Author Archives: Rene

Assertiveness – Don’t get personal/over-emotional when you feel your rights/being violated.



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 February 23, 2018 in WISDOM


Life would be senseless/meaningless without problems/hardships/setbacks.



Humans enjoy playing board or computer games, provided the games are difficult and there are obstacles. We enjoy planning, scheming, being tested and challenged in order to finish the game. The challenges and obstacles make the game enjoyable and hook us to play for hours. Life would be senseless and meaningless without problems, hardships, setbacks and obstacles. Without the crises we experience, we will not appreciate the successes or peak experiences. The Chinese symbol for crisis comprises two characters, namely danger and opportunity. Every crisis may elicit feelings of apprehension, but it also presents an opportunity for change, growth and self-mastery. We do not always understand why certain difficult people come into our life, but there are no coincidences.

We do not always believe or accept that every person comes into our lives for a reason. We do not make mistakes or poor decisions because everything that happens to us, happens for a purpose and can be perceived as a lesson. The universe will present you with the problems and challenges that you need for your spiritual growth. Every situation, especially the adverse situations, is an opportunity to learn and to discover who you really are. If people betray or hurt you, it may be to teach you about trust or forgiveness. When faced with adversity, you have the opportunity to develop qualities such as inner strength, courage, resilience, self-discipline, willpower and resourcefulness. When people disappoint, manipulate or use you, they present you with opportunities to control your temper, to transcend your ego and to develop qualities such as patience, tolerance, unconditional love or forgiveness. Difficult people give you the opportunity to behave pro-actively and to access more light in order to attain self-mastery.

Susan Minnaar

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in WISDOM


Getting married/having/baby will not make him stop drinking/flirting/fighting.



The fool is under the impression that he can change people. People often change for a relative short period not because they see the error of their ways, but because it seems like a good strategic move to make to achieve a desire objective. The chances of a rotten person making a permanent change are less than a million to one. Accept a person without his history or take note of his history and run for the hills. Getting married will not make him stop drinking, flirting, fighting and will also not make him more caring or responsible. Having a baby will not make him more responsible and caring. Constantly giving someone money will not make him more productive. Punishing him for years will not prevent him from doing it again. Sulking for a day, week or month will not change his mind and heart. We live in a something for nothing world today. Doing as little as you can get away with seems to be a top priority. Using guilt or fear will not change anyone that lacks compassion and empathy. See things as they are my friend.


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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in WISDOM


Stop going around like a cocked gun with a hair trigger.


Let us stop searching for answers and implement a few of the principles we already understand and know. Let us stop looking for new rules, laws and words of wisdom and start using the ones we already know, but never apply!




Author unknown


OVER SENSITIVE PEOPLE A PAIN IN THE BACKSIDE: One of the biggest flaws that we can ever display is that of over sensitivity. I cannot think of any other characteristic that is a bigger hindrance to harmony and progress than that of over-sensitivity.

When you are forced to interact or live with a person that are hypersensitive that constantly interpret things in a negative manner your life can become hell on earth. When a person filters everything that you say or do through some kind of “suspicion filtering” device it puts a serious damper on spontaneity and honesty. Interaction with such a person is usually tiring and quite an ordeal. I once watched a person in a movie that discovered that he strayed into a minefield and how he carefully inched forward with hesitant shuffles in an attempt to avoid being blasted to kingdom come. Beads of perspiration ran down his face and you could read the terror and fear etched in his eyes.

I sometimes are quite surprised when I see how people are forced to select their words with utmost care and choose the subjects that they discuss even more carefully in an attempt to avoid that their listener becomes upset or sulk for weeks. I always knew that each world uttered carry with it a “package” of energy or feelings that can influence a person in a negative or positive manner, but when you talk to sensitive individuals they seem to discover a negative “connotation” in most things you say. I am convinced that sensitive individuals live only half a life. They are so serious about life and their egos are so fragile that it prevents them from really enjoying life.

Have you ever seen an egg with a very thin shell and how the slightest bump could cause a major mess on the kitchen floor? Hypersensitive people suffer with this “soft shell syndrome” and do not only make their own life extremely unpleasant, but also contaminate the lives of everybody that are connected to them.

Your attitude towards life creates the type of life you lead. If you are a sensitive person with a fragile disposition you are making life, that is already taxing, problem filled and complicated even more unpredictable. People treat you with the mood you set. If you are a wife that falls apart every time that your husband shares the slightest problem with you, you are forcing him to hide and camouflage things that he would love to share with you.

Most people in relationships make a big thing of “honesty” in their relationship. They threaten to leave their partner if he or she shows the slightest tendency to hide or water down information that could impact on their relationship, but fail to understand that hysterical over-reaction and two week sulking spells does not exactly promote such honesty.

If you want to survive this thing called life you need to develop a thicker skin and a more mature attitude. You need to discover the humour and lighter side of problems, people and life in general if you want to live a life of relative fun and harmony. Stop going around like a cocked gun with a hair trigger and learn to let your hair down once in a while. There is a time for everything in life. There is a time to become focused and serious, but then there comes a time that you must allow the child in you to come out and play for a while.


BALANCE IS THE KEY: Let us be honest and agree that we are living in difficult and alarming times today. If you are disaster focused you can find reasons to slit your wrists within half and hour after you crawled out of bed each morning. Your attitude towards life decides the stage that you set for yourself and the people that play on your “game chart” of life.

Have you ever considered how other people view you or what “feelings” they get when they think of you?

