Posts tagged with ‘personal development’

02 jul

How to Handle Your First DUI

JennaSmithSo you made a pretty massive mistake and decided to drive while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Worse yet, your behavior was poor enough that the police noticed and caught you. Now you’ve been given your first DUI citation and you are starting to wonder how you are going to pick up the pieces and recover.

The good news is that if this is your first offense, there are some things you can do that will indeed allow you to pick up almost where you left off and move on. The bad news is that it won’t be easy, its built to not be easy and to be a pain in the butt so that you don’t think driving while intoxicated is something that should ever be repeated.

As long as you follow this advice you’ll be able to put the incident behind you in relatively short order.

Take the DUI Seriously

The more naïve among us actually take getting a DUI citation as a badge of honor. The reality is this is the worst way you could possibly handle the situation. You should know that the authorities certainly take someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol very seriously.

Police departments actually take DUI charges so seriously, they’re willing to cite those who are trying to help others avoid getting caught. One Ohio man was recently cited because he put up a sign warning other drivers of a DUI checkpoint.

Make sure you are taking your situation seriously. Don’t treat it like a joke because it’s not.

Contact Your Local DMV ASAP

While DUI laws are different from one state to the next, in most locations a DUI will result in a suspended license. Some states have a mandatory suspension of 6 months or more. You don’t want to be without the ability to drive a car for a 6 month period. Your local DMV can tell you if your state has any kind of program like ignition interlock in place.

Ignition Interlock is a system that doesn’t allow people to drive as long as they have alcohol in their system. If people try to do it they are reported as violating the program and the punishment will become even more severe.

Other states will also make it so you need to get special auto insurance called sr22 that allows you to keep yourself insured while you’re driving until the DUI citation punishment has cleared up. This kind of policy is naturally more expensive than other kinds, so you’ll definitely have to search for cheap sr22 insurance where possible.

Seek Treatment

It’s certainly possible that your DUI was a one-time thing and you don’t actually have a drinking problem. Nevertheless, statistics show that most people who are caught on a DUI citation are abusing drugs or alcohol in a way that means they need to head to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Because there will be sometime between your citation and your court date, it’s in your best interest to start going to meetings ASAP. You will likely be ordered to go to some sort of counseling program as part of your sentence. If you start going before you are ordered to do so, you can show the judge that you are taking the right steps.

Be A Model Citizen

Going to some sort of treatment program is likely going to be part of your sentence but you could also be sentenced to jail (happens less often with first offenses) and you will also likely be sentenced to probation.

If you are serving probation, make yourself into a model citizen. If you’re supposed to stop drinking altogether, stop drinking. If you’re supposed to report in at a certain time each day or week, report in. Don’t allow yourself to start feeling like the victim. You committed the crime. Take the opportunity to correct problems in your life and then you really can get a sort of do-over once you have carried out whatever the courts demanded of you.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on July 2nd, 2014 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , ,

09 mar

The Self-Sabotaging Behavior of Denial

WEJMDMost people have a variety of self-sabotaging behaviors that prevent them from manifesting the life that they want. The first step in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors is to first recognize them. One of the most powerful self-sabotaging behaviors is denial.

Denial is a defense mechanism that discharges anxiety and emotional discomfort. By denying there’s a problem we don’t have to feel bad about the fact that there’s a problem. Unfortunately this doesn’t solve anything or make our lives better. It just sweeps our problems under the rug. They’re still there. Still gnawing at us and still getting in our way.

One example is the area of health. If we have a bump and we are afraid to go to a doctor to find out that it might be something really bad we deny that it is a problem. Unfortunately when it becomes the elephant in the room, something we no longer can deny, it becomes a problem much more difficult to resolve than had we acknowledged it and faced it when it first appeared.

