It’s not often that I take a break from writing, but every once in a while we all must listen to our internal voice and respond accordingly. Today is that day for me. I’ll see you all next week.
“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.
“Sometimes, you just need a break, in a beautiful place, alone, to figure everything out.” – Unknown
What do you find yourself doing when you have time alone? Are you the workaholic type where phone calls and emails fail to cease? Perhaps you are that busybody type who chooses to never sit down, even when time allows.
I can certainly say that I relate to the seemingly never-ending, always something to do mode. Life is usually that way, especially for those of us that have goals, aspire to become more than what we are and find ourselves becoming uncomfortably restless when sitting still suddenly pokes its head into our perfect routines. I cannot leave out the lack of time afforded to those of us that have been blessed to be parents. With this group especially with younger children, quiet time usually equates to sleep, or it should. So as I deliberate my points on taking time for yourself, know that I that do not place you in this category. Your time will come, but for now get your rest when you can.
For the rest of us, what does it look like to be alone with time? For some it can be scary, because silence can be very loud and often distracting, especially when our thought life remains at warp speed.
When I think about the daily routines of life, family time, work time and extra curricular activities and such, how does one find the time to ponder, reflect and consider next steps? Or the harder question is do we really want the time to think about the many aspects that make up our lives, past as well as present?
With all the distractions that exist, true alone time, without radio, television, cell phones or the internet is a rarity, but often an uncomfortable rarity because when we get the time to reflect on our own thoughts it can remind us of the things we would rather not recall.
Things like broken relationships, loss of loves ones through death, unattained goals and obviously many other things we can all fill in with our own life journeys. However painful, disturbing or uncomfortable this time may bring, it is nonetheless essential for our personal growth, healing and ability to navigate our way through the hard stuff.
The hard stuff that still causes you to become overly emotional and easily disturbs your peace of mind, even after many years. Sound familiar? I know, I have been there and continue to work through various issues myself.
For those of us that rarely get these types of moments, we must force the issue at times. Perhaps you have a long daily commute like me. That said, turn off the radio, get off the phone and get into the habit of driving quiet for 10-15 minutes at a time. Predetermine what you want to reflect on and do it. Give yourself license to not have an outcome with this time. Just get use to having the time and allow it to become a part of your way of doing life.
It certainly will not happen overnight, but anything we can do to allow reflection to become a normal piece of our lives will prove to be helpful, especially when things become challenging. The key is not to wait until the moment is desperate or overwhelming. Take time out for yourself deliberately, and make your quiet time special, fulfilling and an investment towards your future. Your body, mind and soul will thank you.
“Before you assume, learn. Before you judge, understand. Before you hurt, feel. Before you say, think.” – Unknown
Life is full of surprises. There are so many distracting, unplanned events occurring daily across the globe, let alone in our personal lives. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to listen to or what direction to go. The noise is often overwhelming, uncontrolled and relentless.
The many circumstances in my life (and more often than not, the tragic ones) have taught me some great lessons. One lesson in specific is how to be still during even the most daunting events. Without this ability I would have certainly lost it on more than a few occasions.
Nowadays one would have to live in a cave (without available WiFi) to be sheltered from a continuous media stream of bad reports, tragedy and potential life changing circumstances, and so since living in a cave probably is not the most effective way to raise a family, have productive relationships or earn a living, how does one maintain tranquility and stability in such a volatile world filled with information that instills fear, anxiousness and hopelessness?
Even for those of us that walk by faith and believe in someone/something greater than us, the issue can still be troubling, cause us to fret and live with uneasiness. You know, those days when you are preoccupied with circumstances more than you are focused on what is front of you, or when your sleep becomes restless because your mind is filled with all of the “what if this happens” scenarios? Have you been there? I certainly have.
Well being there is one thing, but staying there is something entirely different. These days we must choose to live in a different way. A way that perhaps challenges your status quo, threatens your television time and maybe even parts of your social life.
