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A Heart for Others

A Heart for Others

There is much hardship in the world. That certain “been through it” look can be detected in the eyes of pain ravaged people everywhere. It is captured in Photo Journalist’s depictions of starving children with their bloated bellies, or in the aftermath of national disasters and catastrophes, with people tearfully sifting through the rubble of destroyed homes. Lobbies of emergency rooms and intensive care units are places we see it often, as loved ones gather to strengthen each other and to mourn. When we share in the sorrows of another, we become a balm for the hurting soul, however slight the comfort may be.
Most recently I saw the same look in the eyes of a homeless man as he sat extending a pauper’s paper cup for change. His face tried to smile, but it was as if he had forgotten how. A half raised mouth corner is all he could manage, as his brow remained scrunched and wrinkled. We want to look away, to pretend we didn’t notice. It is too sad to think about; we don’t want to feel that pain along with them. Yet ignoring it does not make it go away.

Until experiencing the harsh realities of life through much anguish of heart and physical pain, and deep suffering, it is difficult to fully empathize with others. Everyone at some time must pass through the dark valley of sorrow and suffering or loss. The unifying effect of sharing in the hurt of others is synergistically powerful. Jesus was moved with compassion for the hurting multitudes, saddened over the effects of sin on the world. The now cliché, “What would Jesus do?” has never been so pertinent as it is today for our responses to fellow mankind.

The earnest desire of my heart is to do whatever I can to help alleviate the hurt that many people go through. If by God‘s love, I can erase just one scar, salve one heart, bandage one injury, or only point someone to a better life, some of my own suffering abates. Yet what is needed most is someone to enter into the hurt with us, to come along-side and weep with us–experience it with us. No words will do.

That homeless man’s response was amazing! I sat next to him on the sidewalk and we shared a candy bar. We didn’t speak much at all. His eyes brightened. Someone cared. Someone was willing to stop and feel the pain and show an understanding that, no, I don’t really know what you’ve been through. But I care. His goodbye was accompanied by a broad smile, a glimmer of hope for tomorrow.

Though I still have pain of my own, God has taught me of its benefits. The grace He gives is not to keep, but to give and to share with others. Suffering is a good teacher. It forces us to either grow, or to just break down. It teaches us of our dependence upon our loving Creator and upon one another. Once we learn of its potential: the wisdom and caring it brings, its power to unite, we no longer fear what once terrified us. Instead we reap the supernatural peace and joy that comes through relying on God for strength and comfort. He leads us through the valley of suffering that we may go back there, as escorts for our fellow man.

by Sheldon Bass

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Love Never Dies (Poem)

Love Never Dies (Poem)
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Love Never Dies

Love will not die
When we take our last breath
But keeps going strong
Long after our death
Love is a life force
That lives on and on
Giving comfort and hope
When our strength is gone
LOVE LIVES FOREVER
Beyond our living
Reaching and touching
And continually giving
LOVE LIVES FOREVER

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Dying Words

Dying Words

“You see my calamity, and are afraid.”

Dying Words: These are the words of Job to his friends. Job’s friends made great efforts to solve and explain Job’s suffering. Job saw through the thin veil of their compassion to the naked fear shivering beneath. We want there to be explanations for the bad things that happen to good people. In the presence of terrible human suffering we are afraid. We look for explanations and solutions. Life doesn’t make sense and we want it to. As Christians, we are literally groaning with all of creation for the Day when all things will be renewed. That Day has not yet come, but the seed has been planted.

The dying usually don’t want to be dying. They wonder how their loved ones will get along without them. So they often try to take care of us. The dying caring for the living.

The dying usually don’t want to be dying. They wonder how their loved ones will get along without them. So they often try to take care of us. The dying caring for the living. Dying people learn intuitively what the living want to hear. We like it when dying folks have a sense of humor. It serves our own feelings when those at the threshold of death make light of their predicament or act dismissively of their pain. We especially like it when the dying mute their fear and face the Inevitable with confidence and courage. These things make us feel better. We then reward the dying for their “strength”. We say things like, “She is so strong.” “I can’t believe how positive he is.” “He is holding up really well.” “Wow mom, I wish I was as strong as you.” Their posture toward death lends us hope that maybe death isn’t so bad after all.

