Much as it is very important to adopt good habits and attitudes, it is even more important to rid ourselves of negative thoughts, bad habits, poor outlook to life and to steer clear of demeaning and defeating actions.
A dirty environment within breeds a filthy environment without and directly or indirectly attracts unpleasant things or circumstances into your life.
A clean environment within translates into a healthy, viable environment on the outside and attracts good things into your sphere of life.
Rid yourself of all thoughts and things destructive.
A for Anger
Anger is a nasty and destructive emotion, both to the angry person and to what the anger is being directed. Anger gnaws at you and eats away at you. It is an emotion that must never be allowed to fester.
You may feel that emotion of anger after you’ve been hurt or haven’t been able to have your way. What you need to do is to stop. Do not react on the spur of the moment. Take time out to rethink the situation. Express your hurt to the appropriate party, sensibly, thoughtfully and calmly. Many at times, just cooling off dissipates the anger and helps you to think logically or forget about the situation, especially if it was a trivial issue.
On the other hand, don’t bottle up your hurt or anger and harbour it within you for eons. That is just as unhealthy as expressing anger by being abusive or destructive. Using anger to create a feeling of guilt in the other party is a complete waste of emotion. Of what use is everyone feeling bad and unable to enjoy the pleasures of life because they are inhibited by your anger and guilt.
Anger is of no benefit to anyone. It eats away at you, causing ulcers, high blood pressure, stress, depression and all sorts of nasty ailments that can end up becoming cancerous.
You have the power to choose not to be angry. Don’t allow yourself to be provoked. Control your emotions. For your sake, forgive all, including yourself and get rid of all anger.
B for Bitterness
When hurt hasn’t been adequately expressed and has turned into anger, which has been harboured and suppressed for so long, it turns into bitterness.
As the name implies, bitterness is vile. Everything you eat tastes vile. Everything around you appears bad and ugly and you continue to attract nasty things to your environment.
Have you ever seen anyone who died a bitter person and has that bitter look on his or her face? Bitterness contaminates every part of the body system and your environment. It weighs you down and makes your sick. The funny part is that most bitter people don’t even remember the cause of the bitterness in their lives.
De-bitterlise yourself by making up your mind that you will no longer harbour any bitterness against anyone or anything. Again, it boils down to forgiving everyone, everything and yourself.
C for Cheating
Cheating covers every aspect of life from cheating in school, at work, on your family, in sports, cheating the taxman, the government, cheating people, countries, even cheating death.
Lots of cheats believe they are so smart and can get away with cheating all the time. An African proverb goes “Everyday may be for the thief, but one day is for the owner”. You may appear to have gotten away with cheating but your actions will eventually catch up with you, in one manner or the other.
Be aware of the fact that you are cheating yourself, because whatever you do unto others, you are indirectly doing unto yourself.
Thus beware of your actions.
D for Drunkenness
Keep your head clear. Keep your mind alive.
Fuzzing your brain with large quantities of alcohol and blowing your mind out with drugs and stimulants is derogatory to you as a human being. Everything should be done in moderation. Excess of anything is bad, including fanaticism.
Review what you ingest into your body and why. Note each item down on paper. Make a note of the quantity you ingest and the cost per day.
Ask yourself if what you are ingesting into your body is absolutely necessary or not. Think about the benefits you are gaining from it. Then think about the dangers and ill effects on your body and mind. Make a decision to stop harming yourself.
Choose alternative substances like fruits and vegetables and activities like sports dancing, acting, and charity work to keep you occupied.
Don’t yield to peer pressure and do things you wouldn’t normally do and that you know are not right for you. Without a clear head, it is even harder to resist peer pressure. Many girls and women have ended up having sex with strangers with nasty consequences, all because their mind was fuzzed.
People have committed crimes out of sheer senselessness.
Stop wasting your mind. It is your most valuable asset.
E for Envy
Envy is being unhappy and discontent with another person’s success or/and happiness. It is a terrible attitude and if allowed to progress will lead to your destruction, particularly, health- wise.
