5 Reasons You Should Quit Being Jealous

You know the feeling. Rooftop

It can happen over practically anything.  A friend gets a cool opportunity, buys a house, is more photogenic or gets more vacation days than you.  Whatever it may be, sometimes the simplest things can make us jealous.

You may think that it is only inside your head, but it actually affects everything about you and if you’re not careful, it can control you.

Here are 6 simple reasons you should stop being jealous:

 

  1. Jealousy Is An Ugly Trait…

This is pretty straightforward.

Jealousy is followed by a plethora of negative qualities and emotions.  A jealous person stands out like a sore thumb and is not enjoyable to be around. Oftentimes, envy drives us into a self-conscious, insecure and judgmental frame of mind.

Those traits are quite unattractive to others regardless of how close of a relationship you have with them. No one enjoys a cynical, hot tempered or resentful person, so be aware of how you treat others and how you are perceived.

 

  1. Jealousy Will Make You An Awful Friend…

In my previous blog, I wrote about how people struggle being excited for one another.  Why can’t we be happy for one another without getting jealous?

Be honest with yourself here.  Have you ever been upset when something good happens to someone else?  Someone else has the spotlight, and instead of being excited for them, you’re a little irritated.

Chances are, your friends and family can sense that irritation, so be careful not to become the person who others have to walk on eggshells around when good things happen to them.  Instead, be the person that others can share their excitement and triumphs with. 

When someone shares good news with you, give them a big high-five, smile or shout “That’s amazing!”  It doesn’t really matter, just do something that shows you care about their life.

 

  1. Jealousy Will Cost You Money & Time…

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you don’t fall victim to this, because we do it far more often than we believe.

As the saying goes, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”.  This may not be 100% true for you all the time, but generally we end up spending silly amounts of money to get things to impress people.

I have seen people spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to become like other people or acquire things that other people have.  It’s ok to make goals, or strive to become better, but be cautious of how much time and money you spend trying to be like someone else.

 

  1. Jealousy Will Steal Your Unique Identity…

The longer we spend being jealous of someone else and striving to have the things that others have, the less we become our own person.  We start to become a carbon copy, molded and sculpted by our petty, ever-changing culture.

Envy has the potential to take over your identity and steal your individuality.  You will find yourself chasing the passions and dreams of other people instead of pursuing your own.

It’s ok to look up to people and have role models or mentors, but be careful not to chase someone else’s dream. 

 

  1. Jealousy Can Ruin Today…

If we aren’t careful, we can end up spending our entire lives waiting for the day that we have everything that we want, or obtaining all the things we never had.  In that scenario, our lives can end up being wasted on looking to the future instead of living in the present.

Jealousy will take your focus off of the blessings you have today and instead will set your gaze on things you have yet to obtain. 

Make the most of today and set goals and dreams for the future.

 

My Challenge For You…

Take 2 minutes and write down 5 positive qualities about yourself.  Over the next week, be aware of those qualities, and try to improve on them.  (Are you energetic?  Compassionate?  Detail Oriented?  Intellectual?  Athletic?)

Work on not comparing yourself to other people for just one week and see how it changes your perspective.

 

5 Ways To Be Confident Through Change

5 Ways To Be Confident Through ChangeIf you are anything like me, transitions and change often bring a sense of anxiety.  Sometimes the changes are small, other times they can be massive.

Change can often feel like wandering in the wilderness with no sense of direction. 

But there are ways to approach change that can create in us a confidence that will help us through the tough and trying times.  The past six months I have had my fair share of change through graduation, engagement and a new job, which all have taught me about life transitions.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about change:

  1. Ask questions.

Many things in life wont have an obvious ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.  Ambiguity is probably one of the most frustrating facets of change.  You can easily spend hours wrestling different options trying to make the best decision and, at times, it can feel like there is no way out and you are trapped putting your future in the hands of chance.

This does not have to be the case.  Instead of trying to be a juggernaut and handling everything yourself, ask people you trust for advice.

Sure, they may not have a definite answer for you, but many times, people can give you a clear perspective and help you see the big picture.  

