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I’m A Survivor (not physically health related)

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People are complex beings who live through complex circumstances in life. Some make it through those circumstances and some survive them. I am a survivor.

In a family crisis I am the one who holds everyone together. Several years ago I had someone who did everything within their power to try and break me. I didn’t break. The more I didn’t falter the angrier they became. I also didn’t retaliate. Strength does not mean he who hits the hardest but he who works hardest to walk away least bruised and battered. I’m also a strong believer in karma, so I can’t block my blessings because I’m trying to get back at you.

There’s only one thing wrong with being the strong one, the lone survivor if you will. That thing is perception. People tend to think/believe that you can handle anything. Even worse, you believe it as well. So though it may be true that will indeed generally rise to the top, you have a hard time accepting/enduring/being positive as you live through it. I have to remind myself to live THROUGH it. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to show anger, tears, an even disappointment. It’s okay to let others know you are struggling (I usually don’t.) I’m realizing I sometimes must convert the smile on my face (through it all) to a smile in my heart. I mean after all I’m going to survive it, right? Of course, I’m a survivor!!

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“Ain’t No Need To Worry What The Night Is Gonna Bring. It’ll Be All Over In The Morning.”

This week I was tested on the concept of worry.  I am so glad to report that I’ve obviously learned the lesson and passed the test.  I encountered a situation.  What made me most anxious was the amount of uncertainty involved.  Uncertainty, for me, means lack of control. I do not like feeling that a situation is outside of my control even though I often realize that it is.  But I sat back in this instance and thought “don’t worry about it.  Just don’t worry.”  It’s funny that when the lesson is clear, all of the answers come clearly.  So, here’s what came to me with crystal clear clarity.

No matter what happens in life, worrying is not going to change the situation or the outcome.  It will only serve to drain your energy, foster negativity, and possibly cause or contribute to physical malaise or illness.  Now I’m not suggesting that we don’t encounter situations in life where one potential outcome is very bad or detrimental.  I’m simply suggesting that worrying about it is not the best solution.  What should you do instead?

1.  Prepare for the worst- Ask yourself  a) what’s the worst than can happen?   Once you know the answer to that question, ask yourself  b)what can I do to repair things  if the worst thing occurs?   One of the most interesting facts of life is that the worst that can happen rarely does.  We worry and we stress thinking about how bad the worst thing will be… and THEN it never occurs.  So we have spent days, weeks, months devoting a lot of time, energy, and attention to something that never comes to fruition.

But, in the rare instance that the worst that can happen actually occurs you need to be ready with guns blazing.  The diagnosis is what you feared most?  You are not able to keep your home?  Your family member is guilty of what they’ve been accused of?  In  the case of a medical diagnosis, worrying is the WORST thing for you.  You are in a fight, often times for your life, and you have to be ready for battle.  The worst that can happen is that you have the illness but understand that this is NOT the worst thing.  You are still ALIVE and now you have to put on your armor, surround yourself with other warriors (at least in spirit) and you have to fight for your life.  And trust me, you can not fight and worry at the same time.

2.  Recognize what is outside of the realm of your control.  Sometimes we worry about things that are outside of our control.  Let’s face it.  Some of us are professional worriers.  We spend our time worrying about other people’s lives, jobs, relationships, children, etc. There are several things that may be in play a)some people need to learn the lesson the hard way or b)”you’re gonna learn today” may be in play.   Even our children, whom we always seek to protect, must learn their own lessons.  As much as it may hurt us, we have to allow others to follow their own paths and learn their own lessons.  Worrying about the outcomes of certain lessons, while perfectly natural, is not going to lesson the pain sometimes involved for the other person nor help.  You can only work on orchestrating your life.  Let others follow their own paths.

3.  Be proactive- instead of sitting around and waiting for the worst that can happen think about what you can do NOW to prevent the worst from happening.  Spend your energy there.  You have work to do.  There really is no time for worry.  Make it happen.

Solutions 1 and 3 may seem in direct contrast to one another.  I contend that they are not.  I’m suggesting that you do whatever is within your power to prevent the worst thing from happening.  However, because everything is not always within our control, the worst may happen (or what appears to be the worst at that time).  If that occurs then you must go to solution #1.  Now that this has occurred what can I do to change the circumstances?  There is always something you can do and technically worrying is not DOING anything.

