Archive | November, 2015

Not Joining In

30 Nov

Although we try to associate with friends who respect us, and people we can trust, there are unfortunately times when we may find ourselves in the company of those who are neither respectful nor trustworthy. Perhaps they lie, manipulate, cheat, or do other things to hurt us and make us doubt our worth. It’s not easy to have interactions like those and if we do, we may be intensely angry or feel emotionally destroyed. We may struggle with unbelief, especially if we thought we were valued. But if those that hurt us don’t really care, when we learn the truth, we can be devastated and lost. “How could we be so blind?” we may ask. We wonder how we could have missed the signs that must have been there. Sadly, people who don’t really care may be so adept at hiding their true nature, it may have been impossible to know the truth until it was too late. But no matter how long it takes, eventually the truth comes out. And when it does we may feel like fools, and have no idea what to do next.

There is an old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” If we believe this, we might feel justified in taking revenge, and finding a way to hurt those who’ve hurt us as badly as we can. We may feel it’s fair to make them miserable and do everything possible to destroy them. It’s certainly one way to cope with the pain, but joining them in their hateful behavior will not help us. It seems like it will, but all it will do is add personal disappointment to the pain. It’ll be a “two fer.” We’ll get to suffer from their actions, and then feel worse from our own. And that isn’t in our best interest. It might make us feel better in the short run, but in the end it’ll just make things worse. If we’re already devastated, making things worse will never help.

Although those who have acted badly, who have hurt us on purpose, or who have manipulated us, certainly deserve retribution, we don’t have to compromise our ideals to make sure they get it. We must remember that our lives belong to us, and we are in control of our decisions. If we lower our standards and become as viscous as they are, we give control to them. If we react poorly instead of respond well, we will lose. And if we’ve been badly hurt, we’ve lost enough already. However, if we stay strong in our standards, and hold tight to our ethics, and instead reach for the noble path, we prevail. There is nothing that can diminish integrity and wisdom. There is nothing that can triumph over excellent judgment. It isn’t easy to hold fast to what is right when we’ve been wronged. It isn’t easy to look up when we’re hurt, but that is the only way to win. We don’t have to join in bad behavior to prove we are right. We can stand strong, choose virtue, and honor ourselves and our values. When we do that, we always win. Our personal respect stays intact and we overcome everything. We have the courage and the ability to choose well. We can handle anything that comes to us, and handle it with dignity and greatness.

Today if you’ve been hurt badly by someone you thought you could trust, remember who you are. You are good, and you will choose what is best. Stand strong for what you know is right, and be the very best you can be. Nothing can diminish you. Hold tight to the truth. You are so much better than this. Be brave, and make decisions that support the excellent person you are. Be confident. You are worth the best of everything.

Wet Snow

28 Nov

The snow in winter can be a beautiful sight. The first snow of the season often brings excitement and wonder, and the new covering of white makes everything seem magical. It’s fun to play in and children rejoice if it’s heavy enough to close school. Every situation is unique and if the snow is powdery and dry it’s completely different than when it’s heavy and wet. If it’s dry and light we may not even leave a footprint in it as we walk along, but if it’s heavy and wet we will leave a deep impression with each step that may last a long time.  Wet snow has a long memory. If we step in it, our prints will be long lasting and defined. The wind won’t erase them, and they will remain until conditions permit them to melt away and disappear, which may not happen until spring arrives.

We can make decisions in our lives that are so dramatic and change the landscape so much they are like footprints in wet snow. They can have an impact so great that the everyday winds of our lives, our comings and goings, will not diminish their influence and we need to find ways to navigate around them. Sometimes we make extreme decisions that leave long lasting results because of situations we’re in. Other times they may be the result of anger, or impulse, or reflex. If we’ve put a lot of thought into the decision ahead of time and are sure the decision is right, even though it will have far reaching consequences, we will manage whatever comes as a result. But if we’ve plowed ahead without thought, and done something that has changed the entire landscape of our lives and we’ve made a mistake, the ramifications may remain with us for a long time.

We all make mistakes and if we make one that changes the course of our lives it will be a dramatic development that will take time to adjust to. If we’ve hurt others, we will need to do whatever is required to repair the relationship and regain their trust. If the action was so egregious that our relationship is destroyed, we may have to let go and move forward on a new road. There is no mistake so intense or far reaching that we cannot recover, but recovery might require a change in our direction, and a new focus in our lives. We may feel all is lost, and too much has changed to ever be right again, but that is never true. There isn’t anything we can’t adjust, correct, or repair if we are motivated enough. We can rebuild our lives, we can change our behavior, and we can be successful again. The snow may have been very deep and wet when we stepped in it, the print we left may be indelible for a while, but eventually the air will warm enough to smooth the edges and soften the imprint. If we work on successfully going forward, in time, the mark we left will become a memory and who we have become will be the focus.

Today if you’re coping with a mistake you’ve made, if it seems immense and you aren’t sure you can go forward, take heart. You can fix this. No matter what has happened, if you determine to make good choices going forward, you will turn this around. You haven’t lost everything. Make the best decisions today. Tomorrow do the same. Each day that passes will take you closer to where you want to be. This is just a moment. Navigate it the best you can and soon you’ll find happiness again.

Risking It All

27 Nov

We can do anything we want to do with our lives. We can accomplish monumental tasks, we can plan for success, and we can work to make all our dreams come true. But we can’t DO anything by sitting around thinking about it. We can’t accomplish anything if we’re afraid of the risks and don’t even try. There are risks with everything. What we want might be harder than we first envisioned, it might take longer than we imagined, and despite everything we do, we might fail the first time we try. Sometimes we imagine the risks to be far worse than they turn out to be, but whether real or imagined, we will face them with every endeavor. However, if we’re determined to work on the issue we’ll figure things out as we go. The greatest risk isn’t that things may go wrong. The greatest risk of all is not trying. If we do nothing, we will never succeed at the things we want most. And if we let that happen, if we don’t even try, our lives will never be the lives we desire.

