What Determines Your Belief System?

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In a world of many vastly different religious, political and countless other beliefs it is easy to get lost in all the controversy.  At any point you can turn on the TV and see everyone voicing their opinion on different causes, debating and demonstrating for or against something.  So at the end of the day how do you know what to believe?  How do you make a choice in it all and determine where you stand?  What causes are important to you and is anyone really right or wrong?  What are the deciding factors for you when you think about certain topics?

I asked myself this question and my upbringing and my grandmother kept coming to mind.  I thought about being told as a young person, before I say anything to ask myself if it is true, is it necessary and is it kind? When making decisions ask yourself is this decision a wise decision?  Not necessarily right or wrong but is it wise?  Based on your past experiences, current circumstances and future hopes and dreams what is the wise choice for you?  Everyone has their story, their reason for believing the way they do and each person would benefit from asking themselves if their reasons come from a good place or a place of selfishness, anger, hurt, betrayal, or pride (to name a few).  Sometimes people react in harsh ways because it is all they know, family environment, a past personal trauma, and even genetic trauma can be passed down for generations affecting how an individual reacts without the person being fully aware of why. When we really begin to unravel the stories of each person an understanding begins to unfold.  It isn’t just about who is right or wrong, but about the why…the wise decision for me may not be the wise decision for you in every situation.

We all have a responsibility to ourselves, those we share this world with and the generations after us to ask the hard questions of ourselves of why we choose to believe the way we do.  Those reason are a window into whether or not your belief system is coming from the right place.  Having emotional responsibility is just as important as any other type of responsibility in this world.  Understanding where your emotions are coming from, if they are hateful or loving, and why you feel the way you do, are all roads that lead to understanding yourself and your belief systems better.  The better we understand where it all comes from the better we understand how complicated and intricate each individuals belief system can be.  This can open our eyes and hearts to being better listeners when it comes to communicating our differences and not being so defensive and hateful when a disagreement occurs.  In the process of understanding you may even find that if your beliefs are based in negativity and maybe your perspective should be re-evaluated.  Allow yourself to explore, learn and grow give yourself grace as well as others.  Love and embrace the amazing variety the world has to offer, every story we can learn from, and every person has good and bad within…choose to love them anyway.

With peace, love and health


Relax without Guilt

I take the role of daughter, mother, girlfriend, office manager, student, family member, friend, therapist and countless other roles in life.  Even when preparing for vacation I find myself not only packing and preparing for my personal needs, but the needs of others.  Once we arrive I find myself grocery shopping and prepping meals and cleaning up.  I like cooking occasionally on vacation and I like a clean and organized space because I can relax better.  However, I do feel myself getting frustrated when no one is offering to help.  What would happen if I just stopped?  What if I didn’t get up on my vacation and cook breakfast for everyone and wash the dishes after?  What if I didn’t pack all the snacks and the cooler for the boat?  What if I did like everyone else and just looked out for #1?

The thing is, I have felt this way in a few areas of life.  Sometimes we take on certain responsibilities and just do it out of habit, but after a bit of time maybe it becomes less appreciated as a special act of love and just expected as a duty or obligation.  Basically, all we do starts to be taken for granted by those we do for.  A little extra helping hand without asking is always appreciated.  It is not my job, this is a family and everyone should participate in the process.  If I cook and there are dishes in the sink after you eat, why isn’t it automatic that you offer to clean the kitchen?  So I absolve myself of guilt.  I will not feel guilty anymore if I don’t want to put out the extra effort.  At one point the love and appreciation and reward of helping and making everyone happy was enjoyable but now I am just tired.  I am taking a step back to ask myself what is a priority for me and all the extra little duties are not anymore.  Love and effort should be give and take and true acts of love and kindness have not expectations of anything in return.  So if you really do not want to do for pure love and kindness then don’t bother or you will end up resentful and hurt.  Stop having expectations of others because expectations will leave  you disappointed.  Just live your life from the heart, with responsibility and understanding that life really isn’t fair.