You are blessed with the life you have been given.  It is your most precious gift.  Don’t spend any time on wasted, fruitless effort.  Life is for the living.  See everything as a blessing and an opportunity for growth and change.  Once you realize the truth of this, you begin to really internalize the notion that there is no need to worry.  It’ll be all over in the morning.

The POWER Of Forgiveness

The ability to forgive another is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow, upon that person and upon ourselves.  There is a at least a small part of everyone that knows this to be true.  For some, however, it is indeed one of the hardest things to do.  Because of the extent of their hurt, anger, sense of betrayal, etc.,  they just are not able to forgive.  They think  they feel better by holding on to the pain and bitterness.  It is a scientific fact that holding on has no physical or psychological benefits.  In fact quite the opposite is true.

We have all heard the statement made that by forgiving the other person you are actually helping yourself.  You are getting rid of the toxic thoughts and behaviors that are part of maintaining the anger. You are also freeing yourself of negative energy for it does, indeed, take a lot of energy to remain angry at someone for a sustained amount of time.  Let’s face it, if you have to remind yourself that you are angry and why it is time to let it go.

Free yourself.  Take back your power.  You see when you chose (and yes, it is INDEED a CHOICE) to stay angry at someone they have power over you.  The funny thing is often they are not even aware of such.  But, when you elect to keep rehashing the wrong they have done you give them power over your emotions.  When you recognize and accept that you can exercise a different option, the pendulum swings.  When you choose how you will react when you see the person (positively), and how you will view the situation (as the learning experience that it was) then you are now in the catbird seat.  You now have control of yourself and the situation.

This is all well and good, but what about when the hardest person to forgive is the man/woman in the mirror?  Sometimes we beat ourselves up harder than anyone else EVER would over our actions, choices, outcomes, decisions, etc. Why would I do such a thing knowing that this was a possible outcome?  What was I thinking?  How could I be so stupid (that’s a big one )?  Forgiveness of self can be one of life’s greatest hurdles especially if we hold ourselves to a high standard. We don’t like to disappoint others and we certainly don’t like to disappoint ourselves.

I find myself working through such a situation right now.  What I did is not the issue.  The issue is how I feel about the action and it’s outcomes.  I especially find myself on the “How could I be so stupid?” page.  As I counsel myself (yes, I’m fond of doing that) through the process of eventual forgiveness I have to face the honest facts:

1.  I am not perfect and as a result of that I will make mistakes.

2. Some of the greatest periods of growth are a result of  big mistakes.

3.  “Big” is a relative word.  This is only a big mistake until the next big one comes along.

4.  I am as worthy of my own forgiveness as anyone else I grant forgiveness to.

5.  Anything I learn from can’t be all bad or a total mistake.

6.  Listen to your gut instinct.  It will not steer you wrong.

As I work toward forgiving myself I encourage you to do the same. If you are constantly beating yourself up over something you are rendering yourself powerless and thus impeding your growth. Let it go.  You are not made to be perfect.  You are made to do and be your best.  We are all works in progress.

Spread love…peace and blessings.

Birthday Musings

Well it’s that time- albeit a little delayed this year. Every year I take time to review my life.  This generally takes place on New Year’s Day and my birthday(7/1).  Well, we are officially 15 days past my birthday.  Life’s circumstances delayed me putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, as it were, this year but I definitely put in the time for reflection.  So, at the ripe young age of 47 here’s what I’ve learned so far.  Some lessons came a while ago while some are very recent.  Regardless of the timing, they are things I now hold as true.

1.  I can’t change anyone but myself.  While this is definitely true, what is even more true is that though I will not ask anyone to change who they are for me I am firm in what is not acceptable behavior for/toward me.  You don’t have to change, but I don’t have to tolerate it either!

2. Most people are good at heart.  The more you accept that, the more people will show you how good they really are.  (another way of stating that most people live up to your expectations)

3.  Age is definitely a state of mind.  I’m 47 but still 25 in my mind.  I think constantly relating to my inner child helps me look younger.

