You Are Unique – Just Like Everyone Else

We are all alike…we all have hearts and brains. We are all different…we do not think or feel the same way.

51PYQ4J95WL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_An important lesson in a book I came across titled We Are All Alike, We Are All Different – written for children, by children. With its original drawings and words by The Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners, it shows the perspectives of these 5-year old’s as it celebrates the multitude of differences in our society. The book reinforces multicultural and anti-bias learning and appreciation. Now more than ever, understanding tolerance for others and diversity in our world has never been more important. Everyone can benefit from this beautiful quick read.

There are many factors used throughout your life to forge your uniqueness: your life experiences, individual design and genetic makeup, physical characteristics like height, hair or eye color, or cultural differences, different backgrounds, environmental factors and personal vision. Everyone has a distinct personality, language, lifestyle, and culture. Because of these differences, sometimes we may not always get along with others, and personalities will collide. Even within a family, there are differences in age, gender, opinions and views. But try your best to treat everyone equal, practice patience and have compassion for others. Remember, we are all different, but the same.

IMG_3851-11bydaz.jpgIt is impossible for us to expect that everyone will react and behave just like you would if in that same situation. Some people are optimistic, while others are pessimistic. Some are active and progressive, whereas others are passive and lazy. Some are hot-tempered, while others are gentle and easygoing. Some are stingy and greedy, yet others are generous and charitable. How do we get along with all these different people?

To be happy in life, you must learn to get along with all types of people. We must learn to go with the flow. If we are constantly argumentative, act annoyed, and become resentful, others will reject us. Compassion will help us accept and be accepted by others.

images.pngThe best way to think of people is to view them as being made up of mixtures of ingredients, with different people being made up of different combinations of ingredients. Some are sweet and some are salty. Some are spicy while some are bland. The personality mixture is a set of individual differences that are affected by the development of an individual: values, attitudes, personal memories and social relationships. This recipe is what makes you, YOU.

We waste too much time comparing ourselves to others, wishing to be something we are not. Blue eyes, straighter hair, taller, thinner is just a few of the ingredients I wish I had, but even if I had those, would they make me a better person? We all have different thoughts, skills and opinions to offer that are positive and should be shared with the world. Why not focus on what we DO have. I am unique, but the same.

51wRWG8UscL.jpgOpen your mind and allow yourself to learn more about the people around you. This will help with avoiding personalities to clash. Find out the similarities in others, you may be pleasantly surprised. Encourage and appreciate differing opinions and views from others. Keep the lines of communication open to avoid any miscommunication.  Learn to be a good listener and don’t try to change people. Keep your sense of humor and learn to also laugh at yourself. Be open and honest with others. And remember to radiate positivity and smile often.

The levels of intelligence and morality among people in the world is varied. If we do not treat everyone equally, our words and actions will be misinterpreted by those around us. As the last sentence in the above titled book says, “We are all alike. We are all different. We are a family.” Let’s try our best to coexist.

~Mary Beth

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Mentor. Inspire. Empower.

I am a strong believer in mentoring, inspiring and empowering others, especially young girls. Research confirms the importance of having a quality mentoring relationship and shows it has a powerful positive effect on young people in personal, academic, and professional situations. Mentoring for me has always been first and foremost a relationship, I meet an extraordinary young woman and I think how can I help this person? How can I open doors for her and be supportive, encouraging and nourishing?

2013-girl-talk-logoIn 2013, I started a chapter of Girl Talk Inc in my town-Girl Talk Marlton.  Girl Talk Inc. is an international non-profit peer-to-peer mentoring program with a very simple premise: high school girls mentor middle school girls to help them deal with the issues they face during their formative early teenage years. Our mission is to help young teenage girls build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and recognize the value of community service. The girls develop confidence, leadership skills and compassion. They learn that they are not alone in the issues they face and that understanding, kindness and compassion can be the foundation for better relationships with others. This helps women become stronger leaders in the work place and more effective as parents. Since 2002, the Girl Talk Inc. organization has served more than 40,000 girls in 43 states and 7 countries. My group in Marlton, NJ has grown from 1 girl in 2013 to 107 young girls ages 10-18.

Why the need for female mentors? Statistics consistently demonstrate the alarming incidence of dangerous behaviors in middle school aged girls, as well as the positive impact of mentoring.

2009 data suggests that, of the middle school girl population in the U.S.:

9% are pregnant

22% never make it through high school (drop out)

27% have been or will be suicidal

34% have eating disorders

55% experiment with alcohol, drugs or tobacco

and, of those with low self-esteem, 25% resort to self-injurious behavior and 75% report engaging in activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking

 

The good news is that data also suggests that youth who are mentored are:

27% less likely to begin using alcohol

37% less likely to skip class

46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs

52% less likely to skip school, are more confident in their academic performance, and get along better with their families
7e277f9e37a1f037ff2ca5f826d533d5So, why NOT mentor, inspire and empower! Inspiration is all around us in everything we do and see. We need to mentor our young females to be inspired by the positive and not listen to the negative. And always empower them to aim high.

Young women often talk about the self-doubt that holds them back, that little negative voice inside their heads. We all have it, we all make mistakes, we are all human. Of course, sometimes even our role models get things wrong, or disappoint us, but this is also a useful reminder especially to girls that no one is perfect, and that anyone can survive both failure and error.

