Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Year, New Me - Final Comments

Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons – I know this seems like a contradiction to the previous "stop" but it's not, you can't hold yourself back worrying you're not ready but you also can't rush into something you can't handle... Listen, I get it, I know you don't want to be alone, neither do I. But when I look at myself a year ago when I thought I was ready for a relationship and would make the perfect little wifey I realize I wasn't even close... God had so much changes for me to go through, so many things I needed to realize and even more I had to either accept or change instead of internally complaining about. Relationships must be chosen wisely, even if it's just friends humans are creatures of influence... Even leaders are influenced by the people around them. When people move forward with actions that surprise us and we think "that's not like them!" it's probably not like them, but it's like the company they keep and now it is becoming like them. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company because when you keep bad company you eventually become bad company.
There’s no need to rush, sometimes the solitary moments in life, although not our favorite, are exactly what we need to make us into better companions. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.

Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work – If I made you a list of why I shouldn't trust people the entire earth would run out of paper, okay, maybe not quite that long but it is lengthy... The thing is, just because my dad left my mum when she was trying her best doesn't mean I'm going to be left... Just because every guy I've been in relationship with thus far cheated doesn't mean the next one will... All those experiences are meant for in life are lessons. Bad relationship experiences teach us to make wiser decisions, teach us to forgive... not only the person who walked out or hurt us but to forgive ourselves... And if you allow yourself to see it, failed relationships even when we were trying our best sometimes teach us that it's not always about us... Sometimes the guy was just a jerk, and sometimes he's not a jerk he just wasn't ready and we tried to make him ready in our minds. In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, all are meant to somehow bring out the best & strongest parts in you. I heard a quote on Dr. Phil the other day that I LOVE "Relationship rejection is God's protection." So just accept it for what it is and move forward.

Stop trying to compete against everyone else – You're meant to be one thing and one thing only... And if you keep dragging yourself down and bending over backwards comparing yourself to others you will never be what you are destined to become! Do you even know what it is yet? I can tell you but first let me say if you don't know what you're about to read next, you've been comparing yourself and competing with others too much... STOP! You are meant to be yourself. I know, deep right? Well it sort of is, and that little lesson was hard for me to learn but it's changed my life... I always wanted to be like my sister, I wanted to dress like her, sing like her, act and talk like her... But the thing is, when I was practicing being like my sister I wasn't being myself... And if I'm not being myself then the people who are meant to be with me won't be attracted to me and I will be in a world created by me where I don't fit in. So BE YOURSELF, whoever that is and if you don't know who it is yet, that's okay too just be the parts of yourself you know to be and the rest will follow!

Stop being jealous of others – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Bobby down the street may have a nicer house, better looking spouse and a car you would almost die to have but Bobby also has higher bills than you that no family really can afford, that great looking spouse is actually sneaking over to Allison's house when no one is looking and the to-die-for car is in the repair shop at least twice a month. Remember you may be faced with your own flaws and disappointments everyday and never truly see the "real story" behind the one you're comparing yourself to. Society has learned to paste on a smile and brag about quantity of possession instead of owning their emotion and working for quality of life. A good quote to remember is what I want to end with (see below)... We must get this business of self on the go this year.  So that's what my "new year's resolution" will be... Nothing specific but to better myself.  Who's with me?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year, New Me - Part 5

Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness – It's not really "happiness" you should be after anyway... It's joy. See, happiness is circumstantial but joy comes from the inside and is stable through any situation in life. If you’re okay with who you are on the inside, you won’t be able to find joy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. So work on yourself first! What is it that prevents you from loving yourself? Is it something that would stop you from loving someone else? If so, change it! If not, give yourself the same grace you would give to anyone else and be okay with some of those little quirks. The best support and teacher of "self love" I've ever had is the Bible. God's word... Once you see God's love for you written on pages thousands of years ago reach through time and touch your heart, even though it's impossible to understand why God loves us sometimes it's also impossible to deny that love... And if he loves us in spite then we need to accept and love ourselves in spite. You must create stability in your own life before you can share it with someone else, if you don't want an unstable soul coming into your life then be a stable soul before you enter into the life of someone else.

