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Can We Become an Unconditionally Loving World?
No truer words were ever written about what is needed today, than Hal David’s 1965 song “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love,” It almost seems as if the world has gone haywire from the mass shootings in the United States, religious extremism in the Middle East, to the killings by ISIS, kidnappings of Boko Haram in Africa and more. The world now seems like a very unstable place to live.
The love mentioned in “What the World Needs Now” relates to unconditional love, not romantic love. Our lives are all about how to handle all our challenges. In order to bring the world closer world peace, we need to decide whether to react emotionally to every challenge we have or decide to be a person of light willing to strive to be unconditionally loving.
In the following, we will explore how we learned our emotions and how they can be corrected.
Even as far back as 1949 in the musical South Pacific can you find Oscar Hammerstein II words “You Have to be Carefully Taught” that explains how children learn from their parents and relatives.
As a baby, we learn from the day we are born, to cry when we are hungry, uncomfortable, tired, etc in to get a caretaker’s attention. We also learn our emotions from our parents. How do they handle their emotions? Children learn and mimic their parents behaviors, including how they handle their emotions. Do they let people “walk all over them?” Do they speak up when they have been offended? Do they confront the situation with rage or anger?
Our parents also instruct us how to feel about some situations. Sometimes it is as innocent as explaining what they believe and why. Other times, children are instructed how to think.
Some are taught to think black people are bad. Or, we are scared of people of a different race or religion, or rich people. For instance, some people believe that those not of their race are inferior or dangerous. They teach their children to be wary of them. Some even teach that people who have money are snobs and do not care about anyone other than themselves.
Living is all about learning to handle our emotions. We have three basic reactions to any interaction in which we are involved: happiness, sadness, or neutrality. It doesn’t matter what adjective we use to describe a situation. They all boil down to one of these three reactions.
How do we learn to handle our emotions? This is a question people have been asking, and scientists have been studying for years.
Some behaviors are genetically linked. This percentage, while small, is still real. Some are from the attitudes around us. If the family has a history with suicide, alcoholism, abuse, poverty, etc., children may pick up that trait or attitude for their lives.
If we are hanging onto issues, we need to release them. Otherwise, it could literally cause us to eat ourselves into obesity because of our frustration.
“At a very young age we begin to learn our beliefs from the adults in our lives. We are born with so much love and joy, looking to explore and try new things, to experience in the world around us. But, later, an older and maybe not-so-wise adult imposes their beliefs on us based on the experiences.” Constance Mollerstuen, a Licensed Holistic Wellness Coach, Spiritual Counselor. Used with permission.
For example, the old feuding relationship of the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky. The Hatfields did not like the McCoy’s for almost 30 years. They lived in on opposites sides of the Big Sandy River in the opposite states, of West Virginia, and Kentucky. They had different heritages: the Hatfields were of English heritage and the McCoys were Scottish.
The Hatfields owned a timbering operation and hired some of the McCoys. Even though they both fought for the Confederacy, the McCoys accused the Hatfields of killing a couple of their relatives. For generations the killing of the McCoy relatives by the Hatfields also fueled their dislike of each other. The dislike of the English toward the Scotts, and vise versa, has been going on for generations.
Another example. A friend moved to a small town, that had two parts separated by a highway. One was called North; the other was just the name of the town. When my friend moved in, people from the town said, is a superior voice, “Oh, you’re from NORTH… ” She did not understand why people said this. She asked a number of people, and no one knew the reason for the attitude.
Finally, she asked the town historian, who told her that back in the 1850’s, there were seven factories in the town. In the same week, five of them shut down, and the Masonic Lodge moved to “the town.” My friend could not believe she was paying for something that happened in the 1850s. The negative feeling of those who lived in the town was passed on for generations about the people living in North…
Literature also has stories of relatives passing on their hate of another family. Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, is about lovers from feuding families. At the conclusion of the play, the two lovers commit separate suicides. Later as a result, at the urging of the priest, the families reconcile.
Years ago on the Oprah show, people from the Ku Klux Klan were on to express why they believe as they do. Later, they returned on another show and apologized for their behavior. On a separate program, Oprah announced that one of the women of the group had contacted her and indicated that she never knew a different view point.
These are good examples of, if our relatives do not like a certain group of people, they will teach us to feel the same way about them.
Therefore, if there is a situation in which we are being told to dislike a group for any reason, we need to evaluate whether our experiences with that group or person verifies their beliefs. It may take living away from our family to finally realize their prejudice has influenced us.