  1. Admit mistakes with dignity.

You will make mistakes.  You will not have a perfect track record. Everyone messes up, so be the type of person who admits their failure without excuses.  It speaks volumes of a person’s character when they can admit their shortcomings without passing blame. 

Fight the urge to give excuses, and own up to falling short.  Although it may be humiliating, people will begin to respect your maturity and ability to own up to your mistakes.

  1. Take advice from people you trust.

Everyone likes to give advice. If only the advice that everyone gave was good!  Through my transitions, there were quite a few instances were I was given advice and, unfortunately, not all of it was good.  It was quite difficult to know how to act, what decisions to make and who I could trust.

Have a list of people you trust, and take advice from them.  For everyone else, be respectful and acknowledge their kindness, but don’t feel obligated to take action on their ideas.

Just because someone believes something to be true, it does not necessarily make that thing true.

  1. Protect yourself.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be as joyous as you are about the victories in your life.  If you receive a promotion, buy a new car or get some new clothes, don’t expect people to jump up and down.  In fact, the majority of people will become jealous and may resent your excitement.

It can be extremely discouraging when people turn down your ideas or minimize your dreams.  Protect yourself, and share excitement with people you know care about your life and who will share those victories with you.

Don’t let the negativity of others keep you from moving forward!

  1. Be happy with the present.

No one can see the future.  People can make assumptions about what will happen tomorrow, but in reality, no one can REALLY know what to expect.  Oftentimes, people begin to resent their current stage of life and stare at someone else’s green grass.

I once read someone’s take on ‘the grass is always greener’.  He said this, “Stop comparing.  Stop staring at someone else’s green grass and start watering your own.”

  • Find joy in simplicity.  Live your life sharing love and compassion. 
  • Tomorrow will come without your command and will have its own troubles, so stick with today and deal with tomorrow when it comes.
  • Keep moving forward even in the midst of resistance and trials.   Transitions can be tough and unclear, but many times will lead to growth.

Breakfast

Everybody talks. 

If you put two people together they will undoubtedly talk about something.

-The latest episodes of whatever shows are trending…

-The superbowl halftime show…

-How the weather needs to ‘make up its mind’…

There is a good chance you have been a part of one of those conversations, but what about these?

-The way your friend treats his/her spouse…

-The way your neighbor spends their money…

-The way your coworker has been dressing…

Unfortunately, if we are honest with ourselves, we have all been a part of these conversations as well.  As innocent as it may seem, gossip has many negative consequences.

Effects of Gossip:

It Destroys Relationships – It’s difficult to trust someone who is always talking about someone else.

It Ravishes Our Integrity – Complimenting someone to their face and then destroying their reputation behind their back traces back to a lack of integrity.

It Provokes Negativity – Cynicism is the hottest relational ‘drug’ on the market.  Don’t be strung out on cynicism and addicted to the negative rush.

Whether you are all about the tabloids or couldn’t care less, we all should take precautions to help us fight the temptation to tell

Here are 10 things that can eliminate gossip:

1.    Check Your Jealousy At The Door…

Gossip stems from many different things, but one of the prime contributors is jealousy.  If you have jealousy issues, I would suggest dealing with that first.

2.    Avoid Gossip…

This one may seem silly considering its simplicity, but don’t count it out.  Chances are, if you surround yourself with people that gossip (reading or watching gossip as well), it will be increasingly difficult for you to avoid doing it.

3.    Tell The Truth…

This is massive.  There are so many relationships that have been ruined because of lies and over exaggerations.  Don’t stretch the truth to make your story seem better or make up a story about someone else. Be careful about what you share to others, because it may not have been true in the first place.

 4.    Stop Comparing Yourself to others…

It’s easy to take someone else’s life and compare it to our own.  Avoid taking someone’s positive thing and making it your negative conversation.  The more you focus on other people, the easier it is to become cynical and condescending.

5.    Think Positive…

This takes work.  It’s much easier to find the negative in something than it is to find something positive.  Protect your thoughts and be very intentional about what thoughts you communicate to others.

6.    Say ‘Never mind’…

Sometimes during a conversation it’s easy to roll into gossip without even realizing it.  If you catch yourself mid-sentence mentioning someone who isn’t there, just say “never mind”.

