5 Things We Should Stop Expecting From Others

5 Things We Need to Stop Expecting From Others

1. Stop expecting others to be perfect
The beauty of life is that we’re all unique, that we’re human and we make mistakes. When we put people up on a pedestal and imagine they’re perfect, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. People’s shortcomings and imperfections are what makes them more likeable and relatable. Forgive yourself for being imperfect too.

2. Stop expecting others to give the best advice
When we’re faced with a challenge or dilemma, seeking advice from a trusted friend or family member is a natural thing to do. However, advice should be taken as another perspective and be considered as one of many options. If we always follow the advice of others, instead of learning to trust our own instincts, we are bound to encounter obstacles and possibly build resentments against the adviser.

3. Stop expecting others to always be supportive
We’ve all made decisions we thought were for the best, only to encounter naysayers. Whether it’s a job change, new relationship, or a decision to have or not have children, there will always be people who care but don’t share our enthusiasm. Lack of support doesn’t mean our decision is a bad one, it simply means that we’ve made a choice that isn’t necessarily a popular one. In the long run, our decisions are our own to live with, with or without support.

4. Stop expecting others to think like you do
Often times, when we are passionate about an issue, we see only the ways in which the issue is appealing to us. Others may have a completely different view point and find the issue unappealing or view it in a completely different way. The important thing to remember is to respect other people’s points of view without judging or criticizing them for their feelings. So many factors color our individual opinions, and when we can understand how a person views the world based on their upbringing, morals, or standards, we can allow people to share or oppose our opinion without conflict.

5. Stop expecting others to apologize
Some people are empathetic, compassionate, kind and considerate, and unfortunately, others are not. While some people filter the words they say, others speak carelessly without considering your feelings. We are responsible for our own emotions, yet we cannot control the words or deeds of others and our emotional response to their impact. We can however, forgive the person even if they haven’t apologized. Forgiveness frees us from carrying resentment, and eliminates the hurtful words from renting free space in our minds. Without knowing it, we’ve probably said things that hurt others too, in the end we’re only human.


4 Ways to Teach Your Children to Make Good Decisions

When it comes to allowing your children to make decisions, it’s tempting to jump in and show them the way. Letting your children make minor decisions though, teaches them critical thinking skills and confidence in themselves to do the right thing when you’re not around.

Often, children become overwhelmed when too many choices are available, so it’s important to narrow decisions down to options that are manageable at their individual level of thinking.

Here are 4 key ways to keep in mind when helping your child make good choices:
1. Teach your child to weigh pros and cons
A useful exercise in all decision making is to weigh the pros and cons of each choice and deciding which decision works best. Grab a pen and paper and draw two columns with the decision written at the top of the page. On the left side of the page write “Pros” and on the right side of the page write “Cons”.

In no particular order, start listing the good things and the bad things about the decision writing the upside with “Pros” and the downside with “Cons”. Teach your child that there is usually good and bad in every difficult choice, and when the bad outweighs the good, the decision is probably a bad one.

Think of a second or third option to a decision where “Cons” outweigh “Pros” and continue this exercise as many times as it takes until a positive decision is reached.

2. Play the game of “what if”
To put things in perspective sometimes, it’s important to think of best and worst case scenarios. A lot of times initially, a decision sounds like the best idea in the world, because the decision maker has failed to think ahead. The “what if” game brings to mind realistic directions a potential decision could go. Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D., clinical director of the Westchester Group Works, in Harrison, New York, says, “When kids ask questions or make compare-and-contrast evaluations, they’re actually slowing down their thought process, so they are better able to think things through.” To help your child get used to this way of thinking, offer scenarios that require critical thinking and problem solving skills; getting invited to two separate fun events for example, or asking her what she would buy if she won money in a contest.

3. Provide options every day
In order for children to learn good decision making skills, opportunities for decisions should arise early and often. From deciding what to eat for breakfast or wear to school, to which classes to take or what job to pursue, decision making happens every day. When presented with too many options, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, so limit the options to manageable choices rather than providing a plethora of options to choose from.

A behavioral tactic taught in parenting class is to give your child a choice in cases of disobedience. If a child refuses to go to bed on time, for example, allow the child to choose between going to bed, and performing a chore. Often times, the child will choose to obey rather than facing their other option as a consequence of their misbehavior.

Positive choices should be rewarded unless the positive choice is required of the child. Rewarding bad behavior by praising a child for doing the right thing can often be turned around into a manipulative tactic so praise for a good choice should be made when the child makes the choice on her own.

