Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Get Some Distance

It seems we develop patterns in life. We are creatures of habit.  We drive the same way to work and church.  We do the exact same thing upon waking up and right before bed.  We turn to the same comforts when we are sad, and we respond in the same way when someone hurts us.

Habits. Patterns.

It’s no wonder that we find it hard to overcome certain weaknesses or challenges in our lives. 

It’s no wonder, that we don’t always see what others see happening to us and inside of us.

I have found that the greatest catalyst for change in my life is when I change up my days. Whatever it is that gets me out of my normal routine, whether by choice or necessity  - it breathes fresh air and focus into my life. Focus, that was often, so very necessary.

Only when I get away from my habits and routines am I able to see things more clearly.  Distance helps me analyze and see my life from another vantage point.

A needed vantage point.

We can too easily live our lives in our own created bubbles. Even if we are very sociable people, we have created certain boundaries that we are satisfied and comfortable with. So when we have a hurdle in our life, or something inside of our souls that needs a little “tweaking,” we aren’t always in the best position to deal with it, until we can get away from the very things that allow some blindness to occur in our eyes concerning that matter.

Sometimes, our friends and family members can cast a little light onto the issue for us. But we aren’t always in a place where our heart is ready to receive what they have to say.

Distance can give our hearts the strength and the space it needs, to accept that something needs to be dealt with or handled differently. Something needs to change.

We all have things in our lives that need to be addressed from time to time. We all get “pricked” by truths we’d rather not acknowledge about ourselves. But it’s those very pricks that can spur us on to healthier habits, and a healthier place to be – overall.

Get some distance. Get some distance from your routines, habits, and “go-to’s.” Even if for a day. Get to a point where you can see what needs to change.

You owe it to yourself.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

If You Can't Like Yourself, No One Else Will Either

We all have a story.   It’s fascinating to me, that most of us don’t know someone else’s WHOLE story.   A lot of us like to keep certain chapters hidden or unknown to other people. We like to tuck those tragedies, hurts, and lonely parts away; for only us to see, know, dwell on, and remember.

But when we do that, we can’t move on. We can’t heal. We can’t become WHOLE.

Some of us don’t even want to.  We don’t know HOW to. We don’t feel we deserve to move on from that spot of deep hurt and pain.

A lot of us are good at acting happy. We give to others, we act cheerful, we encourage, and we show no signs of the unhappiness lurking just beneath our surface.

Or so we think.

The thing is….it shows anyways.  Unhappiness always shows up in our face, in our attitude, in our actions. Somewhere.

If you can’t like yourself – if you can’t forgive yourself – if you can’t find yourself valuable…. it’s hard for others to like you, forgive you, value you, too.

We often sabotage ourselves. What we want the most, we push away. What we need the most, we refuse.  Loneliness and isolation become our friend.

There is no pressure in isolation. No pulling on us to face things we don’t want to acknowledge, or face.  There is a certain sense of comfort in being alone, even if it’s the last thing we need.

We can think we’re good at fooling the world. But we’re not.  We can think we will find happiness or contentment in something we are relying on (which may be different for everyone) – but we won’t.   We can think placing boundaries and walls up in our lives will protect us – but they don’t.

What’s inside still lives inside. What hurts still hurts.

You have so much to give. You have so much potential. Don’t let whatever that hurt is, win over you.  Don’t let it mislead you into living a life less than the one you deserve. 

There is far too much good in this world, and in people, to shut yourself out from the love, the laughter, the blessings, and the richness of relationships.

FACE that hurt. Claim it as a part of your story. And turn it into a strength.

Learn to like who you are – even with those unfortunate moments as part of your story. Respect what you’ve been through, and empower yourself to turn those hurts into testimonies of victory.

You don’t have to be perfect. And people will still like you. You just have to find yourself worthy of being likeable, too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Don't Lose Your Identity In Your Spouse

When you are first in love, it is so easy to be wrapped up totally in your “other.”  All you want to do is be together and when you’re not together, you’re thinking about being together!

It’s what I call, the “magical” phase. Everything seems brighter. Food tastes better. It’s as if life comes alive.

