If you’re willing to Listen, Life is willing to Teach you

Last week a friend of mine wasn’t feeling so chipper, so I wanted to do something nice for her. We agreed to meet up at the end of the week, when both our schedules seemed to align. So the day came, and I wasn’t sure of exactly when we’ were meeting. You know how it is, you text someone, then when they respond it’s about something else. Before you know it you’re chatting, and important details get forgotten. Eventually I didn’t end up meeting my friend, we were definitely not on the same page about the timing. At first I was upset, because lately it seems our timing is always off, someone is always unclear about when we’re supposed to meet.

Sometimes it’s not always about ME!

While a communication faux-pas would be a great topic to write about, it’s not the focal point of what I learnt from that experience. I started by saying I wanted to do something nice for my friend, but at some point I made it about me. In my mind I was going into it with my own agenda. It had been some time since I’d seen her, and there were questions I had, and wanted to ask. So when we weren’t able to meet, I was upset, because I was feeling “why does this keep happening to ME?” While the timing was off, my friend no longer felt like being social, so this worked in her favor. So that brings me back to my central question. If it was supposed to be about her, about how to help improve her mood, how did it become about me? You see Life had a way of interjecting here, and I’m thankful for that. Had I met with my friend, the evening would have been about getting my questions answered, instead of listening to what she had to say. Of course men this is a critical lesson for you, sometimes a Woman just needs you to listen, sometimes it’s not about solving a problem. Sometimes she needs to FEEL like she’s been heard, and that you care about what she’s experiencing.

Your light shines through no matter what

As luck would have it, life wasn’t done giving me lessons this weekend. I’ve shared from time to time about my faith, it’s a central part of who I am, my guiding light. I’ve never liked those people who stand on their soap boxes and preach about what a sinner you are, it always seemed so judgmental and boastful. So when it comes to my faith, I take a different approach, if you ask me why I have certain views, I’ll tell you about how my faith has molded that view. I’m not comfortable in pointing out all of your flaws, because the reality is that I’m struggling to live my life a certain way everyday, and I do have my flaws and secrets. I mentioned in a few previous posts that I constantly doubt myself, I doubt my purpose and my influence on others to live a positive life. My roommate came to me last night because he felt that he needed to share something with me. Generally I’m the one sharing positive things, and inspiring others, so it’s a bit weird receiving it. What he had to say was that he can feel that I’m a positive person who has the ability to lead others in living a similar life. He wanted me to know that I’ve been a good influence, and that he can see my light shining through. I thought this was interesting, because as I said earlier, I haven’t been feeling so confident about myself lately. What this showed me though is that my values and beliefs that are at my core are strong. Despite how I may feel on the inside, on the outside I can can still influence and encourage others to live a positive life. As I think about that, it’s important to glean this key out from everything I’ve said:

“when you embrace who you are, others will see THAT, despite how you may feel about yourself.”

So what you ask? What’s the WIFM (what’s in it for me).

  1. If you’re doing something for someone else, make sure it’s about them. Sure you’ll feel good and get a benefit from helping your friend. However if it becomes too much about your needs, then you’re not serving your friend well. Try to be more about ‘what your friend would like have done to them’ (platinum rule) rather than ‘what would I like have done to me’ (golden rule).
  2. Despite how you may feel on the outside, what’s in your heart is what others actually see. So the good news is that others will see the real you, the bad news is that others will see the real you. Your light will always shine through especially when it’s dark.

I’d love to get some feedback, no seriously I’m asking for it! How will what I said change the way you interact with others. Are there any strategies you’d like to share on how you overcome this obstacle?

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I think I have Reverse FOMO!

FOMO

In this Digital age where everyone’s thought’s seem to be online for all to see, even the thoughts that should probably stay in our heads! I’ve been in a Reflecting mood lately, looking at my actions and how they reflect where I’m trying to go with my life. While others seems to be doing things because they fear that they’ll miss out, and are probably over-sharing. I feel as though I’ve not done all that I can to get the kind of future that I desire. I’ve let fear prevent me from not moving forward, fear of failing, fear of changing my goal when I’m too far along, fear if others would embrace me as a Life Coach. Fear, Fear, and what if scenarios plague my mind. I write because I’m a struggle daily to keep on track, I don’t write because I have it figured out, or because I’m somehow perfect and I’m doing better than everyone. Writing is an outlet for my thoughts, and partly because I want to encourage others who might be struggling. If you’re like me you try to figure out your problems on your own, and you only seek help when you’ve come up against a wall. Not to worry there is hope for me, at least I know I’m stubborn, and that’s what I’m intending to change this year. If you’ve ever said those words ‘I wish someone had told me …”

I’ve come to embrace the weekends now, on Saturdays I can go to church and strengthen my faith, then I can spend Sunday exploring and getting energy from nature to make it through the week. As always many of the inspiration I have comes from the message in church, or on my hikes. Last week I spoke to a friend, although we ended up mostly talking about me; I do feel bad about that. When I did listen, I heard a frustration from her, and that burning question, “Have I made the right career choices?” There are some days when I feel as though I’ve taken several steps back, and others when I feel accomplished for what I’ve learnt about myself. Luckily the self-doubt didn’t last long, and I noticed that a few thoughts that I’ve written about seem to be coming together. As I mentioned earlier I feel that fear is taking control of my life, but through vulnerability, living with intention, and being action oriented, there might be hope after all.

