Category: Purposeful Living

“Some people are so broken, they get mad at you for being whole” – Unknown 

 

How many things can you look back on in your life and get angry or sad?  You know, the missed opportunities and poor decisions that took  you way off the mark, or perhaps it was indecisiveness or procrastination that seemingly held you hostage from your ideal paths and goals. 

To be more specific, how about a relationship that went sour after years of your time, investment and commitment, only to see your life partner walk away.  Or perhaps you were the one to leave the relationship to try to salvage any dignity that remained in you, after realizing you had been betrayed by the one who claimed to love you with all their heart and soul.  Or like the old cliché, you grew a part  and found yourself more empty being together than you did alone. 

There is no question that we can all fill in the blanks with a laundry list of disappointments that have filled our lives over the years.  Perhaps some were avoidable, while others required a bit more maturity that you simply did not have at your disposal at the time.  So you made your choices with what you knew and understood, and whether wrong, right or indifferent those decisions currently shape the world you live in today. 

Seeing that I can relate to all the above and more, I have learned it is what we do during calamity that defines us, and how we respond cannot be mistaken and is seldom debatable.  This defining moment reaches to the fabric of our being and is a great opportunity to expose our true hearts, intentions and motivations.  Very rarely is it a feel good session for the one being exposed, even if only to one’s self. 

So what do you find ourselves doing after the dust has settled, your separate lives have went on, and the emotional distress of the moment has long faded away?  Have you become bitter, distrustful and suspicious of all those that merely represent the one(s) who hurt you, or are you learning to grow, embrace truth and live a new and better life? 

I wish it were as simple as typing these words down, but unfortunately it is much more difficult and complex than that.  And in many instances it requires support from outside sources, uncomfortable transparency and a decision to live a different kind of life.  One that allows time for introspection, reflection, meditation, submission, prayer and self-analysis.  All things that cause us to slow down, to allow us at some point to go fast, however with much more wisdom, empathy and integrity. 

It is indeed the journey of life, for those that choose to go down that path.  A journey that will not only enrich our own lives, but the lives we touch as well.  The hardships of our past can become lessons we share with others that choose to listen.  Our growth will teach us to no longer exude energy on what we cannot change, or the people who remain angry and point fingers at us.  Our focus is only on what lies before us.  Our past pains will remind us of what can potentially happen, however our new identity sees past the negative images and helps us to navigate towards what is better and full of life. 

So if you are still looking back on your life and becoming disheartened when you do, don’t you think it is time to embrace a new way?  Life is truly too short to remain mad, hurt and perpetually disappointed, however it is never too late to make a new declaration.  A declaration that opens the door to peace, hope and joy.  

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible” – Christopher Reeve 

 

As I go through my life encountering new obstacle’s and trials; good times and bad times, one thing I try to keep as a way of life is to grow, learn and improve, no matter the circumstances.  Whether it is discovering something new about myself, another person or embracing a new perspective on life, I try to live my life in such a way that I never become complacent or satisfied with the way things are. 

I know this sounds like a common declaration, and it is, but it is also a choice to live with a commitment on something we can control.  And that is, no matter what happens in our lives, we always have the option on how we react, respond and what the next steps look like in our lives. 

I realize for some this may sound like an impossibility because perhaps you have lived the majority of your life underneath someone else.  Not only were your best ideas and thoughts overshadowed, but they were rarely heard or even considered as an option.  So if that is you, this concept may seem foreign, strange or outlandish, but it is never too late to start your best life.

Consider the fact, that no one can make you do anything.  No one can make you so angry that you hit them, even if you want to.  No one can make you so sad that you stay in bed with the blinds drawn for three days, even if you feel like that is the best thing to do.  No one can hurt you so bad that you feel as if life is not worthy of living, even if the thought crosses your mind. 

You see, we are all human and therefore we are subject to frailty, disappointment and poor decision-making, however we are also a resilient specie that tends to find our way in the darkest hours.  We never really know what we are capable of until the options we once had are no longer options.  Until we find ourselves with our backs against the walls of life, the path of least resistance is the preferred (human) choice. 