For some, death is a welcome stranger. The dying process can be so cruel and prolonged that death is a blessing. In these cases death is good only by comparison though. Death is still monstrous, an affront to the living. In the Christian tradition death is viewed as a natural consequence for sin. It is cancerous in nature. Jesus wept when beholding how we mourn our dead loved ones. For the Christian it is promised that death will be “swallowed up in victory.” In Revelation we are told that death itself will be thrown into the lake of fire in the last judgment. The death of Death.

Dying people usually have very complicated feelings around their experience. Our culture has developed a terrible allergy to all that is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Dying people make us very uncomfortable. Dying people are acutely aware of how uncomfortable they make people. Many of them will take their cues from us and act accordingly. In death, they will try to be what we need them to be. Some won’t cry because, “I need to be strong for my kids.” But in private moments, when given sacred space – they weep for the life they are losing. Others will say things like, “Well there is always someone who has it worse than me.” The implicit message is that my loss isn’t so bad after all – so don’t feel too bad about it. Then there is a whole host of dismissive statements employed that suggest the dying person’s demise is ‘no biggie.’ “Gotta go sometime.” “Well, it was a good run.” “Can’t live forever.” Or, as one particularly ornery nurse in the Emergency Department likes to remind me, “None of us gets off the planet alive!”

Dressing death in a clown suit can have acute therapeutic value in some cases. Those statements are often uttered to manage our feelings by blunting the sharp edge of grief. The person dying has intrinsic value in God’s eyes though. Their death is sad. Grief expert Alan Wolfelt explains that to grieve well is to love well. Anticipatory grief is the grief that begins before our loved one dies. Bereavement means to be “robbed, deprived or plundered.” The sadness we feel as our loved one fades away is real, healthy and deserves a place at our emotional table. We do no service to our loved ones when we collude with them to undersell their experience. If your dying loved one tells you that he needs to be strong for you, remind him that you don’t need that from him. Encourage him to feel whatever he is feeling and to feel it fully. If she tells you she is fine but you sense an ocean of emotion beneath the surface, she may be holding it back for your sake. Let her know she can stop trying so hard to keep the outside from looking like the inside. The dying have enough work to do without having to take care of our feelings.

Maybe you can be the safe place where your dying loved one can feel the freedom to lament, rage, cower or confess.

Maybe you can provide him or her sanctuary. One of the last things Jesus did before he died was despair.

The despair and forsakenness of the cross was an overture to his Resurrection. But he also did work on the cross, serious work for our sake. Most but not all people experience an urgency to get their inner house in order as the time draws near. Our need for the dying to “be strong” can hinder this vocation. As the dying soul is freed to work openly on her own position with God, the result is often peace. The ancients called this “Shalom”. Shalom is when we have made peace with God and our neighbor through Jesus. “Some glow before they go” as Hospice staff have been known to say.

What we can offer the dying is relationship. Relationship is the great promise of the Christian faith. As the Psalmist reminds us, “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” God gives us nothing less than Himself in the blackest nights. In their hour of travail we can companion with our loved ones and be honest and loving sojourners. The hope is that someone will walk the long walk with us when our time comes.

The dying are like prophets. They have very important things to tell us. Their vantage point is unique as they stand at the cusp of the living and the dead.

The dying are like prophets. They have very important things to tell us. Their vantage point is unique as they stand at the cusp of the living and the dead. They have much to teach us about life and death, regret and joy, forgiveness and hurt. For Christians, dying is a season of meaning-making and life review. Blessings are bestowed, curses are lifted. It is a time of ends and beginnings, rending and mending, embracing and letting go. Death is the birthing pains to new life. Echoing our Christian ancestors we say, “Maranatha!” (Come, O Lord!)

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Children and Grief: What They Know, How They Feel, How to Help.

Children and Grief: What They Know, How They Feel, How to Help.

Early intervention during times of loss and grief helps keep children psychologically healthy and prevents the development of later emotional problems.  Understanding the stages of grief can help caregivers provide quality care to children.

Caregivers never want young children to have to learn about death. They want to protect children from pain and loss. But, child care professionals cannot shelter children from death. Early intervention during times of loss and grief helps keep children psychologically healthy and prevents the development of later emotional problems.
Although children cannot speak about their feelings and emotions like adults can, they still grieve. Even young infants under six-months-old grieve. For example, infants have deep relationships with their mothers and they grieve when their mothers are absent.