4. Allow bad decisions to be made
Part of learning how to succeed is learning how to fail successfully. Poor decisions are useful learning tools and will be stored in memory for the next time a similar decision arises. When you see your child getting ready to make a poor decision, determine that the decision is not a life-threatening one and allow your child to make the mistake.

For instance, your third grader wants to take his entire allowance to school on a day when a school fund raiser is being held. If your child insists that this is the decision he has made, after explaining the possible consequences, go ahead and allow him to do it.

In this way, when something else exciting comes up that he wants to afford, he will remember that he made the choice in the prior week to spend all of his allowance in one day, and will learn to be frugal with his money and think ahead to the possibilities.
The overall goal to keep in mind here, is to raise a child with excellent decision making skills. Minor choices like how to spend their allowance early in life, will prepare them for major decision making in the future.

Outweighing the pros and cons early on, will later remind them to solidly think before acting. Children learn by practicing and trying, and they deserve the opportunity for both.

Instant gratification and always getting what they want will hinder their own ability to concentrate and focus on the future. Think of some creative ways to let your child decide and allow the process to be fun for you both.

Relationship Killers: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

According to John Gottman, Ph.D., there are four behaviors, if occurring repeatedly are guaranteed predictors of failed relationships and divorce. He refers to these behaviors as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and if a relationship has any chance of succeeding, these behaviors must discontinue immediately or you and your partner are headed for trouble:

Criticism: There is a huge difference between criticizing a person’s character and voicing a concern or complaint about how something makes you feel. To say that someone is lazy, for example is a criticism. To say that “I feel frustrated that you don’t help clean the house” is a valid concern or complaint. Criticism is a form of verbal abuse and an attempt to tear down the other person’s self-esteem in order to obtain the outcome the critic desires. If criticism is occurring commonly in a relationship, communication must be addressed – sometimes professionally – if the relationship has any hope of surviving.

Defensiveness: Commonly, defensiveness is a tool used in a conflict where you have completely shut out what your partner is trying to say and instead you are blame shifting and avoiding accountability for your part in the conflict. If your partner has mentioned a valid concern and you immediately jump to defend yourself and make excuses, you are participating in defensiveness rather than healthy discussion. This relationship killer is probably the most common, because few people like to admit they were wrong.
Contempt: You know you are contemptuous when you use blatantly disrespectful gestures like rolling your eyes, sarcasm, or what you might perceive as humor to avoid directly addressing your partners concerns. It’s important to be aware of your behaviors and be direct about how you feel rather than being passive aggressive or rude. Contempt can also be mentally putting your partner down in an attempt to protect yourself. Avoiding contempt can sometimes be difficult but if you can learn to appreciate your partners great qualities and practice open communication, this exercise will surely pay off.

Stonewalling: The last and most dangerous relationship killer that makes up the fourth horseman of the apocalypse is Stonewalling. Stonewalling is behavior that shuts off communication and is used as a weapon of manipulation. The most common form of stonewalling is using the “silent treatment” or responding with “I’m fine” in a cold, unfeeling way.

Stonewalling causes your partner to feel blocked off from you and to feel punished for some unspoken error. Stonewalling is never productive. On the contrary, stonewalling invites fear into your relationship instead of trust that honest feelings are shared. Men tend to stonewall because they are overwhelmed, while women tend to want to “talk it out” to the point of exhaustion, causing their partner to walk away, i.e. Stonewall. When you stonewall regularly you are pulling yourself out of the relationship rather than valuing it enough to work on it.

The important thing to remember is that all couples participate in criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling at least once or twice in the relationship. A word to the wise though, once recognized, it is imperative to correct the behavior, and fast. When you and your partner cannot communicate in a healthy way, it is time to seek professional help or come to grips with the relationship’s end. A good rule of thumb to live by is the 1:5 ratio – or for every negative interaction, there should be 5 positive interactions, or more.

