You’re a natural born leader. You’re ready to teach what you’ve learned.

Journaling prompts for teens
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[Day 15] 5 Journaling Prompts to Enhance Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers

 

Journaling prompts for teens

Today is the half-way mark of the blog challenge. Woohoo! The goal: repurpose a previous post. So here’s one from a while back that I’ve enhanced.

This article is for teenagers and/or anyone who wants to increase their self awareness and ability to process and express their feelings in a more calm and balanced way.

The teenage years are an especially tumultuous period (as you know) and a critical time to focus on emotional intelligence (if you can start sooner, by all means, do so. My son is 3 and he labels his feelings and always feels better after doing so). Though challenging, these years can be seen as a series of beautiful opportunities for learning and growth for the entire family.

Many issues teens face are due to lack of self awareness and/or emotional intelligence. It’s not something that’s taught in schools – but it should be. When we feel out of control, we lose our power of choice. It becomes increasingly harder to decide upon what we want because our emotions have taken over. And when they run our lives, we no longer have a say.

So often we want something better – we talk about it, dream about it and long for change, but our emotions won’t allow us. They say “whoa whoa whoa wait stop.” But the magic happens when we listen and actively seek the gift within each moment of emotional turmoil – not by staying stuck in it and not by ignoring it, but by choosing to send our deepest love and compassion to ourselves. That’s when everything changes.

Here are 5 journaling prompts (to be used in this order) to help you do just that.

First, recognize your triggers. Ask yourself questions like…

What makes me angry?

What am I afraid of?

When someone said this I felt ______________.

This emotion feels like ____________.

I feel it in my _____________. (throat, chest, stomach, etc)

Anything that will allow you to connect with the feeling so you can release it.

Accept it. Don’t make anyone right or wrong and don’t believe you deserve to feel bad.

Ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”

Forgive yourself.

Write down everything you need to forgive yourself for. And everything you need to forgive others for.

Empathize.

Know you aren’t the only person who feels bad. Others handle things differently and it doesn’t make them wrong.

Write down what you think the other person (or people) are experiencing.

Choose something new.

Get creative with what you want. Write down how you want to feel and why.

For example: I want to feel empowered because when I do I feel like I can conquer the world and I can be who I really am.

As you take the time to go through these prompts on a regular basis, you open yourself up to new possibilities and interactions with others that weren’t previously available. When you are able to connect with and accept all of who you are, you will no longer need to dance between the extremes. You’ll feel more in control of your experience and will therefore feel calm and confident in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

I’d love to hear how it goes. Please share your comments and insights in the comments box below.

What not to say to someone who self-injures.
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How to REALLY Help Someone Who Struggles with Self-Harm

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people (therapists, counselors, support group facilitators, parents, etc.) ask me about how to help someone who self-harms.

So, here are some things you should know.

  • Most cutters are highly intelligent and extremely sensitive.
  • Many don’t do it in an effort to end their life, but rather, to end their pain.
  • There are, unfortunately, people and websites that are pro self-harm (this is NOT one of those websites and I am NOT one of those people).
  • Self-mutilation is an addiction, and should be treated as such.

And here are some materials to use. Starting with, the top 5 things to never say to someone who self-injures:

What not to say to someone who self-injures.

Next, 5 things you should say instead:

What to say to someone who self-injures.

Take time to know and understand what the person who is cutting is going through.

And listen.

See this person as whole and send your love and compassion. I promise, he or she will be able to feel it.

If you are the one who is self-mutilating, I made this for you to print out (therapists and support group facilitators you can print these out to use in your sessions):

Self-harm worksheet

It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, please do so. Don’t keep it to yourself. I know you feel like no one understands you, but they never will if you’re not willing to let them. Believe it or not, the people around you are just as scared as you are.

Here’s mine as an example:

Tell me you love me.

Here’s another one for you to print out and use:

Things to do instead of cutting

It’s important to know what to do when you feel the urge to cut. When you’re in that state you’re not always rational so having something physical to have on you or in a place where you can see it will remind you that you have other options available.

Here’s mine (feel free to steal some ideas from it):

My list of things to do instead of cutting.

That’s it for now. I hope this is useful!

As always I welcome your comments and suggestions.

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Love. But How?

This post first appeared on Many Writers and was written by Frances Daphne. Whether you believe in God or not, this a beautiful and well-written post on the topic of love.

Personally, I’ve always been fascinated and in love with learning about all religions and I appreciate them all.

So, let’s hear it for Frances!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, & with all your mind.

