“You May Be [Chronically ill, disabled, blind, deaf, poor, jobless, homeless, etc}.. But It Is Your Choice To Be Useless”
I heard this quote last night on television and it actually said “You may be blind but it is your choice to be useless” and I was blown away by it. I know, I know, there I go again with the choice word but life is full of choices and sometimes we make bad ones and sometimes we make good ones and thank God, we can still make choices. But, when we choose to label ourselves as useless and quit trying, we are sealing our fate.
image from quotes-lover.com
I have heard disabled, chronically ill, homeless, etc people say that about themselves and it simply does not have to be true. I have met the most honorable people, the most talented people and caring people who were homeless or poor or disabled, whatever.. Those are situations or things that happen to us but have nothing to do with what is in our hearts and mind and our souls. It has nothing to do with being useless unless you choose to be useless.
I believe this quote fits life in general. We may be poor, without a job, homeless, arrested, chronically ill, disabled, blind, deaf and the list could go on and that may be out of our control, but it is our choice in deciding we are useless or pathetic or whatever. And when we opt to choose to label ourselves useless, pathetic or any other adjective, we are making a choice that not only affects us but those around us. And choices go both ways. We also have the choice to decide that we are here for a reason and have a use in life and work towards that use. Just because you became chronically ill or disabled or jobless, etc does not mean that the talents and the brain power you have is gone.
When things happen to us in life, they do not just happen to us but to those that love us and care about us. When someone loves that means they care about what happens to the one they love and they are invested in them. And when we choose to place a label on ourselves that diminishes our very being such as useless and pathetic, those around us are affected. We teach people how to treat us by how we treat and think of ourselves. If we think we are useless then so will other people.
Those labels are placing new dimensions on our character and our soul and can become self-prophesying. No matter what happens to us, we are here for a reason. We do have a purpose. Life may have changed but that does not mean it ends.
image from thetrevorproject.tumblr.com
Allow the mantra…”I may be [insert word that fits you] but it is my choice to be useless” to run through your head. As long as we are alive, we can think, we can smile, laugh, cry and communicate with others and we have a use. No matter our situation in life, we do have choices. They may not be the choices we planned for ourselves but they are choices. Life is a choice and our choices can mold what our life is like.
I started writing this blog five years ago because I am chronically ill and disabled and I wanted to serve a use. I thought to myself that if I could just inspire one person to keep fighting and keep going, then I have been useful. I do not get paid for this. Many equate useful with how much money they receive. That is not true. Being useful means you serve a purpose and what you have to offer is still needed. You just have to find a way to put your usefulness to work. I am a person of faith and I believe God created me. I also believe He has me here for a reason so I can not tell myself or anyone else that I am useless.
It may be our kids that make us realize we are still useful and needed here. It may be our family or our spouse or friends or even our pets. Tell yourself “I have something to offer this world”. It may be volunteering to work at the schools or the library or volunteering to read to children at your home or visiting those we can not get out. Whatever it is, it is needed. If you do not believe in your usefulness, please know that I believe in your usefulness. My aunt I call Mama has a very important use. Besides her own kids and grand kids, she took on being my mama and I need her and value her.
Value yourself and believe in yourself. Find what you love to do and go for it. I work on genealogy and that is a use for me. I am creating a book of my poetry and that is a use for me. These things give me incentive to get up in the morning and to feel like I am still needed here. No matter what all you may go through, know that someone needs you and values you. We all need to feel like we are here for a purpose. And we are. Just take time to write down all you want to do, what your dreams are no matter your age, what interests you and what you love to do. You will find you are here for a purpose. Writing became my job when I became disabled and it inspires me to get up daily and to find things to write about. And you have not lost your use simply because you lost your job, your home, your car, your children, your health, etc. Choose to find your purpose.
I am sure all of us remember from the time we were small being told to tell someone we were sorry if we did something wrong. And, of course, that training carries over into adulthood. And I am also pretty sure that most of us have been the recipients of apologies that were not quite real. I call these “apologies with thorns”.You know, the kind of apologies that leave a sting.
image from www.soxfirst.com
I think it is important to extend the olive branch when there is something gone wrong between people and most people will apologize sincerely but there are always some who will hand you a bouquet of roses filled with those razor-sharp thorns like hedge roses have. You know, the kind where the roses look beautiful until you stick your hand in and then those backwards thorns grab you. And those kinds of apologizes will rip you where no one can see. Do your apologies have thorns?