Stop holding grudges – This is huge as far as I'm concerned... One thing we need to remember is that holding a grudge does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR US! That bad feeling every time you hear a name, see someone or a thought of them crosses your mind can eat you up inside! That grudge distracts you from all good! More importantly, that grudge does nothing to the other person... That person will go on living life as usual, happily, never giving you another thought while you grow bitter and cold.  Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than people could ever hurt you. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay” but “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my joy forever. I'm going to move forward and be okay in spite of what you did to me, maybe even because of it.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember forgiveness is not just for other people, forgive yourself for whatever it is that keeps you from sleeping at night, move on and do better next time.  Most importantly, holding a grudge is huge to God... He just can't have it because he knows what it does to you, the people in your life that you make pay for the mistakes of others and what it does to your trust in Him... How can you make God believe you trust and believe Him when you can't even allow Him to deal with the hurt someone else has caused you... Grudges ultimately separate you from God because they damage your faith and trust in Him and God is not a silent partner, if you don't allow Him to work on your behalf He will get the hint that you "don't need Him" and walk away to let you do it on your own, which - by the way - you cannot. 

Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others – This is a hard one for all of us who want to make everyone proud, have everyone like us and have people approve of our decisions... But we have to get over the opinions of others just as much as we have to accept ourselves and be confident in who we are... You can like yourself all you want and still be frozen in place by concern of what others will think. I know you've heard "you can't please everyone" a hundred times by now and so have I but for one minute just realize the truth in that statement and accept that even if you're mother Teresa in deed and the Lord in meekness there will always be some back-biter that will try to take you down. Jesus said "So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you." 1st John 3:13 NLT. and "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first" John 15:18 NLT. In my humble opinion, Jesus was pretty great... I mean really, who wouldn't want a friend who could turn water into wine, make enough to eat for 5000 guests out of groceries for one (hello grocery bill savings!), cause any storm to stop in it's tracks, heal any disease that entered your body and even raise you from dead if necessary? Still, people not only were not proud to know him (even his best friend denied knowing who he was) they didn't like him, disapproved of his choices and hated him to the point of death. So if everyone around Jesus didn't like him, not everyone around you will like you but be a good person in spite of them and let God deal with the rest.

Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself – Listen, every person on this planet has a hard-knocks story to tell... We have all been taken advantage of, hurt, discarded, disregarded and disrespected.... That's part of life, so get over yourself, you're no better than the rest of us and that means you get to deal with the same junk we all do. Life’s curve balls are thrown for a reason: to shift our path in a better direction. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens and things will get tough. But reflect back on negative situations thrown at you and see the lessons you've already learned. Eventually you will see that negative people and circumstance become stepping stoned leading you to a better place, to become a better and stronger person, into a clearer state of mind and someday to your destiny. Besides that, God just happens to think brokenness is beautiful! "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18 NIV "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 NIV

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year, New Me - Part 3

Stop being idle"Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin" Ecclesiastes 4:5 NLT.  Being idle makes you think too much... Some thinking is always a good thing but dwelling is not, you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action yes but stop dwelling on the things you don't like or those things that cause you worry. In the words of Paul the Apostle "... Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" Philippians 4:8 NLT.
Stop thinking you’re not ready – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first. Most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zone, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first and that's great!  It's never comfortable to get up, walk across the room to initiate conversation with someone you think would like to start a friendship with but a year down the road when that friend is supporting you through a dark time in your life those first steps taken in spite of fear become worth every second of the "uncomfortable" and more.

Stop Running yourself ragged – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you're stressed and tired it's okay, we all feel that way sometimes... So listen, if you have plans tonight delay them by an hour just say "something needs my immediate attention, can we reschedule an hour later?" and take a long bath, sit in a quiet room, nap or eat something ridiculously fattening... Breathe. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting... Worn down and even if you reach your goal you won't be able to enjoy it fully.

Stop overlooking the beauty of small – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. We get so overwhelmed and busy at times we forget to notice the masterpiece of a sunset God just finished painting in the sky to remind you of his love or the way a loved one looks past the frazzled hair and tires eyes into the soul of who you are... Don't miss any of it. Just take time to appreciate the sparkle in some one's eye when they look at you, look up at that sunset and see God's love and compassion, you'll be surprised how much better you will feel! The best portion of your life will be in the small, nameless moments you spend appreciating.

Stop trying to make things perfect – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things actually keep trying. Furthermore, nothing is ever perfect... But sometimes the imperfections come together in a way that makes us gasp for breath at the beauty before us.

Because every step is a step worth taking.

Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. It's okay to admit you're wrong... It's definitely okay to apologize to someone! You don’t always have to pretend to be strong or right and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. Cry if you need to, it’s healthier to leak some tears that to pack it all up inside and eventually explode in anger. The sooner you take a minute to be "not okay," the sooner you will be okay again.

