Responsibility and Our Own Actions

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Be the change you want to see in the world - Ghandi

Be the change

With the risk of making people angry at me, I felt compelled to write this article.  It’s not intended to insult anyone but to make people THINK on their own and to stop casting blame.  Guess what?  WE are part of every situation and the outcome of every situation.  The fault is not just of one person, but all of ours.  Again, my intention here is to plant a seed and to make you think.

I felt especially compelled to write this article today, the day of the funeral of fallen police officer Ramos.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi

WE are powerful people.  When we are silent, things occur that may not be pleasing to us.  This is evident in EVERY area of our lives.  But, yet we don’t necessarily take responsibility for the outcomes and then we BLAME others when things don’t work out the way we prefer.  What do I mean?  Let’s look at some examples that may occur in our everyday lives.

Relationships:  This can be a love relationship, work relationship, a relative, or a friend.  Sometimes we don’t like the behavior of someone.  What do we do?  Do we sit down and have an intelligent conversation and “lay it all out on the table”?  Let’s be truthful… I would bet that, in the majority of instances, we don’t.  Instead, we complain.  Perhaps we go behind their back and do “stuff” that only exacerbates a situation to “get them”.  Just our own talking about whatever “it” is makes us more angry and frustrated.  A better way would be to talk about it TOGETHER and figure out the next step.

Maybe the person causing your issue isn’t aware of what they are doing?  Think about your boss.  They “make” you do stuff, or give you bad hours, or “take advantage”.  My own children complain about this type of situation.  The key word here is complain.  Complaining does not get you anywhere.  So, what do you do?  Perhaps your supervisor or manager is overwhelmed in their own situation or the pressures of their position.  Bringing them an awareness of what is troubling you or a hardship that is created may alleviate issues for you both.  I’m sure they would appreciate it much more than the hostility, hard feelings and antagonistic behaviors that result when these type of feelings are held inside. My oldest son recently had been completely overwhelmed with his hours at work and his workload at college.  Did he mention it to his manager?  Nope.  Would he have been better off if he had?  Absolutely.

Again, we can apply this to every situation in our lives. A relationship with a relative or a spouse would definitely benefit from sitting down and working things out.  Look at the ramifications of not doing this – the hostility, hurt, and the alienation that result when we don’t.  This is evident in situations with relatives in my own family – who doesn’t like who, who doesn’t talk to who.  And, how many people know someone going through a divorce?  It is an amicable parting or are they trying to “screw” the other?  Or, who knows people in a marriage that is “failing”?  I truly believe there is a way to work things out.  Talking about the feelings being harbored inside is definitely, in my opinion, the first step.  Human beings are not mind readers and there is no way we can assume another party knows that they are troubling us or causing a hardship.  Bullying comes to mind here, as well.  Just “food for thought”, but at what point do we stand up for what is right?  History repeats itself if we let it (I’ll explain this statement in a moment).  We know there are issues, but do we continue to be enablers?

Another important thing to consider is that we have to let the person bringing us a situation the opportunity to speak. Instead, do we get defensive?  I know I have been guilty of this myself… we justify our actions because, after all, we’re right, aren’t we?  It’s important to listen to what the person coming to you is speaking about.  Sometimes it makes sense to see what we don’t consciously see; even when something we did or said was not intended in the way it was perceived.  But, here’s the beauty of this.  We have the ability to work out whatever was the situation in a kind and amicable way.  Perhaps we can even start over with a fresh perspective to make things better for all parties.

Responsibility — In today’s society there is so much thrown at us. So much news, so many opinions, so much stuff telling us how to think and what we should think.

Unfortunately, it is evident that this way is not productive.  We can see the ramifications when people are caught up in the fervor.  It’s the “lynch mobs” of yesteryear, the riots, like the time in our society of the Salem witch hunt.  A few sentences ago I noted the statement of “history will repeat itself if we let it”.  I wrote that in our book, If I Knew then What I Know Now (www.IfIKnewthenBook.com). Unfortunately, we continue to let it.

The Salem witch hunt, to me, was such a sad time in our nation’s history.  We can see situations in our society’s history, again and again, of how fast people just “jump on the bandwagon”.  It perplexes me how this can be.  Perhaps an excuse for the actions of our people in the 1600’s was ignorance and lack of education.  But, in the year 2014 (and almost 2015) it is hard to imagine that this can be an excuse. I believe many of us now run on political agendas and “blame”.

