I love the little things in life. The simple things. And I love small random acts of kindness. These are things you will sort of be aware of if you are a regular reader of my posts. I want to do BIG things though… Not quite like Pinky and the Brain… I don’t want to take over the world 😛 But I’d like to help change it for the better.
The pandemic has taught me how much of a desire in my heart this actually is. I didn’t think the ‘love’ side of me could grow much more (love = kindness, compassion, sacrifice) …. I didn’t think it was possible for it to almost consume me. But it has. And at times it has been overwhelming. Especially when I am not feeling up to doing much…. My mind is still ‘up to much’, ha ha!
I bumped into acquaintance – a lady who doesn’t know much about me at all. What was strange was that we ended up having a rather meaningful, deep conversation, centering around purpose and goals and personal growth. I expressed my frustration to her because I want to do BIG things, and at the end of our little ‘meeting’, she left me with this :
”Just an observation, Meg. You notice the little things – the things that other people don’t. You’re the same with people – you notice, while others just continue on with their day and their tasks. You did something the other day for someone, and I heard about it from that person. It was a random kindness and something small, but let me tell you that at the particular moment you made a BIG difference in that person’s life. Don’t underestimate YOUR small things – they’re achieving the BIG stuff.”
And my heart soared, and I decided there and then to keep doing the little things!
I had a big thing happen yesterday. And I can’t help but wonder if it is partly the little things I do that led to it. (But it’s mostly a person with an incredible heart who did a HUGE good deed for me 😉 ) The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and many are suffering financially. And let’s be honest, I have had more than my ‘unfair share’ 😛 of troubles these last six months. Without going in to too much detail, let me say this : thanks to someone with a kind and generous, very beautiful spirit, in this Summer heat I will be able to replace my fridge and fill it. A BIG thing that made a HUGE difference. A small thing that made a huge difference to me just this morning? A lady standing in the queue next to me said, ”I can tell you have a lovely smile, even though you’re wearing a mask – it shows in your eyes.”
BIG things. SMALL things. They ALL have value and make a difference! Please keep looking for opportunities to spread love! ❤
Today is just a relatively quick share… but it’s something that is high on the list of things I value most ❤
I saw the picture below, and it made me cry. Probably for many reasons. But the greatest one was this : kindness and compassion… let’s do it! More of it! Let’s do the ‘least’ we can… let’s do the little things…
And may we never cease to look for the opportunities to ‘hold the door’ for someone else! ❤
I was thrown into a ‘state of anxiety’ for about a week, because of my dog. Let me explain – or try to, at least. I don’t know how eloquent I will be… or how much sense any of it will make…. but please bear with me…. or dog with me, rather 😛 This is Toffolux – Toffee for short :
The top two pictures are from the last couple of years – the bottom two are from when my daughter was 10/11 – they would watch movies together. 😉
I have touched on, in previous posts, a severe traumatic incident in 2012… that was followed with a lot more trauma till 2013. But added to that, I have childhood trauma too… that was more ongoing. Anyway….
At the end of 2013, I was helped with my 2012 incident… adequate trauma counselling etc. Things started looking up. However, I was still having nightmares and I was still afraid. In 2014, it was suggested to me that I get a dog – to help me.
I have ALWAYS been a dog person… I find myself incredibly attached to them though… whether it’s mine or not. Ha ha! I have a feeling dogs sense this. In my complex, anytime a dog escapes their yard, they show up on MY doorstep. In fact, there are two dogs living outside my complex at the end of the road, who come here too. It’s rather amusing, really. The lady at the end of the road asked if I was a vet – no ways! My dog passion can never be followed that way… my heart would literally break. In fact, a few weeks back, there was a doggy run over on the highway (the opposite direction we were driving) and traffic had come to a standstill… and I had to pull over a little later because my tears were blurring my vision. Moving on….
The children were excited at the announcement that we would go to one of the local animal sanctuary’s in search of a dog. They love dogs as much as I do… and had been waiting two years for a ‘replacement’ for our last one. My instructions were clear – not a puppy! I wanted a ‘grown up’, about the size of a maltese poodle.
