Follow the Golden Rule!

If everybody followed the Golden Rule, life would be a whole lot easier. While researching the Golden Rule, I came across a website that listed 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule. It’s been said that the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to your own happiness. 

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I could not agree more with this statement! If you apply the Golden Rule in all of your interactions with your peers, this action will not only be good for the people you help and are kind to, but you’ll also start to notice that others will treat you better as well. By treating people this way, you will also find a growing satisfaction in yourself, a belief in yourself, and a knowledge that you are a good person and you should trust in yourself. However, the Golden Rule doesn’t just mean that you should treat someone else exactly as you’d want them to treat you. It means that you should try to imagine how they want to be treated, and treat them accordingly. You should imagine being in their shoes, and ask yourself how you think they would want to be treated. Ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in their situation. A perfect example of this is when John F. Kennedy exemplified this act during the controversial days of de-segregation in the 1960s. He asked the white Americans to imagine being looked down upon and treated badly based only on the color of their skin. He asked them to imagine how they would want to be treated if they were in that situation, and act accordingly towards the blacks. The next time you are aggravated with somebody, don’t treat them the way you really want to at the time. Instead, hold back your negative thoughts before they turn into negative actions, and put yourself in their shoes, imagining if you would want to be treated that way. Treat others the way they should be treated, and life will be a lot more simple!

If Today Was Your Last Day

Oftentimes, I feel that many of us view each day as a given right, rather than a gift. We are never promised the next day, or even our next breath, but each new day we are fortunate enough to be blessed with, we receive a gift. That wonderful gift is the gift of life. Walter Anderson once said, “Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”

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Just as Anderson said, how we respond to bad things that happen defines our character and quality of life. We have two choices. We can either grieve over the sadness and loss, or rise from the pain and treasure the precious gift of life. When I was six years old, my father passed away. I would have never thought the night before he passed, when we was tucking me into bed and giving me a goodnight kiss, that would be the last time I would see him. Even though the pain I felt that next day, and the pain I often feel to this day is not easy to deal with, I stay strong and fight through it, knowing that God is in control and he will never let me down. Even though we don’t quite understand why the lives of others are taken so quickly, we have to remember that God has a plan, and that plan is far greater than any of us could ever imagine. I know that my father does not want me dwelling on his loss, but instead he wants me living my life to the fullest, making the best of each new day I am blessed to receive. I want to encourage you all to live each day as if it’s your last. Be kind to others and live out the Golden Rule. When you’re no longer on this earth, think about how you will want to be remembered. Most importantly, let the ones you love know how much you love them each and every day, because you never know when it will be your last time getting to tell them. Just as Romans 6:23 states, the gift of God is eternal life. When it’s time to be called back home, leave this earth knowing you have lived life to the best of your ability and strive each day to be the very best person you can be!

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

I’m pretty sure that you’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.” I have never been one to do this, but lately I have realized more than ever why we shouldn’t. I have learned that it is absolutely impossible to make reliable judgments about people or things by considering external appearances alone. The perfect bible verse to relate to this subject is John 7:24.

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 I have recently made great friendships with people who are completely different than me. Even though we don’t dress alike, act alike, or look anything alike, it’s how different we are that makes our friendship so unique. While at Troy, the most special friendship I have made has been with an international student from China. As a freshman, I heard about the conversation partners program and was interested, but a little worried that it might not be for me. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to communicate well enough with who I was paired with. I decided to join the program, and knew right away that it was the best decision for me! I was paired with Tianxiang Yu (Terry). The first day we met, he didn’t even know how to pronounce the word “girl.” We ended up meeting up together at least once a week for the next two years and became very best friends. I taught him so much about our American culture, and he taught me a little about his in China. I am so glad that I decided not to “judge a book by its cover,” but instead step out of my comfort zone and interact with those completely different than me.

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Above: Terry and I have many pictures together, but this one from our freshman year studying together in the library is definitely one of my favorites!

I would like to encourage you all to step out of your comfort zone and get to know others that are nothing like you. I can honestly tell you that it’s something you won’t regret, and you’re bound to make special, unforgettable friendships!

Face Your Fears!

According to Merriam-Webster, courage is defined as the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.

