Thoughts on #Election2016, American Competitiveness and Handling Hate in 2016 and Beyond

“We’re number 1!”

“We’re the best country in the world!”

“Come up against us and we’ll crush you!”

“Second place is the first loser!”

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the ONLY thing.”

This is the narrative that America has been running on for the past 50 years or so. It probably started soon after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, ending World War II. We got the idea that we were superior to others in the world; that we were the #1 country.

This idea of superiority and spirit of competitiveness has also become common between fellow Americans, to the point where now we are again a nation divided right down the middle. I have seen so many angry, hateful and competitive comments coming from people who feel that they have “won” the 2016 election. Some of those who feel that they “lost,” are also angry, though to a less venomous degree, about what has transpired. The obsession with competition has gotten so bad that now people are willing to accept anyone or anything just to be able to say that they “won” a fleeting victory.

I have some news for both sides: we ALL lost this election because we’ve lost our moral compass as a country. This election has shown that an overwhelming number of people are willing to do ANYthing to “win” — even if it means potentially throwing our future into the trash.

This intense competitive spirit has now trickled down to day to day interactions. There have been a number of cases of people being bold and outright with their racism and hatred toward others in public. There are stories of kids and adults bragging and taunting other people who they feel “lost” the election.

Some people have suggested that we should just laugh at and ignore these people, but I tend to disagree.

People ignored Hitler and the hateful propaganda his regime was spreading too. They probably thought it was all just something that would fade away with time. That was right up until the day when the first trucks rolled up to take people away from their homes.

Unfortunately, simply ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. There’s a quote that roughly says “evil prevails when good men/women do nothing.” This has been true in the past and it is true now.

I don’t think that we should ignore hate and ignorance when it arises in our personal lives. I think we are responsible for questioning it, boldly and unapologetically. Calmly ask the offending person questions, like:

Why do you feel it is acceptable and okay to make that kind of statement?

Where did you learn that from?

Who taught you that?

How would you feel if someone said/did that to your mother/sister/daughter/loved one?

Questions have a way of holding people accountable. They have to face the woman/man in the mirror if only for a moment. You don’t even have to respond to their response if it is very ignorant. Just look at them, listen, respectfully disagree and end the conversation. Don’t laugh or joke it away with them. And don’t ever argue with a foolish person because as they say, “then no one will know who’s who.” But if you feel that a calm discussion would be possible and have merit, keep the conversation going.

At the time of this post, Thanksgiving is less than a week away, so surely you will have a chance to practice if you have family members who think that it’s okay to bully, taunt and openly hate people. You may have sat by quietly as they spouted hate at the table where you eat before, but no more. Not this year. Hold them accountable for their hateful and ignorant comments by asking thoughtful but respectful questions:

When our family first emigrated here, do you think it was fair that people treated them the way that you’re treating ___(fill in the blank)____?

If God/Jesus were sitting here, what would God/Jesus say about the comment you just made?

Why do you feel that your way is the only acceptable way to live?

Why does it seem like you’re in competition with others who have a different race/gender/sexual preference/income/etc?

What bothers you so much about people who are different from you?

It doesn’t matter if you get through to that person — remember, this isn’t a competition. You don’t have to “win.” The point here is that you made a stance against hate and ignorance. I think this is what we need more of in America and the world at this questionable time.

Love Lynn

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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

 

5 Great Reasons to Donate to DonorsChoose.org this School Year

If your charitable giving is focused around helping young people, you’ll want to learn more about DonorsChoose.org . It’s a popular website that allows you to donate money to school projects that are set up by educators at elementary schools, junior highs and high schools around the country. You get to choose who you will donate to, right down to the state, city and even the specific school that you want to support.

I was inspired to write this article after receiving an email with pictures from a classroom I donated to back in February. Their request was for supplies to start a garden at their school, which is located in a high poverty area. Months later, I woke up to find an email link to an online album full of pictures showing how their garden has grown!

There are so many great reasons why you should donate to DonorsChoose.org this school year—here are just five of them:

1. It Reminds You of What Is Good and Going Right in The World

When we turn on the television or click onto social media, we’re constantly bombarded with negative stories that can cloud our minds and that may make us think that this world is not so great. We can become so overwhelmed with these stories and messages that we start to think that our society is going completely down the tube. But when you look at ambitious school projects like the many that are being supported at DonorsChoose.org, you realize that there is some good out there in the world. Maybe we need to just focus more on that?

