Things I Re-Learned While Nervously Watching the Houston Flood Unfold #Harvey

For the past few days, I’ve been sitting, feeling helpless and stressed as I read post after post of people begging for their lives and the rescue of their stranded family members. I know it’s probably not healthy to constantly watch these types of tweets, but I also feel it’s emotionally unhealthy to just look away and be apathetic.

 

So I have been riding my knees from afar, praying, knowing that is really all I can do at the moment. I’ve been tweeting emergency information to those who need it, hoping that one of the numbers will work for them. I’ve donated to a trusted cause.

 

Thankfully, the vast majority of people who were in trouble have been rescued according to the most recent reports. And I’ve been seeing some beautiful stories come out of this ugly situation that have definitely inspired me.

 

A few key truths have been revealed in the past few days about people (particularly Americans) and about life in general. These are truths that I already knew to be true, but it’s a bit of a relief to see them confirmed once again. This country has been in a state of emotional distress for about a year, making many of us question what is true and what is “fake.”

 

Here is what I re-learned from watching the Houston flood drama unfold.

 

There Are Good People Out There–LOTS of Them
It can be tempting to focus on all the stories about people who are negative, mean, and apathetic — especially thanks to 24/7 social media. But if you shift your focus, you’ll see that there are many, many, many really awesome, thoughtful, and caring people in the world. They just don’t get as much attention on a daily basis. See this story, this story and this photo (volunteers lined up) if you need to be reminded that there are plenty of very good human beings still out there.

 

We Have to Help Ourselves and Each Other in Trying Times — We Need Each Other
When situations like the Houston flood occur, citizens can’t always expect a gov agency or emergency phone number to provide safety or rescue immediately. We have to be prepared to help each other and ourselves in stressful times.

 

When you’re in a position to help someone in distress, your responsibility as a good human is to do what you can to help. It might be loading your boat into the back of your pickup and driving miles to save a family. It might mean donating supplies to a shelter to make sure that people are clean and eating. It might mean putting your favorite pastime on pause and spending the day spreading necessary information. It might mean simply getting on your knees and praying in earnest. We have to help each other.

 

One woman on Twitter took the time out of her day to make calls to emergency lines on behalf of distressed people on social media to ensure that they were on rescue lists. It was a small thing that made a big difference.

 

Preparedness is the main way we can help ourselves. No one should be fighting over bottled water the day before a major natural event. Every home should have an emergency preparedness kit, canned foods, and loads of water stashed away. People often laugh at doomsday “preppers” — those people who stock their basements and emergency shelters with canned goods and water. But to a certain degree they have the right idea in mind. With climate change and so many other threats worldwide, now more than ever we have to be prepared for emergencies.

 

I also think it might be a good idea to make small, inexpensive boats requirements for every household or rental property that is located in a potentially vulnerable coastal area. Or at least a fleet of boats stocked by towns/cities. I learned that you can buy a standard boat for under $200, which I think is reasonable. Countless people were saved because of the bravery and dedication of private citizens who owned their own boats.

 

Follow Your Intuition, Always
Days before the flooding happened in Houston, some people from the area were posting memes and light-hearted jokes about Harvey. They were unfortunately doing this instead of preparing and making serious decisions about what to do to protect themselves and their families. Sometimes the fun of social media has to be put aside to handle serious matters. Also, I believe that regardless of what may be broadcast on the news, you have to follow your intuition in tough situations like this. Trust your intuition, always.

 

Color, Religion, Etc. Doesn’t Matter When You Need Urgent Help

I believe it has only been a few weeks since a group of white nationalists marched on Charlottesville VA, threatening minority groups with violence. It lead to the death of an innocent woman who was bravely countering the hate.

 

One important truth that the Houston floods has revealed is that color doesn’t matter when it comes to saving someone or getting saved. People of all races, religions, and backgrounds were riding in those boats together, just thankful to be with each other and safe.

 

America Can Still Be Great Again, But Again It’s Up to Us
Working together, loving one another, planning, and implementing smart ideas — these are the things that have kept the USA strong and revered by other nations for so long. We have to get back to all of that and eliminate the negative distractions that are causing division. We have to come together and put differences aside for the greater good.

 

We also have to stand up and speak up about what’s wrong and how to make it right. This doesn’t have to be done from a huge, popular media platform — a conversation can start right at your kitchen table.

