Daily Archives: September 20, 2015

The danger of creating assumptions is that we believe them and we take action based on them.




We know parts of truths or events that happen in our life, we know this as PERCEPTION or POINT OF VIEW. Much like having two sides of a story, but we need that third line to have closure. But when we don’t have the rest of the information, we tend to fill in the space with stories and reasons of why, when, where, who, what, how, that we create on our own. But this third line is solely created in our mind, we take the information that we have, truths and facts, and from them we create the missing part of the information out of our own imagination. But it isn’t a fact. The danger of creating assumptions is that we believe them and we take action based on them. Depending on our tendency, we can fill in the third line or the missing piece of information with a optimistic point of view or a pessimistic one. This is where our tendency to believe our own stories, that fill our psyche with a negative or up lifting point of view, can determine how we perceive life. We can see that the actions we take from the decision we make can be distorted by our own assumptions.


Don Miguel Ruiz Jr


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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in WISDOM



Self-confidence is built from the inside out – We build it by giving ourselves credit for our strengths/virtues/accomplishments.



Being Assertive


 Personal Power


The feeling of personal power is key in all interpersonal relationships. Many people are not very clear about what assertiveness is and how it differs from aggressiveness. One main difference is that aggressiveness is about power over other people, while assertiveness is about being able to assert our rights and stand up for our thoughts and feelings while respecting the rights, thoughts and feelings of others.


Passive people habitually submit to other people’s dominance play, do not have clear boundaries, and are constantly being invaded by others. They tend to avoid conflict by not expressing their thoughts and feelings, avoid any sort of confrontations even when their basic rights are involved, which leaves them feeling – and being – victimized. At the same time, anger builds up in them, so when they do speak up, they tend to do it in an aggressive, attacking and blaming way rather than a constructive, solution-oriented, assertive way.


Aggressive people, on the other hand, attempt to impose their will on others, do not respect other people’s boundaries and are invasive and coercive. Aggressive people may get their way with some people at first, but in the long-run they alienate others, create a lot of stress in their social, family and work environment, experience a lot of failures in all interpersonal relationships and end up having no social support and feeling isolated and victimized themselves.


Somewhere in the middle stands assertiveness which is a way of communicating and behaving that respects the rights of all relationship partners. Assertiveness requires honesty, directness, self-confidence, knowing what your rights are and being able to defend them in positive, constructive ways. Learning to act more assertively will increase your sense of efficacy, of having an impact on your environment, your chances of having honest, straight-forward relationships, your chances of getting your needs met, will improve your ability to make your own decisions and get more satisfaction out of life.


Assertiveness is based on two important traits: relatively good self-confidence and good communication skills.


Self-confidence is built through our experience of effectiveness in the world. This effectiveness can be measured in many areas of experience, like academic or professional achievement, physical or athletic abilities, social and personal relationships, etc. Self-confidence is built from the inside out, meaning that we don’t expect others to provide us with self-confidence but we build it by giving ourselves credit for our strengths, virtues and accomplishments.


Good communication skills involve being a good listener as well being a good speaker and being able to appraise a situation in a cool-headed, non-defensive or fearful manner . Assertive communicators have developed some specific skills for standing up and speaking up for themselves. They have fewer conflicts in their dealings with others, and their needs are more frequently met, so they feel happier and more in control of life situations. Most people desiring to become more assertive start from a passive behavioral baseline and require quite a bit of practice in assertive communication skills before they can see any change in the power balance between them and other people. So start slowly in the beginning, and gradually practice more and more assertive communication skills.


Here are a few tips on what communication skills you need to develop and practice:


Maintain eye contact when you are in a conversation. This way you communicate a self-confident and honest message.


Be specific and direct about what you want, think or feel. Practice making statements like “I want to..”, or “I think…”. Learn to say “no”.


Use your body language to emphasize your words. When making a demand or a request, stand up straight and speak in a loud and clear voice.


Don’t get personal or over-emotional when you feel your rights are being violated. Comment on the person’s behavior rather than attacking the person. Use “I” statements, instead of “you” statements that sound like accusations. Feel free to say, “I don’t like it when you yell at me” or “I don’t appreciate not being treated fairly”. Asserting yourself this way balances the power between you and the other person. Once you comment on the inappropriate behavior, don’t forget to request the more appropriate behavior that you would like to take its place, like, “I would like you to be on time when we have a date”.