I get it and have been there on many occasions.  If I could spare myself a little initial temporary grief, even if it meant a longer period of travail after, I took that route almost every time, but I also lived to regret it every time as well. 

Growing and getting better in less about just getting things right, and more about learning why you do, or should in the first place.  It is coming to an understanding about who you are, how you are wired and the various proclivities you have at a specific time and realizing the specific reason you make the choices you do.  And then after all that, deciding to make a better choice for yourself, consciously. 

I purposely omitted specific issues that we face, like death of a loved one, death of a relationship, loss of a job and health issues that come our way, because we are all bound to encounter one or several of them in our lifetime.  The key is what we do when we are there.  

We will discover what we are made of, what we truly believe and how we respond during a crisis.  In most cases if we actually take the time to examine our responses we will learn something new about ourselves.  Perhaps that something new is favorable, and you continue down that path of growth, or perhaps that “something” fell short of what and who you thought you were.  Instead of getting upset or angry with yourself, maybe it is your season of growth and getting better.  Nothing beats a failure like a try, so get to trying and expect a better outcome.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“Sometimes you have to know someone really well to realize you’re really strangers.”  – Mary Tyler Moore

 

As a young adult my mentor once told me that I am a deep thinker and a deep feeler.  For a long time I had no idea what that really meant, but I finally figured it out about 10-15 years ago.  I experienced a few life struggles and have had endless conversations with myself before I truly discovered the meaning and the value of what it meant to be wired this way.  

For me it was accepting the fact that I rarely fit into a mold of what a regular guy does, what a regular guy thinks or what even a regular guy feels at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a man and embody the full characteristics of a regular guy, but in many cases my opinions, thoughts and ideas differ from most men.  I am neither better or less than any other guy, but I am me, Henry. 

One area this has impacted my life more than anywhere else is in my relationships, both male in bonding and female intimacy.  I have always longed to know my friends in a deep and meaningful way.  It was really like a prerequisite to being my real friend, or you simply fell into the acquaintance category, which was easy to do.

The most influential component to this type of relationship is the ability and the choice to become vulnerable to another.  Not just anyone, but to a specific person or select group of people.  It is making the choice to live outside the shadows of comfort and ambiguity, and become authentically known by someone.  Known in a way that reveals your true identity, embarrassing flaws and imperfect beauty. 

To discover and experience such a relationship is very rare and many will never find it, not because it was not available to them, but because  it is much simpler to remain in the shadows of life, than to give the pieces of us that reveal our true character, motivations and layers of who we really are.

It has been imbedded in us since we were kids. That concept to suck it up, pretend it doesn’t hurt, (when it absolutely does) smile even when you feel bad and never let them see you sweat.  It all sounds good and seems like a smart recipe to becoming a strong kid/adult.  But is it really?  Is the end product really stronger, better and more in touch with their true identity or are they being taught to become great at pretending, faking and that lying to themselves is okay? 

I am not here to answer that question for you or the world, but I can speak for myself and those I have relationships with.  At the end of the day, I just want to know you and I want you to know me.  The real me, the strong me, the afraid me, the confident and fragile me, the indecisive me, the smart me, the don’t have it all together yet me, the broken and getting back on my feet me.  Just me and my imperfect beauty and strength. Can you handle that?

Many cannot and will abandon you at first indication of true reality setting in, but that’s okay because they are not worthy of who you really are.  They will not be able to grasp it or understand how to engage in this type of relationship, so they will naturally find an exit for themselves.  Allow them to go.

I have learned that the first person we lie to is ourselves, so until we can begin to live our truth to ourselves first, we will continue to live in the shadows of mystery, illusions and ultimately darkness.  The by-product seems to always be disappointment, brokenness and a sense of being incomplete.  Who wants to keep living this way, even if it causes you to feel okay for a season? 

That season will one day come to an end and what will you have left to claim?  The lie?  I have been there, done that and understand it is no longer the life for me.  