We underestimate this “feelings” side of life to our own peril. If people experience a feeling of “what a pain in the back-side” when they think of you, you need to take stock of your general attitude towards life. The “feelings” that you activate in people could make you “popular or a lone wolf”, “poor or rich”, “a leader or follower” or “a friend or enemy”. We should often ask ourselves, “Will I one day be remembered as a warm, kind, empathetic and adult person or will people secretly rejoice when I die?

Just for a moment sit down and think of the “feelings” that you possibly generate in your wife or husband, lover, children, friends, strangers and with your associates at work. You might shrug your shoulders and say, “who cares?” but deep inside you know that you need people in your life if you want to live any type of meaningful life. People will form part of your game of life for as long as you exist and how they feel about you could make your life pleasant and successful or a tragedy and series of pathetic failures.

I know that many of the people that you live with or are forced to share your game of life with are not exactly easy to get along with. If you are a reactive person you will allow their negative attitudes to impact on you and to set the tone of your own reactions to them. Can you see how either your own attitude or the negative attitude of someone else can start a negative cycle that will gather momentum and a life of its own? Once this negative pattern is set it becomes very difficult to break such destructive habit patterns.


We all yearn for a fairly tranquil and predictable life and should work on our attitude and focus on life all the times if we want to make our journey on this planet fairly pleasant and productive. Bring humor and light compassion into your heart and watch how people change and embrace the “new” you. 



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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in WISDOM


Words are like bullets/can never be reloaded once they leave your lips.



POWER TOOL: Recall this image the next time you want to say something rude or sarcastic to anyone. Words are like bullets and can never be reloaded once they leave your lips. Look back in your life and think of how many times your words killed the aspirations of your child. Think how what you said or failed to say wounded your partner. Remember how jumping to conclusions cause you to shoot your verbal bullets in all directions. Those that are wise do not pull the trigger and say the first things that come to mind. How many friends, family, strangers still make their way through life notwithstanding the number of your sarcastic or angry bullets that remain lodged in their minds and hearts? Learn that virtually nothing is serious enough to justify the range of wounds that our words leave in those we claim we love. Our objective on this planet is to learn, grow, mature and become love. A loving and mature person understand that their words can also forgive, heal, encourage and repair.


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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in WISDOM


Words are possibly the most powerful things on earth. Why?


I’m almost afraid to publish this post.

It feels like passing out a loaded gun to every random stranger that passes by.

In the wrong hands it could be very dangerous.

But when I think about it, it’s already in the wrong hands. The hands of con artists and cult leaders and politicians. And there is no way to take that power from them except to make everyone else aware of it.

Have you ever thought—I mean really thought—about the power of language? Most of us take it for granted. Not only as a tool to tell our families we love them, or to ask where the bathroom is, or to get anything done at all, but as the only way to transmit complex ideas.

It can take a whole book to explain one concept, but assign a name to that concept within the book, and you create a shortcut. Then, if a person has read that book, you can speak one word that conjures up an entire world in their mind.

Quixotic is a simpler example; in Don Quixote, Cervantes (albeit unintentionally) created a word which combined two previously separate ideas: chivalrous and foolish.

Back in 1948, “big brother” meant nothing but “older male sibling.” Then Orwell came out with 1984 and more than 60 years later, we still use the phrase to mean an all-seeing, all-powerful totalitarian government.

Or take the word hnau from C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, used to differentiate between animals and intelligent lifeforms in a universe where humans are not the only intelligent lifeforms. That’s an inadequate explanation, because the distinction involves far more than intelligence, or even spirit or soul—you’ll have to read the book to understand it.

Point: words are more than labels. Words are the means of wrapping big ideas in small packages, so we can hand them off to each other almost effortlessly.Collapsible concepts. Portable philosophy.

This is possibly one of the most powerful things on earth. Why?

Because you can use it to change the way people think.

Take a simple example. Consider the difference between the synonyms said and claimed. “Bob said he saw Linda at the store,” is neutral. But change it to “Bob claimed he saw Linda at the store,” and suddenly you doubt Bob’s honesty.

Or go the opposite direction and put “Bob confirmed he saw Linda at the store,” and suddenly the statement is fact.

Now apply it to one of our portable philosophies. Say there’s been a break-in at your condominium and the homeowners’ association votes to put up security cameras in all the corridors, so they can monitor who goes in and out of every condo. The cameras go up and everyone feels a lot safer. Then somebody graffitis “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” on the wall beneath one camera. Suddenly you’re conjuring up images of emotionless masses in jumpsuits being presided over by a giant television screen that never shuts off. Suddenly you’re worried a little less about security and a little more about privacy. And the next time someone proposes a measure “for added security,” you’re a little slower to agree. You might flat-out oppose it.

Why does it take a whole book to explain?

It only took me six words to define Big Brother at the beginning of this post. So why aren’t we creating collapsible concepts left and right? Because it has to be more than a label. If we’re going to remember it later, it needs to strike a chord with us. It takes the emotional journey of Winston Smith to solidify Big Brother in our minds. That’s the power of stories.

Of course, chances are, you knew what Big Brother meant even if you haven’t read 1984—even if it never “struck a chord” with you. That’s because it struck a chord with so many other people that it became iconic. That’s the power of storieson a world-changing scale.

Obviously, this doesn’t happen every time anybody writes a book.

But it can happen.

Remember that next time you’re reading a dystopian novel, or watching the news, or starting a new paragraph in your WIP. Listen carefully—and write even more carefully.


Learn about something even more dangerous: the death of words.

 Read more about mind control here.


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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in WISDOM


Book Review – Have a new You, Kid & Husband by Friday!


Improving Your Mood


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Posted by on February 21, 2018 in WISDOM

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