One kind of apology is the one where the person says “I’m sorry, BUT if…” This means the person is saying they are sorry but something or someone else is to blame. They do the apology ritual but do not want to admit they were wrong. I am sure you remember the kind. They go like this: ”I am sorry but if I had not been working such long hours, I might not have been so sharp.” Or, “I am sorry, but if you had not said such and such, I might not have gotten so angry.” I hate these as these are comments abusers use a lot too. A person can not make right what they will not admit is wrong. These apologies I just smile and say thank you and move on.
Another kind of apology is the one said in that tone of voice that means they are not really sorry at all. You know the “I’M SOR…RY!!!” or “Well, EXCU UU SE me!” said with all the sarcasm they can muster. These are the ones where we want to go “OKAY!” in the same tone of voice, but we do not. Well, at least not out loud. These are the apologies that we really must ignore and not react to for that is what they want us to do.
Both of the above have obvious thorns in the apology, but the worst kind of apology to me is the one where the person apologizes but makes comments after intended to hurt the other person. This is the olive branch with thorns that leaves behind a wound that bleeds, just like a rose thorn does. It is sweetened with honey on one side but the thorns are razor-sharp on the other. To me, this is the lowest form of apology.
An example is when someone apologizes for something they did but then adds a comment to it. For example: “I am so sorry I hurt your feelings. You know dear, you really need to go to the hair dresser. Your hair really needs fixing.” (of course said in a tone of voice that I call nice/nasty). And such comment is said, knowing full well you just had your hair fixed that day. I am using such a simple example, but I am sure you all know what I am talking about. It is the back hand of apologies. And these people usually go for something personal to be nice/nasty about such as looks, how you write, your spelling, your children or anything they know that will hit home.
So, what do you do when someone gives you an olive branch with thorns? There are times I want to hand the thorns back with a few comments of my own, but that is not what the Creator would want us to do. I learned over time that I must be accountable for me and so I must make sure that what I say and do is honest, kind and authentic. And so, the first thing I do before I go on is forgive them. The second thing I do is answer them in a kind voice without any evidence that they hurt or upset me. It takes a life time to create a good reputation and only a few minutes to destroy that reputation. And I do not want to do that. I want to be as much like Christ as I can be and that means being kind and treating others with love. I have actually come to the point in my life where I feel sorry for these people because only hurting people hurt others and so I am able to see that they are people in some kind of pain striking out. So, I just forgive and forget about it.
Believe me please when I say returning tit for tat never brings the pleasure you and satisfaction that we sometimes think it might. Being the gracious person to someone who is handing you a bouquet of roses with sharp thorns wins every time. Always make your apologies sincere and from your heart for it shows we are truly sorry for hurting someone. I have had people in my life who just could not or would not say they were wrong or say they were sorry. This is so sad to me for it is them that carries the burden because I forgive them right away and do not hold on to it.
The one thing I do know is that I would rather receive the olive branch with thorns than give it. Giving the olive branch with thorns is being a person deliberately trying to hurt someone. We can not do anything about how others act but we can do something about how we react to things people say or do. The only person we are in charge of is ourselves. And those handing out olive branches with thorns want a reaction. They want to know they jabbed you. Not reacting is the best thing to so. If you have to react, try reacting with humor or kindness for then you are not giving them their fix. Remember my blog about leveling? This is leveling at the highest. People who apologize with thorns are miserable and want to bring you down to the level of miserable too. Do not let them do it. Reverse it and try to level them up.
If you missed my blog on Leveling, here it is: https://workthedream.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=15140&action=edit
“Sometimes we can’t choose the path we are on, but we can choose how we walk it”
The quote above was made by a man who spent 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and was finally found innocent and released. He was asked how he endured and his response was the quote above. He endured by choosing to walk the path of an innocent person and to keep that his focus.
I am not sure how I would have done had I been sent to prison that long for something I did not do but I love what he said. We do not always choose the path we are on but it is our choice how we walk that path. We can let it make us or break us. Mandela said much the same thing. He refused to let prison bring him down and so he forgave and kept looking forward.
I did not choose to become disabled but how I “walk the path” is up to me. I can either lay back and whine and cry or I can keep moving forward, finding joy in life and living life to the fullest. That is my choice and I choose the latter. The negative, unforgiving, anger, hatred and all those other emotions bring us down and they eat away the inside of us. Remember when the power goes off and stays off for hours and when it comes back on we feel such joy? Choosing to see the good does that. It keeps the light on and keeps us filled with joy.
image from www.findingthepathforme.com
All through life, people will have events that they did not choose to have, will be on a path they did not choose and so how they handle it is how their life will be. People do not consciously choose to be poor, come from broken homes, lose their jobs, their homes, lose loved ones, fall ill, become disabled, have car wrecks, be in fires or any other traumatic experience. We just simply do not choose these things. That would be sadistic and cruel to ourselves. So, If we do not choose to have these bad things happen to us, why would we choose to increase the sadness and pain and sorrow when we can choose to see the good things?