Stop worrying – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. Why is it when things are going well we have that nagging thought in the back of our mind "nothing lasts forever" but when something seems to be going wrong that thought pattern changes into "things will never be right again?" Don't torture yourself! Someone once told me "if you worry you don't trust God." I hated hearing that, it still rubs me the wrong way because I tend to be an over-analyzer and thus a worry wart... But the thing about that statement I hate most is it's truth. If I ask my friend to order me a burger with extra mayonnaise and pickles but I worry the whole time they are in line that they won't get it right then I don't really trust them to take care of it in the first place... And if I send them a text or two saying "just making sure you don't forget extra mayo & pickles... Thought it would be easier if you have it in front of you!" then they will know I don't trust them and possibly through implication think I believe they are incompetent... And those two conclusions would be perfectly justified. Don't make God question how you feel about His competence with regards to your life, if he can hang the stars in the sky and keep us all walking around on this Earth through the laws of gravity, He's definitely got your life in control.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New Me! - Part 2

Stop trying to hold onto the past – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one. I know, there are reasons we like to hold on... That ex you wish would come back, that chance you never took, that loved one who passed... But the truth is, we can't change anything by not moving forward anyway! If you really think about it, that ex will never to come back to a messy, crying, needy, possibly turning stalker anyway... Would you? No, you have a better chance of the ex seeing you move forward and onto great things in life and regretting the decision to leave you ultimately forcing them to try to get you back than by updating your facebook status 100 times a day with sappy "you tore out my heart" love songs and confessing your grim outlook for the future! As far as that chance you never took and now it's too late... Is it really? If not, stop belly aching over what might have been and go out and see what could be, take the chance now. If it honestly is too late the LEARN FROM IT and look for the next opportunity to come your way being ready and take that chance! Now possibly the hardest struggle, the loved one you never quite expressed your true love for that's gone... You can't get them back, no matter how you cry and try. And the thing is, they probably knew your love without you telling them. If not, did they love you? Of course. And if you were the one who passed would you want them to be stagnant in life using their grief and lonesome feeling as some weight stopping them from living, moving forward and making you proud of the way they are living life? Absolutely not! So, why would you not do the things for yourself which you would want them to do if the roles were reversed? No Excuses!

Stop berating yourself for old mistakes – This is definitely easier said than done... Partially because we have little to no control over some thoughts of old mistakes passing through our minds. What we do have complete power over is how we respond to the thought of a past failure... Sometimes it's good for those thoughts to come, it can be a reminder of the lesson learned. Just tell yourself I've learned, I'm getting better, progressing and I may have loves the wrong person and cry about the wrong things but those past mistakes are helping me find the person and things that are right for me... If nothing else it has taught me what not to do and what I don't want. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past but you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Those mistakes and struggles are what has shaped you into the caring, compassionate and beautiful person you are now. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life has and is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come. Expect amazing things!

Stop trying to buy happiness – I have to say, raised in a "poor" home for much of my life, this one hasn't really been a huge problem for me but I've seen it in lives of those around me. I put quotes around poor because if you think you are poor please, save whatever money you do have and take a trip to a third world country... Your opinion of poor will be changed. Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions. Think about it... If you had a choice: lose everything you've purchased or lose the people you love, all humor around you and your passion which would you choose? Obviously the purchases... So then stop looking at those things are needs when they are only added benefits, spend more time on what's really important!

Stop being scared to make a mistake – Listen, I'm a singer, I sing every week on a stage... Usually to a minimum of 300 people in an audience and upwards to almost 3000... I've fallen down the stairs off the stage, mistakenly thrown a prop off the stage into the audience and had to wait for it to be returned to me, hit flat and sharp notes, forgotten the words to the song, run off stage crying when there were musical errors that screwed the song up so bad we had to stop (I was pretty young for that one.) lost the cord out of the end of my microphone halfway through a song and not really noticed for a few lyrics... picked it up plugged it in and kept going haha! But I still do it every week, I still get on stage, I still dance around and I still sing! Failure doesn't lie in making mistakes but in not learning from them and trying again! Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it and every failure- as long as you keep moving and learning afterward - is just another step leading you toward success.

Stop trying to be someone you’re not – One of the greatest challenges in life is just being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. God designed you the way you are for a reason, even those things you see as imperfections... So maybe you're not the funniest and are a little slow on the uptake at times, it could just be purposed for you to have one serious conversation in your lifetime that will actually save someone in a time of sadness... Let's face it, I may be funny but a suicidal person wouldn't need me to crack a joke as much as would need you to care, sympathize and talk them through the moment.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger but they will never be you and all in all, you're just fine! It's the accepting yourself in order to be yourself that can be difficult... I've already written at least three blogs in 2011 on this subject matter... Planned from the Beginning, Flava Flave and Not the Prettiest. Don’t change so people will like you because if they only like you for who you pretend to be, well then, they don't really like you at all, do they? Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.