You’re a Product of Your Choices

By Azugbene Solomon

The more you love and respect your decisions, the less you need others to love them.

We are a product of our choices, that doesn’t mean bad choices make us bad people, it means we should find fulfilment in our choices to create fulfillment in ourselves. Seeking approval from others is a slippery slope, and that thirst won’t turn off once you get enough imaginary applause from the imaginary audience. Loving your choices is loving yourself, we can’t make everyone happy, many of us struggle to make ourselves happy, but that’s where we should start. Once we create happiness for ourselves we can share that with others, and motivate them to do the same.

Everyone faces tragedies, trials, and obstacles in life. That’s just part of life. No one ever promised life would be easy. And the fact is, life’s heartaches are often opportunities where we can learn and grow the most.

The way you choose to respond to life’s tragedies will determine whether you develop the attitude of a survivor or a victim. You can choose to think and behave in a productive manner, even when you feel pain and sorrow.

Avoid Wallowing in Self-Pity

So often, people waste time feeling sorry for themselves when they encounter a problem. They spend precious minutes of their lives complaining to others about how bad things are or they sit around and dwell on their negative emotions. Each minute they waste complaining and wallowing is a minute that they could have spent trying to improve their situation.

Choosing to wallow in self-pity will only make you remain stuck. Feelings of self-pity will hold you back from making healthy choices. Feeling sorry for yourself will waste time and precious energy.

Time doesn’t heal anything. In fact, if you choose to allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, you’ll feel worse as more time passes. Choosing to take action is the only thing that can make your situation better.

Remember, you aren’t the only one in the world with problems. In fact, there are many people in the world who choose to overcome much bigger problems every day.

Choose to Overcome Adversity

Behaving in a productive manner will reduce your feelings of self-pity. It will help you find strength. Just because you feel pity for yourself, doesn’t mean you have to behave in a pitiful manner.

When you experience problems and adversity, it’s up to you to decide how you want to respond. You can choose to allow it to define you, or you can choose to make it a defining moment. Choosing to face problems head on with an open-mind will help you become a stronger person.

Choose Your Attitude

There are plenty of things in life that aren’t within your control. You can’t control other people, certain health problems, or how the world around you operates. You can however, always choose your attitude. Choosing to go through life with a positive attitude and a desire to be a survivor rather than a victim is up to you.

No matter how bad things are, you always have choices. You can choose to get back up when life pushes you down, even if you don’t feel like. Learning how to tolerate distress will give you more confidence that what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

Conclusion
You were put on this earth because you’re strong enough to live it. Don’t waste time wishing things were different or insisting that life isn’t fair. Life wasn’t meant to be fair. It was meant to be lived, no matter what circumstances you encounter. Make a conscious choice to live a life that’s worth living, even when you don’t feel like it.

Reference
1. You’re a Product of Your Choices Not a Victim of Your Circumstances by The Poet Project.

2. You’re a Product of Your Choices Not a Victim of Your Circumstances by Amy Morin, LCSW

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Give young people meaningful roles

By Azugbene Solomon

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“Having a voice” means more than making a sound when you sing or shout. The ways people express ideas, energy, and insights make each person unique. Helping young people find their voices is one of the best ways to help them be a positive force in their families, schools, clubs, teams, or neighborhoods. This is good for them—and for your community. Young people have a lot more to contribute when their opinions are respected and their talents are tapped. Listen closely to the opinions of young people around you, and you’ll all benefit.

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Research shows when young people have useful roles in their community they feel good about themselves and their future, do better in school, and get into less trouble. Everyone deserves to have their voice heard and appreciated. Only 26 percent of young people, ages 11–18, report that they’ve been given useful roles in their community, according to Search Institute surveys. Allow all young people to have a voice in issues and decisions at home, school, and in the community.

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Building this asset means valuing young people’s talents, skills, interests, and opinions. It means setting aside the belief that adults know more than the younger generation. When you see children and youth as valuable resources, they feel more empowered to contribute to the community, and at school, and home in meaningful, thoughtful ways.

This post originally appeared on Youtherie

You Can Make a Difference

By Azugbene Solomon

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In times of experiencing the “what in the world can I do?” feeling, it’s important to remember that you hold your own personal power at every moment. There are many things you control – your actions and reactions, your communication approach and what you say, your treatment of others, your choices and the steps you take. In times of powerlessness, it’s important to find every way you can to exert your positive energy and positive power. Try not to get drawn into the negativity and morass, but rather keep your head level and objective and decide what you CAN do differently. What is the one step you could take? The one thing you can control and influence? Every flap of the butterfly wings has an effect – how much more can you influence as a human being?