As a deep thinker and a deep feeler, I will always ask why.  It is in my DNA.  I will always probe and never settle for the easy way out.  I will deeply feel my questions and responses, which will motivate me understand better and with more clarity.  I will not be quick to judge, but I demand truth, not half lies.  When you give me truth I give you me, when you offer me lies our relationship is no longer credible, and will eventually die.  Our lives are too short for anything less, because I just want to know you, nothing more and nothing less and it takes a lifetime to attain. 

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – J.K. Rowling 

 

We all know that talk is cheap, and at the end of the day the words that we profess need to be supported by some type of action.  Without that action, the words fall to the ground unfruitful.  I also believe we know and understand that it is probably better to say nothing than to make promises we have no way to make real.  But why do so many still choose to live their lives this way?

You know the ones that say a whole lot, have great intentions, yet zero follow through, especially when it can mean the most to a situation or individual.  Now I consider myself a person who believes most people want to do the right thing and will honor their commitments, however I equally understand that many still will not, for whatever reason.  And when I began to live my life with this understanding, I was able to release those that could break me, before they actually could.

Of course none of us can always get this right, but the more I am honest with myself and choose to listen to that gut instinct inside, I recognize who I am truly dealing with, I mean like who just showed up (at my figurative door) to engage with me, have that heart to heart talk or make peace with our past or present.  I quickly realize whether they are making a conscientious choice to be truly transparent with me or if they are still simply pretending to be.  

I have also learned that it is not my responsibility fix them, force them to be honest (even with themselves) or plead with them about their inability to be truthful.  I can only deal with who showed up, not who I would have preferred to show up, because at the end of the day that is the truth I must accept and choose to deal with or not. 

It is never our responsibility to change anyone.  It requires way too much time and energy and it comes with no guarantee that the results will be favorable anyway.  The better choice is we must deal with the circumstances as they present themselves and be willing to live in that moment, change ourselves to work with it or leave. Are there really any other options?

Sometimes I think we believe there are other options, (including present company) however after repeatedly hitting my head against walls of frustration believing somehow or someway things would work themselves out or something would change, they did not and I was left with disappointment and resentment, with only myself to blame.

I blamed myself because I was living in the mindset of what it could be, versus what it was. This illusion of what we want versus what we have must come into alignment.  This is not to say that one day this ideal state cannot come into fruition, it is just we must acknowledge the reality (however painstaking it may be) of what we currently have.  

Although the choice to deal with the issues of our realities may be difficult, this indeed is the journey towards living in truth and purpose.  A purpose that has a means to an end because it not only accepts things as they are, but it allows the option of choice to enter in when a violation of one’s own purpose has occurred.  We are no longer handicapped by someone else or victim to their own choice to be who they are, yet instead we give ourselves license to live in our own truth with the power to stay, leave or change. 

When we fail to show up, whether in a personal or professional relationship, we inevitably limit and obscure our ability to stand for what we believe.  We will always find ourselves living under someone else’s ideal of who we are and what we are supposed to become.  Our voice is weakened and our disposition in life becomes counterproductive to a cause perhaps we once believed in or lived by.

Showing up is more than just being in the room.  It is also more than just being loud, emotional or noticeably passionate.  It is about believing is something to your core and taking a stand for it, despite the outcome.  It is when we begin to live for things that even the threat of death, shame, embarrassment or ridicule cannot sway us.  We have a voice, we have a purpose and we understand our truth and we are finally unapologetic about what it is.  We are ready to show up.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

“Be brave enough to have a conversation that matters.” Dau Voire 

 

Communication is the means to exchange information, whether personal, business related, relevant, irrelevant, good news or bad.  Somehow and someway we all need to have a conversation with another at some point to simply talk about things.  The subject matter usually ties directly to our own emotions and thoughts towards having that talk.  The, “I can’t wait to talk to you” conversations are typically easy and will bring someone joy or encouragement.  The ones we attempt to avoid, or procrastinate to have are the ones that won’t necessarily place a smile on the face of the recipient.  The idea of that talk brings us angst and produces feelings of restlessness, but can be equally life-changing, crucial to all parties involved, and usually essential to living an emotional healthy life. 