We came home with a puppy. Sigh.
Toffee had arrived at the sanctuary at three weeks old, after being thrown out of a car window in a plastic packet. ‘One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure’. This was most certainly the case when he came into our lives. We went searching the day he was six weeks old. He had just finished fighting off Biliary too! This pup was a survivor!
And he chose us. By attaching himself to the fur at the top of my daughter’s boots and hanging on. I still laugh out loud when I think of that moment! And Toffee became this girl’s best friend – yes! I would choose him over a diamond ANY day!
Most of my free time has been spent with Toffee by my side. We have engaged in long conversations – I haven’t really had anyone else to spend time with… so he is my movie companion, my sounding board, my friend. My children often joke that he is also the ‘husband in the household for mom’, and that they don’t know how a guy would fit into the equation – and since they are okay with that, I am too. Ha ha! Because Toffee sleeps on the pillow next to me at night. He snores in my ear. And sometimes he even steals the blankets. When I talk to him, he gazes at me, listening intently. And sometimes even offers up appropriate ‘noises’ in response. My son is still convinced he KNOWS what we are saying and is talking back. The funniest is when you ask him a question, and he responds with shaking his head as if to say no.
And in all honesty? He is definitely the most ‘human’ dog I have ever had. I’ve had eight dogs in total in my lifetime – I got my first puppy at age 2. And so when I compare? He’s definitely a ‘person’ more than an animal 😉
But there is this too : when the nightmares came, Toffee would wake me… and cuddle against me, sometimes licking my cheek in reassurance that it was okay. When the ‘unexplained fear’ overcame me, it was like he knew. When I was feeling anxious, he knew. And he always offered reassurance. A paw on my leg if we were sitting together. A look he would give me, followed by a big sigh, and then an approach where he would bump against me for love…. and giving him love always gave me a strange form of comfort.
My children have been growing – they have their friends, their recreational activities, their social lives. In my down time? I have Toffee, and whatever it is I choose to do – read, watch series or a movie, or just sit and think about life. He’s always at my side.
Since March, Toffee has (after six years of perfect health) been unwell. Recurring bouts of prostatitis, and a need to be neutered. And so his neutering was booked for the 2nd October. And the day I booked it, my anxiety was what some considered ‘stupid and abnormal’. Because of him being an older dog, there was the niggle of ‘what if something goes wrong’? My kids weren’t around, and when I got home from the booking, I’ll admit it… I cried. Toffee, with his 26 kilogram body, jumped up on me to hug me (he does that too! Stands with his paws stretched up on your shoulders and actually curls them into you as if pulling you in for a hug!) Then he disappeared to my room… and when I followed a few minutes later and entered the room, he let out a loud sigh and I saw this :
The pillow says RELAX on it. He stayed like that for me to take a photo… but then I couldn’t contain my laughter any longer and he lifted his head, wagging his tail, and ‘smiled’ at me.
He came through surgery that day like the champ that he is. But the following week there were minor complications that caused me some sadness and stress…. and again, some people commented that I was being ‘ridiculous’, ‘he’s just a dog’, ‘this is quite pathetic of you’.
WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT, WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE BACKGROUND, WHEN YOU WEREN’T THERE TO COMFORT SOMEONE THROUGH THE TRAUMA… PLEASE DON’T JUDGE THEM! THIS IS WHERE KINDNESS SHOULD KICK IN.
I have said that in CAPS because it is SO important.
In the end, Toffee needed an extra large cone… but as you can see, he wasn’t too unhappy about it 😉
Unfortunately he’s not quite back to being healthy yet. He now has an ear infection. Sigh.
Why all of this? About my dog?
I had seven days of struggling with sleep, and anxiety. How silly, right? But here’s the thing :
When you’re unfamiliar with trauma – whether it be long lasting or a particular incident – and if you do not understand the complications that can follow years later, then you too are nodding your head in agreement at how ‘ridiculous I have been, allowing a dog to make me almost not able to function for a week’.