7.    Do A Detour Around Sensitive Issues…

We all have sensitive issues and hot topics that make us prone to vent.  If you are around someone who has a tendency to talk bad about Julie, then avoid talking about Julie.  Don’t provoke people into their own demise.

8.    Be Content With Not Being ‘In The Know’…

I hate gossip, but occasionally find myself in the middle of it because I want to be in the loop.  Avoiding gossip requires an acceptance of being on the outer ring of the social circles.

9.    Quit The Drama…

“Remember Julie?  Well, she told Peter that Sharon has a thing for Will, but Will ‘doesn’t want to be in a relationship’ and Peter is the one with a thing for Sharon.  Can you believe that?”  

These types of conversations have to stop.  Don’t let this type of drama ruin your relationships.  In the end, it’s not important.

10.   Be The Protector…

If no one else is doing it, then its time for you to step up and be a leader.  Care enough about your relationships (friends, family, coworkers) to take initiative and spread the truth and positivity while stifling jealousy and drama.

Do you think anything should be added to the list?

How do you keep yourself from gossiping? 

The Importance of a Unified Team

Think about it. 

Most of our lives are spent working around people we didn’t choose to be around.

-The boss hires a new employee.

-The leader will organize a team for you to work with.

-The manager decides where to put your desk.

You suddenly are forced into an environment where the only variable you can directly control is yourself.

It’s rare to be put into a situation where the people around you will see things the way you do, or will work in a way that is similar to your work ethic.  Most of the time, it’s a daily crossroads between coworkers, fellow employees and other volunteers.

Setting political, religious and ethical differences aside, the struggle is real when it comes to keeping the peace within a team. 

Here are my words of encouragement:  It’s Ok.

Don’t get discouraged because people don’t think the way you do, because in the long run it will actually benefit your team.  Different viewpoints, ideas, skill sets and passions will help your team stay objective, creative and hopefully successful.

Many times, diversification will help coworkers compliment one another.  It’s good to have a team where others can see your blind spots.  

Although problems will arise and personalities will clash, here are a few ways to keep a team unified and to avoid a hostile environment: 

1.    Speak Clearly and Gently…

Be very careful when communicating, because the content and tone of your conversations are equally important. 

Charisma is the key barometer when judging your relationships within a team. Start critiquing yourself when walking away from a conversation.  Do people leave a conversation with you feeling better, or worse about themselves?

2.    Be Prepared And Organized…

There are few things more frustrating in a team than someone who is frequently unprepared.  One person’s actions and work ethic affect the entire team.

Do your best to make the team better and make your team and leader proud.  Be someone your team respects and appreciates, and avoid being a liability

3.    Pay Attention…

We have all experienced the mid conversation text message.  Right in the middle of you telling a story, someone gets out there phone and starts messing with it.

Whether you are in a meeting, or just holding a simple conversation, make an intentional effort to let others know you are listening.

4.    Smile and Laugh…

You don’t have to be the office jokester or have the most contagious laugh, but you can be someone who others enjoy to be around.  Think about the last time someone smiled at your story or laughed at your joke.  There was probably a little skip in your step or boost to your mood.  It makes a big difference.

Be someone others can look forward to being around and try not to make people walk on eggshells around you.  It’s easy to find faults in others and your job, instead, be a leader and stick to the positive.

 5.    Resist Gossip…

Gossip is like cancer in the workplace and spreads uncontrollably.  Once a culture of gossip is set, it can feel like a wildfire that cant be contained.  No one benefits from talking negatively about others and will only hurt the team in the end.

Even if gossip is regular in your team, stray from being involved in negative conversations.  Reject cynicism, insubordination and gossip on a daily basis.

Conclusion…

You are a part of a bigger picture.  Your team needs you and you need them, so learn how to play nice.  Respect your leader and be a positive force for your team.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.  The more your team can learn to work together, the more you will be able to focus on the road ahead.

What I’ve Learned As A Volunteer: Time Management

The volunteer life is not easy.

Anyone who has been a volunteer long enough knows the difficulty of time management and all the baggage that comes along with it.