5 Reasons Your Siblings Are Your Best Friends

5 Reasons Your Siblings are your Best Friends
By Tennille D. Shelley
Reason 1: They never quite bought into the adult version of you and will always help you remember where you came from.
No matter where life takes you, your siblings saw you experience life first. If relatively close in age, your siblings were there to watch how you behaved in school, to learn from your mistakes and to help you get in or out of trouble with your parents. Your siblings saw you experience love for the first time, heartbreak for the first time, friendship for the first time and conflict for the first time. Depending on your birth order, your older siblings probably paved an easier road for you while your younger siblings probably seemed to get by the easy way. As life goes on, your siblings will remember that no matter how successful you’ve become, you once fell off your bike and skinned your knee and may or may not have got caught skipping school.
Reason 2: They were your first secret keepers and probably haven’t forgotten your secrets.
Remember that time in the 90’s, you called the 900 number to talk to New Kids on the Block and got both of your sisters in trouble because you would never confess? Your sister most certainly does, and still hasn’t told your parents she knew. Your siblings were your greatest defenders and probably will be forever. As adults some of the most rewarding conversations are filled with inside jokes and best kept secrets that only you and your siblings will know.
Reason 3: They can give you a look without speaking, and you will instantly know what they think.
Few people find better friends in the world than the siblings you knew growing up. With a look across the room while someone is speaking, a sibling’s expression can cause fits of uncontrollable laughter with the only the two of you knowing what’s funny. A sideways glance speaks volumes of hilarious commentary and instantly you’re excited about the conversation that’s sure to follow. If you’re lucky to have a sibling that’s funny, your parents rue the day the two of you are in the same room while they’re trying hard to be serious. Ordinary friends don’t possess this super power, your siblings are one of a kind.
Reason 4: They are your biggest fans.
Your siblings have watched you fail and succeed, fall and get up, and all the while they were there to cheer you on. Even the siblings you may have fought with as a child prove later in life to be your biggest fans. When tragedy strikes a family, there is no stronger support system than the one that comes from your siblings. Fighting for you even more than you’re willing to fight for yourself, your siblings love knows no judgment and believes that you are capable of anything you ever decide to do.
Reason 5: They are one of a kind and will never be replaced.
No matter how long you’ve gone without speaking, your siblings will always care. They’ve known you your entire life and no matter how hard you try, they will never be replaced. You may find people that remind you of them, but your siblings are one of a kind. From the music they loved to the TV shows they watched, something will always remind you of them. Your sibling or siblings were your first friends in this world and will always be a part of who you are.

5 Steps to Resolve an Argument Effectively

5 Steps to Resolve an Argument Effectively
By Tennille D. Shelley

Step 1: Change the tone of your voice
When two people are arguing, commonly tempers are rising, hurtful words are flying, and each person wants to be “right”. Nothing calms this down quicker than one person changing their tone of voice. This may sound easier said than done in the heat of the moment, but if you can remember to breathe deeply and calm down your tone of voice, the person on the other half of the argument is likely to match your tone.

Step 2: Agree to take a time out
Once voices are calmer and the two of you have a break in the conversation, be the bigger person and suggest a time out. A time out gives both participants in the argument a chance to breathe and to readdress the issue from a calm standpoint. Agree on a time limit that works for you both and come back at the designated time to readdress the issue calmly. It might help for one or both of you to step outside and get some fresh air, or take a short walk, but try not to drive. If you’re angry, driving aggressively is dangerous and will just serve to aggravate the situation more.

Step 3: Remember the basics of respectful communication
In an argument, no matter what the argument seems to be about, the underlying issue is usually a need to be heard by both parties. It’s important to give the person you are arguing with fair time to state their case without interruption, actively listen and reiterate what you understand. (For example, using words like “what I hear you saying is”) with a calm, open, and accepting attitude. If the other person feels they are understood, and it is your turn to speak, choose your words carefully and with consideration to the sensitivity of the subject being discussed.

Step 4: Compromise, compromise, compromise
No two people are exactly the same and that’s the beauty of human relationships. When it comes down to it, there are going to be issues in every relationship that the two of you will never fully agree on – and that’s okay. Part of getting to know someone is learning what they will or will not tolerate, how they perceive things the same or differently from you and the manner in which they need to be spoken to. If the issue at hand is one that seems unsolvable, a possible solution is agreeing to disagree, unless of course, the issue is unacceptable behavior. The compromise needed may just be to learn how to disagree successfully. Disrespectful or insulting language is never okay and is an absolute unequivocal deal breaker.

