There are times in life when you either need to acclimate to changes that are out of your control and roll with it or just give up. I refuse to give up. I may get frustrated, sad or tired- but I will continue on. Quitting is never an option. ~J.V. Manning
There are times in life when something completely out of your control comes out of the blue and knocks you off your feet. You are faced then with the decision- do you just sit there shaking your head at the unfairness of it or do you get up and figure out what you need to do?
It is in this moment that your whole life can be defined.
You can either acclimate to your new situation. Understanding that changes need to be made- you identify what you need to do in order to make it work. Allowing yourself moments of frustrations, fear and sadness, but not for too long. You need to have these feelings and use them to fuel you on. You will make what adjustments are needed in order to continue on with your life.
Or you quit. Retreat into the darkness and refuse to change, acclimate or fight to adjust to your new circumstances. You tell yourself you are not strong enough, tough enough or that is just isn't worth it. You allow your life to go on auto-pilot and just float through your days as a fallen leaf floats down a stream.
How you handle the curve balls of life not only defines you, it also defines the quality of your existence. Floating through life never touching shore, never planting your feet and never looking up at the sky shaking your fist and say "Aww hell no- I won't quit!" is taking the easy way out. Don't get me wrong here; floating can be very healing when you are in the immediate aftermath of a curve ball. Grief, illness, job loss or whatever your curve ball is, deserves real emotion and sometime to experience it. You have to experience your curve ball, let the emotions flow and NOT hide them, bottle them up or deny them if you ever plan to get past them to the acclimating stage.
The key here is not the deny your fear or sadness with what has happened, but to let it come, let it happen and then let it flow past you as you get ready to begin life anew. It may not be the life that you envisioned, wanted or dreamed of, but it is what it is. And that "is" will only be what you make it.
Believe me when I say- I get it.
I feel like I have hit so many curve balls that I should quit my job and go play for the Red Sox. It is the out of the blue; never saw it coming ones that get me. Going along minding your own business and BAM! I have been tempted over the years to just swing and miss and take the out. But then I find some part of me that refuses to quit and it gives the rally cry and I dust myself off and get ready to come out swinging.
Like now for instance. A little known fact about me- I have junk legs. Since the time when I was 8 years old and my knees started dislocating and every day since I have had some level of pain. I acclimated each time they would get worse and continue on. I knew I would never be able to run or jump like the other kids when I was younger or as I got older be as physically active as I would like. But I have always said- it is what it is. I won't let them stop me. Some days are worse than others and I have learned to ignore the pain and try and not let them dictate my life. It has been a long time since they forced me to stop completely and recalculate- until now. Bouncing back is not as easy as it was when I was younger. Now I have to worry about the possibility of not being able to walk for a period of time. I found myself on Sunday scared and exhausted and having a hard time wrapping my head around it. Then I remembered what I was made of. So I picked up my bat and prepared myself to knock this curve ball out of the park like all the rest. I will handle whatever life throws at me because I can. Because I refuse to quit or feel sorry for myself. Because like all of you- I have worked too hard to get to this point in my life.
This moment in time may very well change my existence. But I will acclimate. I may get frustrated, sad and tired- but I will continue on. As will you.
Quitting is never an option.
Have you ever noticed that life often has a way of bringing us messages when we need them most? Whatever form they take we never fail to see it as an instant truth we were meant to hear. It is simply magic.
Life lessons are not always hard.
Sometimes life will drop some random knowledge on you that helps you to become a better person, a better parent or a better friend. A random life lesson that shows you something that you never considered before but once you hear it, find that it strongly resonates with your soul. Innately knowing that you stumbled upon a truth you needed to hear. A truth that you know must be adapted into your life and that you will be better for it. You never see these subtle life synchronicities until they stop you cold with the power of them.
The other night I was having a talk with my teenage step-son concerning the importance of always telling the truth and how essential it was to be able to trust him. He had made a poor decision and while it wasn't all that major it was something that needed to be addressed. He and I have some pretty intense and in-depth conversations that for all intents are pretty spectacular from the mom point of view. Probably not so much from the teenage boy's view for now, but hopefully the lessons will carry on with him into his adult years. We both are learning lessons as he grows up and I find that he teaches me even as much I as hopefully teach him. He teaches me patience. He teaches me creativity and how to think outside of the box to help him with life lessons he is facing. Watching him grow and watching him absorb each thing life brings up continues to be such an awe-inspiring journey. He has taught me to reach to depths of myself that I didn't know existed, in order to be the best step mom I can be.