It’s so easy to live in a dream state. We can go through the motions, face our days as they come and just get along. It’s simple and takes very little effort. We can dream of how things could be, we can even spend time planning, but if we do nothing, it means nothing. At some point we have to decide what kind of life we really want. Do we want to take the easy road, play along, go along, and never reach for something more? Or do we want to try, really try, to do the things we dream about? We can do anything we want to. We can make our lives any way we want them to be. But it takes effort. It takes courage, and it takes the willingness to face whatever comes as we move forward. If we aren’t willing to risk whatever it takes to be completely happy, we will never achieve it. We deserve to be happy. We deserve every advantage, but we have to give it to ourselves. We’re the only ones who can make it happen.

What if we try and we fail? What if we get hurt? What if nothing works out the way we thought it would? Can we face that? Of course we can. If we try one way and it fails, we learn what doesn’t work and we can change our plans going forward. Few things are accomplished in the first attempt. But if the first failure ends it for us, if we give up after one loss, we have no chance of success. We don’t have to quit even if everything goes wrong the first time, or the second time, or even if it takes a while to figure it out. We have the stamina and the patience to try again no matter how many times it takes. We can find the way by continuing to go forward. If we keep moving forward step by step, we will find success and achieve the goal.

Today if you’ve been wanting to change something in your life, if you’ve been trying and haven’t yet succeeded, don’t stop. You know more now than you did when you started. You are smarter and more aware of what you need to do. Try again. You will find the answers. There isn’t anything you can’t do. Face whatever risk you must and press forward. The goal is in sight. Keep your focus. You’re almost there.

Being Thankful

26 Nov

It’s Thanksgiving time and every year when it rolls around we remember the many things we’re thankful for. There are the big things – our families and loved ones, our health, our homes, our jobs, and the many other things that make our lives easier and more rewarding. But there are other things we sometimes forget to be thankful for. The small things we take for granted or fail to notice. We all have so much, and here is a list I’ve been thinking about of some of the small things that bring me happiness. There are millions of other things I could add but this is a start. Maybe you’ll see something here that you forgot, or maybe this will remind you of something else. Here goes:

I’m thankful for the times when my boss remembered me, and for the times when he forgot me!

I’m thankful for hot showers when I’m sore and cold water when I’m thirsty.

I’m thankful for the kind man at the grocery store who stopped working to help me find something.

I’m thankful for bees and the incredible honey they make that nobody can duplicate.

I’m thankful for my car.

I’m thankful for the big bag of marshmallows in my cabinet so I can have them when I make hot chocolate in the morning.

I’m thankful I can walk, and bike, and swim, and see, and hear, and touch, and feel, and smell, and taste.

I’m thankful the heater in my house works so I can be warm when it’s cold outside.

I’m thankful for my bed.

I’m thankful for Saturdays. I love Saturdays.

I’m thankful for laughter, and music, and fun.

I’m thankful for salt and how delicious it makes french fries taste.

I’m thankful for my sweats after a long day in a suit.

And I’m thankful for all the people, in all the world, who try hard to be the best they can be every day. I’ve learned so much from so many, and my life has been embellished because I share the planet with them. I’m thankful for so much. I hope you are too. Happy Thanksgiving.

Voice Over

25 Nov

We all have our own impressions of this life.  The things we go through, and the experiences we have give uniqueness and color to those impressions. We interpret things our own way and we make personal choices based on who we are and what we want. As we go along we develop our own voices, exclusive to us, and different from anyone else. The impact we have on the world is ours alone to make, and we have both the privilege, and the responsibility to ensure it is heard. We all have something to offer and we can be brave and bold in presenting ourselves. This life flashes by in an instant. It’s important we recognize who we are, and what we want to share, and then go about doing just that. There are some who might try to silence our uniqueness and make us conform to a model they prefer. But we have a true, clear voice, and it needs to be heard.

When painters compose a painting and they want a strong image and excellent texture, they often choose many colors to bring it to life. There are warm, rich tones that bring light to the painting and deep, dark shades that give it foundation and depth. They might try white here and there to add shape, and black for darkness and shadow. Rarely is a remarkable painting made using only one shade or hue. It takes all the colors – all the voices – to bring life to the composition. Like an artist’s palette, it takes all our voices for life to be complete. We need to hear from the realists, the optimists, the pragmatists, and even the pessimists. We all have a version to share, and opinions that bring depth and challenge to our everyday experiences. We have the right to express our voices, even if they are different than what the choir is singing. Our part counts, and needs to be heard.

If we struggle with self-doubt, we may believe our voice isn’t good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to be heard. But we don’t have to be perfect to sing out. We don’t have to know a certain melody, we don’t have to sing in the same key, we don’t even have to sing the same song. The important thing is that we share who we are, and express ourselves. Nobody else knows everything we do, or sees things our way. Our contribution is important. We can be bold in speaking out, and we can be confident. Each voice has depth and color that will bring richness and texture to life. We all have a lot to offer, and our contribution is priceless. Nobody else can offer it but us.

Today if you’ve been keeping quiet, if you’ve let others convince you that your contribution isn’t worthy, don’t believe it. Your voice is needed and valuable. You have so many incredible thoughts inside you. Share with those around you. Open your heart, and let your voice be heard. We need to hear your perspective, and your perceptions. You are a wonderful gift to the world. Sing out. You have a beautiful voice.