Learn to reward people for positive behavior and establish a positive cooperative spirit in all interpersonal relationships.


Choose the right time and the right place for resolving issues, making sure that the other person is emotionally willing to start a conversation. Otherwise, whatever you have to say may be forgotten or overlooked.


Express your opinions honestly and do not hesitate to have a different opinion from that of other people even if those people are significant to you or in a position of authority – you still are entitled to your own opinions. “Own” your message, acknowledging that you opinion comes from your own perception of the situation, and your own frame of reference. If no agreement can be found that respects the opinion of both parties, then you can “agree to disagree” on the specific issue.


Practice leadership skills like making overtures to other people, offering positive suggestions to peers and colleagues in a positive, friendly, cooperative spirit, and supporting your own opinions, suggestions and proposals with clear and convincing arguments.


Ask for feedback. Encourage others to be clear, direct and specific in their feedback to you. This way, many misunderstandings in the conversation can be easily resolved and you also convey the message that you equally respect the opinion, feelings and rights of others as much as you respect your own.


Reward yourself every time you manage to overcome your fears and habitual passive reactions and are able to formulate an assertive response, regardless of its effect on the other person or the situation.


The important thing is that you keep practicing and reinforcing your assertive communication skills, rather than your initial effectiveness. It may be a new way of communicating for you, so it may take some time before it feels natural, but the more you practice your assertive communication skills, the more confidence you will gain and you will find out that not only is it really easy, but it’s also very effective.


Ismini Apostoli





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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in WISDOM



Did you or are you busy “manufacturing” your own house of pain.







ARE YOU SICK OF THE SAME OLD STUFF? Most people live as if there is some kind of invisible force that captured their will and ability to remain active and productive. They act as if they are helpless victims of life and circumstances. Just look around you and see if you can detect one single person that made a really dramatic and sustained modification (turnaround) to his or her unsatisfactory lifestyle.

People often bitch and moan about their work, relationships, spouses and unruly children and act as if they are the victims of some sinister plot. When you go to social occasions you often discover that most people spend hours trying to top each other’s “victim” stories while they stare at each other through the bottoms of their cocktail glasses. When you finally drive home after these “socials” you often feel drained and incomplete.

Your “social” with your friends might have made you feel slightly better initially because you received confirmation that you are not the only one that are a victim in this cesspool called life. You are exposed to “bad news” messages wherever you go. Whenever you feel enthusiastic and upbeat, buy a newspaper. Before you read two pages you will be back to your normal subdued self.

We might feel that we are living under very testing conditions today and that our situation is unique, but when you investigate the “victim” phenomena worldwide you will find that most people suffer with this form of mental bondage.

We use crime and instability as our crutch to justify our victim behaviour in South Africa. You will discover that an endless range of excuses are used to justify “victim” behaviour globally even when crime is not so visible as in South Africa. The bottom line is that “victim” behaviour is something that comes from the inside, from your own mind.

We tend to “think” ourselves to a standstill and into an early grave. The “look at me, I am a victim” turmoil in the world has reached pandemic proportions. The collective negative mood on planet earth is negative and very destructive. The main reason why people experience these very immobilizing emotions is because of the overall habit of living in the PAST or the FUTURE. We can think up the most amazing disasters in the theatre of our minds. We can die a thousand deaths in our mind with our habit of projecting ourselves into imagined future disasters.




We form opinions at a very young age about most things in life. We have “feelings” about almost anything that we can ever be faced with. Any conclusion that we came to during our lifetime will usually remain part of our coping style until the day we die.

Most people fail to understand that “everything will remain the same until a change is made”. If you are allowing fear of something that might never happen to control your thinking you are disqualifying yourself from the reality of the now.

Just think of the key areas in your life such as your work, relationships and general lifestyle and take stock of your “general” behaviour in these areas. You need to study your habitual reaction pattern in any area if it is not working as you hoped it would. Stop waiting for others to modify their behaviour, beg you for forgiveness or that the problem will go away.

Become bold and active and start doing something about whatever you feel is bothering you. Nothing will change until you activate such change. Remember if you are in waiting mode and your dispute is with someone else you are handing control to this person. When you live in the NOW and you act in the present tense you make your life predictable and much more stress free. When you live in the FUTURE and fail to take action in the NOW you are “manufacturing” your own house of pain.