The next morning we headed out to do our Saturday errands, which meant a trip to the grocery store. He and I both sighed at the thought of fighting the crowd of shoppers getting ready for yet another Maine snowstorm. We decided to just head out early and hope to avoid the worst of the craziness.
It was a shopping trip that I will remember forever.
As we made our way around the produce section we were bantering back and forth. Playfully giving each other a hard time as we tried to get some enjoyment out of such a mundane task. More often than not we get people laughing in the aisles with our antics which both of us enjoy immensely. Stopping in the first aisle to browse salad dressings I looked as an elderly lady came up behind us. I could hear her chuckle to herself as I pretended to give my kid a hard time about being too lazy to bend over and grab something off the shelf. As she made her way around me she reached out and patted my shoulder and looked up at me with a sparkle in her eyes. "He is learning every day. He will get it don't you worry. You just have to have patience and be thankful he wasn't a girl. They are harder", she said to me with a grin as she turned her attention to him. "You will get there son, work hard, be honest and grow up to be a good solid man. You must always be truthful". With these two gems of wisdom she went shuffling off leaving us staring at each other wondering what had just happened. I winked at his stunned expression and we carried on with our shopping. Turning down the next aisle there was yet another elderly woman standing there. Honestly it seemed like she must have been waiting for us- for as soon as we turned into the aisle- she looked at my kid and without provocation laid some "gray haired wisdom" down on him; "Son you will get there. You will figure it all out. Don't you worry. Sometimes lessons can be hard to take. I know growing up is hard but it is worth it. Just remember to always do what is right". As she walked away down the aisle she turned back to me and reminded me to always have patience. He will figure things out in time.
As we stood there and watched her walk away, I turned to the kid and remarked that apparently life lessons were on sale today. He regarded me with the best teenage boy face he could muster and said it felt like Marnie (our beloved grandmother) was using these elderly ladies to teach him a lesson from heaven. With a grin he glanced up and said "I got it already" which made me laugh right out loud as we continued our shopping and bantering. The next aisle was clear of wise old crones and I could see the relief on his face as he made it to the end. We made it half way up the next aisle before it happened again. Surprise blitz attack from a shopping grandmother and more pearls of wisdom for the kid and for me as well. This lady made sure to tell him to "Trust that everything works out and you will get to where you need to be. Remember to always listen, pay attention and work hard for what you want. Always be honest and listen to your mother". Looking me square in the eye she said to understand he will try my patience and push buttons I didn't even know I had, but to be strong and continue teaching him all that I could. He would get it eventually, rest assured. Off she went with a little old lady chuckle and a good shaking of her pointer finger at the both of us.
The remainder of our shopping was free of wisdom bearing grannies but I could see the effect that they had on the kid. Though keeping an eye out for more grandmothers he was lost in his thoughts, as was I. He looked at me at one point and said; “who knew you could get eggs, bread and wisdom at a grocery store?”
Life often has a way of bringing us messages when we need them most. From stumbling upon a powerful quote that touches your soul, dialogue between characters on a TV show that hits home or a song playing on the radio that puts words to your jumbled thoughts. We must pay attention as we go through our daily moments to what others are trying to teach us whether they know they are inspiring us or not. You can feel it when it happens, that tingling in your belly and that feeling in the back of your neck that you were supposed to hear this particular truth. It serves as a reminder that magic is everywhere and we are not all alone on our journeys. We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves and it is amazing.
Just watch out for those little old ladies at the grocery store. They got some zingers.
There comes a point in life when you need to silence all the outside voices and only listen to yourself. You have to learn to listen to the voice of your soul for it knows best what you need to hear, need to learn and need to know. Stop silencing it. That little voice is your instinct, your strength and the culmination of your life experiences.
Listen when your soul speaks...
I need to talk to you. You won't hear me when I try to come through your dreams or when I pass random thoughts through your head during the day. There are some things I need you to hear, to appreciate and to get through your thick skull. I watch your daily struggles. I see you in the mornings getting ready for work and can hear your thoughts as you look in the mirror. I feel the pain as you bite your tongue over and over again failing to speak your mind and stand up for yourself. I see you dealing with the past and I see your lack of trust in the future.
Self- You and I need to talk.
Stop second guessing yourself. Trust is something that is learned- I understand that. I know it is something you struggle with time after time. But if you can't learn to trust yourself, you will never learn to trust another. You need this lesson. You need to learn to trust. Same thing with letting people in. Keeping people at arm’s length because you don't want them to have the power to hurt you- is hurting you. I know you have been hurt in the past. I have felt every betrayal and cried every tear with you. But holding the people in your life accountable for the actions of those that came before is simply not going to work anymore.