But if you ARE familiar… and if you’re not please try and understand :
Although it IS about me loving my dog ‘too much’, there was a whole other thing taking place. It’s called a trigger. After a few years of being ‘almost completely free’? This ‘event’ triggered something in me. And I don’t know how this really works or why it happens…. I just know it does.
And so… when I slept? The nightmares came back – not as severe, and yet I still woke up terrified. I looked over my shoulder a little more than usual…. even in my own home. I found excuses to communicate with my daughter when she wasn’t home – sending her a meme or something, just to get her to respond, so that I would know she was okay.
You may not fully understand. Because you don’t know what I went through. And the reactions from others made me think about it quite a lot.
And I had to add another thing to my ‘to do list’ in my character….
I know I should not have an opinion about anyone unless I fully know their why. But at the same time – what is it in me that always seems to want to know the WHY? Yes, it helps explain… and it makes understanding easier…. And yet…. There are times where people will not be able to find the words to explain their why to me; they may not trust me enough or they may just not want to talk about that part of the past; or they may have ten million other reasons NOT to tell me their why. I still have just ONE reason to at least TRY and understand without the necessity of every detail…. And it surpasses those ten million….
It’s doing everything I can to show REAL love to others – an ‘unnatural’ kindness and compassion, that just is, and doesn’t need explanations.
It’s not easy. I won’t always get it right. But I have made a decision to be ‘more aware’, and at least TRY to get it right!
So this was one part of the ‘all will be revealed in time’ that I mentioned in my last post 😉
(And just as a side note : someone told me that I can’t help anyone with their life purpose if I am still reliving things from my past – my response was this : if it wasn’t for the past, and the understanding that triggers exist, THEN I would be ineffective. If I wasn’t experiencing the things that I am, and learning from them and growing, then I wouldn’t be in a place to identify with anyone, would I? I don’t relive my past – and I don’t live in it either… but sometimes it just appears out of nowhere. This is reality for so many! Getting through something, dealing with it, moving forward in life? Unfortunately it doesn’t mean it never happened. Our response to the reminder is what changes… and we are better equipped to ‘fight’. This trigger was an unknown – I didn’t expect to react like this at all…. or for it to have been as bad as it what it was. I probably should have identified it sooner, and not lost a week, as such! BUT I have learnt from this… and I am prepared for next time 😉 I won’t be completely unaffected by it next time, but the impact WILL be a little less. I guess my honesty ISN’T always a good thing – and makes people question my abilities and character. BUT…. connection comes from honesty – I want to be REAL! So my apologies to everyone – I am not perfect. But I share tidbits for this reason : guys and girls! Life is still worth living! Sometimes we get slowed down… but keep putting one foot in front of the other! Sometimes it will take a little longer than we feel it should…. But always remember that slow progress is still progress, and you’re still a lot further than anyone who isn’t even trying ❤
I saw this picture a couple of days ago, and it made me giggle. My teenage daughter has a tendency to ‘take her time’, and I find myself saying, ‘Oh my gosh! Are we on a go slow here?’ quite a bit!
Her most recent ‘phase’ has me rather amused though. I am not sure how she does it (probably an app or something) because the words are not distorted at all, but she now listens to ‘slowed down’ songs. So she will take one of her hip hop numbers for dancing, and listen to it as a ballad. Her theory is that she has discovered that so many of them are ‘prettier’ when they’re slower.
On Friday, when I went to collect our bottled water for the next few days, the lady who owns the ‘water shop’ gave me a small gift. We have built a friendship of sorts over the past year, and every now and then we give something small for encouragement. So on Friday, she gave me a Kit Kat.
The Kit Kat slogan is ‘have a break, have a Kit Kat’.
(Although these days I feel more like a Bar One – for a 25 hour day 😛 )
Her comment to me, when she handed it over, was ‘Don’t forget to have a break this weekend’.
And my thought process was this : Sometimes, having a break and just slowing down is necessary. It makes us ‘prettier’. I’ve even heard it said that slowing down sometimes can make you that much more successful in the long run.
