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Siobhan Kelleher Kukolic

Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

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We’ve lost our confidence

We’ve lost our confidence.

And we spent our whole lives building it.  From learning to walk, to receiving our report cards in school, to earning degrees, getting promotions, buying property or taking vacations.

All those activities told us we were doing okay.  That we were moving in the right direction.

Then suddenly, all that certainty was gone.  People lost jobs.  Schools closed.  We became isolated in our homes not knowing when we might be able to go back to life as we knew it. Continue reading

Forgiveness

I am currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and something in the book made me stop and think.

The author writes, “What characterizes the human race more, Karla once asked me, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it?  I thought the question acutely clever then, when I first heard it, but I’m lonelier and wiser now, and I know it isn’t cruelty or shame that characterizes the human race.  It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are.  Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions.  Without forgiveness, there would be no history.  Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness.  Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive.  We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.” Continue reading

When we sleep

In a Coursera video about anxiety, professor Joordens from the University of Toronto was explaining the difference between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.  I have heard those explanations before, but the way he talked about one point made me pause.  He was going over what happens when we sleep. Continue reading

I heard something

I heard something this week in a Mental Health Works webinar that I found very powerful.  It was the idea that most of us drink coffee or tea or something from a mug throughout the day.  We lift that two-pound mug to our lips countless times without noticing.  But what if we had to hold that mug full of steaming tea or coffee over our head all day long?  Would we start to get shoulder pain?  Palpitations?  Stress headaches? Continue reading

Fear

Fear.  It can change how we move through our day.  Are we worried about our health, our job, our kids, our bills?  It can frame how we act, the decisions we make and how we take care of ourselves.

As writer Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

And how are we?  What story is replaying in our head?  What are we telling ourselves about our life, our future and what we are seeing in the news?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Often the fear is worse than the narratives we worry about.

Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

We should always take realistic precautions in life.  But sometimes a wait and see mentality and an attitude of gratitude will get us where we need to go.

Despair or hope

In her book Positivity, Barbara L. Fredrickson writes, “As I see it, there are two basic responses to hardship.  Despair or hope.  In despair, you multiply your negativity.  Your fear and uncertainty can turn into stress.  Your stress can morph into hopeless sadness, which in turn can breed shame.  Worse than this mushrooming negativity, despair smothers and snuffs out all forms of positivity.  With positivity extinguished, all possibilities for genuine connections with others are lost.  Despair opens the gate to a downward spiral that may well lead you to rock bottom. 

Hope is different.  It’s not the mirror reflection of despair.  Your hope, in fact, acknowledges negativity with clear eyes.  More important, though, your hope kindles further positivity within you.  Even the most subtle shades of hope can be a springboard for you to feel love, gratitude, inspiration, and more.  And these warm and tender feelings open your mind and your heart and allow you to connect with others.  So hope opens the gate to an upward spiral that empowers you to bounce back from hardship and emerge even stronger and more resourceful than before.

Some people — either genetically or intuitively — seem to understand the gifts of positivity better than the rest of us.  We call those people resilient.  They are the ones who smile in the face of adversity, reframe bad events as opportunities, and adopt a wait-and-see attitude about future threats.  This doesn’t mean that they never feel bad.  They bleed just like everyone else.” Continue reading

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