Children and Grief: What They Know, How They Feel, How to Help.

For infants, six-months-old to two-years-old, there is a more specific process of grieving. At this age, children are able remember and visualize their mothers and learn that they are separate individuals from their mothers. Children may protest and withdraw to the absence of their mothers. Children may become depressed and no longer seem interested in toys, food, or activities.

The loss of a mother becomes more devastating as children are able to grasp the specific difference of their relationships with various members of their family. Grief is often expressed by regression, such as clinging to others, wetting the bed, or wanting the bottle back.

Adults often fail to recognize the impact of loss on children and this can result in anxiety. With the loss of a mother, the very security of the family is disrupted and children may believe that their own survival is at stake.

Death of a parent can lead to withdrawal, irritability, and severe depression. But, there are certain factors that can influence the outcome of childhood bereavement.

Such factors involve:

  • Communication between children and adults about the causes and circumstances of the death.
  • The nature of the surviving relationships in the family.
  • The support given by the family.
  • Children exhibit their feelings through play and fantasy. Children will share their feelings at unexpected moments and often with only a phrase or sentence. This is an opportunity to help children talk more about their feelings.
  • Grieving continues for many years for children. Since children do not have the strength to deal with the pain in its full intensity, a great deal of the pain may be turned inward. Their pain may be expressed in misbehavior such as: seeking attention, talking back, losing concentration and motivation, or decreasing school performance.

There are common stages that everyone experiences after the loss of a loved one. Mourners may not experience the stages in any particular order and there is no pre-determined time limit of how long someone may grieve.

Stage One: Shock and Numbness: Even when death is anticipated, the immediate feelings following death are shock, numbness, a sense of disbelief, and denial. Denial is a defense mechanism. But the denial that protects a vulnerable and shocked ego must slowly give way to the reality of loss.

Stage Two: Separation: Separation leads to a sense of emptiness, loneliness, and isolation. Emptiness is the sense of being diminished from within. Loneliness is the sense that one’s surroundings are also empty of people who matter or care. Isolation is the sense of being divided from others.

Stage Three: Disorganization: The anxiety of separation involves a process of disorganization and a fear about the future. The fear and the disorganization are caused by uncertainty, about functioning in a different role, and the changes that are necessary after the loss of a significant person.

Stage Four: Rebuilding:  Integrating and rebuilding is when death becomes a reality. Although the loss is sad it is seen as a challenge and people develop new strengths.

It is wise for child care providers to encourage parents to consult with a child’s pediatrician to discuss loss of a child’s loved one. The pediatrician can suggest ways to help a child and provide specific ideas about what kinds of behaviors to expect, depending on what stage of development the child is in.

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Seven Things You Can Do to Help a Grieving Co-Worker

Seven Things You Can Do to Help a Grieving Co-Worker

Here are seven things to consider in supporting someone you work with who is mourning the death of a loved one, and help him/her adjust to the loss. The funeral or graveside service is over and someone you work with is back on the job. Is there anything you can you do to help the person in the transition he or she is facing? Plenty. Remember, your willingness to be with anyone who is grieving, your presence alone, can be a factor in healing from a major loss. Being around pain is a challenge and an essential factor in helping the bereaved.

Here are seven things to consider in supporting someone you work with and help him/her adjust to the loss.

1. Most important of all, let the person know you are willing to be of assistance. If you were, for whatever reason, unable to attend the funeral or service express your condolences in a way you feel is most appropriate. Some people are uncomfortable in simply saying “I’m sorry” and say “I wish there was something I could do to ease your pain.” Others apologize for not being at the funeral and offer to be of help in any way possible.

2. Talk about the deceased person. Reviewing the relationship with the deceased by asking a question about the person is a good starter and gives the mourner an opportunity to talk. You could ask where the person died and if the co-worker was there at the end, inquire about the nature of the illness, or if the person had been ill for a long time.

3. Always allow the co-worker to dictate the pace and content of the conversation. If  you sense the person does not wish to talk about the deceased follow through and  ask if this is the case (Would you rather talk at another time?) and if there is anything else you could do at the moment.

4. Many employers, after three or four days, expect the co-worker to be working at his or her previous level of output, which in most cases is highly unreasonable. Be willing to give your co-worker an assist if it is obvious that he is behind in his work.