One form of denial is denying that our behaviors are actually self sabotaging. For example, when we are late for an appointment we might tell ourselves that it’s not going to matter, that the excuse we give will be accepted and that there won’t be any negative consequences. But this usually isn’t true. When we are late for appointments or don’t call people back in a timely fashion, as another example, people may be gracious about it but they probably are registering some degree of irritation, disappointment, feeling disrespected or undervalued. And this may over time lead to passive aggressive behavior on their part or them not doing something to assist us in the future when we ask them for help.


Shakespeare once wrote “the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but ourselves that we are underlings.” So one form of denial would be thinking that the fault lies outside of ourselves and that we are victims of a hostile, chaotic universe out of our control, as opposed to us being the prime movers of our fate.

This is a very powerful form of denial, blaming other people and circumstances for our difficulties. For example when we tailgate and get into a car accident we have a tendency to call it an accident when it is actually the result of our poor judgment and we tend to blame the car in front of us for stopping abruptly.

This is very common to blame others and not take responsibility for our actions. Oftentimes when couples fight, one partner will blame the other partner, stating that “you made me angry, you made me throw the toaster against the wall, you made me scream at you, you made me hit you, if you hadn’t antagonized me, if you hadn’t pushed my buttons, if you hadn’t called me that name, if you hadn’t provoked me, then I wouldn’t have behaved that way.” Denial in this case is the denial of ownership. It doesn’t matter if we are provoked. We have a choice to behave correctly and honorably or not and if we don’t, and don’t admit it then we are in denial.

Denial is very common with alcoholics and addicts. “If I just have one drink it won’t really matter, I’ll be able to handle it, it won’t escalate into a serious problem.” Alcoholics and addicts tell themselves this despite having a history of one drink or one drug hit escalating into a serious problem.

Another form of denial in regard to alcohol and drugs is that people oftentimes convince themselves that other people don’t know when they are high. This is usually never the case. Most people can tell when other people are under the influence.

We are in denial when we abuse other people and tell ourselves that they’ll get over it, they’re not going to leave us. Usually, sooner or later, they do, and when they do there is often too much water under the bridge, too much built up resentment and anger for the relationship to be repaired.

We are in denial when we keep on putting off proper diet and exercise. The denial part is not that we are denying these are important things to do but that it won’t one day catch up with us and put us in the grave prematurely. We deny the long-term consequences of our actions.


When someone tells us something we don’t want to hear or deal with, we find ways to attack them and invalidate them so that we don’t have to acknowledge that they’ve made a good point. We might tell them that “you do it too.” And so this allows us to deny the importance of us getting our own house in order regardless of how other people behave.

In relationships when we tell our partner that “I don’t have any problem. I don’t need anger management. You’re the one with the problem not me. You’re the one who needs therapy not me,” this is denial in spades and is a sure fire predictor of a relationship that will never heal and will most likely one day disintegrate. This is another example of shooting the messenger.

Another form of denial is called “contempt prior to investigation” which means we prejudge and reject an idea without first evaluating it to determine if it might have validity. “That’s not going to work.” “It’s a waste of time.” These are dogmatic denials that have no basis in reality because we actually haven’t looked at the data.

Another form of denial is “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” Some people refer to this as insanity.

When we are told something that is true that we don’t want to hear or deal with and we seek out people who will yes us and support our position, this is denial. Just because we can find a bunch of people who tell us we’re right doesn’t mean we’re right.

“I’m only kidding” is a form of denial. When we say something to somebody that is hurtful and they react negatively, we backpedal and claim that “I was only kidding.” Sometimes it’s not denial, we know that we weren’t kidding and that we were making a harsh point, but oftentimes we con ourselves into believing that we really were only kidding, we were only teasing, we meant no real harm and that the person was being overly sensitive. This prevents us from looking at our behavior objectively and correcting it.


Living in the past and not seeing the handwriting on the wall is a form of denial. Whether or not you think marijuana should be legalized and whether or not you think gay marriage should be legalized, the handwriting on the wall is that these things will one day universally come to pass and to deny this and fight this is really a huge waste of time, energy and resources that could best be spent elsewhere.