Don’t you wish for your friends, siblings, spouse or co-workers to be successful, happy or prosperous? Do you realise that what you wish for others is exactly what you wish yourself too?
On the other hand, if you were placed in exactly the same position as this person you envied, that is, financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, morally, mentally etc, would you be able to cope your new life? Would you be able to cope with this person’s ups as well as downs? Do you know what this person you envy is going through in their inner worlds, because all you can see is what is on the outside?
What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.
There’s no harm in admiring someone and aspiring to be like them, but it is unhealthy to become envious.
Work hard and smart for your own possessions. Go out and attract your own spouse. Have your own children or adopt some of your own.
Stop envying other people. You may not have the capacity to cope with their internal turmoil and burdens.
F for Fear
False — Evidence — Appearing — Real.
We all harbour the fear of something that is not likely ever to happen. We harbour the fear of things that we have no control over. If you can’t do anything about a situation, then do not let it hold you ransom. Forget it.
Fear clutters your spirit and paralyses you from living your life to the fullest. As a result you expend all your energy living out your fears, instead of your dreams. Fear creates a lot of anxiety, unnecessary worries, frustration, tension, agitation and disturbance. Fear makes you feel like a coward. Fear can make you subject yourself to intimidation and abuse, because you exhibit a weakness that people can prey on.
Eradicate fear from your thoughts by clearing your imagination. Don’t let your imagination get the better of you. You and only you can control your thoughts. Counteract every negative thought that comes into your head immediately, with a positive thought. Create a mantra, specially for that purpose, for instance by repeating to yourself that “I am fearless, super and brave. Nothing can harm me”.
Or recite a verse from the Psalms, which says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil”
If you are a believer, trust in the higher powers of God to guard and guide you. If you are a non-believer, trust in the strength you have deep within you that is more powerful than your fear.
Don’t let fear control your life. Control your fears.
G for Greed
Greed kills, either directly or indirectly. The lack of satisfaction with what you have and the desperate need to have what belongs to someone else may yield a temporary victory, but will eventually lead to your demise.
Greed on any level should be avoided. Greed leads to stealing, of which you will get caught eventually; fighting, in which you will be wounded; hoarding, the goods of which you will eventually lose; killing, for which you will be killed in return and living in constant fear of attack and distrust of everyone but most of all, yourself. What a life?
Greedy people always feel there isn’t enough to go around everyone. But there is, if everyone shared what they had. Greedy people distrust themselves as well as everyone else to the extent that they wouldn’t tell their spouse, children or anyone where they are hiding their loot. Like the inevitable law of nature, they will eventually die and leave their loot behind.
Greedy people forget that they can’t take their loot to heaven or hell once they die. So more often than not, their loot rot away just like their dead bodies or is discovered by some lucky unknown person, whilst their family continue to live, impoverished.
Get rid of greed. You’ll see that there’s more than enough to go round when we all start acting humanely, by sharing what we have, helping one another and stop being greedy.
H for Hostility
Hostility is antagonizing everyone and everything for no just cause. A number of people have acquired this bad habit and they go about being nasty and oppressive for nothing. If you say “Yes”, they’ll reflexly say “No”. Say “No” to the same thing and they will automatically antagonise you with a “Yes”, without even thinking about the issue.
They deliberately break laws, just to antagonize the authority. They disobey their parents, break school rules and can rarely hold down a job for any significant length of time, hence they don’t make any progress. Yet, they keep complaining that people or the system is against them or infringing on their person.
A simple law to wear a helmet while riding a motorbike or bicycle or to use a seatbelt whilst driving is not an infringement of your rights, but simply a safety measure for you and other members of the public.
There’s no need to be hostile and antagonistic all of the time. It’s time consuming and emotionally draining and it halts your progress in everything.
Break this habit and think of what is good and safe for you.
Agreeing with others or abiding by rules doesn’t make you a weak person; it makes you a smart and intelligent person who knows what is good for you.
I for Ignorance
There is a saying that ‘Ignorance is bliss’, this is ignorance in an innocent form as in a child. As a mature, grown up, ignorance is playing the fool.
