Best. Quote. Ever.

It is so easy to pass judgment on one another. It is so easy to allow ourselves to fall into a habit of looking down on one another and keep one another pinned down. It is easy to allow ourselves to fall into a routine of “I can do this, so [name] should be able to do this as well.” These thoughts, though, are toxic.

There is a poster that circulates around on Facebook that has a statement on it, a quote that matters. “The only time you should be looking down at someone is if you’re trying to help them up.”

I know what some of you are thinking. “But a lot of people don’t want to be helped up.” True. But for every person that doesn’t want help, there are nine with their hands lifted up, begging for someone to notice and take their hand and help them to safety. Take suicide. Out of 10 people, for every ONE that doesn’t want help, there are NINE that could be helped if only we would give them some time.

It is NOT that hard to help someone. If you see someone in need, reach out there and help them. Don’t look at them and think “Well they should be able to help themselves, because I did.” Not everyone has the same tools. Not everyone knows which handhold to grab on the cliff of life and they’re slipping and falling toward oblivion.

Catch them. Maybe someone thinks that the world would be better off without them. “You know, I just wanted you to know I care about you and would really like to see some more of you.” Those words can be powerful in the ears of someone on the brink of disaster.

“You have a beautiful smile, what is it that’s causing you not to show it?” You may hear a lot of issues that to you would be easy to solve, but to the person you’re talking to are serious issues that they’re struggling with. Listen to them. Offer them advice from your own personal experience and give them the tools to succeed in their struggles.

“Hey [name], I haven’t seen or heard from you in a while. Was just wondering if everything is okay and if you need any time to get away and get some free time? What can I do to help you out so we can see some more of each other?” It’s a motivational statement. Hey, this person misses me and is giving me a way to have some time to devote to enjoying myself a little with this person. Maybe they can help me figure out a game plan to survive this storm I’m facing.

“You know, life isn’t so bad if you get the hang of it. Is there anything I can do to help you organize or plan out ways to help you with what you’re facing so you’re not so upset all the time?” You never know what needs are waiting to be met.

I get it. When you see someone complaining, the natural instinct is to roll your eyes and think to yourself, “here we go again” and a lot of times the end result of this natural instinct is to make a negative comment toward the person. But you can change your natural reaction. Maybe they’re just looking for attention… and maybe giving them that attention could save their life.

Display your positivity, and positivity will follow you.

If you change only one person’s life, it is an accomplishment that no trophy or award or amount of money can mimic. To have someone tell you, “I’m still hanging in there because of what you did for me, you really made a difference” is the most beautiful and rewarding feeling that life can provide.

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Which Seeds Are Blossoming In Your Internal Garden?

There are countless flowers in the world, and there are many that have probably yet to be discovered. But flowers can be deceiving. Take the rose. It is beautiful. The colors, the smell, the silky feel of the petals… but roses are a deceptive flower. Thorns that can cause great pain spread both long and visible as well as short and hard to see along the stem of the rose. Or the elegant autumn crocus. Beautiful to admire from afar, but if you get too close, you could find that you’re poisoned and that there is no antidote.

But one thing that all flowers, both harmless and dangerous, have in common is that they start with a seed or a bulb. Each seed, each bulb is unique and as a result you know that you’re going to get a beautiful, colorful result.

The same can be said of our own day to day life. Each day we are given seeds… they are seeds of circumstance, environment and social life. These seeds are just like the seeds that form the poisonous autumn crocus or the thorny rose – don’t take for granted that the beauty they promise can also be dangerous.

Seeds of circumstance often deal with choices we make during events where we have to choose the door on the left or the door on the right and in the split second it takes us to pick a knob and push the door open, that seed plants itself within us. But what if the choice we made was the wrong one? What if we should have gone left, but chose right? The seed is there… what do we do?

Seeds can NOT thrive unless they are watered, given room to breathe and grow and nurtured by either nature or a loving hand with a green thumb. We have to decide whether the choice we’ve made means that a toxic flower will grow within us, destroying our positivity and choking at our happiness, stabbing our good nature, or if we will suppress that seed and deny it what it needs to survive. The same can be said of seeds of environment and social life.

Maybe you live in a less than desirable community, but finances and economical hardships prevent you from leaving… Do you become bitter? Or do you become better? Do you allow the autumn crocus to paint a beautiful life for you that masks the poison eating away you inside, turning the taste in your mouth sour to every event though you put a fake smile on your face? Or does the stunning yet delicate Lisianthus flower bloom… sweeping away the darkness with an elegant beauty that keeps your feelings about your situation positive?