Because sometimes when we take the time to slow down, we’re also allowing ourselves the opportunity to ‘just be’, and maybe even ‘just think and ponder’. This can benefit us in so many ways – helping us get clarity in certain situations that we might find ourselves in; helping us not only get in touch with our emotions, but perhaps granting us the time to identify the ones that need to be dealt with and let go of; and ultimately helping us to make better decisions. Because if my mind isn’t racing, then I guess I am giving it time to absorb and assess and process.
I also can’t do anything I need to or want to, if I’m dead. (Now I know that I cannot control when that day will come – but I also need to be careful about contributing to bringing it about by NOT taking care of me.) Slowing down for a period of time every day gives my mind, soul AND body time to rejuvenate. I am here for a purpose, and I have many things that I still want to and need to do. But if I run myself ragged and forget to ‘slow down and rest’, then eventually it will start affecting my health. And what good will I be then?
There was a time where my attitude was, ‘there isn’t time for ‘me’. Slowing down is not an option’. I’ve had to learn that taking time for me is NOT a luxury, but a necessity.
After all… I can’t pour from an empty cup.
So yesterday, when the wind dropped for a few hours and the sun was warm, I headed for my small garden. I do not have a green thumb, or a brown one… in fact, I am questioning whether or not I have a thumb at all when it comes to my garden. And yet I find it very therapeutic to be out there, in the dirt, pottering around. And I remembered something else while I was out there – I don’t remember who said it though – but here’s a reminder for the start of the new week for all of you :
I saw this image on Facebook, and what struck me the most was ‘but with intention’.
According to Wikipedia, ”Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought.”.
I remember reading once that living our lives with intention means to live life ‘on purpose’. Not just on auto-pilot. To actually take responsibility for ‘us’ in the sense of throwing out what we have been taught (discarding the book of ‘rules’) and making our very own decisions, choices, changes.
A lot of business blogs will tell you that in this day and age with so much advancement, the surest way to get left behind and ‘kill your business potential’ is to use the words,
”We’ve always done it this way.”
This can be true for our personal lives too. We get taught to do things a certain way from young, and they become ‘something we just do’, pretty much forever.
Please don’t misunderstand – there are some traditions that are very worthy of continuance.
But there are many things that become habitual, and lose meaning altogether.
Habits that are constructive are good things – like perhaps introducing small daily habits to your schedule that have purpose, that are things that reflect your values. Maybe starting your day with ten minutes of meditation, or jotting down your goals for the day, or perhaps spending ten minutes stretching those sleepy muscles.
But when I did some self reflecting regarding ‘living life intentionally’, I had to face some difficult truths. I discovered that there are areas in my life where I am pretty much living on auto-pilot : my daily routines had become predictable (before the pandemic), and although they have changed because of the pandemic, they’re now quite predictable, yet again. I find myself moving through each day, going through motions, and doing things without even really having to think about them.
Now… I DO know myself… and I know that when it comes to some aspects of life, I am like a child in that I really DO need the routines. This is not a bad thing by any means.
Where I have started feeling, and seeing, that it may be ‘bad’ is that it seems to be a pattern that traverses through most of my day.
And while ‘going through the motions and not needing to think’, I am truly missing out on ‘the more‘ that life has to offer. Especially the simple joys.
And you know me and my silly examples 😉 Well, here is one that I think is actually really good 😉
The pandemic has been good to my laundry basket 😛 I now only need to do a load of washing every second day 😉
But putting a load in the washing machine and waiting for it to finish, then lugging the basket outside to the washing line to hang it all out for a few hours, and then heading back out there to take it all off the washing line again…. this is all rather habitual – it is something I do without even thinking about it. In fact, it is so terribly done on auto pilot, that some days I forget that I have even put the washing on to start with! I have no recollection of adding the washing powder and fabric softener, turning and pressing buttons etc.
And many days, I shake my head and question my memory… wondering if I am already losing my mind. But it’s usually followed by a laugh and a shrug, and I just move on…. to the next thing… in auto pilot mode. This is something rather trivial… but it brought to home the ‘living life on purpose/intentionally’ with regards to living my life better in order to feel more fulfilled, satisfied…. and finding the happiness in the simple things. Because what happened was this :
I love butterflies. And not just for what they represent/the meaningful stories that surround their existence. I also happen to think that are amazingly beautiful little creatures. Sadly, for whatever reason, I don’t see them very often here where I live. Not real ones, anyway. I have plenty of decal ones, and printed pictures, stuck up in various places in my house though 😉 Even they make me happy when I see them.