This is the greatest & the 1st commandment. The 2nd is like it:

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments

Matthew 22:37-40

The question is, how do I love? I do not know how to love, Lord. I thought I did, but I gave up. I recently came to a point that I decided I had best be alone. I have come to prefer solitude over company – so that I may never have to let anyone down; never have to offend anyone; quietly learn to co exist peacefully with others and offer up prayers for them– without going the extra mile to mingle. I have grown tired of my human condition, and also of the many unloving things people do unwittingly. I do not blame them for being unloving. But I do see that we live in a world that knows no love. True Unselfish Love.

I do not know how to love– yet I know what is unloving. Funny huh?!

St.Paul writes a Hymn of love. Perfect Love of God:

LOVE  is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous. LOVE is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude. It does not seek its own interests, it is not quick tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. LOVE  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE never fails.

REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH.

This truth, what is it? Truth. The truth — I suppose, is LOVE itself. Because St.Paul explains if we have everything (all knowledge, eloquence, ability etc) but no love, we are nothing (1Corinthians13:1-3)

Then I look back at what I wrote above -about my preference for solitude. I admit – that is self-seeking. I am protecting my own interests. From what? From disappointment. But as God’s definition of Christian love shows — LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS.

I used to live in a bubble. I still do. I feel that people SHOULD be kind. People SHOULD believe in second chances. That people SHOULD NOT gossip/backstab. That if there is any unhappiness, one SHOULD approach the other and gently clear the air — so that the person concerned CAN grow into a better individual. Or if there is no way we can feedback to the person involved– then at least avoid speaking bad of the person. I had always felt this way. . . Until I saw people whom I trusted do the most unloving things I thought true friends wouldn’t do. I couldn’t bring myself to love them. I felt disgust within me. And then I felt disgusted at myself for feeling this way toward them.

LOVE DOES NOT BROOD IN INJURY, IT DOES NOT REJOICE OVER WRONGDOING. .. . BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH.

I failed to see the truth — the truth is — we are all flawed. My perfect little thought bubble of human relationships. The people I allowed into my little bubble of idealism. They are MY NEIGHBOUR.

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF.  

How would I like myself to be loved?

I would like to be given second chances. I would like to be remembered for the joy and goodness I bring to this world. I would like to be given space when I tire (but that is me alone, how do I know how others would like to be treated?). I would like to be understood for my good intentions — and not be misinterpreted and misconstrued by others. And so… this is how I should love my neighbour, isn’t it? The least I can do is give my heart to understanding them – and if I cannot understand them, then at least — BELIEVE in goodness. Believe in the goodness that they are capable of. Because — that is truly how I want to be loved.

Because I feel sad by the unloving experiences I have received (and given out to others, sadly)– I wish not to face this sadness anymore. Thus my preference for solitude. Because, when you are alone with Christ – Jesus who is pure love, never disappoints. I love the gentle peace, the quiet embrace, and the silence. The silence through which my soul sings in gratitude for making it through each day.

Then, in the silence, I also receive this message: Love me. Love my people.

God is a God of relationship. He is not a lonely God.

And so, I am called to respond.

Love. But how?

“Have I tried? Have I really tried to love this way? By doing, by trying, this is the only way to learn to love. Day by Day- to practise – to try, to fail – but it’s okay. It is a progress & needs preparation. It is worthwhile in the end. It is to enrich.  Start over. Again & Again. We are on a journey. WE ARE NOT THERE YET. ”

[heard during Advent Recollection  (with Verbum Dei missionaries]

Frances, fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. For I am your God. I will strengthen you, & help you, & uphold you with my right hand of justice. Fear not. I will help you. (Isaiah 41:10,13)

Have courage to step forward. Start with a step. One step to Love. To stumble.. to fall… And then, to Love. Again and Again.

Because Love hopes all things… and.. Love never ends. 

This is how. This is what Love is really about. Are you ready, Frances?

 
Your story matters
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Your Story Matters (Affirmation)

Your story matters. It’s true.

And more importantly, it deserves to be told.

Don’t deny any part of your past.

It has made you who you are.

And you are wonderful just as you are.

Your story matters

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3 Journaling Prompts to Encourage Self-Discovery

Self-discovery is one of the main goals of journaling. When I first began writing it was because I felt lost and had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. It helped me connect back to the part of me that was greater, wiser and more confident than my thoughts and circumstances.

There is one constant in your life.

It’s you.

Other people will come and go, but you remain.

Which is why taking time to truly know yourself is one of the best things you can do. When you know how you operate, you’re less affected by what’s going on outside of you. You become more of a deliberate creator and conscious choice-maker.

Some people say journaling and other forms of self-care are selfish. I disagree. When we take care of ourselves and take time to know what makes us smile, laugh and cry we have more to give.