When you start to think you’d be better off staying under the covers someday and just not dealing with any of it, instead resolve to get out of bed and take some of the following steps:

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1. Focus your attention on those things you can control and influence. It can be important to write down all of the things you are concerned about, or that are obstacles for you right now. Make a list and be sure to capture everything. Once you have finished the list, go back and circle those things you can control and influence. Start to plan steps you can take for the things you could control, and – for the time being – ignore the things you can’t. Once they are written on your list, put them to the side mentally as well as physically, and put your energies toward something you can do.

2. Take one small step. Recently with the gun debate, a group of concerned suburban mothers got together for a postcard writing campaign at a local Starbucks. They had cards made up and sat together to write letters to companies who support assault weapons. In another case, people were outraged that a retiring police officer could not retire with his canine companion, who was due to be auctioned off for sale. Almost half a million people signed a petition, and the decision was made to allow the K-9 cop to retire with her partner. These are a couple of examples of large issues that may seem insurmountable, but people took steps to do something. You may agree or disagree with their perspective on either of these issues, but remember the quote by Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. If you are upset about something, and you care, then take a small step and contribute to your own cause or interest.

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3. Find someone to be nice to today. What difference would this make in the overall global issues you may be concerned about? Because how we treat one another is like the butterfly’s wings. If you were to influence a person today with positivity, it’s possible that person would influence the next person, and then the next. You could start a tide turning by just taking one small step. The “wave” at the local sporting event starts with one person, and then others follow along. Start a wave – make it positive.

4. Take that one step you are afraid to take. You might have read about a local meeting where people are getting together to talk about issues they want to part of. You might think “Those are strangers and I don’t feel comfortable,” or maybe it is a march you wanted to attend but you are worried “Will I be safe?” or it is information or education you need to get but you think “I don’t know enough.” Your self-talk is often going to stop you from taking that next step, so be aware of what you are telling yourself. You can try something. Yes, you can.

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5. Remember that life is fluid. While worrisome things are happening everywhere, they have been happening since the beginning of time. Life ebbs and flows – some times are more difficult than others, but human beings are resilient. You are resilient, and you have the opportunity to make a difference right now. Make it.

This post originally appeared on Psychology Today

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TIPS TO HELP YOU BECOME ENCOURAGED AGAIN

By Power of Positivity

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We all feel discouraged from time to time. Some days, we might run full speed ahead and tackle life with no problem, but other times, we might feel like throwing in the towel. Life contains ups and downs for a reason, so that we may appreciate the good times and learn from the hard ones. If you ever feel like giving up, just consult the following inspiration to get you through another day.

HERE ARE TIPS TO HELP YOU BECOME ENCOURAGED AGAIN:

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1. CLAIM YOUR JOY.
When life seems a little boring, realize it’s because of us, not because of a task, our job or the lack of a nightlife. We have the ability to create joy and excitement in everything we do, and it starts with our thoughts around the situation. It is not so much about trying to fix the situation or even ourselves as it is learning new things, finding the good, and focusing our energies on activities that have personal meaning.

2. FREE YOUR MIND.
We need to take the time to look after our emotional well-being by putting time aside every week for a yoga class or a little meditation. The relaxing breathing strategies involved in both will help eliminate stress and reduce anxiety. We will feel better, and will look at things differently.

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3. MAKE LITTLE, POSITIVE CHANGES.
When we make small changes to our daily routine, it brings back the excitement. Take a new exercise class, read a book, or even just doodle – these can get you out of a rut and ignite your creative self. You will soon realize that the act of starting and doing something new can give you some confidence to continue creating.

4. REFRAME NEGATIVE THINKING.
Negative thinking is common, but it’s how we handle the thoughts that will either drain our excitement for life, or build on it. We can’t stay in the midst of negativity and hope to be our best selves. Understanding our negative thoughts and reframing them into thoughts that better serve us keeps us from getting stuck.

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5. PRACTICE OPTIMISM.
An optimist is more excited about everything, not just life! If you’re not presently an optimistic individual, don’t worry – optimism may be learned. And it’s not whether the glass is half full or half empty, it’s knowing you can fill it up.

