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Speak Up

29 Oct

There are people in our lives that we hold dear and love very much. They may be family members, friends or intimate relationships. We value them and want to support them and care for them, and sometimes because of our intense feelings for them, we may go along with their choices even when we know they aren’t wise. Maybe they are dishonest in their dealings with others but we don’t want to upset them so we say nothing. Maybe they lie about situations or intentions, and we know they aren’t going to follow through but we look the other way. And maybe they pretend to care about something or someone in order to move forward to a goal they are seeking, when in fact they only want the goal and don’t care what they have to say or do to get it. If we love them intensely, and are afraid of their response to criticism, we may remain silent and blindly go along with them. When we don’t speak up and tell the truth, if the situation is inappropriate or dishonest and we say nothing, we enable them to continue. And if we enable a situation that is dishonest or inappropriate to continue, and we say nothing, we own part of the pain or disharmony that results.

It’s very difficult to point out possible errors in behavior to those we love. It can be very hard if it’s our spouse, our lover, or our parent. It’s hard to tell them we can’t go along with them if they are dishonest or hurtful. We love them and don’t want to hurt them, and we don’t want to damage our relationship with them. But if we say nothing, and simply let them continue doing things that are wrong or destructive, if we let them hurt others and say nothing, we become part of the problem. Most of us know when we’re hurting those around us. We know when we’re being dishonest, and we generally know who near us is aware of what we’re doing. If we watch someone we love do these things and say nothing, it gives power to the behavior to continue. We can tell ourselves it’s not our problem, and we can pretend we aren’t involved. But the fact is, if we know it’s happening, and we want what’s best for those we love, we need to address it.

We own our decisions and everything we do. We get to choose what kind of people we are and what we want in our lives. We can be dishonest, we can cheat, we can be hurtful, and unkind, and we can play along when others act out. We can keep quiet, and watch from the sidelines and not get involved. Or we can step up and choose the nobler path. We can stand up for what’s right no matter who is involved. We can defend truth, and with love, express concern over situations that are inappropriate or incorrect. Whatever we choose to do makes us who we are. If we speak up and nothing changes, we did the best we could. But if things do change, and situations improve, we may do much to prevent the pain and suffering of others. It is noble and wise to set a good example. It is worthwhile to stand up and speak when things aren’t right. We know what to do and it’s important that we are strong, and brave enough to do what’s right, even with those we love.

Today if you’ve been watching someone close to you hurt others or make decisions that are detrimental or destructive, you can say something. You can show you love them by telling them what you see. They may take your words to heart or they may ignore you. But if you speak up, you will know you did your best. Doing our best is imperative in this life. It makes us who we are, and defines our priorities. Today, show you care by speaking up and helping those you love be their best as well.

Take Heart

25 May

It’s a wonderful thing to fall in love with someone. We become aware of another person in ways we may never have dreamed possible. We think about them constantly, wonder what they’re doing when they’re not with us, hope to see them soon, and start to make plans. Our heart jumps when we hear their voice, and when they smile at us, the whole world seems to stop. We are consumed with thoughts of them. We can’t imagine being without them. We adore them, they delight us, and make us so happy. We’ve never been so happy.

But sometimes, something goes wrong. They turn, and decide they want to go another way – without us. They leave, and we are left broken, and bereft. We are devastated, stunned, sad, in disbelief. We feel hopeless. How can we go on? We love them so much. We need them. How is it possible they don’t feel the same about us? It’s horrible. We feel horrible, and for a time we don’t believe we’ll ever be right again.

I have a close friend who went through this some time ago. The woman he loved was everything to him. He talked about her constantly, and told me of his plans for the future with her. He loved her deeply, and couldn’t imagine ever being without her. But she decided she wanted something different, and she left. He was devastated. I sat with him as he cried. He said he didn’t think he could survive without her. He just didn’t see an end to the pain.

When we are in times of great despair it seems as though they are permanent. We think nothing will ever change, and we’ll never be happy again. But the only thing permanent is death. Everything else changes. It’s the nature of life. Even if it feels like the end for us, it’s just a passage. As I sat with my grieving friend, and listened to his sobs, I reminded him of this. Although he felt completely ruined, he was just going through a difficult passage. It wasn’t the end of the road. It was a change. A very painful, gripping, sad change, but still just a change. I told him he would navigate it, and he would survive. At the time he didn’t believe me, but time has gone by, and he has survived, and moved on. He is happy again.

When we are brokenhearted – truly brokenhearted, it can feel like our lives are over. It can be hard to breathe, much less see a future where happiness will ever be a part of our lives again. When we feel so horrible, we may be surprised that life goes on, the sun still comes up, and time still goes by. How can the world continue it’s relentless march when we are frozen in pain? It’s hard to see around the corner. It’s hard to face the days. Everything is hard. But it’s not permanent. The pain will ease. Things will get better. Happiness will return.

Today, if you are brokenhearted try to remember that. This isn’t the end for you. This is just a passage. You will get through it. You will survive, and you will be happy again. Take it moment by moment, and hold on. You will get stronger.  You’re still here. The road is still before you. There is hope, and happiness ahead. Have faith. All is not lost. All is not lost.

Are you for real?

6 Apr

One day I went out to sit on my patio and enjoy the afternoon air. I looked across the yard and saw the most amazing tiny birds flying in and out of my honeysuckle. We have a lot of hummingbirds where I live, but these didn’t look like those. I had no idea what they were. They were beautiful – all black and white, and there were dozens of them. I watched in amazement for a little while, and then decided to go inside and get my binoculars so I could see them up close without disturbing them. I got the binoculars and sat back down, ready to look at the incredible tiny birds in my garden, and you can imagine my surprise when upon seeing them up close I realized they weren’t tiny birds at all. They were moths. Moths. Big, black and white moths. Suddenly I was no longer impressed and they were no longer amazing, because in my mind, they had morphed from something unique to something common. I mean, really, who is impressed by moths? Did it change they way they looked – no. Did it change the way they flew around – no. The only thing that changed was me. In our lives we can sometimes mistake “moths” for something beautiful and rare. Sometimes we make those mistakes with the people we interact with. We meet someone new, and for some reason they captivate us, draw us in, and we think they’re amazing. But sometimes that initial attraction fades as we get to know them and see them for who they really are. It’s impossible to know someone well when they are new to us. When we meet new people, most of us put our best foot forward. We want to make a good impression, especially if the person we are meeting has the ability to positively affect our lives. Maybe it’s a new boss, a new date, a friend’s family member, our new in-laws, a physician or even a new co-worker. We want them to like us so we’re careful, and we try hard to look good. There is nothing wrong with that. But over time it’s impossible to keep trying so hard to be perfect and eventually who we really are – flaws and all – will shine through. We are all moths in our own ways, BUT we are all also beautiful birds in our own ways. When we feel drawn to someone new, we may only be seeing their “bird” side and not the other. Eventually we’ll see them as they really are. Nobody is perfect and it’s important that we live in the real world. So learning who someone really is moves us forward in our relationship with them. It’s important to see them for real. And it’s important for them to see us for real. I really wish I was taller, I wish I was younger, I wish I was better looking, and I wish I was more perfect. But who I am now is enough. I am the best I can be right now. Tomorrow I might do better or I might falter. But day by day, being genuinely who we are, is where we need to be. Be yourself. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Nothing is more attractive than that.