Another form of denial is denying that forgiveness, acceptance, and love have the power to move mountains. Most people believe that anger and aggression are the way to solve problems. In the short run this may seem to be the case but in the long run they are not. Love is a miraculous force that can transform. When two people are fighting with each other, if one person can rise above the battlefield and express true unconditional acceptance, forgiveness and love, it oftentimes can discharge all the negativity and restore peace in the relationship.

Most people think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. They don’t believe that the meek shall inherit the earth. This is denial. Forgiveness is a reflection of great strength and personal power. Survival of the fittest will one day prove to be survival not of the physically fittest but of the spiritually fittest: those who choose not to fight and instead insist upon finding peaceful resolutions.

The premise of my book Forgive To Win! is that we sabotage ourselves with denial and in other ways as well because at an unconscious level we are filled with guilt, shame and self-loathing; at an unconscious level we believe we are undeserving and unworthy of happiness, health and success, and that our subconscious mind, believing what we believe about ourselves at an unconscious level, believing that we deserve punishment and not reward, manifests in the real world that “truth” by causing us to do things that get in our way and generate failure.

So — if self-sabotage and denial are the result of guilt, shame and self-loathing, then the way to end self sabotage and denial is to love ourselves and forgive ourselves. The way to love ourselves and forgive ourselves is to love others, forgive others and be of service to others. The more we do this, the more we send the message to our subconscious mind that we are good, loving beings who deserve happiness and success, the more the subconscious mind shifts its purpose. It stops whispering negative messages in our ears, it stops encouraging us to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, and it helps us to attract positive people and circumstances in our lives that will be rewarding rather than punishing.

The Forgiveness Diet is a structured program of daily exercises and behaviors to help achieve the goal of ending self sabotage.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on March 9th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

19 dec

How to Become a Natural Leader

JennaSmithPeople aren’t born leaders – they become them. Like many other life skills, leadership is something you learn; with the right tools and education, anyone can master the four components of true leadership:

  • Effective communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Goal setting

If you work on cultivating these four key areas, you will soon find yourself increasing your natural ability to lead and guide others. Whether you hope to use leadership skills to motivate a team at work, or to help mentor young people in a youth group, you will quickly find that improving your leadership abilities helps increase your groups’ results. Being a leader, after all, isn’t about bossing people around or telling them what to do; it’s about working together to get a job done.

Here are a few recommendations to improve your leadership skills:

1. Take a leadership course

There are numerous, highly effective leadership courses available, from the Dale Carnegie leadership course to the leadership development program offered by the Army and Navy Academy. Whether you are a student, a working adult, or a full-time parent, there are leadership courses that fit your schedule and your budget. Look for courses that focus on the four components of effective leadership listed above.

2. Engage in specific activities to build leadership strengths

There are specific activities that help build each of the four primary leadership strengths. For instance, to build your communication skills, try playing the Mine Field Game:

  • · Blindfold a partner and verbally lead him or her through a “mine field” of small objects
  • · If the partner touches one of the objects, you lose the game
  • · If you communicate well, helping your partner avoid the mines and reach the other side, then you both win!

3. Seek out opportunities to lead

Leadership education means nothing unless it is paired with tangible, real-world opportunities. If you are a student, see if you can lead an initiative in student government or in your residence hall association. If you are in the workforce, ask if you can take a leadership role on a project or on one of your company’s committees. Then, use your leadership skills to unify your team around the pursuit of a common goal – and work together to accomplish that goal.

4. Mentor a young person (or seek out an adult mentor)

The teenager/adult mentor relationship is invaluable for building leadership skills, and both the young person and the adult learn how to be better leaders through the process. When you join a mentor relationship, both the mentor and the pupil are able to bring new perspectives to problem solving and goal setting. The young person learns from the adult’s experience, and the adult learns from the teenagers’ fresh perspectives. Both complete the mentor relationship ready to take these new skills back to their peer teams and become more effective leaders as a result.