And you will see some people who make it through these things and seem to find joy. You will see some who come through but feel bitter or angry and you will see some who never make the effort to get through them. And they do not make it. It is all about the choice and what we choose to hold on to and what we choose to keep in the front of our lives.
The man wrongly convicted that I mentioned above, could have become a hardened criminal and done things that kept him in prison but he chose a different path. And that path brought him back out of that hell and to his family. And even when we think it is not, it is our choice how we walk whatever path we are on. This man forgave everyone. See, if we harbor anger and resentment, it is carrying baggage around. When we forgive, we are releasing it and moving on. It is not saying what someone did is right. It is saying I will not allow this to hinder my life anymore.
image from www.pinterest.com
I know sometimes people say “take the high road” meaning to be the good guy and ignore what happened. Sometimes I think this works but I think choosing to walk a path that makes our life stay on a good track is more than just giving into everyone to not rock the boat. I think it is standing up for yourself, speaking out when something is wrong, stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing, remaining positive when it seems to be so negative, seeing the good that is out their instead of becoming devoured by the evil and ugliness and the list goes on. Just being able to express the things that happen helps us. It gives a sense of validation.And why not say “Well, that was pretty crappy.” and then moving on to the good things we still have?
So, how is your path today? Are you on the path you want? If not, why have you not changed it?
I love this video, not just for cancer patients but those chronically ill. This person is making the choice to smile in the worst of circumstances. That is what I try to do. I put a smile on my face and sing and dance my way through it all. :) No, I am not pretending. I am choosing to be happy. There is a difference. Those pretending, it shows you are pretending.
video by Megan Kowalewski
I say this so often that it sounds like a mantra. If your choices are not making you happy, then make different choices. Our happiness is up to us and we have to make the right choices and to make our own happiness no matter what is happening. We can not depend on others to do it for us.
So, dare to smile, dare to be a little silly, dare to laugh even when life seems so hard for it will lighten your whole being and help you fight the battle. My battle cry is MOJO ON!!! Ask son sometime for he will tell you that I put on my MOJO baseball cap and as he rolls me back to the pain clinic to have the nerves burnt in my spine or rolls me in for surgery, he will tell you I have attitude. I think I might wear these for the upcoming surgery. I mean who can not smile with those on? And of course, everyone needs a leopard shawl to wear.But maybe I will put on my black long johns. LOL
Choose to do things that make you laugh, make you smile, brings joy to your heart, and releases stress. No one said life would be easy but it is up to us in how we deal with what life offers. We can either be the victim always complaining or we can be the survivor, the warrior looking for solutions to things happening in our lives. I prefer being a survivor. I do not have the “give up” gene in me. I fight to the end. And look at yourself, see yourself as a survivor for that makes a big difference in how we fight life’s battles. This is a good example of how I see myself. As sick as I really am with all the things I have wrong, I still do not think of myself as sick or disabled. Maybe because my mind is not.
image from themetapicture.com
Something about me that those closest to me know is that no matter how sick I am, I always find a way to dance. Our minds are amazing things and can take us places we want to go if we allow them. Below is a poem I wrote about me when I was at my worst and it shows you how I still time travel and still do things and still find joy in my life.
The Last Dance
With wisps of hair across her beautiful face
Tears on her cheeks your finger could trace
She stood there with head bowed in humble prayer
Feeling as if she were the only one that cared
She closed her eyes and listened once more
To the music that always drew her to the door
The music rose in tempo and sound
She knew her time was coming around
Was her dream to dance just one last dance
And she knew tonight was her only chance
Rising on toes, she danced across the stage
Her body tensing up for the very next page
As she jumped to twirl up in the air
She suddenly felt his hands right there
He lifted her higher than she had ever flown
And twirled and danced better than she had ever known
He molded himself to her as if one
And remained there lifting her until the dance was done
The applause thundered and echoed around the room
And she felt as if life had just started to bloom
As the sounds died down, she smiled with tears
Not being able to dance was one of her fears
Then she opened her eyes and looked around
Oxygen hoses and hospital beds are what she found
As she glanced down she saw her toes pointed down
And she knew only her attitude kept her bed bound
No matter what happened she could dance so free
She just had to close her eyes and the stage she would see
When we think of prison, we think of criminals. What we don’t think of is that sometimes we can put ourselves in a prison cell just by our thoughts. We can constrict our lives to the point that we are virtually living in a space about 6 feet by 10 feet. And the thing that puts us there is usually fear. There are many kinds of fear but one is the fear of what others think of us.
