Country Life

For many people living a country life is synonymous with green living or sustainability but as this thoughtful article describes Sustainable Country Living can mean so much more…

It can also mean the personality skills that sustain us in life, and that can help us live more joyfully (whether we live in the country or the city), as this thoughtful article explains…

Sustainable Living

by Doug Hovatter

Are we born with the ability for sustainable living? As we develop and age, what happens to our attitudes about living? What are the secrets to enjoying and sustaining life? This program topic will assist the participant to:

  • Identify what sustains us in living,
  • Assess behavior toward positive living,
  • Learn positive ways of living, and
  • Learn effective communication for living.

Do you know what sustains you in your life? If you look at people who appear to enjoy life, you will notice they have learned what sustains them in living. They have learned to “celebrate the day.” Most people have much to celebrate throughout life, but become unfocused on what sustains them in living. Let’s explore how this happens and how you can learn more about sustainable living.

The greatest sustainers of living occur each day within our minds.

The following are some “typical” skills common to individuals who have learned what sustains them in living.

Caring and Thoughtfulness have a broad meaning but denote certain characteristics that most people will agree on. Being caring & thoughtful means to be kind and compassionate through acts of kindness and service to others. It also means having a servant’s attitude in actions and responses toward others; looking for opportunities to serve rather than be served; expressing gratitude easily and often to others with “thank-you” and “please” as part of one’s daily vocabulary; forgiving others and not holding a grudge; and helping people in need without thought of reward or recognition.

Use these skills to become a caring & thoughtful person:

  • Be kind to others through your actions and communication. Look for opportunities to serve others.
  • Express gratitude freely and often to others and let them know how much you appreciate them.
  • Learn to use “thank-you” and “please” as part of your speech.
  • Send thank-you notes & tell others about another person’s acts of kindness toward you.
  • Forgive others and yourself daily.
  • Help others in need. By doing this you will fulfill a greater need in yourself.

Respect and Honor How we give and treat others with respect and honor is learned-we are not born with this ability.

Respect and honor begin with self. What sustains us throughout life is learning to respect and honor our strengths and weaknesses. As we develop self-respect and honor, we learn to respect and honor others.

Develop these personality skills for sustainable living:

  • Respect and honor the Golden Rule in treatment of others.
  • Respect and honor all people and their differences.
  • Respect and honor your family and friends.
  • Respect and honor your country and flag.
  • Respect and honor your spirituality and the spirituality of others.
  • Respect and honor the feelings of others.
  • Respect and honor other people’s time.
  • Respect and honor natural resources.

Fairness and Justice are very important aspects of sustainable living. Everyone has his or her own measuring stick to determine how fairness and justice are measured and what is fair and just. As you develop your skills in sustainable living, remember these strategies of being fair and just:

  • Play by the rules.
  • Take turns and share resources.
  • Be open-minded; learn to be a good listener.
  • Don’t take advantage of others.

Don’t blame others carelessly.

Affection and Love can be defined in many ways. Individual needs for affection and love are different, but all individuals need some form of affection and expression of love, such as a kiss, hug, handshake, or pat on the back. Affection and love are emotions that can be very powerful in sustainable living. It is very important individuals understand these human behaviors and the need in all of us for some form of affection and expression of love.

You can:

  • Give a pat on the back.
  • Give a warm handshake.
  • Touch the person’s hand or arm. Touch is a very powerful form of affection.

(Some people are sensitive to being touched. Respect other’s personal space and don’t cause a problem for yourself. Safe areas of touch are usually the hand, lower part of arm, or shoulder. Affection and expressions of love also can be communicated through tone of voice, smile, and selection of words.)

Joy and Happiness normally come from within a person. They are expressed through many ways, such as smiles, body stance, posture, walking, tone, and quality of voice. We all know some people who are joyful, and they are a joy to be around. Their personality is like a beautiful sunrise after a stormy night, which reminds us that joy comes in the morning. Here is another secret for sustainable living. Individuals need happiness and joy in their lives. Because they want joy and happiness, they are attracted to positive behaviors of joyful and happy people.

Announce your Joy and Happiness!

Learn to be joyful and happy by doing the following:

  • Smile.
  • Keep a list of happy thoughts.
  • Learn what makes you happy.
  • Learn to say “what’s good for you today?” instead of saying “what’s wrong.”
  • Be positive and have faith in yourself and others.
  • Always see the day as partly sunny, not partly cloudy.
  • When you wake each morning, say “this will be a joyful day” and believe it.
  • When you go to bed at night, remember the happiness of the day.
  • Learn that joy and happiness come from within. No one makes us happy or joyful; we do it ourselves.

Strategies for Sustainable Living

1.   Understand the needs of people for sustainable living-faith, hope, and love.

2.         Surround yourself with positive thoughts and   ideas.

3.         Learn what makes you happy in life and what you have faith in.

4.         Learn to smile.

5.         Learn to treat all people equally.

6.         Find something positive in everyone and every situation.

7.         Develop personal goals.

8.         Develop your personal mission statement.

9.         Develop a “Happy Bag/Box” where you keep reminders or memory stimulators—picture albums, cards, notes, letters, messages, pressed flowers, songs, poems, etc.

10.         Identify your strengths and areas for growth.

11.      Continue to develop your body, mind, and spirit.

Guidelines for Sustainable Living

1.        Confirm for yourself what has sustained you thus far in your life.

2.        Be honest with yourself and others.

3.        Confirm what you care about and love.

4.        Identify what makes you happy and brings joy.

5.        Develop goals and work to meet them.

6.        Be appreciative of others and let them know through random acts of caring and love.

7.        Remember the good in people and forget the bad. Give honor and respect first.

8.        Remember you can’t change people or events, and there’s no going back.

9.        Don’t dwell on past mistakes or live life saying, “I should have, I could have, I would have…”

10.        Develop you body, mind, and spirit every day.

11.     Confirm that fairness and justice for all are a part of your sustained living.

12.     Work to increase your faith, hope, and love as a foundation of sustainable living.

Remember…Live each day as if it’s your last; it may well be.

What will be said of us when our living is complete? Creating the memory that will be left of us is an opportunity we each have today. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is a maybe. But we each have today—a day to realize what sustains us in our living. Our faith in self, others, and our spirituality; our hope in self, others, and our spirituality; and our love of self, others, and our spirituality.

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