20 “Older Than Dirt Wisdom” by danLrene
Life is so hard and we make so many twists and turns and have to make so many decisions that sometimes we wonder if we are doing the right thing. I lay here last night thinking about that for had a friend tell me that they were doing something to help someone but were miserable and cried almost every day about doing it. And so these are “older than dirt wisdom” things that I learned along the way. These do not make me right but might help someone as the plod along the rough journey called life. The greatest thing I learned was that I do not solve my problems by using methods that are not working.
image from www.talesofordinarymagic.com
1. About Dying
Only our Creator knows when we will die. We will not die a day sooner or a day later, so leave the dying to the Creator , to our God and focus on living. Dying will inevitable happen to us all and the day is not known so worrying about it will not help us. Focusing on loving life and enjoying it.
2. Making Decisions
Making decisions requires five things. It requires you to listen to God, to your head, to your heart, to your head again and finally listening to God again. Our hearts are wonderful things but sometimes they make us make decisions based on guilt, pity or some other emotion and then we find that we are miserable because the decision was not the right one. Never make major decisions when you are stressed, when you feel rushed, when you are sick or exhausted, when you are in a panic, etc. Take the time to think about, discuss with others close to you, etc before making the decisions.
3. Listen to hear what the other is saying, not to reply.
I love this expression for it is so true. We were created with TWO ears and ONE mouth. I believe the intent was for us to listen twice as much as we talk. And because we only have one mouth, make what goes in and comes out be extremely gentle and easily digested.
Sometimes we listen and while we are listening, we are really just thinking of our reply and do not really hear what is being said. This is how disagreements and many misunderstandings happen. If we do not really listen with not only our ears but our hearts, then we miss so much and could lose things in our lives.
When you are listening and you are tempted to come back with “some solution” or some “comparison” to you or aunt so and so, or advice on how the other person needs to feel, remember most people just want to be heard not fixed. Ask yourself before you start to reply to them “Does this even need to be said?”, “Does it need to be said right NOW?” and “Does it really need to be said by me?” Sometimes the answer to all of those is no.
4. Standing up for what is right
It is so easy to be passive and ignore the tragedies and wrong doings going on daily. We can not change the world but we can change what is in our corner of the world, one piece at a time….starting with ourselves. It is amazing how good it feels to stand up for what is right instead of going along with the crowd. If we are complacent we are complicit. If we allow bullying or mistreatment, then we are part of the bullying and mistreatment. Standing up for what is right also means standing up for yourself.
Never rely on someone else to be your heroic defender. If you learn to defend yourself and what you do, it gives you power. If you depend on someone else to defend you, they can let you down and destroy your self-esteem because you wonder why they did not stand up for you. Self Reliance is a great attribute to have.
5. Distance makes for clarity
Sometimes we can be so close to something that we can not see the reality. Stepping away for a while gives us that 20/20 vision we need to make smart decisions. Getting some distance also helps us to keep from “reacting” instead of “acting”. Once we step away and allow our minds to breathe a little, the situation may not seem like it was when we were right close to it.
Friends are a wonderful thing. Keep in mind 345 “friends” on Facebook does not make them friends. They are acquaintances. If you come through life with only ONE close friend, you have come through life with something very precious that will last you your whole life. Cherish your friends, love them and accept them as who they are just as you want them to accept you for who you are.
Never let a day go by without telling those you love that you love them. Actions speak louder than words, but they still love to hear the words too. You can tell someone all day and every day that you love them but if your actions do not show that, then they are hollow words. We should love someone “in spite of” how they are not “because of” how they are. That way we love them in spite of any faults they have and do not have this illusion that they will change or that we can change them.
Never let the sun set on your anger. Each day that you allow anger to continue, it becomes easier to stay angry and never heal the gap. If a person matters, sometimes you need to be the one that swallows the pride and says “let’s talk about this”.
“Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.”~~Benjamin Franklin
9. We are not indispensable
In life here on earth, everyone can be replaced. No one is indispensable. Someone can always do the job we were doing. Never think you must stay where you are because something might fall apart without you. It will not. Life will go on. When we think we are indispensable such as in a job, then it puts greater stress on us because we stay even when being misused, abused, overworked, etc. because we think that things will fall apart if we leave.
10. Communicating with Others
We all speak from our own “place” and we all use different words with our own definition. What means one thing to someone might mean something entirely different to another. Always ask “What do you mean by?” before getting upset for it saves many arguments. And do not react until you are sure you know what the other person is REALLY saying. It is up to us to make sure we have heard correctly and to make sure that we say our words carefully. Never speak out when you are angry for you will say many things you will regret and then you can never erase the damage done.