You are tired. I feel the heaviness in your step and the weight on your shoulders. Giving and receiving is a balance in life and if you keep giving and giving you will end up empty and of no use to anyone. Especially yourself. No one else is going to force you to step back and give yourself some time. It is not their job. It is yours and yours alone. Use your words. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of maturity and gives the people in your life a chance to step up. They need this as much as you do.
You are not a robot. Emotions need to be felt fully and appreciated. Happiness is awesome but sometimes it just doesn't happen. You have been through hell and back over the past few years. Give yourself time to appreciate your journey. Give yourself time to heal. Understand that this doesn't make you weak. It makes you human. Understand Self that you will never break. You may bend at times or fall to your knees- but you will always, always pick yourself back up. This goes back to the learning to trust yourself lesson. Learn it.
You are not your past. You are not your history. You are your today and your future. Your life is not defined by where you come from, what you have faced or where you are going. It is defined by what you do in each moment. How you face your challenges, how you treat others and how you treat yourself. I know you have been hurt by the actions of people you cared about. Shit happens sometimes. We both know life ain't always pretty nor is it always easy. But it is worth it.
Taking care of everyone around you is admirable. But you have got to take care of yourself too. Stop denying those nagging pains, doctor's appointments or massages you secretly crave but never splurge on. You work hard. You deserve it. See to it that you get what you need. Own your life and give to it what you so freely give to others. Stop being a damn martyr. You want something- then get off your butt and go for it. Expect no one to motivate you but yourself. Listen to yourself. Stop being your own worst enemy and just do it.
Self, we have been together since the beginning of time. Through heartbreaks and tears, triumphs and losses, I have always been proud of you. Proud of your accomplishments and proud of your failures for you never fail to see the lesson in them. Stop silencing me when I tell you these things. Hear me loud and clear. These negative thoughts of yours come from a voice that needs to be silenced once and for all. Silence it. For the both of us. It hurts our heart when I hear you put yourself down.
Remember all those years ago when you and I last had a heart to heart talk? It was a moment when you had let your defenses down and my voice came through. You heard me loud and clear before you shut me out. I am your instinct. I am the beat of your heart and the firing synapses in your mind. I am the culmination of everything you have worked so hard for. I am the tears you have cried, the smiles you have beamed and the faith that you have in yourself. Stop silencing me and believe. Believe in yourself. Trust your internal power and the sheer force of your soul. Stop playing small. Stop walking away and learn to fight for yourself. Know your worth. Know it from the depths of your soul. The world doesn't give it to you. Relationships don’t give it to you. Nothing outside yourself is capable of defining your worth, only you. Stop selling yourself short and live out loud. Live authentically and live to the best of you. The world needs it. The world needs you and all you have to offer.
But first you must hear me when I talk to you. Whatever life brings for good or for worse- always believe in yourself. Stop silencing that little voice inside your soul. For that little voice is the champion of your existence and will never ever let you down. Believe in it and believe in yourself once and for all.
Thanks for finally listening.
Look in the mirror and stop finding flaws.
Stop bullying yourself and start appreciating everything you are.
Because you know what?
Everything you are right this moment is perfect.
It is perfect because it is YOU.
I was sitting in a local coffee shop recently drinking my coffee and trying to write. I spent more time looking out the window. The weather outside appeared to have cleared and the snow that had been falling had finally stopped. The parking lot though plowed, still had piles of snow and a thick sheet of ice covering it. Maine in the winter time is beautiful but it is also a pain in the ass sometimes. I watched as a SUV pulled in and parked. Slowly each of the doors opened and 4 well dressed women got out of the vehicle all of them frantically clutching the door to keep from falling. Slowly they made their way to the back of the vehicle while holding an over sized purse in one hand and the side of the SUV with the other. I had to stifle a chuckle, as I noticed that they were all wearing very expensive boots- with 6 inch heels. Eventually they ran out of vehicle to hold onto and began to grasp one another as they made their way across the icy lot. I could hardly control my laughter watching the panicked looks on their faces as they made their way inside. Who wears 6 inch heels in a snowstorm? Who forgoes the LL Bean boots for their Aldos in a Maine snow storm? Apparently, these women.
I just as quickly lost interest as they entered in a whirl of expensive perfume, giggling and orders of extra skinny this with half cafe whatever. Honestly their orders gave me a headache so I went back to my laptop and tried to get something going. Of course the troupe of the high-heeled women sat directly behind me. Their conversation never missing a beat as they removed their jackets and sat down. Much to my chagrin I found that instead of tuning them out I eavesdropped on their conversation. I couldn't help myself.