Sometimes, when people grow up very poor, they form an opinion about people with money. If they personally know someone who has money, that can influence them more. Once I met a man who told me that all rich people are mean. I asked, “Do you know any rich people that are mean?” He answered, “Yes, my uncle.” I asked do you know any people who are poor that are mean? He answered, “Yes again.” I then asked, “Do you know any people who are poor that are nice.?” He again answered “Yes.” Then I asked the same questions about middle class people. He answer was yes to each. I also asked if he knew any rich people that were nice. Again, he replied “Yes.”
He finally realized that his belief about having money, and being mean, only came from is opinion of his uncle. Afterward, he decided, he could have money and still be a nice person.
Each society has its own morals and values. The societal expectations where we live are a part of our learning process. Whether it is go hunt for food in a group or solo, value education or not, treat those of a lessor social group or economic status with respect or not is what our society’s values and mores teach us. In some countries, women are respected for their abilities and brains. In others, women are considered only as sex objects or possessions of their husbands. In some, countries women drive. In others, women are not allowed to drive. When going from one culture into another, it is best to be aware of other people’s ways of doing things or treating people; however, it is wise not to be judgmental of others culture.
The abolitionist John Brown was inspired by the Republican Party’s wish to eliminate slavery in America. He believed he was the instrument of God to punish men for owning slaves. Therefore, he killed slave owners in the South. His killing raised the awareness of others to believe that slavery was a practice that needed to be eliminated. The Civil War started less than a year and a half after John Brown’s death.
Friends can support us or negatively influence us. James Taylor’s lyrics in the song “You Got A Friend” say friends can be supportive.
Our friends also influence us. The kids with which we pal around can have strong opinions about others. They may look up to a group, or they may look down on them. They may ridicule and/or make fun of some people. Often the more we respect the group, the more we will take on their beliefs.
Who we attract as friends, says a lot about how we were raised and what our attitudes have become over the years. Some kids in the ghetto try to improve themselves educationally, so they eventually have a better life. Periodically, that creates jealousy from those in gangs not trying to improve their lives. The gangs have been known to kill those trying to improve themselves.
The musical West Side Story is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; however, instead of feuding families, it is feuding gangs: one being Puerto Rican and the other Caucasian. When, Tony, a former member of one gang, falls for, Maria, the sister of a member of the other gang, the same feuding situation is set up. Since Tony feels he no longer has anything to live for, he requests that Chino shoot him. Angry that Tony has been shot, the gangs decide to fight each other. While crying, Marie grabs Chino’s gun and tells the gangs they all killed Tony. She says she will kill them also. Unable to kill, the gangs assemble around Tony’s body, when signifies that the feud is over.
The media influences us also-whether it is radio, television, social media, or the movies. If we watch a program or game, we can tout their beliefs or do what they did in a movie. For instance, I had a friend who had a very young grandson that watched and played a Star Wars video game. In it, a character kicked in a door. In his room, he had a gate made out of light weight, solid plastic in a doorway. One day, his grandmother found the broken gate with a hole in the plastic. When she asked the little boy what happened, he replied, “I kicked it in. They do it on the Star Wars video.” She told him, that that was pretend. Breaking the gate was real. He finally understood.
Another example: Several years ago, there was the movie “Wall of Shame” where one of the characters was accused of leaving a pile of dung on a public store’s floor. I entered a department store foyer and found a pile of dung on the entry mat. I told the clerk of my find, and she said, “Ever since that movie, it’s not an uncommon occurrence.”
If we listen to political statements, whether negative or positive, whether on television or radio, continually, we will absorb them. Later we espouse what we have absorbed and now believe, whether it is based on fact or not.
Social media has been a recruiting tool for ISIS. It entices young people into leaving their homes and agreeing to fight for ISIS.
Social Media has been used to bully people. Some who have been repeatedly bullied, begin to question themselves about being alive. Some bullies have suggested that the person should kill themselves. All too often, the person complies. Once a bullied young woman decided to turn around the situation in a quiet, but dramatic manner. She placed sticky notes with positive statements on each student’s locker to show them she was not going to be bullied.
The comments section on the Internet after news stories is a place of constructive thoughts or snide remarks. If one person says something negative, others can join in. Since those who comment are identified by initials or only a first name, they can feel free to say what they wish without concern of retribution or identification.
Our educational institution’s teachers can teach facts and influence students by their teaching. For instance, a science teacher can teach the facts about wasting water in society as well as in the home. Later the students can go home and try to influence their parents to conserve water. The lesson could affect students for life, or just become another fact.
During the Ukrainian war with Russia, the Ukrainian school system opened school with the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The children’s first class of the day was patriotism. At a time when some of the children’s parents may be supportive of the Russian take over of Ukraine, this may cause the children to feel conflicted.