Some people play ignorant of crucial incidences happening in their lives. They bury their heads in the sand and pretend not to be aware of what is going on in their lives, right under their noses. Don’t pretend, face the issue head on.
It is extremely important never to play ignorant when it is matters that concern your children. If you have a gut feeling that your child is on drugs or is being molested or something just isn’t right. Don’t ignore that feeling. Explore it. Open your eyes and ears, wide. Talk to your child. Get down to the bottom of the issue and face it head on. It is always better that it is all out in the open earlier on, than later on, because it will eventually all come out in the open. By then, it may be too late.
Never ignore child molestations of any kind. It is unfair on the child. It is each and everyone’s responsibility to protect every child, more so, the parents.
Don’t play ignorant. Play wise and smart.
J for Judgmental
Judge not and you would not be judged. This refers to the judgment that goes on in your mind. Thoughts that you are better or superior to another, or that some person is inferior to you because they are not like you.
You are in no position to judge another, irrespective of their race, creed, colour, sex, religion, social status, culture, habits, behavior or even sexual preferences, to name a few.
Learn to accept and respect everyone for who they are, so that you may be accepted likewise.
Keep your thoughts and vocalizations non-judgmental. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all. Cross a nasty thought out with a respectful thought like “They are God’s creation, just like me”.
A person of a different colour, race, religion, culture etc is not inferior to you, only different from you.
Our diversity is this world is our strength. Let us embrace and respect it.
K for Knock-out
Have you observed a child learning how to walk? First they learn to sit, then crawl, then stand then take a few steps using some support or the other.
Every now and again, they fall on the bums or even on their faces. They may cry a bit, but they get up and try walking again.
They keep trying again and again and again until they know how to walk. They never give up. They may fall down several times, but they never stay down.
Don’t remain down after a little mishap or even after a big one. Get up and try again. Do something else. Try some other place. Ask some other people, but never stay knocked-out.
L for Laziness
A lazy person will always go hungry.
You need to get up, get out and till the soil to harvest some food in order to eat and feed your family. Fundamentally, you need to get up, get out and work to earn a living.
Don’t say you can’t get any work. There’s so much you can lay your hands on to do. But it takes hard work, purpose and courage.
Swallow your pride and don’t consider any job beneath you. Be creative. You can start up a home-based business or otherwise. Start with what you have. Start where you are.
For those who rely on their governments for unemployment income, don’t envy those that work and have a higher standard of living, class or lifestyle than you do. You all have choices. You can use this avenue as a stepping-stone on to higher rungs on the ladder.
Laziness will keep you poor and in bondage. Get up, get out and till the soil.
M for Malingering
Perpetual complaints of one form of ailment or the other in order to avoid what you need to do or to seek attention or as form of emotional blackmail is not only low, but pathetic.
Moaning doesn’t get you anywhere. Unfortunately, it drags other people down. Your absence from work slows down the business and your colleagues.
Malingering at home inhibits your family from enjoying themselves because everyone is hovering around you, trying to make you feel comfortable and not left out.
Drop the fake life and get a real life. You can’t avoid life and evade your responsibilities by pretending to be ill all the time. Everyone will eventually see through you and stay away from you, including your loved ones. You will get kicked out of your job and your loved ones may decide to leave you once they’ve had enough.
Malingering is an emotional drain on you and people around you. You are cheating yourself and those around you out of a life and out of love.
Life is too short to spend it pretending to be ill all the time. Cut out the malingering.
N for Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts yield negative results.
You reap what you sow. Sow negative thoughts and you will grow weeds. Sow positive thoughts and you will reap sweet smelling roses.
In order to yield positive results, you must make the effort to sow positive thoughts. If you don’t sow positive thoughts, weeds will automatically grow in your garden. Negative thoughts require little or no effort, but positive thoughts require definite effort.
If a negative thought crosses your mind, counteract it immediately with a positive one. You can create a mantra specifically to counteract any negative thoughts. For instance, “I’m healthy and wealthy”.