Each one of these women was beautiful by society's standards. Slim, perfect hair and makeup and dressed to the nines for a simple coffee date. Yet for the next hour each one of them went on and on about everything that was wrong with them. From diets they were trying, to their hours with a trainer and on to comparing themselves to famous celebrities and what they would give to have someone else's body, hair or perfect teeth. They sat there and disparaged themselves more in that hour that I had in an entire week. These women weren't fishing for compliments from their friends either. They really believed what they were saying. That they were so flawed that they couldn't look in the mirror, stand on their scale or allow themselves to eat a slice of the chocolate cake that was taunting them from the counter. All for what? The quest to be perfect? I was stunned quite frankly. Here were 4 women that from the outside looking in lead perfect well coiffed lives and they hated themselves. Listening to them broke my heart and made me want to get them that cake.
I lost all interest in the piece I was writing and focused instead on what they were saying. The level of intensity that each one of these women hated themselves shocked me, saddened me and made me want to diet. 2 of them were married as they referenced their husbands, one was dating and the last one in her words; "Will never find any man that would love her because of how gross she was". Her words not mine. This "gross" single lady was beautiful and every hetero guy with a pulse I know would agree. I wanted to hug her and then shake some sense into her.
Why couldn't she see what I saw?
Long after I left that coffee shop these women plagued my thoughts. I thought about all the negative thoughts I had on a daily basis. Thoughts that if someone outside of myself said to me I would probably punch in the nose. For the next week I found myself observing other women and listening to their conversations. Not once did I hear one of them say that they were proud or happy with themselves. Instead what I heard over and over was how every single one of them wanted to change into something prettier, skinnier or just all together different then what they were. How they would only be content when they looked like someone else. It made me sad and it made me angry to realize just how focused we are on changing the very things that make us unique. That we all feel we need to change what we look like in order to be "just like everyone else".
Who sets these damn standards anyway?
I will tell you- we do.
We are our own worst enemies and we need to stop battling ourselves in the quest for perfection. From teenage girls to grown women the battle wages every day to be beautiful. Eating disorders rage out of control, depression and self hatred are the norm. We talk about bullying all the time and the devastating effect it has on the victims. But what about bullying ourselves? We bully ourselves every day, we disrespect ourselves and we belittle ourselves. It is not motivating; nor is it a kick in the ass to be a better person. It is simply convincing us that we are less than perfect and in this, not good enough. It has to stop. Who cares about society’s standards or airbrushed models in magazines?
Look in the mirror and stop finding flaws. Stop bullying yourself and start appreciating everything you are. Because you know what? Everything you are right this moment is perfect. It is perfect because it is YOU. Having goals to work towards for personal betterment is one thing and always striving to be the best you possible is awesome. But love yourself in the process. Be who you are, extra pounds, wrinkles or out of control hair. Who cares? Before anyone else will love you- you must first love yourself.
Accept yourself flaws and all.
One of the hardest lessons in life is knowing when to walk away.
To cut the ties that bind us to people we love. But love should never hurt.
Love should never leave you feeling empty and alone and worthless.
Value yourself enough to know this and know that you can walk away.
You can silence the voices and move on.
Hurtful words will echo in your mind long after the voice that speaks them is silent. Like a record with a scratch repeating the words over and over, so do the words that cut us greater than any knife could. Even if the words are spoken in anger or as an off the cuff remark you feel them. You hear them and you worry them over in your mind until there comes a point that you start to believe them. If they came from someone you love, you respect and you cherish, well more often than not you incorporate them into your very being. As the ones that love us never wish to hurt us, right? But what if in the moment these words were spoken that is the very thing they wanted most?
Sometimes the people we love will say or doing something that hurts our feelings. That breaks our hearts and makes us second guess everything we believe about ourselves, for it is only those closest to us that hold that power. They hold that power though not by simply being family, spouse or friend. They hold that power because we give it to them. We give it to them with the belief that they will always use it to build us up when we stumble, build our confidence when it shakes and to always reaffirm that we are in fact loved and cherished. And sometimes that is exactly what they do. But sometimes the one we love will take that power so freely entrusted to them and use it not to build you up but instead use it to bring you down.
A childhood friend of mine had a father that would constantly berate her. Tell her she was worthless and would amount to nothing. That she was fat and ugly and no man would ever want her. She strove for excellence in everything she did to prove her worth. She won awards, she got amazing grades and she was a warm and caring person. She was a daughter to be proud of. Except he never was. And over the years his hurtful words and actions broke her. She stopped caring. She believed everything he ever told her. Things no parent should ever say to their child. She carried his words all through her life. She formed friendships but always kept them at arm length. She rarely dated and felt completely unworthy of attention. She was never good enough she believed, because her father had said so. Until one day she decided to take her power back.