I came in one day, after hanging up the washing, to find my son sitting in the lounge staring at the part of our small garden where I had been busy. He made a comment that had me running back outside as fast as my legs would take me. He said, ”You must be happy, Mom, having the butterflies to help you hang up the washing.”
But by the time I got to the washing line, they were gone. He told me when I returned to the lounge that there had been three of them, two small ones and a larger one, with quite striking colours in their wings. He was genuinely surprised that I had missed them, because they were flying ‘right there’. As strange as it sounds to most of you, this really made my heart feel sad… in that moment, just because I had missed seeing a few of my ‘favourite things’.
The self reflection brought this memory to the forefront of my mind, and I was sad all over again when I fully grasped what it meant. Sometimes we get so caught up in life as we know it, tasks that need doing, getting through the day (most times on auto pilot), that we can so easily forget to be present. We definitely need to work on mindfulness – the greatest aspect of this ‘to simply be present”.
I can’t help but wonder what else I have missed in all these days. Which is a sad thought, yes. And it would be incredibly devastating if I sat here ruminating about it. Instead, I am choosing to be more mindful, and more present, in as many ways as I can and as often as I can.
These days, hanging up the washing takes longer…. because I am slower to start 😉 I first look around me, at each tree and each bit of my garden – because there may be something incredible out there just waiting to brighten my day 😉
I’ll touch very briefly on the image I shared above – I know it doesn’t speak of LIVING intentionally – it instead calls for us to love intentionally.
I don’t know about you, but I sort of feel that we can apply the concepts of living intentionally to the aspect of loving in the same way. Being mindful of those around us, and being present with them.
I’ll end with an interesting heading that I found regarding loving others intentionally….
”Purposefully loving ourselves so that we can intentionally love others.”
Some food for thought in that statement alone 😉
Don’t forget to look for the butterflies 😉 and be well! ❤
I’ve sat staring at this page for about two hours now. I have started a blog post, only to then delete everything I have typed and revert to the blank page. I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by other incoming messages – perhaps it’s something that will provide a good topic to write on? Then I respond to the message, return here… and it begins again.
I love how it is so easy to take the blank page and fill it with words… decide against sharing those particular words or topics at the moment…. and just delete it all. Like wiping the slate clean, which we all know is not applicable to life.
There are no do-overs. But we can always start over. Even in the troubling times we are now facing, world wide. Things have just got a little more complicated… more challenging.
And for me? I’ve grown too used to my comfort zones. My personal development, and growth – the self exploration and changes that needed to be made? All those things have been, and are still, painful and difficult. What I didn’t realise though was how much my ‘security blanket’ and the general routines and stability around me, were actually helping me – in a way, protecting me.
And being thrown into the chaos of our strange, nonsensical, very strict lock down has not just caused me to stop and move a few steps back. It’s like a tornado arrived sent from the Wizard of Oz himself, lifted and tossed me around for a while, and then dumped me back in my own bed – but not to partake in life as I know it, for everything has changed so very much.
I’ve had to be stern with myself quite a lot lately – I’m a terrible disciplinarian… I’ve reduced myself to tears quite a few times 😛
Here’s what I am working on right now though : I need to stop. I need to start over.
No matter what this virus does, or what my government does, or what the people do in response to both – I NEED TO STOP.
I need to remember that my life still has purpose. That while my windows of opportunity seem to have been nailed shut, they’re not. I am just going to have to push against them a little harder. I mustn’t let the current circumstances limit my potential.
I am still me.
Filled with purpose and potential.
A self-confessed prisoner of hope.
The circumstances have changed, but I cannot let them change me – not in the way they have been. I’ve worked too hard to be better!
I need to start seeing things differently. It starts with me!
And although I know that I know this, sometimes I still forget some of the aspects related to the word ‘success’.