And yet, as fun as this time is, it’s also dangerous. It’s dangerous, because it can be so easy to lose yourself.  And if you lose your identity at this point, it can be hard to get it back.

Love is a wonderful thing. Knowing that you have someone else to walk through life with, to lean on, and someone who “has your back,” – well, there’s nothing else like it. And once you get married, and the years fly by, it is such a comfortable thing.

But, you are you still YOU. And your spouse is still who they are. You each have your own bents, your own wishes, desires, habits, and personalities. Some of those will overlap, and you will share common dreams or likes. Others, will not. And the ones that don’t? The ones that truly make up YOU? You shouldn’t lose those.

There are some things in life that are only meant for us. We don’t have to share every thing we enjoy with our mate. In fact, it can be very healthy to have our own interests along with shared ones. It is good for us to do some things on our own. It is good for us, to maintain some sort of independent personality aside from our marriage.

It is GOOD!

Don’t lose yourself in your spouse. Don’t lose your identity or the very things that make you so wonderfully you. Your spouse will actually love you for staying YOU! And you will love them if they don’t cling to you every moment of your life. Can I get an amen?

We all need things that are meant solely for us in life. (Healthy, growing, things.) Just because you may enjoy working in the yard, or running; doesn’t mean your spouse has to enjoy those things or do them with you. Of course, there should be some things in life that you enjoy doing together – and if you don’t know what they are, I encourage you to set out and find some. But, there are some things that you should also set out to protect. Things that are just for YOU. Maybe it’s having your own reading time, coming up with your own ideas for projects (that you don’t have to consult or get your spouse’s input on), etc.

Independence in certain things is not bad. It’s just defining who you were meant to be as a person.

So, enjoy your love. Focus on your marriage. Grow it, prioritize it. But in the process, don’t neglect yourself. Don’t FORGET yourself. Stay true to the things that make you YOU.

You will be healthier emotionally for it, and your marriage will even thrive because of it.

Two wonderful and separate “you’s” in a marriage – make one great “US.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

But I Hurt MORE, Than You!

When my girls were young, they would play dollhouse and Barbies, as most young girls do. I would always feel perplexed when I would hear them play because it always seemed “sad.” I would hear them get into trouble from “mommy,” and one of the more common things, was, I would hear them talk about being sick or injured.  One of them would say, “I broke my leg.” And then the other one would say, “Well, I broke both my legs.” And it would escalate from there.

It was if they had to “outdo” being the one who was injured or sick the most.

We still joke about it to this day in our family.

If one of us says, I got a little sunburned and the other one says, “Well, look at MY sunburn!” Then we respond with, “Well, I broke my leg AND my arm!” It’s an inside joke – reminding us that we don’t have to minimize someone else’s pain or hurt, by showing that we got hurt more.

Isn’t that the way life seems sometimes? It seems like we are a little less sympathetic with other people at times, because we feel like what they are going through is far less, than what we’ve experienced. Or, we have to let them KNOW that we are feeling something far more profound and intense than what they are experiencing!


Why is it so hard for us to simply say, “I’m sorry you’re going through that?” Or why is it so hard for us to sympathize with someone else, WITHOUT bringing up our thoughts that we are going through something, far more difficult?

Who quantifies “hurt” anyways?

If I can focus on someone else, and not what I’m going through, I often find that it hurts less. I don’t feel as if I’m in as much pain.  I can even get through it quicker.

What we focus on is what is spotlighted in our eyes. So it makes sense that if we focus on our hurts, challenges, ailments, etc., that those will take on a bigger life in our lives.  I’m not saying that they don’t hurt. They do. I’m not saying that they aren’t hard. They are. But sometimes our focus can make them hurt MORE, and our focus can make them HARDER.

It’s perspective.  It’s focus.

We all go through things. We all get hurt, frustrated, and even overlooked. But the goal is to move past those things. And if we want to move past them, we need to shift our focus, our attitude, and our time, onto things that bring more life and healing into our world. That way, we can heal from that “broken leg” a little quicker…. And maybe not even dwell on the fact that we went through something tougher than someone else.

Instead, we can just love and help.