Welcome to Positive Life Principles. I’m Karol Ladd, and I want this website to be a source of inspiration and strength to you as you serve and love the people around you. You will find resources to refresh you and help you use your gifts and talents to reach out and touch the lives of others. Sign up for my blog below in order to stay connected and receive an uplifting weekly message from me.
Dr. Randy Kamen, psychologist and author of Behind the Therapy Door, says, “Forgiveness transforms anger and hurt into healing and peace. Forgiveness can help you overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage, as well as personal and relational conflicts. It is about making the conscious decision to let go of a grudge.” Additionally, Harvard researcher and physician Dr. George Vaillant describes forgiveness as one of the 8 positive emotions that keep us connected with our deepest selves and with others.
Jesus gave His followers the clear message of forgiveness. As we extend forgiveness toward others, we demonstrate that we understand the forgiveness God has toward us through Christ. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we allow someone to trample over us again and again. We must learn to set wise boundaries. Forgiveness means we are releasing the right to hold something over another person and handing it over to a just and loving God.
Psalm 36 is one of my favorite passages:
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
It reminds me not only of God’s unfailing love, but also His great justice. When we turn our hurts and pain over to Him, we can trust that He will take care of it. Think of the ocean depths – there is a lot of life happening in the depths of the great deep. There is joy, peace and freedom when we release our grudges and allow God to deal with it. He sees, He knows, He is at work.
Feeling blue? Consider doing something kind for someone else. It may be volunteering at a hospital or a dog shelter or at a local school. You could write a letter to someone who needs encouragement or cook a meal for someone who could use some help or even bring groceries to someone who can’t get out right now. When we reach out to help others, thinking of their needs, it gets our mind off of our own stuff and actually gives us a feeling of joy. Although our motivation for doing things for others shouldn’t be to please ourselves, it is a natural consequence and an added blessing.
A team of sociologist tracked a group of 2000 people over a 5-year period and discovered that those who described themselves as “very happy” also volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. Of course, there could be a number of reasons for this, but researchers believe that showing compassion gives people a neurochemical sense of reward as an emotional boost. For more benefits to helping others click here. Jesus spoke about showing kindness and love even to our enemies. He said, “Give and it will be given back to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”
Take one step today to reach out in kindness to another person.
Recently, my friend Sharon Hill gave me two plaques for my birthday. One read, “Do one thing everyday that makes you happy.” The other was simply blank, so I could write the one thing I did that day to make me happy. Isn’t that great?
Have you ever stopped to think about what truly makes you happy? Maybe it’s spending time with family, perhaps it is reading a book or taking a stroll through the park or painting a picture. I encourage you to take some time to thoughtfully make a list of at least 15 things that make you smile. Next, determine to set aside some time on a regular basis to do one of the things on your list.
I’m not condoning self-centeredness or thinking only of your own happiness. In fact, one of the things that increases our joy is to love and serve others (which we will talk about tomorrow). But, there are times when we need to rejuvenate and be deliberate about self-care in order to avoid burnout, fatigue or exhaustion. God has made each of us with unique desires. Psalms 103 reminds us that God satisfies our desires with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Ask God to satisfy your desires and renew your strength. Look for simple ways to enjoy your “Happy List.”
Laughter is good medicine! In the busyness of life, sometimes we forget to add a cheerful chuckle into our day. When you face a disappointment or make a mistake, yes you need to feel frustrated, but you can typically find the humor in the situation as well. If you look for the bright side of things, you will typically find it! Everyone needs a good guffaw now and then. Victor Hugo said, “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”
Without a doubt, a good dose of humor levels some of the bumps in life and lightens the load of our day-to-day routine. When is the last time you had a good hearty laugh? Make the decision today that you will intentionally look for the delightful and funny side of the circumstances in your life. Be honest and realistic, but also allow yourself the freedom to smile and giggle. You will be surprised by the joy of walking on the sunny side of life.
Genuine laughing is the vent of the soul, the nostrils of the heart,
and it is just as necessary for health
and happiness as spring water is for a trout.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
But a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NIV
Grumbling and complaining rarely make things better; in fact, they usually make things worse. I’m not trying to be a Pollyanna and suggest that we never have anything to complain about. Yet, when negative things happen, we can recognize it and choose to do something constructive rather than destructive with our concerns.
It is easy to let our minds and mouths run with negative complaints or gossip, but it takes a strong person to guard her mouth and think about a positive plan of action. What is a healthy way to respond to our challenges? Pray, plan and present. When we face something that we don’t like or agree with at work, or in the neighborhood or at church, let’s first bring it before the Lord and seek His wisdom and guidance. Next, let’s think of a positive and constructive plan. Perhaps an alternative or a solution or even simply informing the right person about the problem. Then present your information to the one who can actually do something about it, and do it in a respectful and wise way.
Positive people make a plan rather than waste their time and energy complaining about the issues.