I was reading Ed Mylett’s book, and he was talking about when he first started out – the early days of his entrepreneurship. When he wasn’t a successful entrepreneur.
He speaks of how they had nothing. Bills hadn’t been paid, utilities had been shut off. He and his wife had to sneak down to the apartment complex’s swimming pool before others woke up to use the showers there, and then he’d don his business suit and ‘pretend’ to be a successful entrepreneur. He mentions that the showers were open ones, and so he would hold a towel for his wife to try and ‘protect her privacy’.
What struck me, as I read those words, was this :
Yes, he wasn’t yet a successful entrepreneur, BUT in my eyes (based on the story he told) he was pretty successful as a husband.
Because here’s the thing : we are fully responsible for our own personal and professional development, and the success thereof. While circumstances may play a part in delaying our ‘success’, I think that a lot of the time the fact that we just continue to persevere is successful in itself!
A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a friend who was being poached by another company – according to her she was really happy in her current placement, but the other company was offering her a much better salary package. She asked me what she should do. I told her to speak to her boss, and see if he could perhaps counteroffer. Naturally, she was worried that the other company would still be offering her more – and what then? My reply was ‘to determine what it was she was chasing – if she’s happy where she is, and that is what she wants from life, then she should stay. If her aim was to make more money, then she should change jobs’.
I don’t know that this was the best advice (since then, her current company came in with a better offer and she is staying where she is) but I do know this :
Success is largely about perspective, and it’s personal. What it means to me may not necessarily be what it means to you.
I found this article about 9 famous people who spoke of what success is – to them. There were some interesting things in there, so I thought I’d share it in case you wanted to do some further reading 😉
Photo credit : quotefancy.com
I love the quote above. It’s something I often refer to, and is a reminder for me to ‘think big’.
I don’t listen to podcasts – well not really, anyway. And it’s not just a personal thing.
My children love apples – but only the Granny Smith kind, and so there’s always a few on the kitchen counter. When they complain that there’s ‘nothing to eat in this house’ (usually in reference to nothing that they consider worth eating – no sugary substances or other such junk food – and I know you have this problem too), I am able to point at the apple supply with satisfaction and a murmur of, ‘see? you won’t starve’!
But those are the only ‘apples’ in our house.
I don’t know the exact year, but after asking a few friends, and based on my own knowledge, I think Apple only really became popular in South Africa about 6 years ago. And over here, if you have an iPhone, you’re pretty much top-notch.
As I mentioned above, I am only top-notch with my endless supply of Granny Smith Apples. 😛
I discovered midway through last year, due to a friend sharing a link to a ‘must hear’ podcast with me, that my computer can actually access these, despite it not being Apple related. Since then, I have listened to a few. The thing is that they don’t really ‘work for me’. I can’t get on with my day while I am listening – I need to give it my attention and a lot of times I want to be able to make notes to remember things that are important to me. When I half listen and wash the dishes, I can’t make notes… and I miss a lot.
I need to connect. I need to see you talking to me. Somehow words work in written format for me – I am able to connect. But if you’re telling me something important so that I can grow and be a better me, then just hearing your voice isn’t going to cut it. I need to see you. So the better option for me is always video – thus YouTube is my ‘go to’. So now the point of this blog post (gosh, yes! I took a long time to get here!) :
I watched a YouTube video the other day and something that was said has been on my mind ever since. (Thanks, Mel Robbins!) I did check what I heard and saw, and there were tons of other equally astounding odds in relation to this.
“Scientists estimate the probability of your being born at about one in 400 trillion.”
^^^Read it again^^^That’s a BIG number, and those odds are mind blowing!
Now I totally get it when someone has gone through experiences in life that has robbed them of their self-worth. I totally get it that sometimes life is hard, circumstances are devastating, peace feels like it’s only ever going to be a sign from the 60’s.
I totally get it because I have experienced it first hand. I sometimes still do. Life ain’t perfect, and neither am I. We can’t control everything.
BUT …. 1:400 TRILLION ???
Your existence is extraordinary! It surpasses all known human or natural powers. You’re a miracle that breathes!
You ARE awesome!