As women, we need to learn to build each other up. Women of different generations, colors and culture need to ensure that the progress we’ve made towards real equality continues.  We need to trust each other enough to share our power, knowledge, strength, talents and innovating solutions together. The women that do this are true role models and mentors and this is what I strive to be. They are the women who drive our motivation and imaginations, merely by their example. If we’re lucky enough, we count them as friends, and they are what we call our mentors.

My wish for you this week is to find a mentor in your life and become closer to them, learn from them and be empowered to inspire others.

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/mentor-inspire-empower/

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

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 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?- Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

11:11 What Does It Mean to you?

eleven-elevenDo you ever look up at the clock and notice it’s 11:11? Does it happen to you often? Do you make a wish when you see 11:11?

Some people believe the numbers 11 and 1111 are considered to represent new beginnings as well as moments of oneness. Some people claim that when this number is seen it means that there is some kind of window opening up in your life and you should ask for the guidance of your ‘angels’ to find out what it is. Other theories state that there is something significant happening in the moment that you are in and you should pay attention to what is going on in your surroundings.

Per numerology the number 11 possesses the qualities of patience, honesty, spirituality, sensitivity, intuition and is idealistic and compassionate. Those people who are drawn to 11, operate on a different level of energy than most, and when two people come together who both have this type of energy it’s almost combustible.

Some say 11:11 is the universe’s way of urging us to pay attention to our heart, our soul and our inner intuition. Another thought is that 11:11 is a form of synchronicity. You get a feeling from seeing the numbers because they seem to jump out at you– to connect. You are feeling in sync with that pulse of life which runs through all things. For a moment, you feel at one, rather than separate and alone.

One of my favorite ideas that I read was that when you see 11:11 you should simply stop, and recognize the significance of the moment. Any why not just take a moment? No one really can trace the origins, it’s just something learned on the playground, or through word of mouth. Still, I’ve found that it’s a great moment to pause and set a powerful intention or wish.

Besides being a number that’s associated with dreams and wishes coming true, 11:11 is the only time of the day (using the 12-hour clock) that all four digits on the clock are the same. Not only is it an appealing number to the eye because of its symmetry and binary simplicity but because in this world where things are becoming so difficult and people are sometimes forced to settle for things; it gives people hope or something to believe in. 

The truth of the matter is, 11:11 is subject to interpretation. There is really no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question of “What does it mean” for you?

In my opinion and what resonates with me, is that when you see ‘11:11’ whether on a clock, a license plate, an address or wherever you happen to see it, embrace it like it is a friendly little sign from your soul, source, higher-self, or the entire Universe, whatever you choose to call it, God, if you will, that everything is in alignment and you are exactly where you need to be, right here, right now.

wishesSo, my wish this week for you is to collect as many good moments and experiences as possible. Make as many wishes on 11:11, or that shooting star on anything else you believe in and just dream, hope and live so that when you are old and life plays as a flashback, it is a colorful movie, not a black and white reel.

Happy thoughts for you always,

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton/The Wishwall Foundation

ANXIETY FREE WORLD

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/anxiety-free-world/

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ANXIETY FREE WORLD
Anxiety is the body’s normal reaction to stress or danger, however some teenage girls experience high levels of anxiety that may lead to depression or worse.

Anxious feelings, worries, or fears are common among children and adolescents but according to studies teen girls suffer from high levels of anxiety 20% more than teen boys. Anxiety might be felt as jittery, a sick stomach, excessive worry, headaches, insomnia, nightmares, or general feelings of not feeling well. But anxiety becomes a problem when it’s out of proportion to the situation, and interferes with a person’s ability to function.

An overly anxious teen might withdraw from activities because she’s too scared or anxious, and her anxiety doesn’t go away with reassurance from anyone. An anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive or irrational fears. If your teen seems as if she might be struggling with anxiety disorder, rest assured that she is not alone. Anxiety disorders are a rising concern within the pediatric population. A large, national survey of adolescent mental health reported that about 8 percent of teens ages 13–18 have an anxiety disorder and they are predicting it to continue to rise.

When to look for help:
> SOCIAL CHANGES. Suddenly avoiding social contacts–refusing to go to overnights, parties, or school.
> SUDDEN DROP IN GRADES. Anxiety makes it difficult to follow a teacher’s instructions.
> OCD-LIKE SYMPTOMS. Checking and rechecking the door to make sure it is locked or arranging objects “just so.”
> PHOBIAS. Fearing spiders, thunderstorms, or the dark, as she did when she was a little girl.
> SUBSTANCE ABUSE. Smoking, drinking, or experimenting with illegal drugs
> Other signs of anxiety can include nail biting, being scared easily, extra hard on herself, very angry and irritable.

If you think your teen suffers from abnormal levels of anxiety or a possible anxiety disorder, please get a diagnosis from a professional. Start with your teens doctor. Understand that these disorders are highly treatable and with therapy and possibly medication, your teen can learn to relax and enjoy life again.

Learn what anxiety and depression looks like in teens and what you can do to help. Many people who develop depression have a history of an anxiety disorder earlier in life. There is no evidence one disorder causes the other, but there is clear evidence that many people suffer from both disorders. So do what you can now to help your teen get through this tough time in her life.

Talk to your child about how to recognize when she is feeling anxiety, and how it makes her feel. Try to spend some extra time with her and teach her to think of herself as empowered instead of hopeless. In a culture that has shifted its emphasis away from meaning and relationships, maybe the benefits of time and communication would be able to have a lasting impact not just with your child, but also with future generations to come.

A world without anxiety, fear, sadness and depression and all of the bad that goes along with it is my wish for the world…my wish for the week.
~Mary Beth
Girl Talk
Marlton NJ Chapter