It’s easy to create positive thoughts by thinking of the good things you love in your life or that you will love to do, be or have. They are your thoughts and you have total control over them. Writing out your good thoughts and dreams etches it deeper into your brain.
Be careful of you think. What you dwell upon may eventually come to pass. A bad thought against another person often backfires on the thinker.
Learn to keep your thoughts clean and clear.
O for Offensive Behaviour
Do you realize that people react to you the way you behave, the way you talk, the way you dress and portray yourself? If you act with good manners, politeness and kindness, people will respond to you in a similar manner.
However, lots of youngsters these days dress up in apparently offensive and even frightening attires, talking loudly, rudely, using foul language and acting inappropriately in the name of fashion or trying to look cool.
On the same note, they wish to be acknowledged and treated with respect. Because they don’t get such response, they behave even more offensively and dress up even more outrageously, trying to attract attention to themselves.
Unfortunately, if you continue to behave like this, the only attention you will eventually receive is an offensive one, just like you are emitting. Also, you will only attract the attention of the likes of you. Like attracts like.
Know what is good and right for you. Resist peer pressure that pushes you into behaving in an uncouth manner, in the name of trying to look cool.
What do you wish to attract to yourself? Emit that which you wish to attract.
P for Procrastination
Don’t leave until tomorrow what you can do today, because procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination stems out of laziness and cowardice.
Many people get into the bad habit of postponing things unnecessarily, until it becomes imminent and unavoidable, then they become stressed out at trying to get it done and done on time too. Worse still, the job doesn’t get done properly or it could have been done better, if they had done it on time.
By adopting the attitude of doing what you have to do when you have to do it, you become more productive, save yourself and business a lot of time, attain recognition and a good reputation as the person who gets things done on time.
You will be less stressed and move towards your goals faster.
Q for Quarrelsome Behaviour
A quarrelsome person is an absolute irritant and nuisance. People will eventually learn to avoid people that instigate quarrels and are constantly quarrelling. People will avoid visiting them and others will rarely invite them to functions. Even their spouses, family and friends will learn to keep away from them.
Quarrelsome people are highly disruptive. They contaminate the ambiance in a place. There is never peace where you have a quarrelsome person. Quarrelsome people pick quarrels for no obvious reasons.
Don’t fall into the trap of responding to their jibes and eventually quarrelling with them. They enjoy provoking people.
If you feel a quarrel coming on, move away from that person. Go out, if that is what you need to do to get away from such a person. The bible describes how much better it is to live on the corner of a roof, than in the same house with a quarrelsome person.
Never participate in quarrels, it never solves anything and it can be demeaning. Instead, discuss issues.
R for Revenge
Revenge has never gotten anyone anywhere and it will never get you anywhere. You may get that temporary feeling of elation from winning, but it never lasts long. The feeling of regret sets in and that lasts a long, long time.
Revenge, in whatever form keeps going around and around as you can see with the never-ending wars. One country attacks another in the name of revenge and the attacked country attacks back under the cloak of protecting their territory and the other county attacks back in the name of rightful duty and then they attack again in the name of God.
To compound the situation, neither the attacked nor the attacker is courageous enough to put a stop to the attacks, because of pride and not to appear to lose face. So the attacks continue.
In order to put a stop to this destructive pattern, one party has got to be big enough to say, “Let us put a stop to all this bickering. I am sorry, it got this far”.
It is exactly the same in your personal lives especially between couples, family members, friends, co-workers and so forth.
Revenge after revenge simply continues to destroy your lives and others connected to you, such as your children. Someone has to be big enough to make the decision not to react against the other party with another petty unfulfilling attack and even offer an apology.
Revenge is a sign of pettiness.
An apology, respect and friendship are greater virtues.
S for Stress
The world is stressful enough as it is, most which is self-inflicted and majority of which can be avoided.
Stress is a major cause of ailments like high blood pressure, tension headaches, peptic ulcers, strokes, heart attacks to name a few.
You can decrease the stress in your life by making the decision to live a stress free life.