And the next time you begin to question why you ever born… or someone else questions it and tells you that you shouldn’t have been – that you are unwanted and unworthy? PLEASE remember the above! Because with odds like that, there is DEFINITELY a reason for your birth – your life definitely serves a purpose!
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, or where you’re at right now. It doesn’t matter what other people tell you, or what you have been led to believe.
It matters that you let the above sink in, and take a chance to make a change, if need be. Put in that little bit extra… because YOU’RE WORTH IT! With odds like that, stop underestimating yourself!
Each and every one of us are different. And there are days when I look in the mirror and think, ‘well, thank goodness for that!’. 😛
NO ONE can be a better YOU than YOU!(And it’s in red because it is really important!) And guess what? Your birth was a blessing, no matter what the circumstances. You have gifts and talents, even if you haven’t discovered them yet. And you have a purpose!
You aren’t defined by your past, and that includes yesterday. Because perhaps yesterday you did something that suddenly sparked a much needed change and so today you are a better person, striving towards the greatness you were created for.
And if you feel like you haven’t yet managed to grasp your particular talent, ability, purpose and it’s making you feel worthless? Please don’t lose heart! You will! You’re still the best ‘you’ that anyone could ever hope to be and you’re filled with undeniably positive potential! (Even if it means you need to learn and grow and discover 😉 )
No matter what : you matter!
So having said all that, I am also going to say this : some people can be really mean, and sometimes I think that’s why Noah only took animals on the ark. 😛
They stand in judgement of every little thing, and they’re critical, and they’re a downright hindrance to whatever self esteem we are trying to build. And sometimes, if we pause to explore where they’re coming from, we might find a lot of hidden hurt… and opinions based on the beliefs they have. They can still be quite destructive though. (If we let them be : and let’s face it, sometimes we’re in a place where we struggle to not let them influence us.)
They’re a ball of continuous negativity that just seems to never stop rolling.
The thing is, when I think about it, there are times where my behaviour was exactly like theirs. Those times may have been fleeting, but I’d be lying if I said that I have never judged another, or been critical, or broken down someone’s self esteem.
However, nowadays when that old pattern of self threatens to emerge, I am usually a lot more successful at preventing myself from reacting or behaving in that way, because I have worked really hard to eliminate the beliefs that taught me to be that way and deal with my pain. And I owned my mistakes – and appreciated the times they were not thrown in my face. There’s also something extra special and extremely uplifting when someone pauses at an action you have taken and wants to know ‘why’ – without just the assumption that actions speak louder than words.
The ‘WHY’ is actually the source of the biggest step towards change and growth. Without understanding ‘why’, or caring enough to ask someone ‘why’, they may not ever get the help they need and may continue on a path of self destruction. I understand that sometimes the why isn’t a simple answer – but growth and change aren’t always simple either.
In a world where we can be anything, let’s not only be kind…. let’s also be understanding.
This was actually all sparked by a motivational speaker who has fed me some truly great opinions and knowledge that have helped me, but has also recently been tarnished in the media for doing something ‘terrible’. And while I agree that ‘the deed’ is in fact a bit questionable, I don’t know why it was done – I have no real knowledge of the circumstances or the emotions, or the struggle that I am sure was happening internally. Does it mean that the food I was able to glean for my own soul now no longer has worth? NO!
It just means that this person has weaknesses too – and that the weakness has temporarily won – and perhaps there is a great sense of purpose to it? For who knows?Perhaps there’s a lesson for them and an opportunity for even more growth. Because we never stop growing or learning. Perhaps this is a part of their journey.
They may be a celebrity with a recognised social status and more money than I could ever possibly imagine having or even desire (unless it means I can give it away and help the people in my life who I know so desperately need it!) … but that celebrity is still a person, like me. They also matter. They also need kindness and understanding. They also make mistakes.
And since I didn’t like being judged and criticised for mine, I don’t think it’s fair that I jump on the bandwagon and do the same to them – especially since I don’t understand the situation.
That weakness led to a mistake being made. Celebrities are not perfect, so why do we think they don’t make mistakes? Just like we do. Just like some parents do. Just like some pastors do. Just like some teachers do.