She took away his power to hurt her by simply walking away from him.
One of the hardest things in life is to know when it is time to walk away. We all have different thresholds to what we will tolerate from those closest to us. Family, spouses or friends are a part of our lives because we want them there. But what do you do when someone you care about hurts you over and over again? How many chances do you give someone until you throw your hands up and say no more? Personally I have mastered the art of walking away. Part of me is proud of the fact that I will not tolerate being hurt repeatedly, lied to or disrespected over and over by any one. Another part of me wonders if maybe I walk away too easily. It is the age old battle of mind versus heart in these matters and it is a battle all of us face at one time or another.
When is enough- enough?
I am all for second chances in most cases. We all make mistakes. But if someone you care about hurts you over and over again chances are it is not by mistake. Like the saying goes, "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me". We shouldn't continually sacrifice ourselves for anybody, yet we do. Over and over again. We tolerate being hurt by the very people that should never hurt us. Parents, spouses, family members or friends should not get a pass just because of who they are.
Words have the power to hurt you only as long as you allow it. I don't care if you share DNA with the one that spoke them or not. You do not need anyone to validate you except for the one person that knows you better than anyone- yourself. Take your power back from those that use it to hurt you and use it instead to fuel you on. Never let anyone make you second guess something you know in your heart is true.
Trust and Value Yourself.
One of the hardest lessons in life is knowing when to walk away. To cut the ties that bind us to people we love. But love should never hurt. Love should never leave you feeling empty and alone and worthless. Value yourself enough to know this and know that you can walk away. You can silence the voices and move on. You are worth it.
It is one of the hardest things in life we face. Our powerlessness
to help someone we love.
I remember sitting there in the brightly lit emergency room blind to the hustle all around me. The stringent smell of antiseptic in my nose and the nervous feeling in my belly. I had grown accustomed to the wait and the fear as I had been in this ER so many times at that point with my husband that it was starting to feel like home. Each time with the same goal in mind- getting my husband to breathe normally. I sat and watched him struggle for the very air so many of us took for granted. Knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do for him to make it better. Except love him and keep my shit together.
It was during one of the many visits to the ER that I had a huge life epiphany that would carry across to many situations I would face in my life. As I sat there with him holding his hand I realized my breathing had changed. I was taking deep lung fulls of air and calmly releasing them. Over and Over.
I had been trying to breathe for him.
I did not even realize I was doing it. So great my need to help him- I wanted to breathe for him. It was crushing at the time to come to the conclusion that regardless of how hard I tried, how strong I willed it and how much power I could put behind it I would never be able to breathe for him. The powerlessness and guilt was overwhelming.
It was a life lesson that I will never forget.
It is one of the hardest things in life we face. Our powerlessness to help someone we love. To grab the reins and step in to make it all better. Sometimes we can't breathe for them. Sometimes they have got to be the one to breathe on their own. Regardless of how much love we have for them. How much strength we have to give them. How much insight and ideas we have to help them make a better life, better choices or get to a better place. Sometimes we can't. Sometimes we have to step back. Sometimes a loved one is facing or dealing with something that regardless of how hard we try, how hard we pray; only they can fix. While we remain on the sidelines cheering them on, offering support or a safety net. Just so they know they are not alone.
I had a friend once that was in an abusive relationship. I knew it. She knew that I knew it. I tried thousands of times to get her to leave him. I loved her, I got angry for her and I offered a place to stay. She never left him. All I could do was stand by and watch her struggle. I was powerless to do anything but be her friend. I couldn't help her until she realized she was ready. I couldn't breathe for her.
Sometimes life gives you situations that you will never be able to control. That you will always remain a bystander in and it is one of the hardest roles to become accustomed to. A son or daughter fighting addiction. A relative with a mental illness or a friend in an abusive relationship. Sometimes we will be faced with something that we can't fix. The push to try harder and to never give up motivating us to the point of exhaustion. To give as much love and guidance as we can. The guilt eats away at our soul and we are left standing there no further ahead. While we watch our loved one struggle, fight or just give up. We can no more walk their path for them, make better decisions for them or get them to want our help, then I could breathing for my husband in the ER.
Sometimes we can't save the very people we love. And it is important to know that it is not your fault. That while you did everything in your power to help them. Loved them beyond measure and would have walked across fire for them. You couldn't walk their path. You couldn't live their life for them and while hard to swallow and devastating- you couldn't change the outcome. The stark and honest truth here is- only they could. It was never your place to make the changes they so desperately needed. Nor could you have done any more than you did. They walked the path of their life. You walked along side them. You supported and loved them. You gave them everything they needed.