It took me years to quit worrying about what others think and what a liberating feeling that was. Sometimes we agree to do things that we really do not want to do because we are afraid of what they will think. And so we will not say no. The day I learned to say no was an eye opener. Yes, the people got mad for a little while but they got over it. I had taken spots at church or fundraisers when I really had plans I wanted to do. It was not until I realized I was being pushed into doing it because the other person had plans they wanted to do that I broke down the prison cell wall.
We also put ourselves in that prison cell because of fear of failure. We will not attempt to do things or go places because we are afraid we will fail or people will laugh at us. And what is ironic is that it is not just our friends or family we worry about, we worry about what complete strangers may think. I sit here now and think why would I care what complete strangers thought? They do not care what I think.
Fear can be immobilizing. It can stop us in our tracks and derail us from life. Fear makes us say we like things that we can not stand and all because we do not want anyone judging us or laughing at us. I can remember eating snails one time for that very reason. And let me tell you that to me snails was like trying to eat a piece of DuPont tire in a butter sauce. Nasty and the more you chewed, the bigger it got. And yet I, because I had myself trapped in a prison I had created, sat there and ate some of them. Now, how lame is that? Now, if I do not like something, I say so. I climbed out of my prison cell.
Fear of what people think makes us hang with the wrong people, marry the wrong people, work with the wrong people and even go to the wrong churches. And if you do not think so just start paying attention. Some people marry because they do not want people saying things about how old they are and have never been married. Marriage, one of the most beautiful and life filling events in our lives, and people will marry someone they do not love because they fear what others think. And some people begin to fight to get out of their prison cell and go on to divorce and find happiness.
Many people with chronic illness will hide it because they fear what others will say. They will push themselves to go places when they are really too sick and in too much pain to do it. And they do that because they fear what others will say about them. I can remember doing that many years ago. Yes, there goes those prison walls going up all because of fear of what others think.
I pray all people learn to step out of their prison cell they have created around them and step out into the world. So what if you fail? You get up and you try again and again and again. So what if you are thirty something and not married? I learned that if I can not live alone with myself, by myself, I will never live with anyone. So what if people laugh at you? Learn to laugh at yourself. As I was struggling to eat those snails, I looked like a re-creation of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as my snail in the shell flew across the room. They got their laugh even though I was pretending to like those things.
Stand up for you and start taking those walls down one by one. Realize that it will not kill us for someone to laugh at us. I find my self hilarious all the time and it is over dumb stuff. Like the day this disabled and chronically ill grandma here decided to be Rambo on a crutch because I heard someone in my house and son was gone. I hung on to the grab bar by my bedroom door, balancing on my one good leg, and swung out into the living room with the other leg thrown out and waving my forearm crutch at the supposed burglar while yelling “AAAHHH YAHHH”. It was my son and as he reached over to balance me, he was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes. And I had to laugh too.
Realize that you are of value, that you have the right to have different opinions and likes and dislikes and that you do not have to follow the norms that so many do and look like the Stepford Wives because they all have the same hair, same makeup, same clothes and same laugh. Liberate yourself. Knock down those prison cell walls you have inadvertently put up.
As most of you know, I am a very positive person and I do not dwell on the past or things that have happened for I find it impedes my moving forward. I think sometimes we can get so caught up in what “almost” happened or what once happened and we lose sight of what IS happening now and the blessing we have received.
image from freeyourparenting.com
I remember a friend back east that came in the house one day almost hysterical talking about how she almost got hit by the train. She was telling us all about how it almost happened and you could almost feel the adrenaline as she talked.. And then for months, we heard about how she almost got killed by a train and she totally lost sight of the fact that she did not get killed by the train and she lived. She got so caught up in the emotional moment of reliving the drama and telling others that the blessing she received in living and not getting run over was totally missed by her. People tend to replay negative things over and over in their minds and it actually stimulates their adrenaline and gives them a rush. This causes them to miss the positive and the fact that they did not get hurt, etc.
We all have traumatic events in our lives, lose loved ones, suffer health issues, have near fatal events, have health crisis and other difficult things. I find that it is a learning thing once I feel better or am calmer to be able to focus on what I do have instead of what I lost or almost lost. I think sometimes we can “dwell on” theses things so much and repeat them so often that we become engulfed in the past and lose our present and future. The past does not have to be a predictor of what our present or future will be but if we dwell on it too long, I think we bring all the negative into our lives once again.