4.  You have to take care of your mind, body, and soul.  You can amass money and for some that is the ultimate goal.  But those funds will not keep you out of the doctor’s office, off of medication and off of the operating table.

5.  You can’t choose your family, but often times when the rubber meets the road you will find that they are truly there for you.

6.  You really do have to power to change your life simply based on what you think.  The Law of Attraction is real.  If you don’t believe me, try some of the principles yourself and prove me wrong.  I’ll wait; you won’t.  😉

7.  Some things have changed from the old days but I don’t HAVE to change with them if the change is not for the best.  This deserves its own blog as it cannot be summarized in a sentence or two.

8.  You can’t make me hate you, cause I won’t! Hate is not in my vocabulary especially in reference to another person.  We all have God within us.  If I recognize the God in you it is impossible for me to hate you.  The God in me can’t hate itself. I choose to see you for your best, even when you display your worst.

9.  When you spread love it comes back to you magnified.  Most of you know this is a principal that I live by.  Spread love.

10.  Tell people you love them; often!

11.  Don’t force people to jump through hoops to prove their love for you. It’s unnecessary, tiring, and leads to resentment.

12.  Be willing to see your own faults and learn from your mistakes. No one is perfect and that includes you.  It’s ok.  Cut yourself some slack.  No one expects you to be perfect.

13.  Life goes on.  Unless you die, you get the opportunity to live another day.  That is a gift.  Try as much as possible to live in the present and see the present for the gift that it is.

14.  Your time and attention are two of the greatest gifts you can give a person.  Give someone your undivided attention sometimes and see what a difference it makes in your communication.

15.  Be willing to see the other person’s point of view.  That doesn’t mean you have to agree with it, but by seeing it you will find an understanding.

16.  Be willing to admit when you are wrong.

17.  Don’t give up.

18.  Laugh often – especially at yourself.

19.  See your children as the individuals that they are and appreciate your time with them.  It will be gone before you know it.

20.  When you are surrounded by friends who love, support, and encourage you, you can survive anything. Again, I could write an entire blog around this.

21. You are stronger than you think you.  Most of us don’t know what we are capable of until we are presented with a situation. It’s when things are at their worst that we sometimes see what we are really made of.

22.  Be willing to laugh (even at yourself) loud and often.  There are a lot of serious things that occur in life, but there is a lot of funny stuff as well.  Laughter is healing.  Never take yourself so seriously that you can’t enjoy a good laugh.

There Is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

I don’t know if you believe in: divine intervention, the universe working in your favor, or things happening as they should, but I do.  I believe that God/the universe brings you what you need when you need it. A more religious way of putting this is “he may not come when you want him, but he’s always right on time.”  Again, this is something that I believe in; or is it?

When we believe something don’t we accept it as true and thus not worry about the validity of it?  Case in point, if I do in fact believe that the sky is blue do I spend all day contemplating whether the sky is indeed blue or is it really white with blue contrasts?  A bit of an extreme example but you get where I’m going here.  The sky is blue.  There is no need to spend time in contemplation of that – NEXT!!

So, if I indeed believe that the universe ultimately always works in my favor why do I lose sight of that fact so easily?  Why when confronted with stressful situations do I lose sight of what I believe in and go to the “other side.”  I’ll tell you.  It’s fear.  Fear is a powerful drug.  What else can you call something that allows you to mentally distort reality?

Last week was quite challenging for me.  I had to navigate some uncharted seas as well as swim in bodies of water that I try to avoid.  The long and the short of it is that by Friday night/early Saturday morning I was done for.  The wind was definitely out of my sails.  I was feeling alone and overwhelmed.  At that moment, I believe, God stepped in to prove me wrong.  It was the equivalent of an invisible tap on the shoulder.  One that said “hey hey little girl, why do you think you have to take care of all of this on your own?  I’ve got it and I’ve got you.  Here’s a bit of proof.”