Maybe you’ve had the unfortunate experience of a friend stabbing you in the back, a partner cheating on you, or someone you thought you could trust hurting you either physically or emotionally in a way that you never would have thought that they could. Which seed did you let take root? Which seed did you water and nurture? Was it the magnificent hydrangea, filling your thoughts with beauty and positivity and bringing out the inner beauty so that the outer beauty is impossible to miss? Or did you nurture the oleander tree, with flowers containing multiple toxins that eat away at your inner beauty?

What seeds are blossoming in your internal garden today? Are you a rose, with a beautiful flower but thorns that could cause pain? Or are you the lily of the valley – peaceful, beautiful and elegant bringing a positive light with you where you go? Are you the hydrangea bush, or the oleander tree? The autumn crocus or the Lisianthus? Are you growing positivity, or negativity?

 

“There are two wolves that live within each of us – one good, one evil. The one that survives is the one that we feed the most.” Both seeds have been planted. Both wolves are there. Which one are you nurturing?

Turning Your Inner Demons Into Outer Accomplishments

Positivity is HARD. Especially when those nasty inner demons show their faces and remind you of your past struggles. We all have them. That ex that cheated on us. The accident that scarred us. The abusive relationship with a family member. Choosing friends that stab us in the back. Rape… Being stalked… The list of what creates inner demons that we must battle could go on for ages and I’m sure that anybody reading this could add to the list an event or circumstance that plays through their minds at the worst of times, creating a whole new list of issues for the people in our lives currently but most of all to ourselves.

How can we create a world of positivity and denounce the negativity that flows through the earth causing trouble for everyone if we can’t keep our own inner demons at bay?

That’s the thing… we can. It’s hard work and will become harder as we near the end of beating back that “demon” but we can change those demons into accomplishments. That ex that cheated on you? That was awful, but your current partner/spouse/significant other treats you the way you deserve. When they have to work late or they take a little longer than usual, the thoughts creep up into your mind, slowly at first and then panic takes over and before you know it you’re freaking out and taking out the fact that your ex cheated on you on your new partner who may have just not heard the phone go off or was legitimately putting in overtime.

But you can beat that demon into an accomplishment. When you feel those emotions taking over you, tell yourself all of the good things about your current relationship. Tell yourself “That was the choice of [name], not what’s happening in my life currently. This isn’t the same situation.” And keep telling yourself that until the thoughts leave your mind. Be sure to express what your feelings were, calmly, with your current partner when you do talk to them and let them know that you know that they aren’t doing it, but you had to struggle with it and give them the opportunity to help you through this struggle. Give them the chance to hold your hand and fight that demon with you, and before you know it overtime or missing a text or call occasionally won’t even bother you. Because you made it through the person that hurt you and found someone to be your champion and your real partner in life, and that person has shown that they will take up the battle sword with you and fight the demons that plague the back of your mind, and you will eventually find yourself in a relationship where you won’t be worried when the other person is working late or doesn’t answer you right away.

One of the hardest demons for men and women alike to fight back into accomplishments is a rape. The emotions that follow this awful event are overwhelming… there’s denial, shame, anger, depression and they all roll through vicious, inconsistent cycles. We see someone looking at us a little too long at work or school or among our friends and freak out, sometimes becoming verbally or physically aggressive as a safety mechanism to prevent this person – who is probably either just lost in thought and doesn’t realize they’re even looking at you, or they’re attracted to you and wondering how to tell you this fact – from hurting us like the person from our past who took something more valuable than money or valuables from us. They took our dignity, our sense of value, our feelings of safety. These demons are vicious monsters that hold on tightly, especially if justice was never served to the person that victimized us. But we need to realize something… we survived it. We got through that ordeal and we’ve fought through the awful emotional roller coaster that follows and we lived to see another day, though beaten and bruised and less confident and feeling as if we have to justify what happened to us with the “why” question. But we don’t. There will never be an answer to the “why” that is going to be satisfactory.

But you can fight this demon back as well. There are support groups and forums all over social media that are there for victims of sexual assault and rape and there are thousands of people out there that have fought through the same emotions that you’ve faced and have come out on top and many of them will help you through your dark moments. There are friends that will support you and keep you uplifted when you struggle through your securities. Each day, remind yourself “That person [name if you have it] was an evil person. They took something from me. But not all people are evil. Today I will look for something good in someone and embrace that.” And each day, look for something good in someone. Fight those emotions by seeking out the good, fight those insecurities for searching for the positive. When someone looks at you for too long, wave at them. Let them know “I’ve had some things in my past that I don’t wish to discuss right now, but I feel uneasy with you looking at me for so long, would you mind focusing your attention elsewhere for a little while?” Say it nicely. Don’t let your feelings of fear take over your tongue or your tone, just let them know they’re making you uncomfortable. As long as you’re polite, they will apologize and turn their attention elsewhere. That’s a good in someone that you can keep in mind for tomorrow. And tomorrow, remind yourself again “That person was an evil person. They took something from me. But not all people are evil. Today I will look for something good in someone and embrace that.” Keep doing this until you can look in the mirror and say “That person was evil. But they didn’t beat me. I’m still here. I have found the good in people, and I will embrace that.” And embrace it. Because you’ve just turned that demon into an accomplishment and you have beaten them, because they no longer hold anything over you. You were a victim, but your days of being a victim are over.