Which reminds me of this quote:

“The greatest gift you can ever give another person is your own happiness”
― Esther Hicks

So, do yourself a solid (you deserve it!) and take 30 minutes to journal today. Here are a few prompts to get you started.

Journal Time!

Write down and answer the following questions:

What makes me laugh?

What opens my heart?

What makes me want to be alive?

What did you learn about yourself today? How will you use this information to help others? Please leave your comments below!

Affirmations for teenagers
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Teen Truth: Donte’s Story

This post first appeared on TEEN TRUTH.

JC Pohl met TRUTH TRIBE member Donte Winrow while on the road this fall. Donte and JC learned a lot from each other at that TEEN TRUTH LIVE: BULLY presentation at Johnson Middle School in Westminster, CA. Read Donte’s powerful story!

I want you to understand that the TEEN TRUTH LIVE: BULLY presentation changed my life and the way I look at my disorder. The disorder I have is called Tourettes Syndrome and it’s not very common. The disorder forces me to have physical and vocal tics that often can’t control.

I realized I had this disorder when I was in 6th grade and it made that year the worst year of my life! It was so hard for me because I was always so embarrassed.

I still remember all the names of the people that made fun of me and tried to copy my Tourettes. At school I heard a lot of jokes and rumors about me. One of the tics I use to have because of my Tourettes was a twitch where and hit my nose. I heard a joke about my tic that was spread around the whole school. They said I would twitch because I was sniffing crack and that bothered me a lot.

Imagine living 8 years of your life having fewer friends then your supposed to have just because you have a disorder you can’t control. I always struggled with my Tourettes and the way people treated because of it. I also struggled with treating people nicely because I felt they were always mean to me.

On Thursday October 29, I heard we had an assembly at my school. They said it was going to be about life and teenagers. I immediately thought it was going to be a bunch of bull and a waste of my time. Because I was thinking these thoughts I started talking through the beginning of the presentation.

I wasn’t loud until my Tourettes started acting up. My Tourettes starts going off when there’s increased activity or excitement in my brain. I was talking and my tics from my Tourettes were causing me to make strange sounds.

Because of the strange noises JC, the speaker, got on me about talking aloud and told me to be aware of the impact I was having on the rest of the group. I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

After that, we watched TEEN TRUTH BULLY and it literally made me think in a way I never thought about before.

My mind went into shock, my whole mind just blanked. After the film I was glued to what JC had to say. I loved the presentation and in the end it actually made me realize that I had to apologize for disrupting the presentation.

I told JC about my disorder, and he realized that it wasn’t my fault. He told me that we often times don’t realize what issues a person is dealing with because we never ask and the impact that we have could hurt.

That day we both learned a TRUTH about each other and we both realized we made judgments that were false.

The TEEN TRUTH LIVE presentation was the best presentation I have ever seen. It made me realize that it is okay to be different. If I weren’t different, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

If you’re not the same as everyone else, that doesn’t mean your stupid or a retard. Get over the bad comments and rumors spread about you because you’re a different person.

Be a happier person, be yourself. To get over your obstacles you need to forget all the bad. Try to go on with your life, and stop copying the people that are not going to make a difference. I believe anyone can make a difference. You just have to believe in yourself and try!

Suicide prevention tips for the holidays
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3 Suicide Prevention Tips for the Holidays

Suicide prevention tips for the holidays

So, I’m a member of the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and this is an article I submitted to them to be used in a statewide newsletter, but I also wanted to make sure it reached my readers first. Please share these suicide prevention tips with as many people as possible. You never know who might need them.

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time for all, but let’s face it, it’s also when a lot of emotions get stirred up for many of us. Whether it’s memories of those we’ve lost, a family gathering gone wrong or the disappointment of not being able to afford gifts. But I’d like to offer a new perspective on this. What if instead of viewing these events as wrong or bad, we allowed the memories to surface and gave ourselves permission to express how we truly feel? And what if this created opportunites for forgiveness and deeper connections with those we love?

Perhaps this holiday season can be a time for healing and connection. Maybe our love and presence and choice to uplift others will lend hope to those who need it most. And maybe when we allow others to uplift us, we’ll give them a sense of purpose and belonging. You never know.

Here are three simple guidelines to experience more joy and connection for the holidays – two things that may just save someone’s life.

#1 – Have keen awareness.

This is a time to be really tuned in. To yourself. To the world around you. And to all those you love. Each person you encounter is a reflection of you. Every human being on this earth is unique and offers value to the world. When we choose to look at our life in this way, it appears a little brighter and in turn has a positive impact on those closest to us. So, be present to the gift each moment has to offer. And be aware of the gift that is you. As you know and feel your own worth, you inspire others to find it within themselves. YES, you are that powerful!

#2 – Let connection be the priority.