5. Each day inquire how your co-worker is doing. Commonly, the response will be okay or fine. When you hear this follow up with, “How are you really doing?” Often you will hear some important responses that the person would like to say but holds back so as not to appear to be hurting or looking for sympathy. Mourners often shape their grieving to please those around them and not themselves. You will be giving the co-worker an opportunity to express how she is really feeling and not have to suppress a natural response.

6. At least once a week call the person at home, especially if the person is now living alone. Evenings are frequently the most difficult for widows and widowers who are living alone. At the appropriate time, invite the person over for dinner or out to a movie.
7. Finally, be on guard to help a co-worker who might be holding on to some of the old myths about grief: you shouldn’t cry too much; you must be strong; you’ll be your old self again soon; and there is a predictable course of grief. Give the person permission to cry, not be strong, and follow her own individual course of grieving.

As time goes on, allow the person to repeat the story of what happened to their loved one. The repetition of the mourner is often what is discouraging for a caregiver. However, it is important for the mourner to replay the story again and again as it is an aid to the healing process. Grief is not an orderly and predictable process. With all of its ups and downs repetition is useful and meaningful for the mourner.
Again, to repeat, being there is half the battle. You don’t have to say a lot. However, be willing to be open with the person and make frequent contact as you sense the need.

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10 Ways to Manage Grief During Holidays and Special Events

10 Ways to Manage Grief During Holidays and Special Events

10 Ways to Manage Grief During Holidays and Special Events: Anticipation of a holiday after loss and what is expected is almost always worse than actually experiencing the day. There are many unrealistic expectations at holiday time. Here are 10 things you can do, that have been used by others through the years, which will help you manage grief and reduce unnecessary suffering. Are you dreading the approaching holidays? Fearful of being alone or without your loved one? Or have you been thinking about the possibility of receiving a greetings card from someone who does not know your loved one has died?
Most experts agree that anticipation of a holiday and what is expected is almost always worse than actually experiencing the day. There are many unrealistic expectations at holiday time. In any event, here are 10 things you can do, that have been used by others through the years, which will help you manage grief and reduce unnecessary suffering.

1. Structure your day. Plan. Plan. Plan. Make a schedule of what you will do each hour of the day and be committed to following it. Decide before hand what you can and cannot do on that day. Make a “to do” list and a “not to do” list. Talk about both with your family members. You do not have to follow what was done on previous holidays.

2. Have a back-up plan. If things go wrong and you are unable to follow the schedule you had prepared at a given time during the day, substitute an alternative activity. Let’s say you cannot stay at dinner as long as you had originally planned. Then be sure you have someone and something else to do (another place to go) so you can remove yourself from the highly stressful situation.

3. Simplify. You do not have to do all the work of sending cards, buying presents, and decorating if it does not feel right for you. It is likely you won’t have the energy to begin with. Cancel this part of the holiday. Or shorten your list or decide not to send cards. Send money or shop through the internet. Instead of a Christmas tree, simply decorate with pine boughs or small ornaments.

4. Decide on a way to symbolize the presence of your loved one. It could be by lighting a candle, placing his/her picture in a special place, making his/her favorite dessert, telling a favorite story, or setting a place at table. It is okay to reminisce about past holidays with him or her. Celebrate his/her life and what has enriched yours by your relationship with the beloved.

5. Buy a gift for yourself (from your loved one) and another for your loved one. Then decide to give the gift for your loved one to someone who would benefit from it. Make helping others one of your New Year resolutions to honor his/her memory. Focus on this thought throughout the holiday season.

6. Allow yourself to express your feelings as they arise. Don’t resist. Let grief move through you in a natural way. It’s okay to cry and feel sad. Crying is coping. If you feel especially sad, call someone you trust to talk to. Picking the right person and asking if you can call them “just in case,” is part of your back-up plan. Ask for assistance. Don’t expect friends to automatically know what you need.

7. Take time just for yourself to do something that is pleasing to you—and don’t feel guilty about doing so. Do this every day of the season. Eat a special food. Get a massage. Take a bubble bath. Visit a nearby park or beautiful scenery. But remember, don’t isolate yourself. You need your own time, but don’t over do it.