Although I am not qualified to explain how avoiding a crucial conversation affects us medically, I do know how it makes me feel.  It’s as if I begin to live a life of duplicity.  There is the man that everyone seemingly knows and interacts with everyday, and then there is that guy smiling to the world but internally struggling with one or several people on some particular issue that he just cannot seem to shake.
Even as we seek and receive good advice from friends or counselors and have great discussions that make us feel better, this is still not an antidote to having that talk yourself.  Waiting only produces more angst and makes it harder.  

Many times we are waiting for the perfect moment that will probably never arrive.  We even convince ourselves it will be better delivered in a certain way and at a specific time.  The problem is deep down we realize this is an excuse we use to gain more time, because after all we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Well have you thought about your own feelings and where they fit in the big scheme of things?  While you are trying to protect someone else from being hurt or becoming angry with you, those same emotions begin to negatively impact you, due to lack of release.  I believe it is a great characteristic to not take joy in the demise of another or celebrate the pain someone else is experiencing, and the fact that most people who tend to have a difficult time engaging in “that talk” feel this way, are usually the best at delivering the difficult message, simply because of their intent, which is never to hurt anyone.

So whether you have been contemplating on how to engage in a difficult situation at work, having a dialogue with your spouse about something you have been withdrawing from, or speak to your best friend about something that has bothered you for years.  There is no better time like now to start the conversation.

What has helped me during these often stressful moments is to comprise the talk with several short conversations.  The situation did not develop overnight, so it will not be solved that way either. Do not seek to fix it with one talk, instead take it in small bites and deliver the message with honesty, courage, integrity and compassion.  

If necessary write your points on paper and address them specifically, one by one.  This tends to be my approach, because its easy for me to lose my train of thought in the heat of the moment due to the potential emotional duress the conversation brings me in the first place. 

Of course we are all different.  Some folks can deliver a hard conversation like deliberately dropping a microphone on a stage, walking away, without ever looking back.  I am not that guy and probably never will be, so my process will look different and perhaps even weak to some, but it is nonetheless my process.  

At the end of the day, respect for others, dignity towards the people I claim to care about and living by the golden rule matters more to me.  Even with those that deserve less, I still give it, and you should attempt to do the same. Just not at your expense and suffering.

So have that talk, make it plain, make it true and be direct.  You will feel much better in the long run, if not immediately.  Your honesty can only be respected, even if it takes years for the recipients to fully understand and connect with your words and motivations.
 
Keep Pressing,
Hank G

“The struggle is a part of the story” – Unknown 

 

Sometimes I ask…

Who knows you, past the simple perfections that you portray to the world daily?  Who knows the angst you fell asleep with last night, that still remains with you this morning? Who knows you past the superficial smile you greet the world with everyday, yet inside you are longing to be held, understood and accepted?  Who knows what you truly feel about the world, when the music stops and the friends head home?  Who knows that you cry when you are alone, for reasons that you cannot even articulate yet?

 

Sometimes I wonder…

Does anyone really care about I feel, like really care?  Why is it so hard to engage people about real life stuff?  Perhaps I know deep down, they really don’t care enough to do anything even if they did know.  Would my life be different, if I had decided to take that right  versus the left that I now question?  Is happiness overrated, or am I pursuing the wrong dreams?  Is my heart really in this thing, or am I fooling myself as well?  Is all the effort and late night talks really worth it, or am I simply wasting my time?  Is it only me that thinks this way?  Is this just me doing that over thinking again, or am I really scared where my life is right now? 

 

I have learned that if your are not taking the time to occasionally take an inventory of your own life and all of its complexities, you will eventually hit a wall, become overwhelmed or lose sight of what you are doing and why you initially began.  Whether you are fully engulfed in a career pursuit, just beginning with a college dream, or pursing love with that signficant other, we must ask ourselves questions that provoke thought, challenge our borders and cause us to pause and think deeply about what we are doing and where we are headed. 