Religious schools not only teach traditional learning, they also have classes in their beliefs. Often, only when kids are older, do they realize they can question this instruction. Catholic children are taught that God knows all people’s thoughts world wide. One child asked, how was that possible? It didn’t make sense to him. Another young Catholic girl was taught that the church believed women were second class citizens.
At a girl’s school, a friend was suppose to be valedictorian of her class. Just before graduation, she was informed by her teacher that another girl was going become valedictorian, because the another girl took harder courses even though her grades were just lower than my friend’s grades. Instead, she became salutatorian. The lesson was-it is who you know and who you make your ally or enemy that counts-not what you achieve.
Churches, mosques, synagogues. and temples are not just places to congregate with people of like faith. They are often recruiters of more people to their way of believing, whether by trying to recruit those within their communities or doing foreign missionary work.
While some religions teach love, others teach that some groups of people are not lovable. Some teach that only those of their religion will go to Heaven, that homosexuals are not loved by God or are going to go to Hell, or that only Christians go to Heaven. Some also teach fear of God, God needs to forgive us to get into Heaven, or that God will judge us upon death, etc.
Seventh Day Adventist, believe that they are the true religion and that they need to recruit people to their belief, so that others can be saved. Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist and many other religions send missionaries to convert people to their beliefs.
In the upheaval in the Mid East between the Suni and Shlite Muslim groups, one faction feels they are the true belief system. They have gone to war to eliminate the other. This conflict goes back to the founding of the religion.
Christian religions have many sub-sects, that evolved from a person or a group of people that decide they did not like the reigning religion of the time. One example is Martin Luther, who was originally a Catholic priest and professor of theology. He began the Lutheran religion because he didn’t believe that freedom from sins could be purchased with money.
We can be influenced by our religious beliefs. For example: I was in a small study group. One fellow came in clothes that were clean but full of holes and strings hanging down. The discussion evolved to the point where he said, “Only the meek inherit the earth.” That was his reason for dressing as he did. He believed that if he was not poor, he was not going to Heaven.
The Golden Rule
“Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people’s suffering. On these lines every religion had more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal.” The Dalai Lama
Since events of one’s life are varied and often seemingly out of control, mankind has attributed life’s events to an unseen force controlling and creating challenges for the individual. Over time, this force was called God.
Realize that Spirit, God, or whatever we prefer to call our Higher Power, has been working for eons to have people treat another person as the person would want someone to treat them-The Golden Rule.
Over the centuries, there have been teachers about living-Buddha, Confucius, Christ, Mohammed, and more. Those who understood and believed the explanations became followers of these beliefs. This is how religions were created.
Interestingly, no matter which religion we examine, the Golden Rule is in each. It has been said that the Golden Rule is in all the major religions, except Zoroastrianism, which is positive, or Satanism. The following list is a sampling of a few from the major religions.
“All your duties are included in this: Do nothing to others that would pain you if it were done to you.” Mahabharata, Brahmanism
“Do not offend others as you would not wish to be offended.” Udanavarga, Buddhism
“Is there a maxim that one ought to follow all his life? Surely. The maxim of peaceful goodness: What we don’t want done to us, we should not do to others.” Analects, Confucianism
“Do unto others all that you would have them do unto you, because this is the sum of the law and of the prophets.” St Matthew, Christianity
“One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself.” Mencius, Hinduism
“Not one of you will be a true believer who does not wish for his brother the same that he wishes for himself.” Sunnatt, Islam
“Hold as your own the gain of your neighbor and as yours his losses.” T’ai-shang Kan-Ying P’ien, Taoism
“What you don’t wish for yourself, do not wish for your neighbor. This is the law; the rest is only commentary.” Talmud Shabbat, Judaism
It seems as if God has been trying to get across the message of the Golden Rule, or unconditional love, to people throughout history.
How To Move Toward A More Loving World
“You cannot control what happens to us, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” simplereminders.com
Since all incidents in our lives create emotions, either positive or negative, our lives are all about how we handle our emotions. Our job is to move through the emotional challenges we come across with the least amount of lasting emotional trauma or distress.
When an incident happens, we decide how to react. Sometimes, it happens in the moment. Often, later we can re-evaluate what happened and how we would modify our response to it should it happen again.
If we are treated poorly by someone and have a quick temper, we might say something mean to them in return. If we are treated poorly by someone and have been taught to not speak up, we will let it pass. Later the person thinks it’s permissible to treat us poorly.
If we have been taught to be assertive, we will respond in a thoughtful manner to let the person know they are treating us inappropriately. That may cause them to realize they are being inappropriate and change their behavior at minimum toward us-maybe even make them realize they need to be more careful in what they say to others.