8. Be sure to exercise. This is a commonly overlooked but extremely profitable way to change feelings and emotion. Walk, ride a bicycle or engage in your usual exercise pattern. We all need physical outlets for the emotional stressors of the day. Accept the fact that the absence of your loved one on a special day is bound to cause pain. But you can use exercise as a counterbalance.

9. Deal with your feelings by periodically asking yourself where you are in your inner life at the moment. Are you overwhelmed, fearful, angry, and lonely or are you experiencing a moment of joy. Once you have identified your emotional state, follow up with examining options for dealing with your state of mind. Do you need to be with someone or go somewhere or say something to yourself? Your encouraging self-talk can be important here.

10. Combine these two survival skills when you start to feel you are going in a downward spiral: take action and refocus your attention. These two critical skills are essential for all of us for the rest of our lives. When you make your holiday plan, list a number of activities you can do when you need to change the sadness and prevent slipping into a depressive state.

Decide on the immediate action you can take to combat too much distress: get up and do something, walk around the house, pray, repeat a mantra, “Google” the word grief. Find a way to change your thought pattern. It will work for you, if you consistently go for it.

You can get through this holiday season, or any day that you feel is a special day involving your loved one. Three things will guarantee your success: make the commitment (“I will get through this”), be determined (“If I fall down, I will get back up”), and persist over time (remember it’s like an endurance race).  There is no right or wrong way to deal with the holidays. There is only your way.

10 Ways to Manage Grief During Holidays and Special Events

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Is Grieving Ever Over? Will Grief End?

Is Grieving Ever Over? Will Grief End?

When someone we love dies, or we lose something we cherish, a void is left that feels as though it can never be filled. We may try everything from therapy to self-medication, but the agony is still there. Is grieving ever over, or is it something that persistently remains, despite our efforts to get past it?

Grief, unfortunately, isn’t something that requires a final working through of a loss, because you’ll never completely overcome that loss. Grieving may feel endless. As sorrow persists, we may begin to wonder, “Will I ever get over this loss? How long will my grief and misery last?” As time goes by, the intensity of the feelings of loss may lessen, but you’ll never get completely over them. This is because emotional memories are triggered by numerous things throughout our lives, and we need to identify what those triggers are.

Usually, those triggers come in the form of reactions to anniversaries, such as the birthday or death date of the beloved one, or any significant holiday you’d previously spent with them. Visiting a place that you used to frequent with the lost loved one can also trigger powerfully depressing emotions. Grief can also be elicited by an age-matching anniversary, which occurs when a person’s age matches that of a loved one when they died.

Grief can be produced by external reminders — such as the anniversary reaction — because grief is an emotion that prompts you to remember, rather than to forget. Despite this, what many grieving people do with the emotion is to try to forget and get over it, which is not in alignment with the purpose of the emotion.

Instead of attempting to forget, one must attempt, instead, to remember, and there are many ways of accomplishing this. You can remember the lessons you learned from the deceased person, remember what you enjoyed with them, and even weep if you feel the need to cry. Even if your grief regards a good relationship gone bad, there is a lesson you can learn by remembering it.

We cannot imagine an end to this painful process we’re experiencing, and we fervently wish our misery would just quickly and easily disappear. We become sick and tired of the tangled ball of emotions that grief elicits — including sadness, regret, guilt, anger, resentment, longing and disappointment. We despise feeling so lost so much of the time, akin to prisoners of our feelings who are unable to escape.

However, we realize that the intensity of our sorrow is equivalent to how much we loved the person we lost. Every tear shed, every moment spent in regret is not just a testament to the intensity of our pain, but to the depth of love we felt for the departed one. It is our love, not our grief, that is the truest tribute to those who are deceased.

There is no specific amount of time that grief should or shouldn’t take. It simply takes as long as it takes. For some people, this encompasses a week. For others, this can take a month, a year, or even longer, depending upon who we have lost, how close we were to them, and how their death takes its toll upon us. If unresolved conflicts between us and the deceased person exist, the lack of closure can cause grieving to take a long time, often accompanied by guilt and regret.

We might desperately want to skip the agony of grief, but unfortunately, this is not possible. Even if we’re able to temporarily deny our pain or stuff it down, it is still present, and may eventually explode at an inappropriate time, or during another upheaval or illness.

