Thursday, July 12, 2012
When we are young, our parents and family have a responsibility to take care of us. As we grow, they should take the time to nurture and protect, teach and instruct. As children, sometimes we don't understand why those things are important or what the bother is, but children have a voracious appetite for learning. That learning should be encouraged and reinforced as much as possible. Teaching children to look at things from multiple perspectives and to have an open mind prepares them for the massive amount of conflict and confusion life has to offer. Parents should teach by positive example so children can adjust to life as an adolescent and eventually as an adult. But what happens when parents fail at preparing children for life?
Children are smart and capable. They can learn to cope, but if they aren’t given proper guidance, their coping skills will be inadequate and inefficient. I do my best on a daily basis teaching my daughter how to cope, even with things that are upsetting, difficult, and troubling. Don’t get me wrong, I focus on the positive, but it’s impossible to ignore the negative aspects of life and expect things to turn out okay.
Unfortunately, I know people that have terrible coping skills because their parents taught them nothing positive. What happens is an unfortunate cycle of negativity that accomplishes nothing but keeping those people in a dark place. They aren’t really capable of taking care of themselves, because what they learned was piecemeal, ad hoc, and unguided. The consequences of this are devastating. I have experienced an element of this. Someone I know keeps asking advice only to ignore it, and sometimes gets mad at me if they don’t like what they hear. I have experienced having this person lash out at me and people I know for odd reasons. Now you might find yourself in uncomfortable situations where the other person takes out their frustrations on you, or someone you know. You must recognize that they aren’t able to cope well and what they are doing is the only coping mechanism they have. They aren’t able to take care of themselves properly.
If you find yourself acting like this, stop. It might be hard, but recognizing there is a problem is an amazing first step in solving it. Some of you might remember the GI Joe cartoon. At the end, there was always a Public Service Announcement where one of the characters would say “Knowing is half the battle.” It’s true. Part of earning to take care of yourself properly requires recognizing if you aren’t doing a very good job if it right now. Sometimes, getting through to a person with this problem is impossible. But I would suggest that you start with yourself.
Remember, you can’t really take care of someone else if you can’t even take care of yourself. There’s no shame in asking for help either. Sometimes it takes a simple request for assistance. If you can learn to accept your faults and rise above them, you can take those first difficult steps in becoming self-reliant.
Comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
What is self-reliance and why is it important? There are a lot of things in this world that you may be responsible for: bills, education, work, family members, but most of all, you are responsible for yourself. Most people would agree with that, but in practice, many disregard their own personal care and supplant it with other chores and duties claiming that to be responsible. But think about it, you can’t possibly take care of anyone if you can’t take care of yourself. That is what self-reliance is all about; taking care of yourself. Now I’m not talking about being selfish and blind to other people. Learning to handle things on your own, depending on your own abilities, skills, and discipline are vital.
There’s a powerful lesson in learning how to do things for yourself. Once you have grasped the concept of self-reliance, you’ll thirst for challenges to overcome and conquer. But how do you get there? Having self-reliance starts with believing in yourself and your potential. Now you don’t have to be successful in every endeavor to be self-reliant, you just have to believe you can try. Be warned though, making the attempt opens up the possibility of failure. As strange as it may sound, that’s a good thing. It may sound cliché but most people learn more from failure than they do from success. I like to say, Success is born from a thousand failures. Sounds catchy, doesn’t it? Anyway, it may seem scary to strike out on your own and try something new, but it’s worth it.
I used to shy away from challenge. Honestly, I would basically hide in my room avoiding things that would cause conflict or contention. It was safe, but boring. It provided no stimulation or growth. See, it’s easy to recede into the background of your own life. Nobody is going to force you to do much, except maybe follow the law, but above and beyond that, no. You have to be the driving force in your life. And that’s the greatest gift in the world. Develop your own sense of self-reliance and you can trust yourself to steer your life on toward your goals and mission. First you have to believe in yourself, once you do, you can rely on yourself as well. That’s a powerful force in creating a positive personal future. Give it a try!
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