Maybe it’s time to stop and figure out what is the next best step to bring unity to our people.  Look at the hardship and sadness that result from how we’re currently operating.  Look at the negative feelings that are building and building in our society.  Look at the instances where our politicians have forgotten who they work for an their harmful actions that cause irreparable damage.  Again, it’s the year 2014.  When will this madness stop?  Why is it always “us” against “them”?

It’s time for each of us to take responsibility for our own actions, to sit down, to act like intelligent people and to make the best choices for the whole.

That’s really the means to a simple solution.

But, unfortunately, when we are silent – and I’m not talking about the noise being made by the angry mobs roaming the streets of our cities, as I believe these are extremely unproductive – we get nowhere.

What is the next best step?  Where do we go from here?

Anger, frustration, hate, and fear are all unproductive.

Let’s figure out what is the best way for US to proceed forward at this time.  The key word here is FORWARD, instead of progressively moving backwards.  All we have to do is look at all the options and choose the best one – TOGETHER.  Let’s take responsibility for our actions, alone and together.  The alternative is just not acceptable.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi

A statement worth repeating again and again; only WE, together, can effectively create that change.

What's Money Got to Do With It?

This time of year, spending tends to get out of control as we attempt to show those who we love, just how much using our $$$$ (paper or plastic).

For those of us trying to be reasonable, or just trying to be more mindful of what the holiday season is really about, here are some innovative ways to gift-give without breaking the bank.

1.  Give you what you do best.  Are you admired for your baking? Sense of style? Ability to fix things?  Why not give a gift that reflects that? Give a lesson in your talent, or a “coupon book” good for your services, or give one of your creations as a gift.  They will remember it always.

2. Create a Memory.  Plan a day or outing.  It can be elaborate (take in a show and dinner, for example), or it can be more budget-friendly — plan a lunch and go to a park or a museum.  Or, if you are a skilled photographer or story-teller, create a memory book.

3.  Touch the Heart.  For your loved ones who are care-givers, give them some care.  Pack up a basket with their favorite treats (food, magazines/books, etc.), or gift certificates to their favorite store, salon or restaurant.

4. Give what they really need.  Maybe you know a stressed out young couple, who could use a night away without the kids.  Offer to babysit as your gift.  Maybe you have an elderly friend who would appreciate having their groceries dropped off and unloaded.  Take a look around at their lifestyle and find what would truly be helpful.

5. Give to others.  For those who support charitable causes, go along with your friend and volunteer your time to the charity, or make a donation in the name of your friend.

Most important, know that the size of your love isn’t measured by the dollars you spend.  You have much more to give than that, and it is priceless.

Congrats on Building Your Dream!

enjoy life for website

Enjoy Life Community

I woke up to this message on my LinkedIn this morning. “Congrats on Building Your Dream”.  What better way to start the day?

Yes, I do believe I’ve “built my dream”.  I’ll explain.

As many of you know, I’ve worked in healthcare since 1987, mostly in the field of quality improvement.  I have identified that so many of us, young and old, work so hard, or get so caught up in the everyday or in life problems that seem monumental, that we forget we need to also enjoy life.

I’m not exempt from that philosophy. A few years ago I recognized that I had forgotten I needed to enjoy life, too.  I lived always striving for more — more education, better job, etc., so I could be “good enough”. I won’t go into all the details here, but you can read the story in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, in which 17 contributors share heart-felt stories of how they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and moved forward to enjoy life, (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com).  If you don’t want to read the book, you can contact me via email (doreen@timetoplay.com) or call 631-331-2675, ask questions, and I’ll fill you in.

I truly feel that, in many cases, we’re doing life “wrong”.  I know wrong is a strong word, but don’t know how to explain this in an easier fashion without going into many pages of text.  Short version is that we can look at statistics of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal ideation, unemployment of our college students, or debt, for example, and the root cause and ramifications of these issues.  The focus in our society, in my opinion, is the “band-aid” approach.  We are very reactive instead of proactive.  My husband and I debate this a lot. He asks, “How do I know I need education in something I don’t have”, and I explain that when we look at people and what they go through, we can give them tools and tips and “plant seeds” of information that they can utilize if they find themselves in a situation.