For a large portion of my life I worked in a few different volunteer positions that easily brought me to ‘full time status’.

Many times, I was there before the paid employees showed up, and stayed long after they had left.

I would dream about my position and cast a vision to the other volunteers that my position required me to lead.  I loved what I did.

To say that I had a lot of plates spinning would have been an understatement when describing my schedule.  Being a full time student and volunteer, working two part time jobs and sustaining relationships with friends and family was no easy task.

Quite often I encountered a feeling that almost everyone can relate to: I was overwhelmed.

Somehow in an effort to pursue a hobby that we love, or fight for a cause we believe in, we become overwhelmed with life and soon the line between priority and passion becomes blurred.

Volunteers require excellent time management skills in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.  Here are three important keys to managing your time:

1.    Avoid Procrastination

We all know the late night feeling of finishing a project just moments before it is due.  Not only does the stress build over time and strain other areas of our lives, but it also ravishes our performance.  No one produces a better result by rushing.

Give your future self a break and quit putting things off for tomorrow.

2.    Plan Better

The times in my life when I was most overwhelmed were the times when I was unprepared.  If I approach a busy, relentless week unprepared, I will end up being late to meetings, slow to respond to emails and quick to forget what needs to get done.  Life feels much more chaotic when we fly by the seat of our pants.

Get a calendar, use the ‘Notes’ app, write yourself reminders, leave 5 minutes early and show up prepared.

3.    Say No

There are many reasons we say ‘yes’ when we should say ‘no’.  Either you want to fit in with the guys (or girls), you hate disappointing people, or you just have a hard time knowing when to say which.  Either way, many people struggle with making the right decision.  The best way to begin is with your priorities.

In order to protect your priorities, there are times when saying ‘no’ is the most beneficial thing you can do.

Each day, we have to define our priorities and protect our time.  ‘If you chase two rabbits, both will get away’.  Cast a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly vision and be sure to protect it, even amongst the most chaotic of times.

Is there anything you would add to the list?  

What are your experiences with volunteering?

 

4 Ways To Enjoy The Christmas Season

It’s safe to say that the majority of households in America have now packed up their ‘Fall’ decorations and busted out the Christmas ornamentation .  Christmas trees, lights, tinsel, mangers, candy canes, stockings and many others now fill our houses and light up our neighborhoods.

Some people love it, and others hate it.

Either way, it comes every year and we are all a part of it.  Regardless of our feelings towards the holidays, I think we all can agree on one thing:  Sometimes, the most difficult part of the Christmas season is enjoying the things that we assume should come naturally.  Rest.  Joy.  Giving.  Relationships.

Here are 4 ways make the Christmas season enjoyable :

Enjoy Rest…

If we aren’t careful, the Christmas passes by before we ever enjoy it.  Whether it is commitments, responsibilities or employment, rest is hard to come by and often not very good when we do find time for it, leaving us emotionally and physically drained.

Plan a date sometime between now and Christmas to simply rest.  Spend time doing something you love, or just not doing anything at all.  Either way, make a date with yourself and don’t be late.

Share Joy…

Unfortunately, not everyone this Christmas will enjoy a bountiful heap of presents to open, or a family to sit around the table with.  There are innumerable amounts of people that will spend Christmas hurting, lonely and afraid.

The key with joy is selflessness.  We all have troubles and trials of different sorts, but even in the midst of those, we can still be joyful, generous and kind.  Whatever your situation, consider the circumstances that many other people are coping with.  Joy is extremely contagious and viral.  It doesn’t take a huge act of kindness or act of generosity to brighten someone’s day or help them find a little peace in their chaos.  

Share Yourself…

During the holidays we intentionally or unintentionally begin to recluse because of our increased exposure to family, friends or groups of people.  The downfall of this is that we begin to become lonely and isolated.  It’s easy to become depressed when your only company is the voices inside your head or the ones on the TV.

Take time and intentionally share yourself with others.  By this, I mean sit down and have a really good conversation with a friend, rekindle and old relationship, small talk with a stranger or spend time with your family.  Embrace relationships and engage with people, even if it doesn’t come naturally.