A lot of stress stems from the ego: the need to control everything and everyone around. In an attempt to control everything and everyone, you lose control of the most important thing in life, yourself.
Ease off trying to control your spouse, children, family, co-workers, friends and so on. Give instructions, not commands and lead by example. Delegate work to others and back off. Don’t expect perfection, just encourage everyone to do the best they can.
Do what you have to do when you have to do it. Don’t let your work pile up and then you start rushing around, trying to get it done at the last minute. Don’t try to do be over-efficient either, by doing tomorrow’s work today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Your role is to do the very best you can today.
Enjoy today to the fullest. Forget about yesterday and look forward to a brand new tomorrow.
Easing off the need to control others eases the tension in you. You will feel better, with fewer attacks of headaches, less anxiety, better health, and you will sleep better.
You don’t have to be right all of the time. Live and let live.
T for Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums is highly unbecoming of anyone, be it adult or child. If you are the sort of person who throws temper tantrums, please put a complete stop to it.
Attention seeking temper tantrums may get you the attention you wanted initially, but as time goes on, people would get fed up with your tantrums and learn to avoid you.
Learn to ask for what you need in a decent manner. If you don’t get it the first time or even the next, ask again, but nicely.
U for Unworthiness
A feeling of unworthiness is a feeling of personal degradation. This in turn will lead you to being treated in an unworthy, degrading and disgraceful manner.
A feeling of unworthiness is an acquired one. No one is born an unworthy human. Every human being is of immense worth and value. It is your responsibility to know and place your worth and value.
Some of you might have been stripped of your worth by your parents who might have addressed you as being unworthy or not amounting to anything in life, or by your spouse, out of their sense of insecurity. Or you might be punishing yourself for something you did.
It is time you eliminated that sense of unworthiness, because it is not doing you or anyone, any good and it never will.
If no one has ever told you how beautiful or fantastic you are, don’t wait for anyone to. Erase all feelings of unworthiness from your mind. Start telling yourself that you are beautiful. Tell yourself that you are great, intelligent, classy, wealthy and all the good things you wish to be and can be. Start believing in yourself.
Your sense of worth depends solely on you and not on what your parents, spouse or anyone calls you. Counteract any negative comments from anyone with a positive comment of your own. As time goes on, the negative comments will stop affecting you and they will eventually stop.
Parents and spouses, be very careful how you address your children and spouses respectively. Words are extremely powerful. If you don’t have anything positive to say, you are better off saying nothing.
V for Violence
There is way too much violence in our world today and it is all man-made.
Each one of us can contribute to the eradication of violence in our world by choosing to do so and starting from the grass-root level i.e. starting from ourselves.
First and foremost, do not place yourself in a position or environment of violence. If you are in such a situation, do not participate in the violence. Find a way out. There is always a way out. Look for it and take it.
Getting out of a violent environment doesn’t make you a coward. It makes you a very smart and progressive person. You can make more progress in your life and in other people’s lives from outside a violent setup.
Do not expose your children or other youngsters in your care to violence, including violent movies or games. Children these days are growing up with the notion that the violent movies they watch day in day out is a normal part of life, whereas, it isn’t. Educate youngsters appropriately, especially in the art of peaceful co-existence. Encourage youngsters to watch peace-oriented programs.
If you are violent person, find some other means of resolving your conflicts. Violence never solves problems. It simply compounds it. If you don’t put a stop to the violence, it will go on and on and on until all the parties involved get badly injured or killed, materials get destroyed and no progress made.
It is a matter of choice and not an expression of weakness to choose a non-violent means of resolving conflict. It takes courage by the person with the bigger heart to say, “Enough is enough”.
Discuss your conflicts and come to agreements that are beneficial to all. You may not make a lot of material gain from resolving conflicts this way, but you will gain a great deal of serenity in your life. You will be able to sleep better and not keep looking over your shoulder or worrying about the lives of your loved ones.