Sometimes it’s not enough to reflect in a silo, although it may be safer and feel better, but occasionally we need to deliberately place ourselves in an unsafe zone and allow discomfort to happen.  This is the place where you allow that close friend, spouse or counselor to have their way with you, so to speak.  Give them license to dispense some raw truth into your heart and mind, and be prepared to listen and accept it, even if you ultimately decide to go a different direction. 

This is more than simply seeking advice.  At its core, it is becoming fully transparent and fully vulnerable.  A scary concept for most of us, however imperative for growth, transformation and the ability to authentically connect and holistically love.  If you could imagine that one can only love and connect as deep as they are willing to be vulnerable, what would that look like in your life?  If that were the measuring stick for your current relationships and life pursuits, how deep or shallow would they be?  And more importantly, how satisfied are you currently with them in that state?

Life is amazing and equally difficult, complex and downright hard at times.  We struggle everyday, like a broken car on the side of the road.  We can all stand a helping hand at some given point, but in order for that hand to enter our lives, we must make it known that we have a need.  It’s not to say we should wear a sign that signifies our needs, but someone must know us as well as our struggles in order to get through them.  Who is that one for you?  That one that you have allowed into that deep place.  You know, that place you rarely go yourself? 

At the end of here day, I want to love hard, work hard and play hard.  Not just to say that I did, but to know that I lived my life in such a way that transcended my ego, my fears, my traditions and embraced my faith, my heart and my hope to be loved and understood in a meaningful way, not just past my struggles, best because of them. 

 

I want to say this…

You know my struggles, therefore you know me, because I chose you.  Not because you were safe, quite the contrary actually.  You scared the living daylight out of me, but I knew I wanted you to know me, feel me and deeply connect with me.  So you didn’t start by asking me a list of questions, you simply shared your own intimate life and made it okay for me to share my own.  Thank you for saying yes and being more than my friend, but a light into my preferred future. 

Sometimes I ask and sometimes I wonder, but I am grateful for you because the questions ultimately reveal their own answers as I live, love and remain hopeful.  You know my struggle…

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

“Although our version of the story usually feels better and is easier to tell, a lie will always hurt the one you love more in the end.”  – Henry Nutt, III

 

We have been hearing it for most of our lives.  Phrases like, “don’t tell lies, you are only as good as your word and your word is your bond,” etc., but as we know, people lie to one another all the time and without flinching.  

Of course we are aware that it is not okay, but it somehow feels convenient and like the right thing to do, at least in the moment.  After all, we don’t want to hurt anyone, and in our minds somehow we believe the truth will hurt too much. I have been there done that, and have paid the ultimate consequence in a relationship.  The death of it without reconciliation.  So I have learned a few things about the path of destruction that is created by lying.  

In its simplest form, lying is choosing to be dishonest and attempting to evade the truth due to fear or some consequence that may bring discomfort or displeasure to the one telling the lie or someone else.  In a more complex and evasive form, lying is a mask, a covering or distortion of the creed we claim to live by.  It misrepresents the liar and deceives the one being lied to.  It removes our ability to make a choice, resolve, consult or deal with the liar first-hand with raw truth.  And ultimately uninterrupted, it will promote the demise of any healthy relationship like a cancer to the physical body.

During my season of engaging in this destructive behavior, I honestly felt as if it wasn’t that bad.  I was trying to (so-call) protect the one I claimed to love.  You know, spare her from being hurt.  And I know that was stupid!  As crazy as that even sounds to me today, that lie was the truth I lived by once upon a time until I was forced to deal with my own actions, alone.

It was a painful time, but equally helpful for my spiritual and emotional growth.  I peeled back the layers of my history, including my childhood.  Nothing was off-limits.  Every girlfriend, marriage, friendship and past relationship I examined.  I went to counseling to try an understand  how and why I became this man who could lie so easily.  

The one thing I found more profound than anything else was in order for me to lie to anyone, man woman, boy or girl, I first had to lie to myself.  That was a deafening realization, but it helped me come to terms with my own brokenness and inability to recognize the detrimental convictions that were destroying my once virtuous integrity. 

So ultimately there is a breakdown and a decision being made with lying. The breakdown, being the reasonings or rationale we come to, to forfeit the truth over and over. The decision, being the choice to accept deception as an option, because at its core, it is indeed always a choice. 