As I have been making my way through the book a second time, noting down things that are important for my journey, I was reminded of something that I would like to share.
I thought of the ‘me’ I was twenty years ago, and how she would have reacted had she read this book back then. That ‘me’ was inclined to still be quite naive, and opinionated in a sense that what I believed was the only way and if you didn’t agree, you were wrong. Oh my! How I missed out on so many valuable things along the way!
It had a lot to do with the belief systems that were taught to me from a young age – passed down to me. (I wrote a post about belief systems here last year – pardon the language.) The thing is that I was never encouraged to form and build on my own belief system. There was no freedom to think out of the box – it was a scenario relatively close to ‘’it’s my way, or the highway’’. And if I didn’t live inside that box, then I was a failure, and unworthy. And I BELIEVED I was!
But you see….
That particular belief system probably originated from the generation prior. Because we build and live according to what we know. And some of us are not fortunate enough to ever ‘broaden our horizons’. I’ve had a lot of life experience in a lot of areas – sometimes I feel like I’ve already done life three times over. 😛
There are studies that have shown that as a child, the more we get exposed to, the more our immune system builds. It gets strengthened by the yucky stuff. I often joke that part of the reason my immune system is so strong can be accredited to gravel (a selection of small stones all together). When I was 5, our school had gravel beneath the swings. In hindsight, it wasn’t such a wonderful thing because if you jumped off the swing and lost your balance, it hurt! I would sit in that swing and gently rock myself back and forth, sucking stones that I had picked out from the gravel. Ewwww! I know! I also played in the dirt a lot, even in my white dress with red polka dots, much to my mother’s horror. (I ruined that dress on my 6th birthday at my party when I fell out of a tree 😛 )
But I also wasn’t very sick as a child, so perhaps that’s why?
Here’s how I think this relates to my own belief system (which is continuously growing, just by the way) :
I was brought up inside the box. To the extreme. And from a little girl, I fought with that lid.
I have had more than my fair share of bad experiences – some where I carry the responsibility, and some that were circumstantial and out of my control. I have also had some good experiences, and although they have left me with positive emotions and a lot to laugh about, none of them have ‘changed’ me. The bad experiences have allowed me to grow, and become stronger. The lid has flown right off that box, and I am no longer bound by the way I was taught that things ‘should be’.
I don’t fully agree with everything written in the book I am now ‘studying’. Does that make the author a bad person, a failure in some areas, not worth listening to? NO! Because there is a LOT that I do agree with, and needed to hear. And the things I don’t agree with? I have ‘listened to’ anyway, because it has given me another view of something in me that was ‘concrete’ (no, I didn’t swallow any of the gravel 😛 ). And quite honestly, I need to think about what she has said.
It comes down to a firm belief that everyone is different, and that just because I believe or think the way I do, you don’t have to! And it doesn’t mean that you are worth less as a person, or that you cannot impact my life, or that we can’t be friends.
My perspectives and my beliefs and values? They’re mine. I can share them with you, I can hope that my experiences will help you or just impact you positively. But I can’t fight with you and be angry with you just because you aren’t in complete agreement with me. Besides, you may have much to teach me if we don’t think alike, and I might miss out of the beauties of friendship and life in general if I build myself back into a box.
(I do have to add this though: I can’t put myself in harm’s way, and so sadly there are some interactions that I am forced to avoid. But these are definitely few and far between.)
We need to embrace what makes us different – celebrate your quirks, and even the things that you can’t do.And then pause for a moment and accept that someone else is probably in the same boat as you : different… trying to embrace themselves.
I’ll end with this : Someone told me the other day (in agreement with me saying that I am a very open person who doesn’t leave much to the imagination) that ‘mystery is not my superpower’.
I loved that! And had a good laugh! Of course I’d like to NOT always be so open, because I love a good mystery and so do many other people out there, but it’s the way I am and it makes me ‘me’. And I have learned to embrace it and celebrate it.
Besides, I have other superpowers 😉 *stands and swoops her cape dramatically and clicks ‘publish’*