5. Stand up for an important cause

One way to quickly become a leader is to stand up for an important cause. Maybe you’re a student who wants to improve school lunch quality, like Martha Payne of Never Seconds. Maybe you want your company to institute a better recycling program. Maybe you want your community to build a new park where children can play. If you find a cause in which you truly believe, you often do the work of building leadership skills without even thinking about it.

It’s easy to become a “natural leader”—all you need is an understanding of what makes a leader, and consistently practicing each of leadership’s four key areas.

Leadership education is key to living a successful life, so explore opportunities to build your leadership skills and then seize real-world opportunities in your life to lead.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on December 19th, 2013 in Career, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in ,

11 sep

Staying True to Yourself after a Cancer Diagnosis

JennaSmithWhen you are diagnosed with cancer, much of your life seems out of your control. Instead of managing your own schedule, you are now subject to chemotherapy appointments and long hours spent in the hospital. Instead of maintaining your usual energy levels, you often find yourself overwhelmed with fatigue and unable to participate in favorite activities. It’s difficult to feel like yourself when everything seems to be out of your control – from your physical appearance to the way your body processes food.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you have recently been diagnosed with cancer or are well into the fight, here are some tips to spend the next 30 days getting back to YOU.

Talk to a support group

If you haven’t already joined a cancer support group, it’s time to find one. Use this place as a safe space to be yourself: you don’t have to stay positive for the sake of the kids or pretend to feel great to impress an employer. Feel free to share all of your emotions with the support group – your fear, your anger, your frustration, and even the humorous aspects of your situation (chemo farts, anyone?).

Then, ask your support group for suggestions. If you feel isolated, for example, how do other group members plan trips outside of the house? If you feel overworked, how have other people handled talking to supervisors about reduced workloads? Your support group is there for you, so utilize them. Often, the members of your cancer support group will become lifelong friends.

Talk to a counselor

If you have emotions that feel too big for your support group, talk to a counselor or therapist with specific training in cancer issues. Your health insurance is likely to include therapy as part of your treatment plan, so take advantage of it. Here’s where you go to talk about the big fears and angers that are overwhelming your life. A cancer therapist also has positive, specific suggestions about staying true to yourself during your cancer treatment, such as how to keep up with outside interests and how to cope when you are too ill to participate in favorite activities.

Surround yourself with positivity

Although it’s important to feel your own feelings, whether you are angry, grieving, irritated, or sad, it is also important to invite as many positive sources as possible into your life. This can be as simple as using a smartphone app to read your favorite comic strips every morning, or signing up to receive tweets from cancer support organizations like the Burzynski Clinic.

It also means changing out negative or depressing situations for positive ones. If you can’t keep your house as clean as you used to, hire a housecleaner. If you can’t stand the hospital waiting room, buy an iPad or a Kindle Fire and churn through books and TV series online as you wait. Even a cheap bouquet of flowers from the supermarket helps to brighten up a room – and your mood.

Don’t let your personality disappear

Did you know you can choose to wear your own clothes instead of hospital gowns? That’s just one of the ways you can stay true to yourself even when it seems like your body is working against you. Your cancer team is perfectly happy to let you listen to your favorite music during treatment, add family photos to your hospital room, or even wear a Sponge Bob Square Pants Band-Aid instead of a regular one. Don’t feel like you have to subdue yourself during cancer treatment. Get the wig you’ve always dreamed of, introduce your cancer team to your favorite band, and go ahead and wear your favorite soft pajamas instead of those itchy hospital gowns.

Stay true to your relationships

One of the worst parts about a cancer diagnosis is suddenly feeling like everyone is treating you differently. The truth is that you may be sick, but you’re still the same spouse, parent, and friend you always were. Don’t let your treatment get in the way of your relationships – ask your partner, children, and friends about their days, talk to them about their struggles, and make time for a date night, family board game night, or girls’ night out.

If you feel like people are treating you differently, talk to them directly. Explain that yes, you can no longer do certain things, but that doesn’t mean they should avoid you or treat you like an invalid. As with all relationships, good communication is key.