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Image courtesy of DonorsChoose.org

2. The Children Are the Future

It sounds trite but this phrase is and always will be true, generation after generation: the children are the future. The way that children are reared, guided, taught and supported today will affect how they conduct themselves and manage our society in the future. It’s our responsibility as knowing, caring adults to support them in any way that we can. For instance, those children who have learned about growing a garden could become advanced agriculturists of the future. They could be key to keeping us healthy as a society 20 or 30 years from now. And you helped them.

3. You Can Relax Knowing that Your Donation is Directly Benefiting the Children

Some people avoid donating to charities for children because they’re not sure how much of their donation will actually make it to the children. With DonorsChoose.org, there’s a specific project goal set and when it’s reached, administrators order the supplies and send them directly to the school. Though the organization may collect a small administrative fee, I feel comfortable knowing that most of my dollars are definitely going to help the students achieve their goals.

4. You Can Donate Any Small Amount and It Still Makes an Impact

When I started out donating to Donors Choose, I would submit small donations in the amount of $7 to multiple projects. What I quickly found was that even a small donation amount would cause a ripple effect and the project would be fully funded in a day or two. Sometimes national or local businesses match the donations of individuals to help the classroom reach its goal more quickly.

5. The Kids Know that Someone Out There Cares

There’s a crisis of children (and adults) who believe that they don’t really matter to the world. Donating to DonorsChoose.org and leaving a message for the kids (and their teacher) is a way to combat that. The students will always remember that someone out there in the world cared about their existence and supported them.

When you donate to DonorsChoose.org and similar organizations for children, you can feel confident that you’re making a difference. If you ever forget that you made a difference, chances are that you’ll get a little reminder via email from a classroom full of excited children. Create an account at the DonorsChoose.org today and donate any amount to a school project that you’re passionate about.

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.

3 Simple Ways to Defeat Anger

The famous author Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” In other words, your anger is hurting you more than anything or anyone. Explore these three simple ways that you can go about defeating your anger and finally move forward with your life in a productive manner.

Determine the Source of Your Anger

Understand that in many cases you’re not really angry at the situation that is right in front of you — you’re angry about something else in your life. Maybe you just broke up with your girlfriend or your boss is nagging you at work. Once you accept what you’re really angry at in your life, it seems silly to keep taking it out on innocent people. Apologize to the innocent people around you and treat them with the respect that they deserve. You can then take steps to remedy or release the source of your issues.

Laugh

Whenever you feel like you’re about to have an epic meltdown, stop, close your eyes and try to think of something funny. If you want, think about what you want to do to the other person in your mind — make it over the top and ridiculous, then laugh about it heartily. It may take a few moments but when you have that memory or thought placed clearly in your mind’s eye, laughing about it can completely change your state.

Change Your Scenery

Sometimes the humdrum nature of life can be too much to bear. You may start to feel as if you’re running on a hamster wheel, seeing the same people, places and things day in and out. That alone can make you angry and put you on edge, especially when those people, places and things annoy you. Try changing your scenery — go somewhere new and different today, even if it’s just the park. Changing your surroundings can help give you a different perspective on your situation and relax you both physically and mentally.

You are the only one who can control your anger. Use these tips as a starting point on the road to a more peaceful and relaxed existence. Don’t let anger eat your “vessel” up from the inside out — you have to let it go.

Love Lynn

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Learning to Relax ……..

Sometimes I have to pause for a moment and think, “why the heck am I rushing right now?” I designed my life so that I work from home and set my own schedule, but still I find myself constantly feeling as if I’m under some kind of pressure to do everything and do it fast.

Oftentimes I have three or four things going on at any one time, which is why I often feel overwhelmed. What I’ve found us that the things to do don’t stop until I choose to stop doing them. Sometimes I have to force myself to just RELAX.

We Learn How to Worry and Live in a Continuing State of Tension from a Young Age…

When you’re in first grade, you’re taught that if you don’t draw inside the lines there may be a problem.

By the time you’re in sixth grade you’re taught that if you don’t have a group of friends there’s a problem.

By the time you’re in 10th grade you’re told that if you don’t fill out 50 college applications your future is in jeopardy.