 

Love Lynn
Lynn is the author of You Matter and other empowering audiobooks for women.
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You *Should* Care What *Someone* Thinks About You

Countless self-help books, quotes and gurus tell us that we shouldn’t care what other people think. That you should just do you. I believe I’ve even provided this advice to some degree in my books and blogs.

But after some thought I have come to realize that this isn’t entirely the best advice. I believe that you shouldn’t care about what everyone else thinks about you but you should care about what someone thinks about you.

Without boundaries, which are often set and established by the people we love and trust, our lives can quickly devolve into a chaotic mess. If you don’t have anyone in this world whose opinion you care about, there are no checks and balances. Sometimes we need the opinion of another person to stay grounded and headed in the right direction.

Take the case of young girls who fall victim to drug abuse, violent relationships and/or sex work. They often grow up without boundaries and pretty much put up a middle finger to everyone in the world. They don’t respect or care about the opinions of their parents, their friends, mentors, teachers or anyone else who might help them live a better life. Not caring about anyone’s opinion often leads them down the path of destruction.

Another thought. Currently in the US, we have a few leaders who think that they can do whatever they want, no matter who it hurts or affects. As much as they might not care about what anyone thinks about their deeds, that mentality will backfire. The opinions of their fellow citizens do matter.

Here’s one more example. I recently watched the Amazon series Z. It’s the story of Zelda Fitzgerald and her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. They fell in love at first sight and had a whirlwind romance that quickly lead to marriage. But Zelda was unaware of her husband’s wild and lascivious lifestyle. He had no boundaries and neither did his friends. They lived life on their own terms, not caring what anyone thought of them (or so they said). Before she knew it, Zelda was swept up by it all and living that life as well. She died fairly young in a mental hospital.

To reiterate, I don’t think that you should go through life caring about what everyone around you thinks. It’s oppressive to be constantly self-conscious and insecure. But I do think that there is value in having someone in this world whose opinion matters to you, whether it’s a parent, a friend, a mentor or God.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is an author and blogger. Her new book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth. She is also the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Handling Tasks: Do Less Things with More Intention

I think that sometimes we feel as if our actions don’t count because we do dozens of things very quickly in our day. As women, we’ve often been conditioned to do so much in such a short period of time. You jump from one thing to the next, never really being able to enjoy your day or live in the moment. At the end of the day, you might feel like you haven’t really accomplished anything at all.

So maybe it’s best to choose just one or two things to do each day with intention, dedication and care.

For instance, I decided on this particular day that I was going to clear out my refrigerator from top to bottom then reorganize it. This will make it much easier for me to see the foods I have available so that I’ll be more likely to eat them. My plan includes enjoying a delicious snack (maybe some cheese and salami), maybe a glass of wine or champagne and of course a great Audiobook.

cleanfridge

Photo courtesy of Flickr/angryjuliemonday

Now if I decided to do this task on a whim when I was already overwhelmed with things to do, I’d probably just quickly throw a few things out and take shortcuts. But because I’ve decided to do this ONE task with intention, dedication and care, it will be done right. And I will enjoy the fruits of this task for many weeks. I’ll remember that I accomplished something.

Here are a few other tasks that can be done with intention, dedication and care that you’ll remember long after you’ve done them:

  • Cleaning and waxing your car (wax on wax off).
  • Clearing out your garage and giving stuff away to charity (be sure to keep the receipt).
  • Removing all of your clothes from your closet and giving anything you haven’t worn for over a year away promptly to charity.
  • Spending hours perfecting a new look (hair, makeup, outfit).
  • Cooking a very tasty, very healthy meal for yourself and packing the leftovers in trays for future lunches.
  • Planting a small area of your yard with a colorful array of flowers, taking care to plan out how they will look.
  • Brushing and grooming your pet.
  • Taking down your entire bed, freshening the mattress with a shampooer, washing your sheets in your favorite detergent or replacing them with 300 count sheets.
  • Writing 1 short story, blog post or article that is carefully thought-out and researched.
  • Reading a book, taking a 2-hour online course or practicing a language.

Now if you tried to do all of these things in one day or one weekend, you would be overwhelmed and they would be done poorly. But if you commit to doing JUST ONE THING the job will get done THE RIGHT WAY. And you’ll feel better about your accomplishment for the day.

womansitting

 

As you can probably see, this idea (doing things with intention) is also about self-care. Pick tasks that are directly beneficial to you. Not only do you feel better about yourself for having accomplished something, you have also done something that will make your day, week or life much easier and more enjoyable.

You matter and your actions matter. Do something with intention, dedication and care this week.