Most demons can be beaten back by saying to yourself, either aloud in a room by yourself or standing in front of a mirror and saying “I was a victim of [name your demon], but today I’m a champion. My demon hasn’t beaten me yet, and it won’t succeed today.” Learn to accept that you have demons, and then face off with them. Show them no fear, because they will not let you rest if you do. Tell them every day “I was a victim of [demon], but today I’m a champion. My demon hasn’t beaten me yet, and it won’t succeed today.” Those words and following up with the actions to match it will walk you right through that storm, and your person whose season it is to walk through that storm with you will be there to hold your hand and help you through it.

Bring out the positive in yourself and the positive of others will shine around you. Defeat your negative instincts by defeating your demons and beating them into accomplishments. Because regardless of what your demon’s name is, you walked through that storm, you got through it. You made it this far, and that makes you a warrior. Now turn that warrior spirit into a reason for others to embrace the positive and live your life as the life of a champion, beat your demons and claim them as accomplishments and you’ll go far.

Be the source of your own positivity, and the negativity of the world can never hurt you. Because once you’ve beaten one demon, you can beat anything that comes at you.

Fight Fire With Water

Everybody gets to a point with people in our lives where we get angry and say, “It’s time to fight fire with fire!” But if we actually fight fire with fire, we create bigger fires. Fighting fire with fire does not put fires out. Before you know it, the small fire that angered you has grown into a larger fire with you and the person that created the fire to begin with and then spreads to others who take sides and start lighting matches and throwing wood and fuel into the fire and then cities have to be evacuated for the fire that’s spreading further and further. Figuratively speaking, of course.

But nonetheless, fighting fire with fire creates more fire. It resolves nothing. It keeps the fire going and fuels it and continues the path toward epic destruction of our self confidence, our temperament, our attitudes toward other people. Innocent bystanders get caught in the middle, being burned by our actions of frustration and anger.

So what puts out a fire? A contradicting force… water. Regardless of the actions of others, be the water in the situation. Picture yourself as a peaceful stream and imagine yourself flooding over to coat the fire in water. Shower the person causing you to feel emotions of anger and frustration in love and understanding and forgiveness, and if that doesn’t work, walk away.

The most successful way to put out the fires in our lives is to cast water onto it. Be kind to one another, be loving and show your positivity in any situation, and fires will cease.

Fighting fire with fire creates more fire. Put fires in your life out with love and be the water that calms the world.

And as always, have a blessed and positivity filled day ❤

Give Yourself a Break…

Today while I was at the doctor’s office, I read an interview article in a magazine on the counter as I was waiting to be called back. There wasn’t anything really special about the article, just an interview with a celebrity talking about how she balances her work life and personal life.

But she said something that hit close to home… “As a younger person, I thought I had to do everything myself. But then why do we have friendships and family? You can’t do it all by yourself and it’s silly to try.” The celebrity was Julianna Margulies. I’m not a huge fan, I’ve seen her in a few shows that I’ve sort of halfway watched, but that quote reminded me of something I struggle with every single day.

This is probably the hardest thing I struggle with personally. I don’t like asking for help. I have multiple health conditions that demand I take it easy and take frequent breaks, but even when I’m taking a break, I’m still working on something. I’m answering emails, or working on my book or advocating Facebook pages or petitioning or networking or researching for business forecasts and working on building a business plan or looking up costs for things that I won’t need the cost for for another 2-3 years, or sending out emails petitioning for support for various issues.

I don’t actually slow down, I ask for help on small tasks that are more of “I have bigger things to worry about right now can you handle this for me because I need my 2 minutes elsewhere” than “I need help, my body doesn’t like everything I’m doing.” I don’t take time to think, “You’re not the healthiest person in the world, stop, take a breath, and delegate some things…” Mostly because I wasn’t raised to ask for help.

