What I’m Not – A Letter

February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m going deeper today. There’s been something weighing on my mind and I feel like now is a good time to address it. For what it’s worth it is meant to be an encouragement to someone, you know who you are.

Times are tough lately for a lot of people. Every day I hear someone say that they are in financial ruins, losing their homes, not being able to feed their families – whatever it is, there always seems to be someone who’s getting the short end of the stick. I’ve been there and I know that feeling of desperation when you feel like you’ve lost – or are losing – everything. There is no comfort there.

Everyone deals with trials differently. Some can take a hard situation and smile their way through it, staying positive as the day is long. To those people, hooray! Some people stumble in those situations but dig their way out and find the light once more. Others seem to dwell in the uncertainty and in some ways lose themselves in it.

There is one person in particular I would like to dedicate this post to. This person is a wonderful, kind, gentle soul and deserves the world at their feet offering joy and abundance. They live alone, take care of their mother, aren’t very close to some of their family and found out this week that they are most likely losing their home. And it’s been very rough for them. I hope you’re reading this, you know who you are. This is for you:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s human nature to look to other people to build you up and help you feel good about yourself. In others we are able to see the reflection of who we think we are – but when you think about it it’s probably not such a good idea to look to others to find ourselves. We’re flawed creatures, us silly humans. So when you think about it you’re looking to feel that self worth and value from someone who most likely doesn’t even recognize their own self worth. Some people are good at building others up and some people aren’t confident enough to build up a Lego castle – let alone your ego. So why look to others? Yes, there is a comfort in feeling valued but let me pose this question to you:

WHY do you care what they think? If you don’t value yourself then who can make you feel valued? The proof is pudding my friend. You have to love yourself enough and care for yourself enough to learn how to be happy and comfortable in your own skin. (Much easier said than done, yes, but it is possible.)

I don’t know if you believe in God and have a relationship there – but I’ll tell you that the only place I look to find my value is in His eyes – and in my heart. I’d be let down looking any other place.

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”    -Thomas Merton

You see the problem with letting people hold onto your value is that no one – not even your closest friend or family member – can know you better than you know yourself. People see things according to their own point of view. I look at you differently than your friend looks at you. Your neighbor sees you differently than the person sitting next to you at your club meeting. People who are negative in nature tend to see flaws easier than people whose glasses tend to be half full. One of the things I hate about being human is that it’s easy to pick out people’s flaws – because it helps us to avoid looking at our own. So the key is surrounding yourself with people who are positive and encouraging and make you feel good about yourself. That usually means weeding out the people who are negative and in some ways putting them into a mental quarantine. But you have to do what’s best for you – and being with people who make you feel badly about yourself isn’t doing anything to help you keep your head above water.

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Translation: If you have a positive outlook on life you can see the “open doors” in any situation and have an easier time when things get rough. How you manage stress, how you look at the circumstances in your life – they all speak volumes about who you are.

I haven’t known you very long but I can tell you what I can see: You’re sensitive. There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact the empathy you feel towards others is an admirable quality – but don’t let that soft spot in your heart keep you from finding the strength you need to press forward.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley

We are people of change. One of the wonderful things that I constantly talk about is how amazing it is that we can, so easily, change. We change our minds, we change our actions, we change ourselves. There will always be room for improvement. How awesome is that? No matter how old we get we can look inside of ourselves, take note of the brokenness and strive to change.

“Until you make peace with who your are … you’ll never be content with what you have.” – Doris Mortman

What are we striving for? Sure, it’s nice to have the newest technology, the nicest car, the biggest house… but what are we compensating for? Most of the time what we so desperately cling to in our lives we’re only doing so because it’s acting as a Bandaid for a much bigger problem. Loneliness, depression, heart ache… none of these things, no matter how big or small, will ever be covered by what we own. And there’s always the very real standby – You can’t take it with you.

“So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.” – Elizabethtown

News Flash: You can fail at something and that does NOT make YOU a failure.

Repeat after me: “I AM NOT MY CIRCUMSTANCES.” I know I’m not perfect. I fail things at least 10 times a day. Today alone I’ve failed at being good at waking up, being good at eating right… even getting out of the car I failed at. Some days it’s little failures – things that easy to look past – and other times we get the whammy. Like losing a house.

You can’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault the economy is in the toilet. It’s not your fault that you were working in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can’t control it, you can’t anticipate it. It does not make you who you are. What you DO in this situation makes you who you are. So..

“You have five minutes to wallow in the delicious misery. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Discard it. And proceed…”

Take it in. Learn from it. Let it go.     Focus on the things you HAVE achieved and look forward to the things you are going to achieve.  There will be another home, another job, whatever it is… it’s an open door. It takes a lot of courage to walk through an open door not knowing what’s on the other side but you know what? You can do it! You just put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, until you reach your destination.

I’ve let people into parts of my life in this blog and mentioned some of the things I’ve gone through. The only way I got through these things was by doing just that.

I took a deep breath from the bottom of the pit and one foot in front of the other I climbed out. Along the way I got lots of cuts and bruises – things that are still healing – but eventually I made it out. Sometimes I needed other people to help me and other times I could take the steps I needed to alone. But I did it. And I know you can too.

Don’t let this get the best of you because there is so much BEST in there to be had!

A note to all of you: It doesn’t matter how old you are, how experienced you are, how mature or knowledgeable you are… Every day is a new day. Every day we get an opportunity to grow. Every day we get a chance to put one foot in front of the next and move forward.

And please, if you’re in a bad place right now – get help! If you feel like you can’t do it alone – or you need more support – reach out to someone! Send me a message – I’ll point in you in an upward direction.

You’re worth it. Keep your head up, you’re going to make it!

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