11. It is OK to Say NO when you do not want to do something.
It really is OK to say “No, I can not”. .. “No, I do not want to” when it is things we do not want to do but find ourselves saying yes out of guilt or fear of being rejected. When we say yes when our hearts say no, we get caught up in doing things we really do not want to do and resent it and get mad at ourselves.
I remember too many times agreeing to do something that I absolutely loathed and then wanting to kick myself afterwards. Those that love you will still love you if you say no. They might get mad for a little bit, but they will get over it. Do not say yes out of guilt or fear. You will hate yourself afterwards. And the more you learn to say no when you do not want to do something, the more you will find you have time to do the things you really love, with those you love.
And never make excuses for saying no because someone will find a “solution” for your excuse. For example “Oh, I can not as I have no babysitter”. Then they will tell you that so and so can babysit so you can do it. Just simply say “No, I can not do it” or just “No.”
12. Take Life in Bites
I read once that the first bite of food, no matter the item, is the best taste. Each bite after dims in great flavor as your taste buds get used to is. I love going to buffet’s and I take one small spoonful of each thing and sit and savor the flavors. My plate looks like a sampler. So sample life one bite at a time. Too much of something dulls the excitement and flavor. Remember the days of youth. How exciting things were. Rekindle that as a child. We do not have to have everything but we can feel like we do by enjoying what we have.
13. Laugh often
Laughter is a great healer and helps you to get rid of stress. I have laughed til I cried even in the midst of really hard times. We do not have to be all serious or sad or down and never laugh just because something bad happened. When life gets tough, look for things to smile about. Happiness is a state of mind inside of us. It is a choice we make. Wake up every morning choosing to be happy.
14. Never Defend Something Blindly
Believe and have faith in what you believe in but always make sure you are defending it with facts and not just emotion. When you defend something, ask yourself “why?” and the reasons should be more than “It is wonderful” or “It is great”. You should be able to know and explain valid reasons. Otherwise we become like the groupies who follow this or that star all over the globe but can not really give you a good reason why.
No person or thing is ever ALL good. When we try to place people as perfect beings , have this visual of them as some perfect human that never does anything wrong and we refuse to admit when they make mistakes…which they will because they are human…then we have distorted what the person is and distorted our judgments of them. This happens often in the political realm and in the star realm. Being able to say that you did not like something done by someone you admire is not saying they are bad or no good. It is just admitting a truth and helps you to see them in a more human light. It does not necessarily mean they are not good to be in office or on the screen or in a job position. It just means they did something you did not like.
15. Do not depend on others for Happiness or Validation
Our happiness should never be dependent on things, people, places, money, etc for those things can disappear. Happiness comes from inside us and is a choice. Never should we let someone or something be the only thing that validates us or tells us we are worthy. When we think that only certain people can make us “worthy, we set ourselves up for failure for they are only human. Learn to validate yourself. You know when you have done a good job or when you have done something worthy. Be proud of that and validate from within that what you did is good. The first person that should be proud of you is YOU. When we allow humans to validate us, they can also make us feel worthless if they so desire. It is giving them power over us.
16. Treat Each Day Like It Is Your Last
Every day is a gift. Treat each day like it is your last and see the wonder and awe in each one. Live each day as if you were dying and make sure and tell your loved ones that you love them daily, make sure to keep disputes settled, make sure to do things you really love to do and not leave things undone.
17. Let Your Conscience Guide You
Our conscience tells us when we are doing something we should not be doing. If we are feeling uncomfortable, unhappy, angry, etc with what we are doing….it is time to step away from it and figure out why. The more that we override our conscience, the more our consciences become deadened to what is right and what is wrong. When you feel that feeling inside your head and heart, then it is time to stop and take assessment and do what is right.
18. Three Things You Can Never Get Back: Time, words and opportunity
Three things that can destroy a person: anger, pride and an unforgiving heart.
Three things that are the most important in life: Love, family/friends and kindness
19. Self Worth
Whatever value you place on yourself…others will too. We teach people how to treat us by what we allow them to do to us. If we allow others to treat us as if we are worthless, then they assume it is ok to do so. If we allow others to abuse us, then they think it is ok to do so. If we allow others to cheat on us, then they think it is ok to do so. We set the bar. You are a person of value but people will only treat us by how we let them treat us.
20. Your Thoughts
Be careful with what you think. For your thoughts can go on to become your words and slip out of your mouth. And your words can turn into actions. What we think, we can become. If you think you can or you think you can not….you are going to be right. The choice is up to us.
If we live life filled with negative thoughts, then we will have a very negative life. If we live life with positive thoughts, then our life will be positive. It is a choice and it is also a way of life. We have to teach ourselves to move those negative thoughts on out. I love the image of the trap door and when ever negativity comes into my brain, I flip the switch and the trap door opens and drops the thoughts into the hole below.
”Write the bad things that are done to
you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble.”
– Arabic Proverb-
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