It has been said that if you want to keep something from a black man, put it in a book, because we do not make time to read. We are caught up with self-indulgence, which usually looks like being fancy, being more concerned with what we have and how we look, versus who we are or who we are becoming. Of course this is true for anyone, but you understand my point hopefully.
I choose to look inward and force myself to be still by tuning out outside forces and noise. It is imperative for my state of mind to remain at peace and to be at my best more often than not. Simply wishing it will happen does not work. It must be deliberate and purposeful, therefore requires a scheduled time that I give to myself. I call this going inward.
It is a time when I close off to the entire world and pray, stay quiet, reflect, think and most importantly, listen. Listening is a skill that seems to be the most challenging, yet when we choose to commit to it will be also be the one time where we are able to learn more, and respond more effectively with enriching words of wisdom.
Nothing can substitute the inward life and in these unpredictable times it is imperative that we spend time with ourselves, our God and hear what we must hear, so we can know what we must know and remain calm during the storms of life. There is no question that we live in unprecedented times and our state of mind must remain intact and on point.
So today I encourage you to examine your life and how you are spending your time. Turn down the outside noise and go inward. Make a date with yourself and practice being still and listen. You will be amazed how much you will hear and learn.
“He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees.” – Benjamin Franklin
I have always been one to lose stuff. A wallet, (with money or a check in it) car keys, a phone, you name it. If it were not lost, it was certainly misplaced for a good period of time that usually drove me and those around me a little bonkers. Thankfully I have become a bit more careful when it comes to losing or misplacing my belongings, however nothing can compare to the loss or displacement of losing our peace of mind.
Honestly the two do not compare at all actually, because when we lose our peace there are usually other contributing factors, often not in our direct control or cognitive thought. And although losing my keys will prevent me from physically getting from one place to another, which is really important, losing my peace will prevent me from even having the desire to arise for a new day. Who cares about keys at that point, right?
As for cognitive thought, I firmly believe in Maya Angelou’s quote that states, “When we know better, we will do better.” This is why it is imperative to learn lessons, and apply those lessons as soon as we learn them. When we choose to not acknowledge or live by this creed, we probably will find ourselves repeating poor choices, stifling our growth and surrounding ourselves with people who do not promote our good welfare, which is a pretty good indication that we are not living in peace yet.
Quite honestly, we mess stuff up with the best intentions. We hurt those we love the most, but authentically desire to do them well. We make promises we cannot keep, and commit to things that are not sustainable by our own strength. We are easily influenced by societal pressures (whether we care to admit it or not). We see what others do and swear we will never become like them, until we are the splitting image or worse. Was this just my life or can anyone else relate?
Life can be like a whirlwind. Things are always changing and for every question we have, there are 100-plus more answers to navigate through, from well-intentioned family, friends, acquaintances and I’ll add the internet. How do we know which road to take, what job to pursue, which school to attend, should I date him or her, should I marry him or her, do I get a second opinion on a negative diagnosis? It can all be quite overwhelming. I have been there, done that and on many occasions I might add. And I suppose I will experience more of it in the future. That is life. The real truth is in life we can always count on most things changing. Imagine that.
However as things change, which they will, we can remain more consistent and stable even in the hardest of times. It all begins with what we are doing with our time. There is a scripture in the Bible that says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Simply stated, what we are attempting to shape will be impacted by who and what we allow to have dominant influence over it. Whether a marriage, a child or your own mind. It will become and respond to what it exposed to the most. That said, consider what and who you allow in your space. Be selective and protective, like your peace relies on it.
There are no quick fixes or easy buttons to press to obtain peace. My personal route for peace comes in my relationship with Jesus, however even with Him, it requires something from me. It is a personal decision to surrender my life in way that releases control, and anything that requires me to give up control, my personal control, is not an easy an easy thing to do. So consider the cost, weigh the options and decide if you are ready to no longer be at the helm of your own life. Seems crazy I know, but what good things have you accomplished alone, really?
“Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?” – Unknown
When life gets unbearable, what do find yourself doing? Not what you say you will do, but what you actually do when all hell breaks loose in your life. If you are anything like me, what you say you will do and what you actually do, does not necessarily match up. I wish they did, but sometimes my expectations do not match my actions.
It certainly has nothing to do with my lack of vigilant prayer or good intentions. It’s just that sometimes things work out how they work out. These moments test my resolve like no other, and all that I have and hope to be, seem to lie in the balance, but it is moments like these that truly test where I am, versus who I claim to be.
Am I strong like I say I am, or are those just words? Do I remain vigilant in rough times or do I falter at the first sign of difficulty? I must admit, it is a little of both, depending on the circumstances, but one thing I have learned is having a quiet place to pray, mediate and reflect is essential for my peace of mind and staying focused during a challenging season.
As I endure tough times and pass through moments that test my ability to stand, one thing I have found to help more than anything else is my alone time with God. I am not simply speaking about a few moments of prayer time in the early AM of PM, but a one on one encounter that literally redirects my focus and outlook.
This only happens in my secret place, and unfortunately I do not always make the appropriate time for this encounter to occur, but it is nonetheless essential for my overall well-being and balance in life.
Life issues tend to become distracting and noisy, and as humans we tend to place our focus on those “things” that seem to mean more in the moment, but we ultimately must surrender to a power higher than us for true peace and clear direction.
I can list the many distractions that tend to mean more, (at least in the moment) like work, family, a spouse, children, bills, etc. But when life issues come at me in such a way where I fail to be at my best, nothing else is more important than me, because my actions will impact everyone else that I claim to care about. It is kind of like what they tell us just before a flight. “Get your own oxygen first, then help others.”
My secret place is just that, my oxygen. It is where my dreams, hopes and beliefs our birthed and nurtured, and that experience must be deliberate and purposeful, otherwise my mind will be moved with every wave and idea that comes my way.
My time alone with whom I personally believe is my all in all is imperative to an existence filled with purpose during my dark days, hope when all seems to be falling away beside me and personal joy when happiness is just not sustaining.
I am not here to tell you how often you should be going to your secret place, only that you should. The signs of you going without have a way of mounting up quickly. These signs tend to manifest themselves in ways like ease in becoming irritable, losing sight of what is more important and becoming overwhelmed in times when you normally would not.
We tend to know the signs, but fail to respond appropriately when we are there. I am encouraging you to not wait until something drastic happens, but become more proactive and vigilant about your peace of mind. Be more about the preventative work, and acknowledge that you matter more. Someone is relying on you to be at your best, and we will never be at our best when we come half cocked.
Go to your secret place and be still. Hear from God and learn what it is you need to know. Your world will be a better place for it.
“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
Life can be complicated, unpredictable and sometimes just hard. Being married has its own set of issues as well as being single, and when you add children, (young or older) work life scenarios and family dynamics to the mix it can get even more complex. At times things can become overwhelming, where our only option seems as if we should run for the hills and hide out. I have been there and I am certain that you have as well, but through the years of learning lessons, understanding my triggers and gathering more insight on my on level of emotional intelligence, the consistent thing or good advice I have received has been to work through it.
Now because I am kind of an analytical personality, I cannot just use that term without also giving an explanation of what it actually looks like. After all, it is the question that I would ask or demand more clarity if someone were to drop that phrase on me. So what does “working through it” actually look like? I will give a few examples of what it is for me and what it is not to help describe it in more detail.
1. Take an unbiased stance on what the situation is. – When we decide to truly work through something, we need clarity of thought and mind, so having an unbiased view is essential. That said, we will probably need a trusted friend to help us navigate through what we cannot see due to our natural prejudices.
2. Develop a game plan to move through it. – Nothing really works well without a plan, so once we understand the real issue, now it is time to make it happen. This process may include quiet time for reflection, counseling, prayer, journaling, hard conversations and much more, but however you choose to move through it, the various stages are necessary for an effective outcome.