I am a believer that when we keep the past in the present and try to drag it in the future, we are giving the traumatic moments power over our lives. We went through the trauma once and by reliving it over and over in the present, we are putting ourselves through the trauma again and losing the blessings we have in life. I am not sure if it is the attention that people get when they tell their horror tales or negative woes or what. And when people are in that reliving the past mode, you can not redirect their focus by trying to change the subject because they will not let go of it. You can change the subject and usually what you get from them is “uh huh, uh huh, uh huh” and the first chance they will bring the conversation back to topic of what almost happened to them or something bad in the past that did happen.
“Life is thickly sown with thorns and I know of no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”
This reminds me of something I read on a friend’s page and that was ….when you are tempted to say something negative…stop yourself and say a blessing or something positive first. And I think this applies to re-playing the past in the present. When we are tempted to tell the story once more of how the train almost run over us, or whatever traumatic event that we keep trying to fan the flames and keep it in the future, we have to find a way to put on the brakes and not tell it. Stopping and telling a blessing that either came from or after the event before we try to retell the traumatic story, sometimes helps to redirect us away from the negative, traumatic event. I am a firm believer that God gives us another chance for a reason and the reason is not to keep reliving whatever we went through but to move forward and carry the blessing with us.
Carrying the past around and replaying it over and over is like taking luggage and loading it with bricks. Each time we retell the traumatic event another brick goes in and the luggage becomes heavier and heavier until it can stop our growth and our joy totally. I get called a Pollyanna a lot because I focus on the present and the future and on the positive things. I have learned through life that out of negative comes positive IF we allow it to.
Some people hold on to the hurts, pains, all that is wrong, what if’s and “almost had this happen” things as if they were holding on to gold. When we do that we waste precious moments we could spend on living and enjoying life and being with our loved ones. These are moments we can never EVER get back. Moments we spend on negative are moments that we could spend cuddling our child or talking to our spouse or being with our special friends. Moments that we have lost forever. I can not live that way. Life is too short and there is no dress rehearsal. This is the real thing. So what do you want to focus on in life?
I was laying here last night watching a show on the Amish community. It was really interesting. One thing they said was that the schooling the children got was to prepare them for their lives as adults. They are talking real life skills. And I thought about the training we get and how we are so lacking in so many areas. And because people are not taught life skills, they can not teach their children either.
Sure, we get trained in a job skill and the basics like reading, writing, math, and science. But, where is the training in things that are so important such as being a parent. When I had my kids, I realized they came with no instruction manual. Oh, sure there were Spock books and other books I could buy but where was my training before I had the children? No one taught me what to do if my child had a temper tantrum or stuck a bean up his nose or became disrespectful.
The examples we have are our parents or people in our lives who are parent figures. My aunt I call Mama influenced my life a lot for I am a lot like her. They used to tease me and tell me I was hers and they were just raising me. But, her true enjoyment of her boys is so much like mine it is not funny. Sometimes our parents are the example, sometimes a friend but why are we not taught these things before we have children?
Learning to be a parent is not something that is just “there” for the majority of people when they have a child. It is a learning process. Learning what to do and what not to do. Learning how to discipline fairly. Learning what is appropriate for our child to be doing and how to take care of the things like them hanging with the wrong crowd, wearing clothes that are totally inappropriate, how to get our kids to talk to us or what to do when our young child strips off naked and runs outside. So many things and yet no one prepares us. Just like no one prepared us for what childbirth was really like. Oh yes, we heard lots of horror stories but no real facts.
Who teaches us how to know who to trust and who is not trustworthy? Who teaches us signs to watch for on business deals so that we know if it is a real thing or it is just something to get our money? Who teaches us that the world is not a place where everyone and everything is trustworthy? Too many learn the hard way and sometimes too late because they were never taught.
They sent us to Home Economics to teach us how to be a homemaker but I bet most of you are like me and remembered very little when it came time to actually being a homemaker. So, if this is a part of our lives and it is even if we work full-time, we still have to keep a home, make meals, clean, do laundry, keep a budget, etc…where is the training?
I made sure my boys knew by the time they were 12 how to cook, clean, do laundry, sew, buy groceries, the whole nine yards. I did not want them marrying because they thought they needed a woman to do all these things like so many men have done. But, I see many kids today who have no concept of any of these things.
I also taught my sons that life is not always fair but that we can go on and do great things. I never over praised my sons like I see so many parents today doing. If you tell them over and over and cheer and praise all the things they do even when done wrong is awesome and wonderful, when they get in the real world they are going to be in for a shock. And especially when they get a job and the boss wants a good job done. Those people are not going to praise you for a sloppy or bad job.