Hence, the Time to Play Philosophy was born… that is, you have to be happy, healthy, have money, and a work life balance to have quality of life.  People have noted “have money” is not important — I beg to differ.  If you can’t feed your family or pay your rent, you are not enjoying life.  You are stressed out.

So, I’ve been learning — a lot — over these past years.  But, this time it was for MY enjoyment and education in order that I could have the tools and resources I needed to put the Time to Play Foundation together.  The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  We have an amazing Business Advisory Board and Council of Professional Resources.

We have built tools and resources:  We have articles and information to provide resources so you can have a better life.  We have built Club Time to Play™ to provide learning without labeling, as I believe we are so fast to label.  I believe that, sometimes, labels hurt more than they do good. Sometimes labels create a “downward spiral” in our own minds and hold us back from enjoying life.  Club Time to Play™ is a big idea to encourage us to learn what we need to know so we can enjoy life.  We have created BExtraordinary® make-up and unisex fragrance. There’s a long story how this came to be, too, but it’s intention is to inspire people to BExtraordinary®.  Sometimes we just need a reminder that we are.  (If you want more info on this, go to www.BExtraordinaryfragrance.com and www.BExtraordinaryMakeup.com). We also have the Time to Play® clothing line, the intention of which is to remind not only YOU to enjoy life, but to spread the message to everyone who sees you.

The Pièce de résistance is our announcement of the Enjoy Life Communities™ project.  (www.TheEnjoyLifeProject.org)  This is truly a big idea — to bridge the good works of organizations already being done in a community, to enhance communication between those who live there, to eliminate duplication, to encourage people to work together, and to create a wish list of priorities that the WHOLE community can work together to achieve so everyone who lives there can enjoy life.  It’s a POSITIVE instead of a negative.  It’s a message of “Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community” instead of living in a neighborhood watch community, anti-bullying community, anti-drug community, at risk youth community, anti-crime community, etc.  Not to diminish the importance of the work necessary to protect our people, but if we focus all of our attention on crime, drugs, at risk, bullying, etc., perhaps we’ll just attract more of this and bring people’s opinion of where they live down.  How much better to live in an Enjoy Life Community™?  Sometimes it’s just a little change in perspective. Everywhere a person lives can be the BEST community ever.  It may only take a change of perspective and new found energy to make things change.

The other day someone called me a “tree hugger”.  That’s not exactly an accurate term as I’m not an environmentalist, but I actually took it as a compliment.  I would rather be a “tree hugger” and some people think I was annoying than be a pessimist, or “go with the flow” to believe that things can’t change and have to stay as they are.  I’d rather be a “tree hugger” than think where I live, and the whole country, sucks.  I would rather be a “tree hugger” and have hope that our children can have a better life — because if we leave things the way they are, we really are on a downward slide.  Yesterday, one of our Business Advisory Board members told me that his daughter was at a store getting rung up and the cashier was exasperated.  Somehow they got to speaking about the “mess” our children will be left with.  I actually wrote about that in our book!  I am tired of people saying, “What a mess we’re leaving for our kids”.  Why leave it a mess? How about if we work towards making small changes to make things better?  Just look at the news – or don’t if you want to have a nice day. There’s rarely a good story being reported.  As a matter of fact, the other day, the news reporter said, “There’s a lot of sad news to report today”.  I, for one, believe there is something good happening out there.  Unfortunately, the good just isn’t as important as inciting fear, hatred, or riots.  If it’s not a deadly illness that you will contract, it’s another story of horror or news that is slanted in a way to create pain, stress and division in our people.

After years of working on the Time to Play project, yes, I’ve “built my dream“.  After giving up and quitting many times, yes, I’ve “built my dream”.  After feeling like I’d never make it, yes, I’ve “built my dream”.  Tree Hugger and all!

But, there’s still a long way to go and a lot of people to reach.  The goal here is “people helping people” and “collaboration = success”. There are tons of people, not for profit and for profit organizations out there doing great things.  We can all work together and get further faster.

There’s much to  be done to encourage those who are discouraged that they have the power within themselves to enjoy life.  I believe this with every fiber of my soul.

We’re all in this together.  It’s Time to Play.  It’s Time to Enjoy Life.  If not now, when?

With much love,

Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation.  See www.TimetoPlay.com for more information.  You can also contact her at doreen@timetoplay.com or call 631-331-2675.