Give Thoughtfully…

Gift giving is a difficult and touchy subject for most people.  For some reason, society has compelled us to believe the best gifts are the more expensive ones.  We stress over what to buy and then spend more than we can afford on each other.  It is undeniably one of the most stressful parts of the Christmas season.

Although some people will give you a specific gift they saw are would like, many times we are left to find something for the majority of our family and friends.  In these situations, instead of going to our wallets, lets consider what we can offer others with what we have.

There are many websites filled with ‘Do It Yourself’ sections for Christmas gifts.  Whether it is a homemade photo album, sharing a family recipe or using your woodworking skills to build a bench.  Beyond building something, the best gift you can give someone is your time.  Spend time with someone, build them something or make them something to eat, either way, do your best to enjoy the process of giving gifts

What do you think?

 Share this with a friend or family who may enjoy it.

Why Is Being Thankful So Difficult?

Everyone can identify with the awkwardness of reuniting with family and friends during the holiday season.

Not matter how many hands of poker you ‘let’ aunt Charlotte win, you know she still doesn’t approve of your political views.  Your older brother Wilfred wont stop bringing up that  you didn’t call him on his birthday and Grandpa Smith hasn’t spoken to you since you had ‘The Fight’ back in ’08.

It’s hard to even talk to them, let alone be thankful for them.

On top of family and friends, you didn’t get that promotion or job that was expected and your car has a new ‘unidentifiable’ problem that could cost you your left arm.

You want to be thankful, but it is so difficult.  Why?

Here are 3 reasons you may be having a hard time being thankful:

Jealousy…

Jealousy is a powerful motivator that can rob today of it’s joy.  Your car has a few dings, your family is pretty dysfunctional and your house is less than ‘average’.  Most of the time, our first go to when we feel this way is to look at our neighbor’s possessions.

We say to ourselves, “They seem to have it pretty together, what am I doing wrong?  Why don’t I have that yet?”  And just like that, BOOM!  The blessings we have are no longer blessings, but instead, have turned into liabilities.  Don’t underestimate this topic, because jealousy makes thankfulness nearly IMPOSSIBLE.

SPIN:  Eradicating jealousy takes discipline, but there is still time!  Don’t spend this holiday season, (or the rest of your life for that matter) focusing on what you don’t have, but be thankful for those things you DO have.  Set goals, aspire and dream, but while you pursue your dreams, love your family, friends and blessings the whole way.

Expectations…

You wanted that promotion, but all you got was a measly bonus.  You wanted your family to overlook a few bad decisions you made recently, but instead it’s the topic of conversation.  Expectations, almost always, will determine our response.  Typically, we expect the best and nothing less, which leaves us beside ourselves when the results are smaller or different than what we were hoping for.

SPIN:  Don’t lose hope!  Your life does not have to be negatively defined by those things that turned out a little differently than you had planned.  Small victories add up over time.  Take the time to consider all the new opportunities, blessings and relationships you have encountered this past year EVEN IF it was less than you expected.  It’s ok to humble yourself and be thankful for the small things.  The humble live surprised and the arrogant live disappointed.

Grudges And Bitter Relationships…

Welcome to the unknown and seemingly uncontrollable.  Relationships.  “Be thankful for them?  Yeah right.”  You might say.  One of your family members may treat you poorly and make you uncomfortable.  Your closest friend from high school, college or work stabbed you in the back and has left you bitter towards them.   YOU may have done something to a family member or friend.  The very thought may be draining and leave you feeling helpless.

SPIN:  Its’ time to take 3 deep breaths and do the unthinkable:  Forgive those who have wronged you and apologize to those you have wronged.  It may be time to have that hard conversation you’ve been putting off for years, or agreeing to disagree with your family members and deciding to love them anyways.  Either way, this holiday season, do not let grudges and bitterness rob you of your thankfulness.  Instead, make sure your family knows you love them and are thankful for them.

This Holiday season, change your perspective.  Give and expect nothing in return, be thankful for the small victories and begin to mend those relationships that put a pit in your stomach.  You can do it.

Take the time to share this with a friend or family member who may need it.  

Is there anything you would add to the list?