3. Do the work. – This is the hard part. Now is the time to put action to our words. Expect to fall several times before you get it right, but keep working through until you begin to see change. Keep in mind the change you are looking for lies in you, not someone else. That’s the challenging part. The actual work has many levels. There may be a season where you are only focusing on your childhood. Then you may move to your past relationships or dramatic situations that require a deeper look on your decision-making skills during that time. The key in this stage is to face yourself and bring reality into why you are, who you are.
4. Analysis and Self Evaluation. – This is not a time for self-judgement, although it will be easy to do. Be careful not to simply come down on yourself during this time. Sure there will be many issues that may come to the surface that point directly to you, but so what. This whole process is not to blame yourself. Taking responsibility is one thing, but blaming should not be the focus or objective. You may come to a point where deeper work beyond your means is essential. Hopefully you will be able to continue down that path and receive the help you need.
5. What it is Not. – The one thing I can say “working through it” is not, is to over simplify the process or issue. Quick fixes that neglect the core issues only perpetuate the problem. When we fail to address the real matters of the heart we only set ourselves up for future failure. Now is not the time for surface work. We must choose to go deep, but if we are not ready, it is better to understand that and wait until we are. Otherwise we are wasting our time, seeking results for something we have not yet properly invested in.
I am not the expert in this area, but I am a man who has seen and experienced his share of turmoil. Some self-inflicted and some not, but I am committed to myself in such a way that I will never be satisfied with surface results. I want to better understand why I do what I do. In some cases it will be fairly obvious and in other times it will take much more work. I am committed to doing the work. It has become a part of my life journey and I am better for it.
“To remember who you are, you need to forget who they told you to be” – Unknown
Have a moment of reflection with me… Think back on the things you have learned over the course of your life, whether through formal education or through the school of hard knocks. Both have relevance and have probably helped to establish you in life today, whether professionally or personally.
There is nothing like learning and I look forward to discovering something new every day, especially when I can apply that something towards my life in real-time. As of late, I have found myself gaining new insight with thought-provoking books, intriguing blogs or a good old fashion heart to heart conversation with a trusted friend, however as much as I am down for constantly being educated I equally understand the importance of how the knowledge that I possess, transcends to the knowledge that transforms me, because what I actually allow to work, apply and become a part of me is what will truly matter. Anything less is probably based in pride, a self perpetuated illusion or my unwillingness to grow.
Due to the fact that I have spent the majority of my life teaching, counseling and helping others, taking my own advice is sometimes an area that I fall down in. It can be so easy to read a good book or hear a great sermon and automatically think about who it can apply to, not thinking it was meant for me. Have you ever been there?
It easy to do, especially for those of us that spend more time giving of ourselves than not, but unfortunately it does not provide an excuse nor does it provide a remedy for performing the hard work of changing the (internal) ugly things about us.
What happens when we put that great book down, come home from a life changing church service or had that in-depth talk with a wise and thoughtful counselor or friend? Are we finding ways to apply the truths we have discovered about ourselves, or are we in denial and making excuses for the way things are still?
No, it is not easy and will more than likely cause you grief, distress and ultimately become one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but when we fail to grow, evolve or change we quite honestly short-cycle our own blessings. In other words we get in our own way and become our own worst enemy. Been there, tired of doing that!
I cannot say that my desire to grow or change has come by the way of epiphany. It has usually come by the way of pain, whether self-inflicted or by outside sources. Either way it hurts the same and has been a motivating factor towards not repeating the things that brought me such travail.
So if you are anything like me, keep helping others and blessing people with your life-giving words, heart-felt thoughts and life changing deeds, but please do not become remiss with your own personal work. Once you are done with all that, do not fail to recognize who is number one (that would be you). The ones we support depend on us to take care of ourselves well, otherwise we will have nothing to give that is worthy.
Keep doing what you are doing, just make sure your words line up with your life choices.
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” – Unknown
For some it just comes naturally, while for others it requires discipline, commitment to the cause, and hard work. A description that usually depicts the natural talents of a star athlete or an academically strong student, but I am not speaking of either on this occasion. What I am speaking of is the ability, personal choice, strong desire, attitude and character it takes to walk alone at times, especially when it seems less popular or will inevitably impact friendships negatively and other parts of your intimate relationships and life connections in unknown ways.