Something else I taught my sons was that not everyone is going to like or love you. It is just fact and so they need to back away from those who treat them badly. Life is hard and even harder as a kid. They make friendships in a world where there are cliques, they date and then break up and they meet people who are just hostile or bullying and they have to know how to deal with this.
I get a helper who comes to clean and help me due to my disabilities and the one thing I noticed on the other side of the mountain especially is that they had no idea what it meant to clean a house. I literally had to make a list that had dust the shelves, pick up the trash and empty the trash cans, vacuum, mop the kitchen floor, etc on it. I had one that had no idea how to change sheets. I asked her what did she do at her place and she was 20. She said…”oh my mother does all of that”. We do them no favors when we do it all for them instead of teaching them. Yes, doing it ourselves is easier but it is damaging to the child.
So, as I was watching the show on the Amish, I got to thinking about things we really do not get taught before we are adults and out in the real world. How to handle money is one. And with credit card companies knocking on our doors from the time we turn 18, is it any wonder that so many are in financial trouble. That was one thing son and I vowed to do in our dream for a simpler life in the country and that was get rid of all bills. And we did and that is what saved us in the economic crunch and when son lost his job. Now, he is a paid caretaker but during that one year, we were totally relying on faith and God always provided. But, that is another whole blog post for you all would not believe all the ways He did.
I am very mechanically inclined and always have been and so fixing things has come easy for me. It is harder now with my health but my brain still does work and son often comes to ask me about things that he has never worked on like the garage door on the other house. But, how many people are not trained how to do simple repair. I remember a time that a friend told me their dryer was not working and asked would I look at it. Want to know what was wrong? She never knew that you had to clean out that lint filter and it was totally blocked and a wonder that a fire had not happened. Why had she not been taught this when she was younger?
We prepare children for careers but we never prepare them for failure and we all fail at things during our lifetime. And if we are never taught how to deal with the idea of failing at something, what to do, how to overcome the feelings and move on and so we can remain there stuck in a rut. It is the realization that we are not perfect that is hard. We will have failures and it is not the failure that is important but what we do after that is the most important. So, how do we instill in children how to pick up and move forward in life after something goes wrong? How do we teach them that we all fail at things and that it is not the end of the world. First off, we do not praise them lavishly for things they do that are not worthy of praise. That does not mean criticize them and put them down. It simply means do not over praise.
One of the things I see today that we were never taught is how to talk and I do not mean the grammar. With the attitude that “it is my right to say anything I want” out there, we have people saying things and posting things that later will come back to haunt them in their life and work. And of course Facebook encourages us to put it all out there. And doing that may be the very thing that ruins a relationship or keeps us from being hired. The internet is forever. But, even more importantly, we must teach them that yes we do have freedom of speech but with that comes consequences such as people not wanting to be your friend anymore or people talking back to us in the same ugly tone we might be using. I believe in the old saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and that is to listen twice as much as we talk.
No one teaches us about relationships and I do not mean just the significant other relationships but all relationships like family, friends, classmates and co-workers. No one teaches us of the harsher things and if no one has taught us, then when things go awry, we do not know what to do. Relationships take work. They do not just happen like most people think. Oh the first meeting happens but if you want the relationship to last, you have to put some effort into it. And sometimes relationships fail. Who teaches our children what to do when someone breaks their hearts? We have to learn to listen and to hear what the other person is saying. We have to learn better communication skills and how to compromise. And people have to learn not to use their mouths and words as weapons.
And with everyone keeping their eyes on cellphones, I pads, computers, who talks face to face anymore? I find that so many today do not know how to carry on a meaningful conversation. Oh text them and you can talk for an hour but talk face to face or on the phone and it consists of “uh” ….”uh”…and silences. So many young people and adults no longer know how to carry on a conversation that does not include abbreviations like “ikr” which means “I know, right” or without emoticons. It is becoming a loss art.
We are excellent at making sure there is instruction on careers and the material you need to learn to get that degree or certificate but the other part of our life has been sadly ignored and it seems that now with the computer generation and high-tech I pads and phones, it is ignored even more. Gone are the days where families sat around at night and talked around the dinner table or played cards and talked while playing. Gone are the days where kids learn how to cook, sew, grocery shop, or handle money. And here and now are the days where people are so in debt, where houses look like a rummage sale, where cleaning is not done and kids are just left to their own devices. Children scream and talk over adults trying to talk, throw fits, act inappropriately, etc and no one is teaching them right from wrong or that when they get into the real world and school, people will not like them for that. Where the divorce rate is so high and where no one seems to have a lasting relationship. What has happened? Where did it go?