Why am I sharing this with you today?  Well I just finished speaking with a family member who was sharing some of her current events with me.  She has been struggling with the aftermath of a major life event for some years now.  As I listened to her speak, I heard one thing in volumes- there is a lot of fear there.  We all have it in some way, shape, or form.  The degree to which we let it affect us is what some of us need to work on.  I know that there are some things I should legitimately fear.  Heck, we all watch the news.  But, I am vowing here and now that I will give my very best to not allowing fear to affect my beliefs in the things that I know are true.  Fear can cause worry, stress, and ultimately illness.  Often times, the very thing we fear never happens.  And if it does, the results are rarely as bad as we thought they would be.

So I’m getting aboard the train.  The train of not allowing my fears to overpower my beliefs, the train of self-determination and healing, the train of “I can do all things…”  It’s a big car.  First class ride.  There’s plenty of room for other passengers.  Here’s your ticket- already paid for.  Are you coming?

 

Spread love…peace and blessings.

 

You’ve Got A Friend

We all have friends.  Most, if not all of us, have at least one best friend.  Friendship is a wonderful thing.  But something occurred to me today.  Not all of us have THAT friend.  The one who will tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.  The one who will pull you in off the ledge all of the time with a simple “calm down.”

I want you to be clear on what I mean here.  This is NOT the friend who is ride or die- ready to pick up the charge and go off to kick a** with you because YOU said someone did something “wrong” to you.  This is NOT the friend who will allow you to mope, cry, and host the pity party to beat all pity parties whenever you feel the occasion warrants.  No, not this friend. Not this friend.

This is the friend who says to you “I understand” and continues on to examine the situation from a purely rational, impartial (meaning you may not like it) point of view.  This is the friend who pulls you off the ledge saying “Come on in.  It’s dangerous out there and trust me this is not worth it.” And then… and then, this friend goes on in a calm, loving way to show you how this is not the end of the world.

But some people are not ready for this type of friendship.  They think if a person does not totally agree with them that individual is being disloyal.  They think that if they are angry, then their friend should get fired up and angry as well.  They don’t appreciate the value of the person who will just talk things through showing them both the good and the bad of all sides.  Hopefully they will eventually.  For this type of friend is one of your greatest assets.

You know the best thing about this friend? When you have to return to the friend to say “I hate to admit it, but you were right” they just kinda smile and let you know that’s it’s ok.  They got your back.  Always.  You’ve got a friend.

More Lessons Learned

On October 24, 2011 I posted “Lessons Learned.”  They all apply, but because this is life there are always more lessons.  I would love to hear some of yours.

1.  When sleep is needed rest.

2. Someone is always watching what you do- do yourself proud

3.  Tomorrow is not promised- live each day to the fullest

4. Friendship does not mean they are always around, it means they are there when you need them.

5. Even great people are imperfect- Don’t be too hard on yourself.

6. People can feel love even when not in your physical presence- the internet taught me this

7.  Real love never dies- it’s surprising how long I’ve been aware of this one

8. Laughter is healing (and does a great job of ending arguments too).

9.  We are incapable of seeing ourselves as others see us- this is both a good and a bad thing.  😉

10. There is something good in everyone.  Look for it.  Acknowledge it.  Celebrate it.

11. Sometimes bad things happen for a good reason- all things are not for us to immediately understand

12. Spreading love can indeed become a lifestyle.

13. You can let the negative statements/thoughts of others break you or you can use it as inspiration – I see you Tiger Woods

14. While one should not judge too quickly (or at all for that matter), people really do show you who they are early and often.  But…

15. Getting to know a person better almost always leads to an understanding of why they are the way they are.

16. Saying “I’m sorry” is one of the hardest things for a lot of people to say.

17. Saying “Thank you” ranks high on the hard to say list also.

18. There is no way that living with a spirit of gratitude will not change your attitude.

19. Sometimes the smallest thing to you is the biggest thing to someone else- amazing but true.

20. Letting others in is a better alternative than living behind a wall- hiding behind a wall keeps others out but always keeps you enclosed.  Let the wall down and free yourself.

21. It is not always easy to give a lot of effort, but it is worth it- the thing that most feels like it’s not worth the trouble probably is.

22.  There is little room for a difference of opinion in the current climate of our country- sad to say!