One of the first keys talked about in this Sunday’s message is Vulnerability. Being vulnerable seems to be the fastest way to let others see the real you, to have real intimacy (into-me-see), to let your walls down and show that you’re not perfect. Bearing your flaws for all to see isn’t the easiest thing to do, plus sometimes some people can’t handle seeing your flaws and nakedness. Although it’s frightening to imagine that someone will know about all of your skeletons, imagine how much more real your relationship will be. They know the real you and you know the real them, there’s no pretending, no lying or trying to cover up your flaws. For me being in a relationship with someone for 5+ years and then find out they were hiding a mega skeleton in the closet, that’s one of my biggest fears. Relationships take time, and a lot of emotional energy, energy that isn’t magically replenished if you break up. By being vulnerable and showing all of you, it helps give a deeper connection, and this applies to all relationships, not just in a romantic setting. Imagine how much more satisfying your relationship will be if they know the real you, and they still love you. That you’re loved in spite of your flaws, or that you’re loved because of your flaws, and that they make you human. Just as in other relationships, if I show all my flaws to god, he will embrace me for who I am, and we can have a deeper intimate connection. Because yet another person has talked about this today, if you’ve not seen it check out Brene Brown’s TED Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability”

Relationships also require that we’re Intentional about our love. With work, kids, friends, church, soccer, tennis, swimming, etc. Missing OutIt’s not surprising that you don’t have time to continue to nurture and grow your relationship. My faith is strong now, but if I don’t continue to center myself and stay grounded in God; it’s easy to get swept up with all of the many cares of life. It’s always interesting and a great reminder to hear our Pastors say that they have to regularly reconnect with God. It reminds me that we’re all human, and no matter who you are, you still need to take time to keep your relationship healthy. So what are the non-biblical implications, with all the cares of life, we have to make an active effort to continue to “Date” our spouses. I heard a story on Facebook recently about someone who’s married but he’s still dating by Jarrid Wilson “I’m dating someone even though I’m married”. So no one gets upset, I’ll say that he’s talking about dating his wife, so I encourage everyone to check out the article. So just as I’m pursuing God and him me, remember to pursue your spouse, because if we’re not intentional, it’s easy to get distracted by the cares of this world.

The last area has to do with knowing your purpose or gift. If you know yourself, you’ll know what you’re capable of. Religion has been around for a long time, but sometimes people’s wrong beliefs about what God is like, causes them to walk away from faith all together. I’ve always been evidence based rather than on emotions. Sometimes we do things and we feel guilty, and then we assume that others will judge us. In that case I ask, what actions are they showing that they’re judging you? Have they said those magic words, “I won’t have done that?” or are they saying “it’s ok everyone makes mistakes, lets figure out how to fix it.” It should be quite easy to see that the lather is more concerned with picking you back up after you’ve fallen, so why do we sometimes think that inside they’re judging us? This is where vulnerability comes in, if you’re connected in a real and genuine way, you’ll be able to know how the other person actually feels. There’s nothing worse than knowing despite any of your actions or what you say, someone continues to think that you mean something different. So for me that means that I will go to God’s word to see what he says, instead of letting the judge in my head dictate how I feel. From a relationship perspective, by knowing you’r partner’s real thoughts, it should be easier to know how they actually feel, rather than going with your thoughts. Although this post is not about communication, it’s a very big part of the conversation. As I’ve painfully learnt, if only one person is using good communication skills, you’re still going to end up with misunderstandings. Sometimes it’s ok not to agree with everything I say, if you keep agreeing with me I’ll think that you share my point of view.

It’s always great to see things come together! These are a few things that I think will help me walk better in my faith, but like most of the things I write, this has implications for life and relationships in general. I’d like to add another piece here, I’ve kept you reading thus far. What I say are just some of my thoughts I’ve taken out of other things I’ve heard this week, I post them here because they are a few of the ways that I can make my life better. It may be beneficial for some, but may not apply to others. If you tend to look at the messenger and try to figure out what qualifies me to write these things, you WILL miss the message. I don’t claim to be an expert, like you I’m in the trenches and struggling, and some of what I say may not even work. Even though I have these thoughts, I still have to keep myself grounded each day, some days I do much better than others. If you find that you’re judging me as you read what I write, my advice is to stop reading, and perhaps either don’t read my comments again, or come back to it when you’re in a better place to be open to a different perspective. I understand that part of putting myself out there is that I’m opening myself up to criticism, and there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and criticism. For the critics my last comment is this: “If you’re not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback” – Brene Brown.