Sometimes there are happy endings. But sometimes there are not. Sometimes life had different outcomes in mind that we never saw coming. The guilt eats away and the could have beens. The "If only I had tried harder" or "Loved them more". Stop. You know inside of your very soul that you gave all you had and then some. If they are still making bad life decisions all you can do know is love them. Be there to catch them should they fall.
Always know that it is their path to walk and while you can walk beside them, you can never walk for them. For as it is our destiny to walk our own life path, it is also their destiny to walk their own path as well.
I am tired of letting things go. By letting them go and swallowing my words because it is easier than calling someone I care about out on how their behavior
hurts me, angers me or that I feel disrespects me- I am in essence
giving them permission to continue.
On my drive home there is a stretch of road that is two lanes for a mile or so. At the end of this stretch, the driving lane continues on straight and the left lane is to turn left. It never fails that the lane to go straight backs up at the time I am heading home from work. It also never fails that at least 2 cars will shoot past the line of traffic and force their way in. The drivers that jump the line and force their way into traffic see only their needs, wants and are in their own little world. They carelessly disregard every one waiting. I have narrowly avoided daily collisions because someone felt that they could force their needs on me and I either need to swerve out of their way or risk getting run over. I get irritated every time it happens. Not because I may have to sit through another light, but because someone is forcing their will, their decisions and their behavior on me and I have to accept it or risk an accident.
Not OK on this stretch of road. Also not acceptable in life.
Family members, friends, coworkers, even neighbors force their needs, their wants and their actions on you. If it is something that you do not agree with, validate or condone, you are still forced to simply- accept them, challenge them or just let it go. Accepting them is of course the easiest route to take. But what if you don't? What if what they are doing, saying or not doing goes against your need or want? What if what they are doing is something you have asked them not to? When their actions directly affect you and yet you are either not consulted on the matter or if you are and you disagree they just go ahead with what they wanted all along? Do you challenge them or just let it go? I think most of us time and time again take the easy road and just let it go. We get labeled if we challenge too much as mouthy, difficult, bitchy or just plan unaccommodating. But if it is something that happens over and over again and you get disregarded for another's wants or actions- when do you put your foot down and say no more?
Probably when you snap.
I don't what has gotten into me lately. I think that I have hit my limit of just letting stuff go. Gasp! Did I just say that? What will people think? I may get called difficult. I may even get called bitchy. But oddly enough at this point in time, I am OK with that. What changed? No idea. Well that is not completely the truth. I have some idea. I am tired of letting things go. By letting them go and swallowing my words because it is easier than calling someone I care about out on how their behavior hurts me, angers me or that I feel disrespects me- I am in essence giving them permission to continue.
Well that and the fact I'm just over it.
Growing up with a severely bi-polar mother, I perfected the art of placating. Of shelving what I wanted, needed or felt in order to keep the peace. Always trying to avoid the ultimate fight that would ensue if I actually stood my ground about something that mattered to me. It was easier to just let it go. I find now that I am done always placating everyone else. Sometimes it is appropriate of course. I don't need to always get my way or what I may want. But when it comes to something I feel strongly about. Or if it is something a person does over and over again even after I speak my mind- I just walk away. Completely.
The only people that deserve a place in your life are the ones that hear you, that respect you and the ones that don't force you to either swerve out of their way or risk a collision. It simply isn't worth it. I hit my limit it appears slowly over the past couple of months. If I speak up about something I feel strongly about and I am consistently disregarded by anyone- well then they do not deserve a place in my life.
I am letting go of letting go. If that makes me a difficult, opinionated and mouthy, well then I guess that just means I am doing something right. I am doing something right for me.
You should too.
We are all flawed creatures and in that share a common bond with the rest of the world. You are no less awesome for your flaws than I am. I am just the type of person that embraces them. I cherish my flaws because without them I would not
have a measuring stick to see to all the good in me.
When will you be good enough...for you? Is there some magical breaking point when one throws their hands up and just accepts everything about their self as is? Why is this so hard? I asked this question last week on the Random Thoughts Facebook page.
The prevailing answer I read over and over again- I'm learning to
. You learn to like coffee, you learn how to drive, and you learn how to eat a lobster. What you shouldn't have to do- is learn to love and accept yourself.
With the New Year in full swing all I keep hearing about is resolutions. "I'm going to the gym". "I'm going to lose weight". "I am going to stop being such a pushover". "I'm going to save more money".
It is all about people resolving to change themselves. Don't get me wrong getting healthy and saving money is awesome. Standing up for your self is key in life. These are all attainable goals to better yourself.