Most people have not been taught to be assertive. When we learn how, using assertiveness kindly teaches others we will not tolerate being treated negatively. (See Addendum 1)
Forgiveness and Unconditional Love
Without forgiveness, practicing unconditional love is next to impossible. All events in life create a reaction, positive or negative. When you hold onto your negative emotions it causes stress in your body. If you think back to the worse thing that ever happened to you, more than likely you will feel the stress at a location in your body and be able to identify the emotions you felt then.
Therefore, you forgive someone, not for their sake, but for your sake. You do not even need to tell them you have forgiven them. Some might take it as a challenge to “get you” again. Others might not care.
You forgive to keep yourself emotionally balanced. If you are excited for a long time, it can cause an exhaustion. If you keep yourself in a state of constant stress from a lack of forgiveness, your body may stress out to the point of illness.
One way to eliminate your lack of forgiveness is through Clearing Letters. Those who have used them have found a release of their lack of forgiveness. They feel freer and happier. (See Addendum 2)
John Lennon’s song “Imagine” message is a dream for the future. We would not have to imagine such a world if we could unconditionally love each other.
Why is the message of unconditional love so important? The answer lies in the core reason for life. Whether we believe in one lifetime or multiple lifetimes, the answer is the same. Life is about dealing with the challenges of our existence. Each challenge creates an issue and an emotional response.
From Birth to Death, our goal is to be unconditionally loving. As part of our life’s path, to learn unconditional love, we have a series of emotional incidents in our lives. If we were perfect, we would never have to be concerned about being unconditionally loving. Since we are not, we need to continually strive to be unconditionally loving.
When we experience the negative emotions of anger, fear, guilt, resentment, criticism, pride, arrogance, or greed, we have a choice how to respond. For example, we may choose to get angrier, Angrier, and ANGrier until we reach RAGE. Or, we can move our emotions back our unconditional love center.
“In addition to friendship, attitude is one of the few things in life where we have a true choice. We cannot change what is fated to happen or the actions of events or other people.
What we can change is our reaction to such things with the attitude we adopt. In truth, our attitude can be more important than anything we do. It can make or break families, companies, and nations. It is more important than schooling, talent, looks, or wealth.
How we react is everything, and our attitude is the choice we have; it is a choice we make every minute of every day. It is a state of mind that no one can take from us. If we are in control of our attitudes, we are in command of our lives. And that is the best way to live.”
The foregoing is the House Company Motto: “Attitude” used with permission.
Our attitude is based on our emotions. If we keep ourselves emotionally balanced, we will handle events and challenges positively!
The meaning of life is something people have been defining for years. The following is a portion of a speech given by John Garner from a speech he delivered to the Hawaii Executive Conference in Kona, Hawaii, in April 1993.
“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it passed on to you, out of your own talent and understand, out of things you believe in, out of things, and people you love, out of values for when you are willing to sacrifice something. Later ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put together into that pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it doesn’t Later the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.”
In I’m OK; You’re OK, a book by Thomas Harris based on transactional analysis, he explains that when we begin to explore and examine the world and form our own opinions, we begin to think for ourselves as the adult. If we recognize the limits we place on unconditional love and adjust our attitudes, we can begin a wave of acceptance and love, which can affect those around us.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that… “
Decide to be a person of light willing to become as unconditionally loving as possible to positively affect those with whom you are close. Decide to live a life of personal peace at your life events. Become a member of the spreading movement of unconditional love, which eventually can bring world peace.
Addendum 1 – Assertiveness
In order to be assertive say, a person’s name, I realized you were (whatever the action was), But it (feeling word) me when you (whatever), Therefore in the future, I would appreciate it you would (whatever you want as a behavior).
For example: Jim, I realize you were upset when you spoke to me, but it hurts me when you call me names. Therefore, in the future, I would appreciate if you explain to me your concern without name calling. They may not change their behavior, but at least you have said it to release it for you. You may have to repeat it several times to get the point across.
If nothing else, it makes us feel better about ourselves, rather than letting someone upset us or put us down.
Addendum 2 – Clearing Letters
Clearing letters release the pent up emotions held in your body. We can write them to others or to ourselves. You do NOT mail them. When we are done, burn them in a fire or tear them up and throw them out. I have even heard we can to burn them on a full moon.
With a paper and pen or pencil, you begin writing:
I am angry at you because… You keep writing until all the emotions in your body are released.
You will find that the angrier you become the larger your writing becomes. When you are at your angriest, a single word may be two pages. You keep writing until your writing becomes normal on a single line again and until you can say, I forgive you.
Then tear it up or burn it. DO NOT KEEP IT to refer to again. Those who have used this technique have found it very powerful to release their lack of forgiveness in their body. They feel freer and happier.
This technique is from the book Making Peace With Your Parents by Bloomfield.
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