Love Lynn

 

Update 10/10/16 11pm: Mission accomplished!
fridgecleaned

 


Lynn Gilliard is an author and blogger. Her new book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth. She is also the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

 

Featured photo courtesy of Flickr/allkindsofnew

 

Boxing Yourself In (Fortress Building) Is Not Empowering #LoveLynn

There’s a chapter in Robert Greene’s famous book The 48 Laws of Power that says the following:

“Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous.” (Law #18)

His main point was that putting a fortress around yourself limits your access to information, knowledge and new experiences. We’ve been taught from a young age that information is power. Experience is the best teacher.

Yet in this day in age (2015 is the year I’m writing this post) many of us choose to box ourselves in and separate ourselves from the rest of the world.

I believe that our wide access to the internet, social media and countless ways to watch tv (Netflix, cable, Hulu, Youtube) has made it much easier to build these personal “fortresses” and refuse to let others in. All you have to do is get under the covers, turn on a movie and get lost in someone else’s world until you fall asleep. The urge to get out and have contact with others diminishes more and more over time.

Shielding Yourself from Being Hurt Again
I know all about how easy it is to start boxing yourself in. It often comes from a deep seeded need to shield yourself from being hurt after being hurt SO many times in your life. So many people have offended, disappointed and betrayed you that you begin to believe the whole world is out to get you.

And that’s not a healthy place to be if you want to thrive in life. You can’t be empowered when you’re in complete isolation.

Human beings have an innate desire for purpose. Deep down we all want to be useful, necessary and important in this world. And it’s hard to do that when you choose to separate yourself from others.

You need contact with other souls in order to be healthy, wealthy and wise. How can you learn and grow if your only contact with other people is the fake, manufactured personas that you see on television or the internet? How will you ever have a chance to come in contact with a soul mate if you cut the world off and box yourself in forever?

Offenses Will Come
Like someone wise once said, there will always be offenses to contend with in life. There will always be that someone who gets on your nerves. There will be that girl at the department store who tosses you an attitude, or a family member who brings up something hurtful to try to bring you down.

But that’s a part of life, and more importantly it’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you choose to react to it. That’s what makes all the difference when dealing with others.

When you get back out there into the world and someone offends you, you have to think about the proper reaction in order to stay empowered.

When the girl at the department store gives you an attitude, just smile or laugh and tell her to have a good day anyway. When your family member comes to you with that same old story, this time laugh and make light of it. They only bring it up because they know it irks you, and they crave that negative reaction from you.

When others offend you, don’t join them in their misery.

Getting Back Out There
Here are some ideas to help you start coming down from your ivory tower:

– Go to Meetup.com, choose a group and randomly go to an event near you. You can go alone (make sure it’s a safe, public location). Go with a positive attitude and smile a lot.

– Join a cooking or painting class. Look for an “intimate” class of about 10 people where you’re almost guaranteed to have to speak to someone.

– Go to an adult learning class that will pique your interest, such as starting a business or managing your money. Ask plenty of questions and become the teacher’s “pet.”

– Wave hello to a friendly neighbor once in a while and smile at people you see when in town. 8 times out of 10 they will smile back. There’s a powerful energy exchange going on there–soak it in as much as possible.

Start with these ideas and use them to fuel more inspirations for how to rejoin the world. In exploring your interests (known and new) you will start to feel yourself coming out of that box and back into a place of power.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

4 Easy Things You Can Do Today for a Better Week

Feeling a bit down, very tired, no energy or lacking clarity? Here are four easy things that you can do today for a better week. They are quick, simple and free in some cases — all that’s required is your commitment to setting aside a bit of time in your day to do them.

Do This 15 Minute Yoga Session
When I tried my first yoga class it was an hour long, painful and a little embarrassing because I couldn’t hold every position, so I never went back. However it did make my body and mind feel good afterwards, so I still do yoga on my own at home. If you want to feel better than usual this week, do this 15 minute yoga session today.

Turn Off the TV and Your Phone and Meditate in Nature for 30 Minutes
The television and your cellphone are major distractions in your day. If you’re not careful, they could begin to direct your life in negative ways. So set aside at least a half an hour today to turn off all electronics and meditate. If it’s a nice day, go out into nature to enjoy the outdoors while you meditate. If you think you’ll be bothered by bugs, just spray yourself with a repellent (I like Skin So Soft) or light a citronella candle.

Just sit in peace and listen to the sounds around you. If you want, you can also listen to meditation music in the background. Close your eyes and allow your whole body to relax, from your temples all the way down to your toes. Sit like that and allow relaxing thoughts to come to you.