Do not instigate violence. A number of people don’t actually participate in the act of violence themselves, but they instigate it and push others forward to do their dirty jobs for them. That is immoral. That is someone’s child, parent, sibling, relative, guardian, friend or mentor that you have exposed to danger or whose life you have destroyed. Think again.
Do not instigate violence. Do not participate in violence and do not expose yourself or those in your care to violence.
Start by thinking “peace”. There’s an alternative to violence. Choose it.
W for Worries
If you cannot do anything about a situation, there is absolutely no point worrying yourself sick about it. The world may or may not come to an end, but you have no control over that, so why have sleepless nights over that issue? Instead, why don’t you enjoy the pleasures you have of today?
How do you deal with worry? List out all the things you worry about. If you cannot do anything about an item on your list, cross it off your list as well as out of your mind. If you can do something about it, put a tick against it.
Re-list the items transferring only the items with a tick on them. Think and write out as many solutions as you can to resolve the problem. Then pick a solution and act on it.
The key to conquering worries is to eliminate things you have no control over and act on those on which you have control.
Yesterday has come and gone and you cannot do anything about it, except learn from it. Tomorrow is yet to come or may never come. So enjoy the present and do the very best you can with it.
X for eXcuses
Excuses, excuses and more excuses.
Excuses wouldn’t get you anywhere. You would simply be going around and around in circles.
Think deeply and carefully about something you ought to have done a long time ago but you have avoided doing by coming up with one excuse or the other.
Think about the various excuses you have given yourself. Think about what you would have achieved had you done what you had to do, when you could do it. Think about what you have lost by not doing it.
Think about where you are now. Think about where you could have been had you done what you should have done when you should have done it.
Think about what you would have acquired, had you done what you should have done, when you could have done it.
Time waits for no one. Stop making unnecessary excuses.
Work with what you’ve got.
Start where you are and use whatever you have to do what you need to do.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Y for Yakking
Yakking all the time is tantamount to nagging. It is un-classy, stressful and de-harmonizing to go on and on and on about trivial issues that can be resolved with one or two effective statements or an action.
If you have a spouse or children that wouldn’t do what you have asked them to do the first and second times, on the third occasion, explain your request in a nice and respectful manner and the consequences, if your request is not carried out.
A simple consequence for a child, like cutting out their television time will produce a desired and prompt reaction, when next you ask them to do something.
If on the third occasion your request still hasn’t been carried out, don’t yak. Do it if you can. For instance take the dustbin out or make your child’s bed or leave it unmade, but most importantly, instead of yakking, abide by your consequence.
Constant yakking grates everyone’s nerves, especially yours and it stresses you out too. It can lead to separations when it becomes unbearable.
Yakking is a poor quality to be exhibited by any staff at work. Heads of departments want people with forward thinking ideas, not constant complaints.
Think about what you have to say and the result you wish to achieve. Think of how you can say it in order to obtain the best results for all the parties involved and to create a sense of harmony for everyone.
Z for Zig-Zag Behaviour
Are you able to make up your mind promptly about a situation and stick to your decision? Or do you change your mind at every little pitfall, zig-zagging your way through life?
If you have no goals, you will continue to wander aimlessly through life, just doing whatever comes your way and following whatever path is available to you or thrusted upon you.
It is just as bad if you always doubt your abilities and capabilities. Are you the sort of person who is never sure if what you are doing is right and you always need people’s approval? People will either tell you what you want to hear or what suits their needs, so you will be subject to their whims and whams.
You must get into the habit of making up your mind about things, making a decision and sticking by it. If you are worried that you might make a wrong decision, be rest assured that no decision is right. Your decision is yours to make right.
A person with a zig-zaggy approach to life is unreliable and undependable. Such a person can rarely be trusted to carry out serious projects.
If you want to be known as someone reliable and dependable, make up your mind to be one then act like one. Making your own decisions and acting on your decisions makes you independent and clears out a lot of confusion in your head. It helps you to focus.
Remember, flexibility is the key.
“To be truly free, we have to rid ourselves of all bitterness, resentment and greed”
Look out for other ABC Series:
ABC of Self
ABCs to Connections
ABCs of Relationships