Desperate to curtail the pain and get on with life, we want the sorrow to end — and we want it to end right now. In the same manner that we hurry through life — wanting everything to be quick and easy — we may yearn to surmount our grief just as swiftly. We may attempt to rush ourselves through our mourning, believing we should just “get over it.”

By getting over grief, it means that we won’t be suffering pain over our loss indefinitely. We tend to believe that distress is permanent, and that positive emotions are temporary, yet pain can be temporary, as well. We don’t forget the person we loved, or stop loving them, but we don’t have to get stuck in grief. It may be a cliché, but with the passing of time, grief does diminish, and we can love and fondly remember without those feelings being accompanied by pain.

Often, we are subjected to the awful initial feelings of grief. Although grief never completely goes away, in time it does become less intense. However, if we hold on tightly to grief‘s initial power, the perception that we will never recover from a loss can transform into a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we believe that we can mend after a loss, we do. However, if we believe our suffering will be endless, we can manifest that, as well.

Grief anchors us to the past.

Grief that continues to dominate our lives for years is detrimental to us and places limits upon our lives. It anchors us to the past, instead of allowing us to move forward and live in the present. It blinds us to loving the people who are still alive and still very much a part of our existence. When you mourn for years, you become stunted by your grief and are dominated by the fear to love, the fear to commit, and even the fear of having children you may lose.

Part of what can thwart our healing is the mistaken belief that we need to grieve extensively in order to prove just how much we loved the deceased person. But grief is a useless testimonial to those who have passed on — the best testimonial is to live a happy, fulfilling life in their honor.

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Teaching Children About Death

Teaching Children About Death

Teaching children about death provides the parent an exceptional opportunity to get the true information out to the child regarding the situation itself, and emotions. The truth is that many children, both young and teenage years, often perceive death much differently than adults expect. Some children actually build up anger, which then manifests itself in temper tantrums or violence. However, by teaching children about death, feeding them valuable information, they can learn to handle their emotions in a much healthier way.

For children, the thought of losing a parent is usually the most difficult to hear or understand. Children want and expect parents to live forever, always being there as a number one support system. We all know that life will end and for some, much too soon. Preparing and teaching children about death at the right age and time will help them deal with these fears, accepting the inevitable. Some of the areas that need to be covered include the reality of death, having respect for death, equality of life and therefore, death, opening up emotionally, communicating fear, getting support, celebrating the person’s life, not death, and remembering that person in a positive, loving way.

When teaching children about death, it is essential they understand it is a reality, something that everyone will one day face. With this, the child will not feel as though he or she was singled out. It is also crucial to help the child understand that even when a loved one is gone, it is okay and even healthy to remember them. This could include placing flowers on the grave, getting a favorite picture displayed in the home, or some other way. Often, allowing the child to talk about the person who died, sharing memories and stories is a great means of communication and venting.

Then, teaching children about death should always include celebration of life. Help the child focus on the beautiful things he or she learned from or shared with the person. You can teach your child to see the lessons that individual provided, special things that are unique to the person.

Teaching children about death does not have to be graphic, morbid, or even sad, but realistic and above all, being willing to answer the child’s questions in a way that he or she would understand but honestly. Remember, kids are smart and they know when they are being given a line or not told all the facts. Show respect to the child about this important subject and he or she will likely grasp what you say easier.

For more free resources, visit [http://www.thecbtcoach.com] Julia Sorensen is the author of “Overcoming Loss Stories and Activities to Help Children Transform Grief and Loss” Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers:

Pre-order at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Overcoming-Loss-Activities-Transform-Childrens/dp/1843106469/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211472762&sr=8-1

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Be a Valentine to Someone In Need

Be a Valentine to Someone In Need

Valentine’s Day is an exciting holiday to celebrate for many people. It is a time when people demonstrate their love and kindness to those that are closest to them.

All ages celebrate the special occasion. I remember at a young age writing my name on Valentine’s Day cards and handing them out to my classmates at school. I also remember receiving some in return. Now the cards have grown over time to include a gift for those I honor.

Valentine’s Day is not anxiously anticipated by everyone. Holidays can be a very tough time for some people due to the hardships and loses they have gone through. Valentine’s Day is a reminder of the loved ones they have lost at some point in their life. It might also be a reminder that they do not have many friendships. The holiday might bring out a feeling of loneliness rather than the feeling of being loved.