If the issue is one in which a compromise can be reached, each party will need to learn to compromise by giving a little from either side in order to reach a happy medium. Remember the four horseman of the apocalypse in any relationship: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. Learning to compromise outside of these 4 attitudes will direct your relationship forward in a healthy way.
Step 5: Apologize and Forgive
No one walks away from an argument without having their feelings hurt at least a little bit. It’s never fun to heatedly disagree with someone we care about, and for the harsh words that may have been spoken, apologies are always welcome. The same goes for Forgiveness. We are all human beings in the long run and we are guilty of speaking out of turn and using words we don’t mean a time or two in our lives. When we care enough about someone to want to move forward with them happily, there are no better gifts than sincere apologies and forgiveness. Always remember though, that forgiveness means the issue is done and is not stored away as ammunition for future arguments.
With these steps in mind, we can strengthen our relationships and our trust in other people and that ability is irreplaceable.

5 Facebook Friends We Could Live Without

Five Facebook Friends We Could Live Without

by: Tennille Shelley

  1. The Over-Sharer
    We get it. You love your cat. We don’t need to hear that today your cat chased a piece of lint across the floor, climbed up your curtains, knocked over your grandmother’s collection of kitschy indoor garden gnomes and is now napping happily on top of your kitchen counter – in 5 separate status updates. This goes for your children too. If little Johnny has a stuffy nose followed by his first bath in days and has taken up the annoying habit of repeating literally everything you say and you’re tired of hearing about it, we probably are too. Also, personal business should probably stay personal. The over-sharer is always the friend who posts their entire life on Facebook then complains about people “being all up in their business”.
  2. The everything is wrong with the World Friend
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an occasional bad day, but this friend guarantees that every post they grace us with is an instant trip to Negative Town. With constant posts about their latest tragedy, these fun sucking status updates are usually filled with hatred toward whatever is annoying them at the moment. “I woke up this morning and I still have a jerk for a boss, I stubbed my toe, now I’m going back to bed.” As we all learned in the movie Wedding Crashers, sitting in the corner and sulking draws attention to you in a negative way. Chin up buttercup, all will be well in the morning.
  3. The Self-Deprecating No One Loves Me Friend
    I think we can all agree that we are completely over the “this will be a short experiment since no one reads my wall” meme. If you need me to post one word about how we met, then I probably don’t need to be on your list of “friends”. Let’s be honest, you’re posting this to be reminded of how you know me in the first place, and if I scroll past it, it’s probably because I can’t remember our first meeting either. Facebook is mostly about kitten pictures and sunshine, let’s save the self-hatred issues for therapy.
  4. The If This Doesn’t Make You Feel Guilty, You Have No Soul Friend
    Tragedy is a real thing. So are people’s religious beliefs. Scrolling past a meme that tells me I am going to burn in the hot fires of Hades if I don’t share it doesn’t give me the guilt trip you’re looking for, it just makes me scroll to the next cute kitten photo. Did you know that gazillions of Alpacas are sold into slavery every year? Share this photo to raise awareness of this growing epidemic. Please. Stop. I Mean It.
  5. The Share This Photo in 5 Minutes For a Financial Windfall from Heaven Friend
    Seriously? Chain letters haven’t been a thing for at least a decade and yet they have found their way onto my News Feed every single day. Usually a poorly made meme with irritating font face over a photo of stacks of cash, the promise is that when shared, this meme will guarantee riches in the next two days after you close your eyes, make a wish, blink twice, scroll to the bottom and look at the clock at exactly 3:33. Maybe the lucky recipients of all of this cash are keeping it a secret, but I can say with absolute certainty it has never been me Stay classy my friends, let’s keep sharing the goat for no reason along with photos of our “epic” lunch.

Why 2015 is a great year for growing

Regardless of our station in life, I’ve always believed that opportunities are everywhere if we are willing to look.

Leading up to 2015, my “goals” have been to help others and I’ve done a lot of that, while forgetting about myself. In 2015, I feel like I’ve learned that I can help others in the way that comes naturally to me while helping myself simultaneously.

When I set out to find writing jobs that would generate a steady revenue, I wasn’t aware of the vast need for just a fresh perspective. New eyes on old content, or a need for a complete and original re-work. It’s exciting to be a part of the dreams and goals of someone else, while using the work I’m doing for them to realize the dreams of my own.

My two main goals for 2015 are to significantly increase my writing revenue and to get started on the novel I’ve always wanted to write.

They say that when we make plans, God laughs – thus, I tend to shy away from “resolutions” (or as I define them “ways to guarantee I disappoint myself”) and instead apply myself with my goals in mind, being grateful always for every opportunity, and freely forgiving myself if I occasionally miss the mark.

I hope 2015 is the year that you find your direction too. Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear about your goals for this year too! 🙂