For a large part of my life, I was passive, took the path of least resistance, did not defy or stand up for things and especially not myself and I did not know how to defend myself. Now, when it came to those I love, I could turn into the most ferocious fighter of all to defend and protect them. And I still can. But, it took time for the inner warrior in me to arise from that sleeping state and become active to protect myself.
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We all have an inner warrior. Yes, even those of you that say “Oh no, not me. I could never stand up for things or fight battles”. Yes, you could. I have said many times on this blog that if your child, sibling, spouse, parents, pet, loved one were in harms way…even if you were disabled, you would find a way to get to them to protect them even if you had to crawl. That is your inner warrior. But, what happens in many of us is that the part that jumps to defend ourselves, that helps us stand up for things, etc…can still be dormant and has to be awakened.
I had to learn that it was good to stand up for myself, to assert myself, to say no, and to realize that I was also worth defending. It was a gradual awakening for me with the help of someone else. Sometimes we see people who have been passive all their lives and then their inner warrior awakens but it has not learned the difference in being assertive and being aggressive. Being assertive does not mean being the bad ass or being the bitch. Being assertive means a calm, quiet strength that looks others in the eyes and say in a strong voice “NO” or says “That is not right. Stop it” or anything else we need to do.
I have recounted to you all that I practiced this to give myself more strength to do it. And I practiced in front of a friend, too. I will never forget getting frustrated as this friend taught me that my “No” could sound like a question and not a statement and so could other statements like “Stop it” and “It is time for you to go”, etc. Saying no or that is not right must sound like we are stating it not like we are asking the other person’s permission.
Try it sometime with a friend. Ask them to listen to you tell them that it is time to go. And ask this person if you sound like you are asking them “Is it time to go?” or telling them that “It is time to go”. Some of you will be surprised to hear that you can sound like you are asking their permission by the tone of your voice and do not even realize it. I actually tape recorded myself doing it and after it was over, I could hear the difference.
Ever noticed how some people seem so self-assured and full of strength. It is amazing but I have people tell me that I seem so strong and just a few years ago, they would have told you I was a shy, timid person who hid in the background. I do not fight over everything. I have learned to pick my battles because of my health but if something is really important to me, I stand up for it. And that includes standing up for those I care about, the weak and defenseless, children, etc. I have learned that among the list of those I care about that I would fight to protect, that list now includes me too, for I am worth it. That took me a long time to realize.
I was laying here thinking about the surgery coming up. I thought “how will I ever do this? ” and I begin to feel overwhelmed. And from deep inside me came this… “You will do it like you always do it. You will lay on that table, close your eyes with your mojo going and it will be over before you know it”. That is inner validation I was doing but it also was a reminder that I can and have done this before.
Pain has kept me down and I have felt poorly. And is that not when our weakest side comes out the most and we become unsure and wonder can we do this or that. Or we just want to lay in the quiet and not hear about any thing bad. And it is these times, if our inner warrior has awakened inside us, that inner warrior will carry us through.
If we never learn to stand up for what is right, to defend ourselves and others, to tell people even family that what they did you do not like and not to do it again, then we will forever be caught in that limbo of doing and tolerating things that we really do not like. Where is your inner warrior today? What would it take to awaken your inner warrior?
Dreaming is one of the most enjoyable pastimes one can have but many dreams never come to fruition and the reason for that is what I call the “what if” card.
Even as children, we can pull the what if card. A child can say things like “What if I fail?”, “What if I do not make the team?”, “What if she turns me down?”, “What if I do not like it?” and I could go on and on with the what if’s. I personally believe until we can answer those what if questions in a fairly reasonable way, we will hold on to that card and never step out and try to go for our dreams.
Ok, “What if I fail?”. Well, if you fail, you get up and try again and again. If it just will not work, you change to something close to what your dream was. “What if you do not make the team?” Truth of the matter is not everyone that goes out for a team makes it and we have to accept the loss and learn to deal with it. “What if he or she turns me down?” Well, then you know to ask someone else. Life is about learning to deal with the good things as well as the painful things. “What if I do not like it?” Well, now you know. You will never know if you do not try.
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As adults we tent to focus more on the financial when it comes to following dreams. “What if we go for it and we can not reach our goal?” Well, then you keep working for the goal. “What if we lose everything?” They are just things and can be replaced. “What if those around me get mad if I go for my dream?” They can get glad in the same pants they got mad in. And I am talking circular family not the immediate..person and their partner.