Listen to 1 Short Motivational Audiobook for 1 or 2 Hours
You may be surprised by how much listening to one short audiobook can improve your week. There are audiobooks that are only 1 or 2 hours long–just long enough to finish while you’re commuting, cooking, cleaning or resting. Start an Audible membership with your Amazon account and use it to get a good audiobook for free, or purchase it outright (most short ones are under $8).

Happy Lady

It’s OK to Be Happy

Add a Handful of Greens to Each Meal
Ask any nutritionist and she will tell you that one of the most important food categories to have in your diet is “green leafy vegetables.” That includes spinach, kale, collards, romaine and green leafy lettuce. Add a handful of the greens you like best to every meal today. So for instance, you might put a handful of spinach into your omelet in the morning (delicious), a handful of green leafy lettuce to your sandwich for lunch and a handful of cooked collard greens to your dinner plate. Try to turn this into a habit, and you will start to feel and look much better. You may even be inspired to create your own small organic vegetable garden this year to grow your own “healing greens.”

Think you can do these four easy things today or tomorrow? I think you can. Your biggest challenge may be turning off the TV and social media for a while, but you can do it. You don’t have to climb mountains in order to make positive changes in your life. Start with small but significant gestures that only take small portions of your day to complete.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Going Against the Grain or Going Along to Get Along?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain

Have you ever gone along with something, whether it was an idea, an action or a joke just because most of your friends or family members agree with it?

Yet something deep down inside tells you that something’s not quite right. That is your intuition talking to you, but unfortunately sometimes we ignore that voice. We choose the path of least resistance and just go along to get along.

Going against the grain (a euphemism for going one way when everyone else is going the other way) seems too difficult a task at first. You may have to deal with ridicule or judgment for your choices. Wouldn’t it just be easier to just agree with everyone and go with the crowd?

But there is SO much freedom in going against the grain when it’s warranted. For one, your conscience is FREE, because you know deep down that you’re doing the right thing. And you’re also freeing yourself from the mental slavery that comes with “group think.” The more people who go along with a certain belief, thought, obsession or action, the tougher it is to resist joining the ranks.

When I first decided that I would work for myself and own my own business, many of the people around me laughed and judged me. I frequently heard “why don’t you just go get a *real* job?” Today many of those same people struggle in careers they don’t really like. I decided to go against the grain, and I love what I do. It’s not always easy work being an entrepreneur, but I earn, have freedom AND I’m able to express my creativity every day.

People are always trying to impose their views and opinions on others — you have the free will and right to not agree if you wish. Exercise that free will at every and any opportunity!

Don’t ever be afraid to go against the grain when necessary. Your skin might get “prickled” a little along the way, but you may look up soon enough to clearly see that you chose the right path for YOU.

Love Lynn

Now Available at Amazon & Audible.com!

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Shed the Old to Make Room for the New… #LifeAdvice

Have you ever heard the saying that we change every 7 years? Well, it turns out that this “old wives tale” may actually based in a scientific fact. Experts say that parts of the body (namely the skeleton/bones) completely renew every 7 years. So in a way, you’re a different or new person every 7 years. Some cells renew as often as every 7 days.

But in order to allow any of those new cells ROOM to grow, old cells must perish and leave our system. It’s impossible for the “old” to stay and occupy the same space.

Knowing this to be true, it begs this question: is it possible that many of us are crowding our lives with old stuff instead of making room for new things to come in?

Let me give you an example. My house was full of old items and furniture that I barely used for many years. I wasn’t happy with it. With the assistance of some loved ones, I cleaned it up and removed most of the “stuff” that was crowding up the living space. It is like it is a whole new place and I regularly get new ideas for how to make it even more comfortable.

Another example. Do you have friends in your life who may be holding you back from making progress? Maybe they put you down, talk behind your back, discourage you or stand you up when you’re supposed to go out together. You might have to “shed” those “friends” from your life first in order to make room for some better ones who will support and encourage you.

Why Does It Take So Long for Good Things to Happen?

One of the questions that I address in my book Why Doesn’t He Love Me? is “Why does it seem like it takes so long for good things to happen in my life?” Maybe one answer to that question is that you must first first sweep away the old, not so good stuff that’t there before the good things can make their way into your life.

Are you holding onto some old stuff from your past that needs to be shed? Maybe that’s part of what’s holding you back from taking a positive step in the right direction. Think about it and then take the necessary action.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.