Christ spoke about money more than any other issue, even love! Larry Burkett, Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey have achieved great success offering down-to-earth financial advice to struggling savers and spenders.

Nobody is a natural. Money management is learned. Financial success is earned. Changing one's attitudes towards money is essential. Long-held habits and patterns need to be recognized and examined. This process is clearly outlined and detailed in chapter 11 of my book, "Family Power". Discussing life purposes, priorities and goals between couples is key to financial freedom. Six basic steps to financial freedom can start and guide the conversation:

1. Simplify your lifestyle: Evaluate wants vs needs. "Do I really NEED the latest iPhone?
2. Save AND Invest: Don't count on Social Security, once debt is paid, put your money to work for your future!
3. Spend Response/Ably: Delaying gratification will save you money and curb excess consumerism.
4. Limit Credit Cards: Calculate the true, long-term costs of buying with credit. Outside of your home and MAYBE your car, if you can't save for it-you probably can't afford it!
5. Free Debt from your life: like Dave Ramsey says-"pay debts smallest to largest". Just eliminating one debt is do-able and highly motivational!
5. Share your Wealth: Compared to the majority of our world's neighbors, Americans live in abundance. Give to community causes and organizations that help lift up those in need.

Thriving and not just surviving takes work-and we all need encouragement and accountability to reach our goals. Pick a financial mentor. Set realistic goals, include budget-friendly rewards and stick to your plan. By striving for frugality, you'll most likely enjoy your last days in freedom from poverty. So much poverty is self-inflicted. Remember-manage YOUR money or someone else will!

Powerful Words for Family Power!
Dr. Ed