For me it was all things coming to a head.  My lies finally catching up with me and having no one to blame, with no excuse for my behavior,  but it was my relationship with God, my ability to feel the pain I created and finally, to have a deep remorse without the luxury of closure from a marriage that went astray from my own doing that led me to repentance and healing.

What I have learned is lying is not a shortcut, nor should it ever be an option in any type of relationship, even when you are attempting to spare someone’s feelings.  As much as one may feel they are doing someone a favor by lying, they are actually doing them a disservice.  An act that has multi-faceted implications, like the breaking of trust, which in many cases takes years to rebuild if even possible. 

Lying at its core is a selfish act.  It fails to consider another person’s emotions or well-being, and at the end of the day it will always do more harm than good.  So when given the option, if lying is still a choice on the table, that speaks volumes to your character or lack thereof, a lack of respect for others and more importantly an indication that a big part of your life is being guided by fear, an unhealthy need to be accepted and a lack of courage. 

Let’s begin to honor others by first honoring ourselves.  Tell the truth at all costs, swear to your own hurt and face the consequences that come with that decision. Your loved ones may be hurt or become angry with you and still decide to walk away, but at least you will have the (self) respect of knowing you chose to speak truth to power.  And that cannot be held against you, for the truth always stands the test of time. 

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength in distress, and grows brave by reflection.” – Thomas Paine

Today I took a walk.  Not just any walk, but a walk to clarify my thoughts, reconnect with nature, listen to the trees, adore the beauty that God created and breathe some fresh air.

I am not quite sure why turmoil is the thing that gets us to slow down and take note on what is really going on in our lives, but I am grateful for the moments and I have learned to appreciate the times when I am able to pull myself away from my daily routine and reflect nonetheless.

In these times I find myself becoming hypersensitive to not only what is currently happening, but also very reflective on the many unresolved situations that I have undergone.  Yet at the same time, I recognize what I am specifically dealing with and nature has a way of soothing my mind, reminding me of true beauty, and the (often) many unresolved issues I am facing tend to resolve themselves in the wind, literally.

Today I took a walk.  It was quite warm, so I took water, not only for my  body, but for my soul.  It was time to replenish my soul.  I spied tree stumps that I have walked by countless times, but really saw for the very first time today.  Their story spoke to me.  Why were they cut down, yet still standing decades later?  Will I still be standing in the next decade, and how will my story shape me?  Or how will I shape my story?  How will the unknowns enter my life and affect how I think, live and love?  What will my testament be?

I do not clearly know the answers, but as I walked along the trails in the warm sun, I thought, (sometimes out loud) “I am still an unfinished work.  A creation that God has destined and purposed for great things that are yet to be manifested.” 

However, sometimes we forget, we lose sight and become easily frustrated with the pangs of life.  You know, those situations (and people) that tend to get under our skin.  Those things that easily beset us. Those things that come to try us, test us and confirm that we really believe what we verbally claim to be.

Today I took a walk.  I was out for more than two hours, but the thoughts that encapsulated my mind were timeless.  My childhood and adulthood stood front and center almost simultaneously. I recalled the scent of my room as a boy, as I listened to my mother speak lessons of life to me.  Lessons that I desperately needed today.  I thought about the landscape I was passing on my trail.  It is the same, but different if you choose to look closely. 

Some parts have changed, but the overall scene is the same. Some trees have grown taller, some have fallen to the ground.  The grass is brown and then green, as life comes and goes. I am not the same man I use to be, know matter what others may claim.  My life is ever-changing and God still has His hands on me.  Guiding me in truth and purpose.

Today I took a walk.  I started with many questions and returned with the answers I needed.  My life is ever-changing with moments that I grasp and some I cannot.  However somehow I am okay.  Well more than okay.  I know what I need to know, today.  Tomorrow is another day, another time with its own portion of grace that I will receive then. 