The only way that you can escape this stuck in the future or past zone is to begin to live in the NOW. Give yourself a fair chance to make a success of any given day. You can do this by talking to yourself.

Tell yourself that you are not interested in things that might never happen or that happened in the past. You are talking to yourself all day long, make these “chats” constructive and motivational. Give yourself a break and stop running yourself down. When you find your mind drifting into the “horror” mode tell yourself that you are not going to waste energy on events that may never happen. If you mind drifts into the “feel sorry for me mode”, take control and say, “I create my own circumstances and will not create a torture chamber for myself today.” Wipe the slate clean every morning and attack each day with enthusiasm and commitment. Live for the moment my friend. Today and each and every day is indeed a new day with wonderful opportunities if you are focused on the now.



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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in WISDOM



“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”




“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”


Being naked, without clothes, bare-butt nude; what does that mean to you?


Okay, more specifically, what does you being naked mean to you? Whoops; let’s consider context. I’m guessing that the thought of you being naked alone in the bathtub has a different feel than the thought of you walking down a busy, crowded street totally bare…frankly, I’m hoping.


I’m not suggesting (as some people have) that all nudity in all contexts is ‘healthy’. As with many over-applied ideas, it doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny (so to speak…ahem).


But our bodies are, needless to say, an important part of who we are. It’s not that we have to shove nudity in people’s faces (unless we’re lap dancers) to show how wonderfully un-uptight we are. However, life becomes a little easier and more enjoyable when we can relax about nakedness when it does happen.


For some people, though, appearing naked at anytime feels like a problem.


People can become chronically embarrassed and shy about being seen naked, even by their lovers or spouses. I say ‘become’ because, of course, once upon a time you were completely unaware of even the idea of nudity. No newly born babes are shy when naked.


So what makes some people relaxed with their bodies whilst others run blushing to the nearest light switch?


Where does body shyness come from?


Okay, other than Biblical references to Adam and Eve’s sudden self-consciousness at their nudity (and subsequent fall from grace), why might you have become shy about nudity? As I said, you weren’t born that way. You must have learned to be shy without clothes.


Well, firstly, some awareness around our own nudity is a good thing. We of course need to be aware that nudity isn’t always called for.


Causes for shyness around nakedness include:


  • Exclusively viewing nudity in the context of sex and being embarrassed about that.

  • Having grown up in a household or culture in which nudity was shameful and discouraged.

  • Having lack of confidence in the appearance of your own body.

  • Having had your body ridiculed or having been ridiculed for being naked in the past.

  • Feeling that your body falls pitifully short of air-brushed media bodies and therefore should never be displayed.


If you want to become more comfortable with being unclothed, follow these tips:


Tip 1: Vividly recall not being shy when naked


I have a clear recollection of stripping off and running naked in the park on a hot summer’s day (and no, that wasn’t last summer!). I must have been two or three years old, but I can still recall the sheer freedom of the experience. I didn’t think in terms of ‘nakedness’ or even about how I might appear.


I’m not suggesting that’s a totally good thing in an adult (if we want to avoid arrest), but sometimes it helps us to think about times of wonderful spontaneity to feel a little more relaxed now. If you can remember a time in which you were naked and felt fine about that, then close your eyes and take five minutes to vividly recall those feelings of freedom.


Tip 2: Remember what’s genuinely sexy


Remember that confidence is sexier than anything. I know I said that nakedness isn’t always about sex – and it shouldn’t be; nor should it be about being too self-conscious.


But it is just worth bearing in mind that being relaxed with who you are can be more of a turn-on than any amount of symmetrically firm ‘perfection’.


Tip 3: A little at a time gets you there


One woman who had never appeared naked in front of her husband wanted to be able to relax more in her own skin. I suggested she appear naked for a second (whilst she walked to switch off the light), then two seconds the next week. After a few weeks, she could walk around for minutes at a time and sometimes even forgot entirely that she was naked. A big jump can feel daunting, but many little hops can get you there.


Tip 4: Spend more time naked


This sounds obvious, but the more time you spend naked, the more natural it starts to feel. When you’re on your own (and the temperature is well above freezing), do stuff in the nude. Taking an hour to do the housework naked means that you become accustomed to being as nature intended and of course it starts to feel natural very quickly. If you can feel relaxed and natural on your own, it’s going to feel easier to be naked in front of another person.



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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in WISDOM



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