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As we go through life, we are constantly faced with challenges and situations that cause us to feel scared or nervous. Beginning at a young age, we face fears such as being scared of the dark, or being afraid to go to school on the first day. With encouragement from family and friends, we find the confidence to face these fears and overcome them. On our journey to adulthood, we are faced with many fears. At times, we are asked to do things that cause us to feel inadequate or unsure, but facing these fears helps us to gain confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Oftentimes, it would be easier to run from our fears and not challenge ourselves to try new things. Doing this would cause us to miss out on opportunities to better ourselves. As a young child, I had a fear of speaking in public. As I got older and took on leadership roles, I began having to speak in public quite often. At first, I was so nervous and could barely speak without having a shaky voice. However, it was by the encouragement of others that I continued speaking in public until I began to gain confidence and overcome my fear. By overcoming this fear, I now love speaking in public and have chosen to major in broadcast journalism, which will lead to a career involving public speaking. It took great courage to overcome this fear, and I could not be more thankful for where I am today, pursuing a career involving something I was once afraid of.

When I am feeling afraid and discouraged, I often refer to Deuteronomy 31:6 to restore my peace and assure myself that everything is going to be okay. I would like to encourage you all to face your fears, instead of running from them, because you never know where it might take you!

What Motivates You?

I recently came across an article published by Royale Scuderi that has 6 types of motivation explained. The types of motivation explained include incentive, fear, achievement, growth, power, and social. I would have to say that my biggest motivation comes from achievement. According to the article, achievement motivation is also commonly referred to as the drive for competency. We are driven to achieve goals and tackle new challenges. We desire to improve skills and prove our competency both to others and to ourselves. Generally, this feeling of accomplishment and achievement is intrinsic in nature. However, in certain circumstances, motivation for achievement may involve external recognition. We often have a desire or need to receive positive feedback from both our peers and our superiors. This may include anything from an award to a simple pat on the back for a job well done.

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Some of my greatest accomplishments in life started off by being my goals. It was motivation that lead me to accomplish those goals. For example, when I entered high school, I told myself that I would work as hard as I could to try to graduate as valedictorian. Through hard work over the years, and motivation leading me to the accomplishment, it was such an honor to graduate as valedictorian of Elba High School’s class of 2011. Not only was this motivation a drive for competency, but the achievement also involved external recognition, as I was congratulated by my peers and honored in many different ways. I would like to encourage you all to find something/someone that motivates you! It makes all the difference in the world.

Kill Them With Kindness

 

I have finally realized that no matter what you do or how hard you try, not everybody is going to like you. However, whenever I get a strange vibe from somebody and feel like they have a problem with me, the first thing I do is “kill them with kindness.” No matter how they react, it still leaves me walking away as the better person and knowing I did the right thing.

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In an article titled “Difficult people in your life? Kill ’em with kindness” by Christine Hassler, Hassler described a situation where the term “kill them with kindness” did nothing more than make her feel as if she was the one getting killed. Hassler said that she wasn’t actually being kind from an authentic place, but was just acting kindly. She was using kindness as a way to try and manipulate a situation, and even though she continuously smiled, used nice words, and kind gestures, in her mind she was killing them with judgment and anger while feeling hurt.

Have you ever acted kindly outwardly toward someone while inwardly judging them, or have you ever been nice hoping it would get you what you wanted? Most of us are guilty of doing this. When we are trying to manipulate a situation or someone’s opinion about us by merely acting kind, we are coming from our ego. What we have to realize is that true kindness comes from the heart, not from the head. Authentic kindness is also consistent, rather than something we turn on when it feels useful.

We should all think about this the next time we face our enemies and want to “kill them with kindness.” Remember, authentic kindness will get you much farther and the kinder you are, the more kind others shall act upon you in return.

Just Believe!

According to Dr. Cheryl Saban’s article “Believe in Yourself! A Self-Care Strategy,” self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth and abilities, and pertains to a personal appraisal of ourselves. Yet, unfortunately, we often make this evaluation based on cues we receive from society. In other words, we look to others to establish who we are, how we should behave, and how we’re valued, even though this societal reflection won’t be an accurate indicator of what we’re made of.

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As individuals, we should try our hardest to not rely totally on the outside world validating us. Instead, we should equalize the playing field by believing in and validating ourselves. You can’t be of great help to others if you don’t care much about yourself. According to Dr. Saban, believing in yourself doesn’t mean you’re conceited, overly self-centered, or narcissistic. It’s simply part of an overall self-care strategy for wellness and contentment. It means that you recognize who you truly are – your core being, the special present of your presence — in other words, your innate worth. Belief in yourself may begin as a small light at the end of a tunnel — a glow, a feeling of hoping, and then knowing. When I was younger, I didn’t believe in myself and thought that many of my dreams/goals were impossible to accomplish. Throughout the years, as I’ve realized how much I can do if I just set my mind to it and believe in myself, I have accomplished things I would have never imagined I could. You must believe that you have a right to be here and are worth sharing a lifetime with. The sooner you believe in yourself, the sooner others will begin to believe in you, and you’ll live a more relaxed, enjoyable life!