I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy,  I am just being realistic,  life really isn’t fair.  You may always be the one who loves more, gives more and has to work harder to get where you want to be. but that is not a reason to give up.  Just reassess where you are putting your efforts and ask yourself if these people, places, things, or ideas are worth all the effort.  Do you need to have a talk with loved ones about the balance of effort in some areas of life?  Do not feel guilty if you slow down or completely put a stop to the effort in some areas and just relax and let life play out.  Maybe people will step up without you saying a word and maybe some people who truly take you for granted will fade out of your life.  It is okay to relax and not feel guilty for choosing not to constantly do for others.  It is not selfish, in fact, self-love is necessary in order to continue to love others to the fullest.  As always, balance is key.  As I grow older and my daughter has become more independent after turning 18 and graduating high school I realize some of my priorities are changing.  I am starting to shift my focus onto my schooling and career as my role as a mother slows down.  As we transition in life sometimes it is hard to let ourselves relax a little without feeling guilty but as we mature and find success in certain areas we should naturally be able to slow down and relax a little, we have earned it….at least that is what I keep telling myself, but sometimes it is easier said than done.

With love, health, happiness and relaxing without guilt,



Schadenfreude is a German word used to describe the experience of pleasure, joy or a since of self-satisfaction a person has when they hear about or see a person go through a negative experience.  More often experienced by children, but it can still happen in adults.  In psychology it is believed that there are three reasons behind the complicated emotion:  aggression, rivalry and justice.  I often hear people say, “sweet justice” when they hear of a person they dislike having a “karmic” negative experience.  Usually the less self-esteem a person has the more often a person experiences schadenfreude. Everyone has had moments of schadenfreude and I actually experienced it last night.

I am a positive person and thrive on the idea of motivating, inspiring and supporting others.  However, I am also human and admit that I had a moment that made me feel joy and a bit of guilt for feeling that joy.  When I saw this particular person I didn’t even recognize her at first.  This person who has always been a bossy, know-it-all who has never been a pleasant person towards me has been just a dot on my radar in the passed few years, so I had not seen her in a while.  I took a moment to fully take in the fact that she had gained a lot of weight since I last saw her and… I smiled to myself.  When I caught myself I felt guilty, because what you put out into the world does come back around and I have had some weight gain in life and definitely do not want to invite that struggle to increase.  My first thought…{all the hate and anger inside her is swelling! What an awful person I am to think such things!  I should definitely pray for her and go on about my life.}  The struggle within me was one I had not experienced in a long time and it made me think a bit deeper.  First of all, these thoughts and feelings have more to do with me than they do her.

The truth is…my fears and insecurities about weight caused me to feel a bit of joy and relief when I saw her doing worse than me in the struggle against aging and weight gain? Obviously my reasons were based on a bit of rivalry and justice.  I consoled myself with the fact that she is younger, taller and never had children and was still overweight.  Later, I realized becoming overweight must be a very real fear for me and I need to pay more attention!  The experience of seeing her motivated me to want to work harder on my diet and exercise goals. Often what we judge, pick apart or dislike about others are the very things we fear most within ourselves.  Realizing and accepting this is a very humbling and eye-opening experience.  We are not perfect beings, we all have people in our lives that we don’t particularly care for and it is human nature to have emotions and thoughts that are just reactionary and out of our control.  The key is being aware when we have those thoughts and emotions and forcing ourselves to explore them.

Discovering your fears and facing them can be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding challenges you will ever experience in your life.  Once we all start conquering our fears the sky is the limit on the success level we can reach in any goal we set because most failure is fueled by fear.  So ask yourself three questions next time you find yourself having a moment of Schadenfreude:  is this fueled by anger, rivalry or justice?  What is it about this person that I am picking apart or judging?  Is this quality that I am picking at or judging something I fear within myself?  These questions can be the first step in discovering your core fears.

With love, health, happiness, and lessons in conquering our fears