Working towards your dreams comes down to one basic thing. How much are you willing to give up to have your dream? We were lucky in that son and I both had the same type of dream..to simplify life, to move to the mountains and to live with less stress. What if we lost everything? Truth be known, we lost a lot of money selling the house on the other side of the mountain due to the economy, but were fortunate in that we had just enough to get this little house we live in and we love it. The important thing was that we did not let things keep us from dreaming. Anything we had could be replaced at some date but our dream never could be.
As you go through life and think about things you want to do, think about your dreams or that bucket list and ask yourselves how many times do you pull the “What if” card? And if you find you are doing it a lot, sit down and write those “what if” questions down and then start answering them. Life is not a dress rehearsal and we do not get a second chance. Do not let the “what if” card keep you back from having your dream(s) come true. Do not let the “what if” card keep you from doing things.
Words are probably one of the most powerful things we have in life. Truces are made with words. Wars are started with words. Marriages are dissolved with words. Marriages are formed with words. Friendships are ended with words. Hearts are healed with words. People survive by words. Victims are made with words. Love is shared with words. Hatred is spread with words. And I could go on and on. Words are more powerful than most people realize.
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Our words make us and shape us. People will form opinions of us by our words and how we put those words into action. Our words will tell people if we are people of integrity or people willed with lies. They will show people if we are winners or losers and if we are survivors or victims. They will show people how strong we are or how weak we are. They will show people if we are spiritual or have no faith. They will tell people a lot about us.
Now, I could write every day about how I feel, how much pain I am in from muscle pain which is bad, joint and arthritis pain which is bad and from nerve pain from neuropathy and spinal stenosis which is horrific. I could tell you about being so sick that I can not think or eat, how I can not roll over without son to help me, how I live my life in a hospital bed with a gel mattress hooked to an oxygen hose and my room is my world and how I will be this way the rest of my life. But, I choose not to because I refuse to let all of this take my happiness and joy from me.
Words are powerful and the more you speak them, the more you give power to them. I do not believe in giving power to negative words or thoughts. Our minds can affect our health. They can cause us to have increased anxiety and make ourselves feel worse. They can set the tone for our whole life and can actually make people turn away from us instead of be there for us. People do not like constant negative anymore than I do. After a while it gets old when there is a choice we can make. We can choose how we deal with life and what it has given us.
I prefer to write about surviving, about finding the funny things in life, about the blessings I still have in my life and the things I can do and it is those words I prefer to give power to. I want my words and actions to be something that motivates someone and makes them say “OH heck yeah…I can do this”…and they keep fighting.
This is how powerful words are. I tried this as an experiment a couple of years back. It is human nature to group with those that think and talk like we do. So, first I started off doing the moaning and groaning about all that is wrong, how much pain I was in, how bad it was, etc. And you know what I got? I got a group that would comment back to me with the same words. “Oh yes, I know just how you feel. I am down in bed too. I have nothing to live for. There is no good left”. I was giving power to the negative and reinforcing the negative in others.
So, then I started writing about being a survivor and learning that you have choices and one is the choice in how you deal with life. And what did I get? I got those that are survivors too or on the brink of being fighters and my words inspired their feelings of being a survivor and fighting to keep the joy in their lives and not the negative. So, our words attract those that are just like what we are saying. And I decided I would rather motivate those that are fighters to keep fighting, than motivate those that are victims to keep on being a victim.
Whether we like it or not, we are a role model for someone. We may never know the person but there are people who watch what we do and look to us as a role model. What do we want to be modeling? Do we want to model being a victim? Or do we want to model being a survivor? Do we want to model someone who has chosen to handle life with joy or do we want to model someone who complains all the time about how bad it is? That is how powerful words are. We can inspire and motivate but what is it that we are inspiring or motivating? I want to inspire and motivate people to keep fighting, to not give up, to realize they have choices and one choice is to deal with what life hands us in a positive way.
And this is why I watch shows that have people who are worse than I am because it keeps me in perspective. And that is where “at least it is not the sixty pound tumor” phrase came from. People with sixty pound tumors are in way worse shape than I am here right this minute. People dying of cancer are in worse shape than I am now. People who have been mangled in car wrecks are in worse shape than I am. And so I look around me and I see that if I look at what those worse than me are going through, then I am able to keep my health issues in perspective and not allow myself to go into victim mode and try to make everyone see how bad I am. I do not need to prove to anyone how bad I am. I only need to prove what a survivor I am. And with my words, I hope to send out the energy and healing that positive words can do to others that are in bad shape.
image from www.okyday.com