Even with the potential risks of missing out on something or that someone, usually when we arrive at this juncture in our life journey it is for good reason, even if we do not fully understand the overarching purpose just yet. What we usually are aware of is the deep need to slow down, reconnect with ourselves and refresh our outlook on life, and our place it in. Oftentimes, we simply fail to acknowledge this need lying deep in our souls, or have not learned how our triggers work to give us warning that something is out of balance inside.
What we are usually unaware of is the amount of energy we are exerting to maintain our relationships, careers, current lifestyles, basically what have come to call our normal routine, until we become completely depleted and find ourselves stripped of all passion, competitiveness or desire to engage at the same level that we once had in the past.
So how did we get here? I mean at that place where it seems we are spinning, ineffective, frustrated and easily provoked more often than not? That is indeed the million-dollar question, and for each person there lies a unique answer, but at its core the answers are fairly common. Yet, as we know common sense is not necessarily common, so below is my attempt to list a few things that usually get me off my best course. See what you can relate with and add your own.
1. Doing too much at one time. – We have all been guilty of this. We forget the art of saying “no” to others and take on more than we can handle. At some point soon we recognize our inability to manage all the stuff and something begins to suffer. Unfortunately the one that suffers is usually us, and how we suffer is usually dynamic, meaning it has multiple layers that are not always easily remedied.
2. Failing to ask for support. – I have always taken pride in knowing that I can get things done. Not so I can say I did it alone, but once I make a commitment I try my best to do what I said, but when things start falling a part at the seams I am certainly guilty of becoming a Lone Ranger. Simply asking for help could have made things a lot lighter for me.
3. Not weighing the impact of saying “yes”. In the beginning it all seems fine and manageable, but a few weeks into it, we quickly learn that we are becoming overwhelmed and this added “thing” just does not fit in our lives at all. We have to learn to not quickly agree to anything and see how it will impact our daily routines. Does it work, why or why not?
4. Our inability to see when we are becoming fragmented and frustrated. – The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” can be applied here. Have you learned when it is time to reflect, take a nap or reset or do you just keep going, simply because things are not finished yet? You are certainly headed for a crash if you said yes. The signs are usually everywhere, we just need to become a little more sensitive to them and act accordingly.
So how does this all apply to standing alone? Well perhaps if we can better understand how we arrived at a specific place, we can better plan how not to arrive at that same place the next time, and once we learn the lessons we can spend more energy staying balanced versus getting balanced.
Standing alone can be hours for some and months or years for others. The key is we are actively taking time for ourselves, independent of everyone and anything else. The most important things/people in our lives require that we remain on point and ready at all times. Let’s just make sure that we are first considering “ourselves” in the formula of that importance.
So if you have not done it lately, take a time out for yourself. Breathe in deeply, turn off the television and tune out the noise in your life. Get still, take a walk, get re-acquainted with who you are, enjoy the creation around you, recognize the beauty that exist in your world and your place in that beauty.
“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon to your challenges. So relax” – Bryant McGill
A few months ago I was looking through the iTunes app store and came across an App called “Sleep Cycle”. It sounded interesting and it was free for the first thirty days, so I thought, why not give it a try.
The description sounded promising, because after being abruptly waken up by an alarm clock for the last thirty years, what could hurt giving this App a try? Of course I was initially distrusting of its claims, so I set my normal alarm clock in parallel with the App. Surprisingly enough it not only woke me up on time, but with a softer sound and I was not tired. Additionally, the App also gave me statistics on the actual amount of time I was awake, versus sleep and in deep sleep. It was pretty cool and after two months of use, I am completely sold.
So what I was not planning for was the amount of information I would receive about my sleep patterns. I have learned about the trends of sleep and what countries are getting the best and worst sleep around the world. According to the stats, the United States sleep average is about 73%, while Saudi Arabia’s average is 60% and the highest sleep average goes to the Netherlands with 76% on average.