Teach yourself to see the other side, even with the small setbacks, little adversities, frustrations, disappointments, and letdowns in daily experiences. Look for the lessons and trust things will work out. When you do, it’s easy to get excited about the possibility.

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6. ELIMINATE WASTED TIME.
When we start to look at our day, we’ll probably notice quite a bit of time wasted on non-value added activities like Candy Crush, Facebook or mindless television. Wasted time is energy draining, and as mentioned earlier, it’s hard to get excited when your energy is drained. When you know down deep you need to do something, you will find the time and the energy. But beware, because time fillers have a way of creeping in.

This post originally appeared on Power of Positivity

5 Ways to Become the Person You Aspire to Be

By RIZZARR

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As you go through life and work toward your dreams, knowing who you are and who you aspire to be will remain the keys to your success. Except becoming who you want to be isn’t easy. It requires tremendous courage, perseverance and a steadfast belief in yourself.

The road to becoming your best, most successful self can feel challenging at times and it can take a lot out of you. There will be moments when you might want to give up on yourself and your dreams. You must believe success is possible, because as you continue on your journey, you will eventually embark upon those moments, the ones that you have always imagined coming true.

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To motivate you on this pursuit, here are five ways you can become the person who you aspire to be:

1. Be authentic.
You cannot grow if you are not true to yourself. You have to be honest with yourself about what you are passionate about and who it is you really want to be, despite critics and naysayers.

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2. Have vision.
People’s dreams perish for lack of vision. Without having the idea in mind of who you want to be, you will not know where or how to aim for it. Keep your vision top of mind as you reach each milestone to motivate you to push forward.

3. Embrace a never-give-up attitude.
Curveballs will forever be coming your way as you pursue your dream. You might have moments when you want to throw in the towel because you just can’t keep fighting all the challenges and setbacks you encounter. But you have to push through and realize you really do have everything you need to reach your full potential.

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4. Remove the naysayers and self-doubt.
Most people settle for less. And many of those same people will also convince you to settle for less. That’s when that self-doubt invades your thoughts. You might have moments when you no longer believe in your dreams—you have to push aside those moments, people and your own self-limiting beliefs. Always move forward.

5. Believe in yourself.
As author Richard Bach once wrote, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” So no matter how discouraged you might get at times, you must know that if you can dream something, then you will always have everything in you to make it come true. You just have to believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve what you set your mind to.

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This post originally appeared on RIZZARR.com.

The Purpose of Youth Work – Youth Work Essentials

Youth work contributes to young peoples’ learning and development. The key purpose of youth work is to:

“Enable young people to develop holistically, working with them to facilitate their personal, social and educational development, to enable them to develop their voice, influence and place in society and to reach their full potential.”

Youth groups, youth workers, leaders and volunteers apply this by:  

Building young people’s self-esteem and self-confidence.Developing young people’s ability to manage personal and social relationships.Creating learning opportunities for young people to develop new skills.Encouraging positive group atmospheres.Building the capacity of young people to consider risk, make reasoned decisions and take control.Helping young people to develop a ‘world view’ which widens horizons and invites social commitment.Where does youth work take place?

Effective youth work takes place in a wide range of settings: youth clubs, uniformed and voluntary youth organisations, youth counselling units, outreach and detached projects, youth cafes, youth arts groups, youth action and participation groups, drug and alcohol projects and other health education groups.

What are the values and principles of youth work?

Young people choose to participate

The young person chooses to be involved, not least because they want to relax, meet friends and have fun.

Youth work must build from where young people are

Youth work operates on young people’s own personal and recreational territory – within both their geographic and interest communities.

Youth work recognises the young person and the youth worker as partners in a learning process

The young person is recognised as an active partner who can, and should, have opportunities and resources to shape their lives.

Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) supports young people as they learn how to be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

CfE supports the idea that learning and achievement can take place in a variety of formats and settings; not just schools. The Building the Curriculum documents make it clear that all agencies that work with young people have a role to play in CfE.  This includes youth clubs and groups.

There are strong links between the Nature and Purpose of Youth Work and Curriculum for Excellence, particularly with regards to the young person-centred approach and an emphasis on empowerment and health and well-being.

More information about the links between youth work and Curriculum for Excellence can be found in Youth Scotland’s Quick Guide.

This article was first published at Youth Work Essential.