Before your interactions with others, set the intention to connect and experience more love, laughter or anything you’d like. For example, if you’re about to have a conversation with your best friend, first make it clear in your mind (and your heart!) that you want to feel connected – imagine the two of you laughing and enjoying one another’s company. You can also make your intentions known by sharing them with your family and friends. Tell them what you want and how you feel and ask them what they’d like to see and feel more of in their life. A lot of the time we assume others know what we want, but the only way to be abolutely certain is to speak up. You might be surprised to discover it’s all the other person wanted too, but he or she was afraid to ask.

#3 – Let love be what fuels you.

Actively look for evidence of love in all people, including yourself. If something is going on with someone you love, you can feel it. If you notice something is up, don’t take it personally, but definitely take it seriously. Offer to help (not fix) in any way you can and ask for help when you need it. Find little things you appreciate about yourself and everyone you encounter. At the grocery store, while you’re waiting for your food or even by offering a smile to the person sitting in the car next to you at a stop light. When you make a point to put love at the top of your list and are driven by the desire to love and be loved, anything is possible.

As you keep these three concepts in mind and practice them on a daily basis you’ll create healing for yourself and your entire family. You are such an asset to this world. We all are. And we’re all in this together. So this holiday season give those you love something greater than presents or the “perfect”occasion – give them the gift of being seen and heard and allow others to see you and hear what you have to say.

 

Journal Time:

As a journaling exercise for today, write about some other ways you can deepen your connection with those you love…and even those you don’t.

How can you deepen your connection to YOU?

 

As always, thank you for reading and please leave your comments below. How did this article impact you?

Self-esteem in teens
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Just a reminder…

This affirmation can be used by teens and parents alike. I feel like college students will find it especially helpful.

Self-esteem in teens

journaling prompts for teenagers
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3 Fear-Crushing Journaling Prompts for Young Dreamers, Visionaries and Future Superstars

journaling prompts for teenagers

This article is for people of all ages (teenagers, parents, etc.) who are on a mission to make a really big impact in our world. It’s a personal journal entry turned public with added journaling prompts for you to explore.

 

For all the things I  think I can’t do or haven’t done, there are so many things I can do and I have done.

I’ve sent out 100s of emails. I’ve made more phone calls in the past year than I have in my entire life. I’ve talked to people. I’ve opened up. I’ve shared my story and have had the opportunity to hear others’.

I’ve done so many things I thought I’d never do.

I’ve gotten a lot of “nos.”

I’ve gotten a few “yeses.”

I’m still going.

I haven’t fizzled out.

 

Maybe it’ll take 5 years to have the kind of success I want, but the way to reach it faster is not by beating myself up. But rather, to keep looking for evidence of my success in every moment of every day.

I can focus my attention on what I am doing well.

I can choose to focus on who I am becoming.

I can choose to focus on the progress I’ve made.

And the people I’ve inspired.

 

Doing those things brings me closer to having what I want than focusing on what I think I’m doing wrong.

I’m sure I’m making a lot of mistakes – some I’m probably not even aware of.

But the more I fear making mistakes, the more power they have over me.

Even in the moments I feel weak, part of me is strong.

Even in the moments I feel hopeless, there is still hope.

And I find it by looking.

I find it by remembering I’ve found it before.

I find it by reminding myself I always manage to land on my feet.

Somehow.

 

And I find it by realizing it’s not as far as I think.

The answers are right in front of me.

And in fact, they are within me.

 

And they might not always look the way I thought they would.

I might not always feel the way I’d hoped I’d feel.

But if I listen closely…

And if I love myself even when the answers are different than I thought they’d be…

That’s when I’m free.

 

And then I remember freedom is all I’ve been wanting the entire time.

But here’s the secret:

It didn’t come from any outer circumstance.

 

Freedom is always within us, waiting to be acknowledged.

 

I understand I don’t have to push so hard.

I get there is a part of me that does allow ease and grace. And just because it’s not the dominant part in this moment, does not mean I can’t choose to find comfort in knowing it’s there.

For every part of me that feels something unpleasant, there’s a part eager to rise to the surface – the one who knows life is meant to be joyful.

That I deserve to feel balanced and in alignment.

It’s okay to trust.

The acceptance I want first comes from accepting myself.

Peace is just a breath away.

And freedom doesn’t cost a thing.

 

And now, I feel complete.

I am whole.

This is where I want to be.

 

So now, it’s your turn to write. Think of something in the future you’re worried about – an upcoming event or interaction with someone.

#1 Write about your fears and the worst thing that could possibly happen.

#2 Write out the best possible outcome.

#3 Come up with something even better.

 

Thanks so much for reading. Please leave your comments and insights in the box below!