When you’re a high school senior you’re pressured to find a prom date or else you’ll miss a once in a lifetime chance.

In college you’re pressured to be the best at everything and compete with your peers fiercely.

At your first job you’re expected to work your way up the corporate ladder.

And women, let’s not even talk about the pressure of being 29 years old and not married or not even having a boyfriend (“girl, your biological clock is ticking!”).

It’s clear that an inability to truly relax is built into many of us over the course of many years. When you’ve been taught so long to stress, worry and be concerned about every little thing that’s going on in your world, it seems almost impossible to just enjoy the present.

Relaxing Starts in Your Mind
The real reason why so many people find it so difficult to relax is that they haven’t mastered how to relax their minds. No matter how comfortable your body may be in a seat, if your mind is active and stressed you can’t get the rest that you truly need.

Here’s an example. I’m going to give you a simple command:

Sit down and relax every muscle in your body, from your toes to your forehead. Relax them completely.

A moment ago you probably didn’t even realize that there were parts of your body that were on “alert” either flexing or tensing. But when something told your mind to relax, you actually did.

Try this at night when you’re trying to fall asleep quickly and think of a place where you’d like to be. You may be surprised by how quickly you drift off into a nice dream.

Set Aside 1 Hour Each Day Just for You
When your schedule is full of things to do, including work projects, chores and daily routines, it’s essential that you take at least an hour each day to truly relax. Set aside a clear cut block of time in your day to do exactly what makes you happy, whether it’s a power nap, watching your favorite program or taking a walk in the mall. Be unapologetic about this time that’s just for you.

As I say in my new book YOU MATTER, you do not have to answer every time that you’re called. So turn off your phone ringer. Put on some soothing music. Take this time to reflect and let ideas in. Relaxation has healing properties and can give you extra energy to finish your day strong.

Relaxation Is Healing
Here comes a cliche that I think we all take for granted from time to time: “stop and smell the roses.” You don’t have to run and gun every moment of your day. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself. You matter.

Love Lynn

Lynn is the author of several motivational books, including You Matter: 11 Ways that You Matter Even When the Worlds Seems to Tell You Otherwise.

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Do You Want to Be a Weed or a Plant?

When I’m out tending to my garden all types of ideas and revelations come to me. One issue that I find to be most time consuming is the act of pulling weeds.

I have no idea where these weeds come from. They just sort of appear out of nowhere. In some cases they pop up overnight. Weeds sometimes grow when there’s no sun or water. Some varieties spread their seeds liberally as a way of trying to "take over." They are almost like parasites, taking resources (sun, fertilizer, water, nutrients in the soil) but never really giving much back to the world.

On the other hand you have plants. Plants get their name because they were specifically seeded by a farmer or gardener. They are needed and wanted. They take resources but they also give something back to the world, in the form of healthy food, beautiful smells or colorful flowers.

So the thought that came to my mind on this particular day was how some people are like weeds and others are beautiful plants. What type of people do you have around you? And which one would you want to be?

Weeds…
Weeds spread and propagate on their own. No one (except agricultural experts) really knows where they come from. They blow with the wind and land where they may. When they do settle into a spot, they dig in and get comfortable, not caring who the land belongs to or if they’re welcome. They just grow and grow, take and take, without much of a purpose or benefit to the landscape. Some theorize that they help protect soul by covering the ground, but they don’t seem to care if that ground is already occupied with plants or grass. They can impede the growth of plants. I liken them to an unwelcome distant relative coming into someone’s living room and putting their muddy boots up on the brand new couch.

Plants
Plants, like vegetables or flowers, have a clear purpose for being. They flourish and grow so that they can be a blessing to others. They stand tall and confidently, basking in the sunlight. They feed people with healthy nutrition (and bees with nectar).

Yes, plants are used up, and they will eventually wither away, but they leave behind valuable seeds that regrow and flourish year after year. The fruit and seeds that they produce are valued and cherished indefinitely into the future. They help people become and feel healthy, and have even been known to heal diseases. People will pay a pretty penny for a good piece of fruit or a beautiful flower.

So do you get the analogy? Unlike vegetation, we humans are blessed with the choice to be more like a weed or like a plant. We can be a blessing to the world instead of being a burden.

We have the choice to take the seed that God planted in each of us and let it flourish, so that it can be a blessing to the world.

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.

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.