I will not be anxious.  I will rest in what is now, even if “now” is far from what I desire.  The grass grows, dies and then grows again.  I am like the grass that I see on the trail.  My life is not over.  I have seeds still being planted by dead grass.  I am he that continues.  Like you, like us. 

Today I took a walk.  It was life changing.  I spoke to my myself and listened to the eucalyptus trees speak in the wind.  They indeed had a message for me.  Peace, was the message and I received it.  Day in and day out they stand, established by God.  I can be like that tree that sets by streams of living water.  I can be replenished when it is time.  I just need to understand how, and equally understand it may look different then my neighbor. 

Every trail has its own beauty and its own truth (if you will).  Each are the same , but different.  I can always learn something new if I choose to look closely.  

Today I took a walk.  I learned something new, and it was more about me than the trees and wonderful landscape, but I was grateful because this is the story that God chose to share with me exclusively.  And He knew that I would be listening.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“Dear you, make peace with the mirror and watch your reflection change.” –  Unknown

 

The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  I whole-heartedly agree with this scripture, but as I have counseled and spoken with people over the years, I have come to understand that many people do not truly or accurately love themselves at all.  Therefore, this scripture in some cases may pose a slight problem or create major conflicts in their lives and in the lives of others.  

Obviously (or at least in my opinion) that is not to say we start cutting that portion of the Bible out, however if we find ourselves in positions of influence, it is imperative that as we teach and encourage others to love in this way, we make sure they are first properly loving themselves. 

Many of us have had semi-normal childhoods.  We had one or two parents (or grandparents) that gave their best to our well-being, met most of our emotional and physical needs and overall we had a functional lifestyle.  That said, there are also many that did not receive a functional life as children.  Quite the opposite actually. 

Dysfunction can come in many forms, but ultimately it is defined as, when the majority of essential needs go unmet most of the time.  Imagine growing up in a home where this was the norm.  Without some type of intervention along the way, this is a recipe for a warped view of love.  

Even as adults, when our essential needs go unmet we become irritable, disconnected and weary.  Imagine that lifestyle as an impressionable child.  What happens to their ability to love and  interpret love in a respectable and healthy way?  It falls to the wayside quickly is what happens.

Now I realize that this does not apply to everyone.  There are always anomalies, and special cases, but for those that it does apply to we must be cognizant not to flippantly throw scriptures at them and send them on their way, and then wonder why they continue to hit the same walls of brokenness. 

Brokenness specifically in the form of making poor decisions in the area of relationships.  We all know them, or perhaps it is you who I am speaking of.  The he/she “bad guy” continues to enter your life with a different face and wreaks havoc in your world, for weeks, months or years at a time.  Your love radar seems to be broken.  Your best friends try to tell you, but you just cannot seem to connect the missing dots, and repeatedly think you found the “one” that is different.

For certain, a vicious cycle for those that have endured this way of living, but what if we could begin to understand why we go down this path and then choose to make better choices for ourselves?  Is it even possible?  Has too much time passed?  Do we give up and simply accept, this was meant to be my story?  

I cannot begin to address the level of complexity that exist with how one arrives at this place, therefore there is equally not one simple solution to prescribe a cure or remedy.  What I do know and believe is love is the strongest force on the earth. 

It (love) will cause one to travel across the globe to be with that one person.  It (love) will give a mother supernatural strength to rescue her helpless child.  It (love) will cause a father to place himself in-harms-way to provide for his children.  For Christians it (love) is what caused Jesus to die on the cross.  For most in the world it (love) is what encourages us to do the right thing by our fellow-man, even if only for a season or a moment. 

So what about learning to love yourself first?  What about getting a better or new definition of what love is supposed to look like for you, instead of accepting what you have received all these years?  I like this version of what the Bible has to say about love.  Why not take a look and see how it compares to how you love yourself today.

Perhaps it will cause you to finally see the brokenness and pain you have allowed to enter your heart and mind.  Perhaps it will encourage you to chart a new path for yourself.  A path filled with the hope and belief that you are worthy of something better.  Perhaps it will encourage you to begin a new discovery of true love.  Perhaps you will realize that today is the perfect day to make that discovery.  

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

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