However, you should BE
yourself in the process.
If the next line of this blog was to say name 25 things you would change about yourself many of us would start flicking out fingers as we named the list. But if I said name 25 things you wouldn't
change about yourself for anything, most would get stumped after 5. Even 5 would be hard for a lot of us. It would be a struggle to say it out loud let alone list 25 things we wouldn't change for anything. But ask us what we would change and we are off. Changing and growing are incredibly important in life. But so isn't being comfortable in your own skin as is
. You are you and no one else in this world can take that away from you- as long as you don't let them.
Once upon a time I really cared how the world viewed me. I think we all have at one time or another. Especially through the school years when it was natural to compare yourself to others and common to be judged by everyone around you. It is a rite of passage and one that is so incredibly painful to go through. But it teaches us the lesson that we are different. That we are not cookie cutter molds of the same person replicated over and over again. That we are who we are and that is ok. Some people aren't going to like you and yet others will cherish the ground you walk on. But neither matter if you do not cherish yourself. So quick we are to write ourselves off as not being good enough, strong enough or handsome enough. We base our total worth on scales, on bank accounts and on everyone else's opinion of something only we truly can know.
We feel shame because of circumstance. We make mistakes, we stumble and we make really awful decisions. We are all flawed creatures and in that share a common bond with the rest of the world. You are no less awesome for your flaws than I am. I am just the type of person that embraces them. I cherish my flaws because without them I would not have a measuring stick to see to all the good in me. My flaws prompt me to be a better person and serve to motivate me to find ways that I can improve myself. What I won't allow is my flaws to stop me nor define who I am. I don't care how old you are, if you are single, married or divorced. I don't care if you swear like a sailor or stress eat. These are just circumstances. These things are life's trappings. These things do NOT define you. Circumstances you may need to accept. Circumstances may need to be changed or learned how to handle in life. But you are not a circumstance. You are you. You are not your past, you are not your future and you sure as hell aren't here by accident. You have a reason to be here and that is what you must learn. But you must accept yourself- flaws an all. You must. Because right now- this very moment YOU are perfect. Just as you sit there and read this. This exact moment in time finds you completely acceptable. You are not defined by the clothes you are wearing. You are not defined by size. You are not defined by illness. You are defined by simply being.
It is hard to drown out the voices that make us doubt ourselves. The voices that bring us down and hold us there. People who we care about tend to hurt us the most. We come to believe all the negative they say and the limits they place on us. We allow their judgments to define our lives and to dictate our worthiness. It hurts because we believe them. The ones that love us aren't supposed to lie so what they say about you must be true. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Who you are is not defined by anyone outside of you. What they think about you, about your life or your circumstances- are none of your business. Live your life as you are and if they can’t accept that, well then walk away. It is not your responsibility to make anyone in this world accept you. They either do or they don’t. Such is life and the ones that don’t-Well you just don’t need them.
That magical moment where you suddenly accept yourself as is...
Is right this very moment. Now.
Not when you, after you or when you can.
As the dawn of the new year approaches the time to figure out
what to bring with you and what to leave behind- is now.
For as long as I can remember I have always found myself saying goodbye to the current year on December 31st in my own special way. It has varied year to year depending on what I have had to face and what the year was like for me. One year on December 31st I burned an entire box of love letters from a relationship that had ended a few months before. Another year I lit a candle for all of the loved ones I lost and replayed a memory in my mind of them before blowing out the flame. Some years I have written in my journal and other years I have flashed a "Year in Review" montage in my mind. Whatever I have done served one purpose- to say goodbye to the current year. To end the chapter and assess where I wanted to go from there. My way of saying goodbye put an end to it with a solid finality.
After my period of review and reflection on what has transpired during the year and time spent with the lessons I learned, trials I faced, my accomplishments and my disappointments- I consciously decide what stays and what goes with me into the New Year. I leave behind the hurt and the negative but take the knowledge it gave me. I leave the people who have no place in my future and grab a hold of the ones that have loved me, pushed me and accepted me. I do not bring anything into my new year that doesn't serve my growth, my happiness or my life.
Then I bid the Year adieu. It was 364 days of my life that I lived, I experienced and now I prepared to move on from. I have a fresh new year to fill.
I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I believe in having goals and dreams throughout the entire year. Just seems logical to start on New Year’s Eve with the promise of fresh new start to a fresh new year. It is definitely not a “Do Over” just another chance to get it right or even better- get me right. A new year is not just a date on the calendar but a moment in your life when at midnight on December 31st you have your first moments of perfection. A Moment without any mistakes, any disappointments, loss or sadness, a pristine New Year. Don't get me wrong here I am totally a realist and I know that the normal bullshit will eventually filter through- it is life after all. But if you spend some time saying your goodbyes to the current year and then decide what will make it into your new year- you will totally be ready, clean and mistake free for at least the first few minutes of January 1st.