In 2003, the United States Census Bureau reported the following statistics:

There are 14 million people widowed.
There are 21.6 million people divorced.
There are over 12 million single parent families.
In 1999, they reported there were over 1.6 million people in nursing homes.
These are a few categories of people that might be experiencing a sense of loss. This loss is amplified during the holidays, especially Valentine’s Day. Many of them have been loved in a significant way in the past by someone that is no longer with them.

This Valentine’s Day, make a difference in someone else’s life that needs it most. Identify someone that is waiting for you to provide a friendly reminder on Valentine’s Day that he or she is special and loved. Your reminder could be in the form of actively talking, offering a Valentine’s Day card, presenting a gift, or maybe there is a need that special person has you could help meet.

If you are someone that has a hard time during the holidays, don’t wait for someone to come to you. Take it upon yourself to do something for someone else in your same situation. Not only will you be helping the other person during a trying time, but you will be less lonely as well.

I have found that when I do something for others, I feel much better as well. It doesn’t matter how much time or energy you have to give. The important thing is that you do something to let another person know you care.

There is someone waiting for you to help this Valentine’s Day. Do that person and yourself a favor and make this a better Valentine’s Day for both of you. Be that special person’s Valentine this year.

To learn more ways to give to others, sign up for the free Everyday Giving ezine at http://www.everydaygiving.com/ezine.htm. Roger Carr is the founder of Everyday Giving. His life purpose is to help people help others.

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Life Is Too Short To Tolerate Such A Small Negligible Things!

Life Is Too Short To Tolerate Such A Small Negligible Things!

People who bring you down. – Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and like minded.
A work environment or career field you hate. – Don’t settle on the first or second career field you dabble in. Keep searching. Eventually you will find work you love to do. If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop. You’re on to something big. Because hard work isn’t hard when you concentrate on your passions.
Your own negativity. – Be aware of your mental self-talk. We all talk silently to ourselves in our heads, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us. Start listening to your thoughts. If you hear negative thoughts, stop and replace them with positive thoughts.
Unnecessary miscommunication. – Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Speak clearly. Ask questions. Clarify things until you understand them.
A disorganized living and working space. – Clear the clutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t use.
Your own tardiness. – Get up 30 minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush around like a mad man. That 30 minutes will help you avoid speeding tickets, tardiness and other unnecessary headaches.
Pressure to fit in with the crowd. – Oftentimes, the only reason others want you to fit in is that once you do they can ignore you and go about their business. Don’t conform. Be you, because that’s the only person you can be.
An unhealthy body. – Your health is your life. Don’t let it go. Eat right, exercise and get an annual physical check-up. The body is an insightful and entertaining read on this topic.
Fear of change. – Life is change. Every day is different. Every day is a new beginning and a new ending. Embrace it and make the best of it.
All work and no play. – Enjoy yourself and have a little fun while you can. If you’re smiling, you’re doing something right.
People or beauty ads that make you feel inadequate. – Good looks attract the eyes. Personality attracts the heart. Be proud to be you. You are already beautiful.
Not getting enough sleep. – A tired mind is rarely productive.
Doing the same exact thing over and over again. – You are the sum of your life experiences. The more you experience, the more interesting your life story gets.
Personal greed. – Don’t let greed and deceit get the best of you. Greed will bury even the lucky eventually.
A mounting pile of debt. – Always live well below your means. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. Always sleep on big purchases. Create a budget and savings plan and stick to them.
Dishonesty. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless. Period. Don’t be dishonest and don’t put up with people who are.
Infidelity. – Intimate relationships are a sacred bond – a circle of trust. If both parties aren’t 100% onboard the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.
An unsafe home. – If you don’t feel safe at home you’ll never feel safe anywhere. Build a loving household in a safe area that you are proud to call ‘home.’
Being unprepared. – Life is unpredictable. And there’s a big difference between being scared and being prepared. Always be prepared.
Inaction. – Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities or someone else will. You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it.
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker, and avid blogger who’s wisdom can be found on http://www.Meditation-Enlightenment.com. Dr. Puff is the creator of the weekly Meditation for Health Podcast, available at http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com. Additionally, he has a weekly podcast that explores the world of Happiness, available at http://www.happinesspodcast.org.