So what does this have anything to do with pausing and reflecting you ask? Well as I think about how important it is to rest and get a good night sleep so that I am ready for the world, I realized I am not getting enough rest myself. Did I mention that my sleep average for the last two months was a whopping 52%! Ugh, what do I do with this information? Well first I need to start by taking my butt to bed on time, but even deeper than that, I need to recognize what is keeping me up more often than not. What am I doing and why am I up so late doing it in the first place?
Here lies my point. How do we accept news about ourselves that is not so comfortable or encouraging to hear? Do we seek to make excuses once we hear the hard facts, or are we the type that embraces what it is, and begin to look for ways to make improvements? Do we take time to pause and reflect on the important matters of our lives when harsh truths are brought to our attention? Of course our immediate response is to say that, “yes, and we would always do the right thing”. Whatever that may look like.
For myself, I would have never known that my sleep patterns were so poor, and I equally understand that if I intend to be any good to the world for the remainder of my life, I suppose I need to add a few more hours of sleep per night to my slumber.
As much as good information is good to hear or perhaps it is not always good, but more relevant than anything else, we nevertheless cannot do anything purposeful with it unless we choose to first understand a few things about what we are hearing.
Perhaps your entire life you believed that you were one way, only to discover by a few close friends that you have been quite the opposite. The news may be heart breaking, unbelievable and downright annoying, but if is truth it is truth. And the sooner we can begin to accept it and take the steps to really digest it, the sooner we will enable ourselves to learn, grow and make the necessary changes to ourselves.
Life is wonderful because it exposes our imperfections so perfectly. The timing is never right, it is typically never planned and many times we find ourselves in disbelief on what we discover. It is painful and seemingly hurtful, but in that well-known quote, “Don’t kill the messenger”, this applies here.
Our first response is to defend ourselves, then comes denial, but once we give ourselves time to pause and reflect and take responsibility, we can accept whatever it is and become better people.
What becomes critical is the amount of time we take in between denial and acceptance. Unfortunately, some never get to the point of acceptance. It is quite simpler to deflect and blame someone else for what really belongs to us. The work required is not easy and the steps can be humbling, however the benefits can be limitless when we choose to take authentic action.
Everyone is different and has their own set of propensities, internal compasses and thresholds for tolerance, forgiveness, humility, accepting responsibility, taking responsibility and ultimately what causes them to pause and reflect. Often times it is not a place we come to on our own. As we keep living life, a circumstance will come to teach us a lesson, show us our humanity or simply helps us to discover that we need to slow down, humble ourselves or help our neighbor.
Perhaps you have been in denial about an ugly truth about yourself, as much as you wanted to believe that you had that one mastered, you did not. Well it is not too late to change, to grow, to still have hope for a better tomorrow, but it requires work from you.
A good place to start is to pause and then reflect on the information.
1. Dissect what is being said – once you accept it as your truth, begin to take steps to fully understand it. This may require professional help or that same good friend to help you gather more facts for even more clarity.
2. Identify the core issue(s) – Again with help, the key is not to simply talk about what happened, but why it did in the first place. Many times this involves rolling back layers of occurrences and our relationships over a period of time. This will require some digging and skilled people to help you get to the core.
3. Begin to take corrective action to rectify the issue – As you are analyzing the information and working with someone to assist you, layout a game plan on how you will live differently or handle situations more effectively.
4. Give yourself grace (not excuses) to fail – Recognize that this is a journey and no one changes simply because they need to or want to. It takes work and a lifetime of issues rolled up takes years to unravel. Continue to take responsibility for you, but realize it will take some time to look and sound new.
Pausing and reflecting is a critical part of life. Without it we will live like a car driving towards a destination that never stops for a tune up or check. We would never do that unless we became careless. Lets not become careless about our lives, but always willing to accept when it si time to grow or learn more. Give yourself a moment each week to be still, collect your thoughts, pray and exhale. It will do wonders for your tomorrows.