I think that’s a lot of the problem for a lot of people. Especially in my generation or older (though some of the behaviors of younger generations in which they expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter with a bow did start with my generation, sadly). We were raised to do what we had to do and keep pushing forward no matter what. But it’s not necessary. Like Julianna Margulies pointed out, we have friendships and family for a reason. We should be leaning on each other and helping each other and offering support to one another in times of need. Delegate something bigger than that 2 minute inconvenience task when someone offers to help.

You don’t have to do it all alone. You can give yourself a break. God didn’t put other people in our lives for us to stick our tongues out and try to stress ourselves, mind or body, to our breaking point.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Kind

There are so many opportunities on a day to day basis to be kind to one another. Unfortunately… there are an equal amount of opportunities to be cruel. Even more unfortunate is the fact that more often than not, people on average tend to choose the latter. Not intentionally in most cases, many times the choice to not do the kind thing is an act of self preservation.

After all, that guy standing on the street corner with the cardboard sign is just gonna take your money and go buy some drugs or alcohol with it anyway, right? Are you sure? Do you know him? Have you watched him leave his post with someone else’s hard earned cash in hand and go straight to the liquor store or over to another street corner for some kind of exchange that must be drugs? Have you met him? You’re so sure that handing him a dollar or two is going to be misused, you must know his name…

Oh, you don’t? Then how do you know his intentions? How do you know that he isn’t a military vet that fought in the war and came home to find that there are no jobs available and his small children need food and out of desperation he’s swallowed his pride to stand there with his cardboard sign while he waits on the ten or twenty job applications he’s put in this week to offer a reply? How do you know that he didn’t get laid off from a job he thought was secure, only to learn that he’s “overqualified” for anything that’s available, and what he’s perfectly qualified for isn’t hiring? (And yes… companies will deny people for being overqualified…)

What about that lady at the counter that just swiped her food stamp card and is counting out pennies for her laundry detergent. She just uses her food stamps for junk food anyway, right? Are you sure? Do you see junk food in her groceries? Do you see children with her? Are there groceries there to provide their needs? Should they go without being able to snack on the same chips and cookies you’re giving your child because their parent(s) is/are going through a hard time right now? Have you ever been a school aged child that had to go without because of financial troubles with your parents?

And that girl in the short booty shorts walking away from that group of guys sending out their cat-calls and making inappropriate comments, she’s just trying to get attention anyway with the way she’s dressed! Right? Are you sure? Do you know her financial situation and how much money she has for clothes? Do you know her upbringing or her history? Is it hot outside today? Are those shorts cut? How do you know that she didn’t cut the shorts from a pair of jeans because of the heat and a lack of money to get some shorts and accidentally cut too short, but didn’t have enough pants to cut into shorts to try again? How do you know that the offensive remarks being made toward her aren’t bringing up in her mind a memory of a horrible experience in her lifetime?

We’re so quick to judge one another by appearances and by past burns and hurts that we forget to be kind. We avoid eye contact with the man on the street corner holding up his concrete sign. We cough and clear our throats in impatient frustration toward the mom with the food stamp card as she counts out her change to finish her purchase. We roll our eyes at the audacity of the girl in the short shorts at “pretending” to be offended by comments that should offend her.

We do it every day. That man on the street corner sees you busying yourself with something in your console so you don’t have to look at him. The mom with three hungry kids counting out change hears your throat clearing judgments being passed against her. The young woman in the shorts sees your annoyed look as you pass by her. While these are your reactions based on what you see and what you’ve experienced with other people in the past, to the people on the receiving end of your inaction, it’s cruel. You’ve dehumanized these people without knowing them.

So the next time you pull up to a red light and see a man on a street corner holding up a cardboard sign, smile at him. Give him a dollar. Ask him his name and tell him you’re going to pray for him for a better situation to come his way, and then pray for him.

When you get in line behind the mom with the food stamp card counting out her change, look at her kids. Don’t look at her or what she has, look at the fact that she has kids. Slip a five dollar bill to the cashier while she’s digging around in her purse looking for more quarters. What could it hurt? That card can’t pay for the laundry detergent anyway.

And when you hear the disrespectful comments and see the flustered face of the girl with the shorts, smile at her and wave, and then make sure that she understands that you understand her by not rolling your eyes.

In one study of a group of survivors of suicide attempts, 7 out of 10 of the survivors stated that if one person, just one, had just smiled at them once they probably wouldn’t have tried to end their lives. 9 out of 10 said that once they had performed the act that they thought would kill them and thought that they were dying, they realized they wanted to live.

Don’t let past burns cause you to fear the fire… let them teach you to respect it. And out of your respect for the fire that is humanity, perform acts of kindness. One smile, one anonymous act of generosity, one offer for prayer and a couple dollars could save a life.

Isn’t that worth taking the risk on people for?