Last year at about 11:30 pm I went outside on my deck and stared up at the night sky and millions of twinkling stars filled my vision. There was so much in 2011 that I needed to make peace with. A year that had spun completely out of control and all I could do was hang on for the ride. A year of loss, of confrontation and resignation. I still had so much anger and frustration come the last day of the year, saying goodbye to it was one of the hardest yet. Looking up at the night sky I replayed it in my head- all of it. I knew that I couldn't allow any of the bad to go forward with me. Silently I closed the chapter. None of those feelings had a place in my New Year. I had to let them go to stay right where they were- in the past.
Looking up to that night sky I said goodbye and welcomed the New Year and at the very stroke of midnight a shooting star shot across the sky. For my first moment in 2012 I made my wish and felt something I hadn't felt in a long time- hope.
As the dawn of the New Year approaches the time to figure out what to bring with you and what to leave behind- is now.
Happy (Almost) New Year.
Not everything in life is black and white. Not everything is clear cut and clean.
Life is messy. Feelings and emotions are messy.
But it is within the shades of gray that we can reach out to others
and find that middle ground.
For it is within the shades of gray that peace resides.
Where you are honored for your beliefs and truths and so am I.
We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. Our truths and perspectives on situations in life may be right for us, may feel right for us, but in truth, they are simply our personal spin on it. Just because I look at the night sky and see the stars does not mean that you will look and see the same thing. You could look up at the same night sky and only see emptiness and black. When I look at a person with multiple piercings and purple hair- I see is someone expressing their individuality. What someone else sees could be completely different. Neither of us would know the truth- the real truth. What we see is only our perception of the truth. We don't see who that person actually is only what they appear to us to be. So snap are our judgments we rarely take the time to find out.
Life is not always black and white.
What is right for one will not always be right for another. We tend to see the world as we are- our past, our upbringing, our beliefs and our experiences shape how we view life and everything in it. How we judge people, events and everything we hold to be "truth" rest solely on our very personal views. But in reality truth is relative.
There is no universal truth- a one size fits all to any situation in life we are faced with.
You look at a situation one way and I look at it another- neither of us is wrong in our minds. We judge situations and events on how we react to them. We often do not stop long enough to see things from any other perspective. Rarely do we stop ourselves and study the shades of gray that permeate our existence every day. Why would we when we are so convinced that we are right?
Life is a series of shades of gray.
People make assumptions. People make even more assumptions in the heat of the moment. Assumptions fueled by anger, sadness and moral indignation are so black and white it leaves no room for discussions. No room for communication. It is you vs. them or me vs. you and seriously it doesn't have to be this way. What really gets to me is when people make assumptions about my life, my actions and never ask me directly why I handled things a certain way, or reacted to something a certain way. People only see what they want to see and that is it. Black and white.
When we do not honor another's view, feeling or belief we are in essence forcing ours on them. We will argue and stand our ground for we feel we are right. And we are- for ourselves. But we can never know without a doubt- what is truth and what is right for anyone other than ourselves. There is no way to know the truth of another based solely on our perceptions. We must talk, we must ask questions and we must be open to the fact that we may never agree and that is ok. We don't have to. What we need to do is respect that fact and move on. Life is too short to be arguing. In fact if we spent less time arguing who is right and who is wrong and spending more time on developing the shades of gray into compromise think of all we could accomplish. How much hurt would be soothed in families? How many friendships would be saved? Go even further- How many tragic events in life could have been avoided if we spent more time coming together with our differences instead of splitting apart at the seams because of them.
Be open to the shades of gray in life.
Understand that just because you believe your version or explanation of events to be true-what you see and how you feel may not necessarily be the absolute truth for someone else. Respecting this concept could stop so much wrong in the world. Honoring one another be it family members, strangers on the street, anyone that looks out and sees a different view then you- would be amazing. We must let go of the ego. We must let go of the need to be right for everyone but ourselves. We must let go of the blame and the anger and allow others the room to be right as well. We will not be sacrificing what we believe or what we hold to be truth as it is still right for us. But we must allow others to be right for themselves as well.
Not everything in life is black and white. Not everything is clear cut and clean. Life is messy. Feelings and emotions are messy. But it is within the shades of gray that we can reach out to others and find that middle ground. For it is within the shades of gray that peace resides. Where you are honored for your beliefs and truths and so am I. Where black and white combine together and go forward.