What about you? What have you done during cancer treatment to stay true to you? Do you have any advice for other people fighting cancer? Let us know in the comments.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on September 11th, 2013 in Family, Health | No comments Read related posts in ,

25 aug

How to View Setbacks on the Road to Success

WEJMDWhen we set our sights on a goal, no matter what it might be, and someone or something gets in our way, our first impulse is often to feel badly about it.

We tend to get angry, anxious, depressed, frustrated, discouraged, and/or demoralized, due to our interpreting what has happened as a setback.

This is a mistake. At any one moment in time, we don’t really know if something that happens is, in the long run, going to be in our best interests or not. At any one moment in time, we don’t really know if something is good luck or bad luck.

The truth of it is: What we think is good luck today could prove, at a later date, to have been an unfortunate turn of events that led us down a road to nowhere. Equally so, what we think is bad luck today could prove, down the road, to have been a huge blessing in disguise that was pivotal in getting us to the ultimate place we wanted to go.

We just don’t know. We aren’t able to see the bigger picture at the moment something is happening to us. Therefore, it’s best that we not presume anything is good or bad for us and it’s best that we not make assumptions about the impact any event is going to have on our future. In which case, it’s best we not react emotionally, in a positive or negative way, to events as they occur, but rather stay calm and objective.

There’s no need to assume that something is an obstacle or a barrier to our success, simply because it’s blocking our path, and become discouraged by it. Conversely, there’s no need to assume that something seemingly positive is going to be our ticket to heaven and that we should start celebrating.

Of the two scenarios, perceiving something as a setback and driving ourselves emotionally into the ground because of it, tends to be the more damaging one that deserves closer attention. Let’s take a look at an example.

Let’s say I am an aspiring author. I send a query letter to an agent, seeking his representation to help me sell my book, and the agent sends me a curt note saying that, “The book will never sell. Better keep your day job.”

I have a choice. I can fill my mind with doom and gloom, with fearful, catastrophic thoughts that, “I’m not good enough. My book isn’t good enough. I’ll never get an agent. My book will never see the light of day. Nothing is ever going to work out. I am going to be an eternal failure.”

Or I can tell myself that the agent’s rejection doesn’t mean my book is worthless and won’t ever sell. Nor does it mean that I am worthless and will never amount to anything. I don’t have to go down that road in my head.

His rejection simply means that he doesn’t like my book. It simply means he is not going to be the one who’s going to represent me. It simply means he’s not in the final equation of my success. His rejection actually says nothing about my potential to succeed in the long run. It speaks more to who he is than to who I am.

I don’t have to fill my mind with catastrophic fear thoughts of a lifetime of failure and frustration. I don’t have to get depressed or anxious. I don’t have to get angry, bitter, and resentful. I can stay positive, be grateful that a dead end has revealed itself, and be confident that the opportunity I’m looking for is just around the corner.

In truth, rather than feeling beaten up by the agent’s letter, I can choose to view him as a great friend and ally, who has done me a huge favor by getting out of the way so that I can focus my energies on finding the right person who will share my vision and help me hit a home run out of the ballpark.

It is our fear that makes us assume the worst when something doesn’t happen the way we think it should or hope it will. It is our fear that makes us jump to negative conclusions about our future based on one isolated incident, the true value of which cannot be adequately defined in the moment it’s occurring. It is our fear that generates our catastrophic thoughts that we are not good enough and that nothing will ever fall our way.

Rather than give in to these catastrophic fear thoughts and allow them to terrorize and demoralize us, it behooves us to find another way to look at every seeming setback, to discover the blessings in every disguise, to examine every cloud for its silver lining, and to consider the possibility that, regardless of what is happening, we’re exactly where we are supposed to be, in which case, it behooves us to stay calm and confident, learn from our mistakes, move forward without fear, and smell the roses while we’re at it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on August 25th, 2011 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , ,