Tag Archives: be better

DON’T INVITE THE BEARS

Handling toxic situations can be challenging, and if we don’t approach them differently, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We will be doomed to live like salmon swimming upstream, expending energy and effort, only to make a few inches of progress. The difference is, the salmon don’t invite the bears to disrupt their momentum, to push them back to the starting line, or to pick them and their friends off one by one and eat them for lunch. Every time we allow a toxic person to disrupt our lives and force us to start again, it’s like inviting those bears to lunch.

Don’t invite the bears!

While toxic people are responsible for their actions, we are also responsible for what we allow in our lives. Although it’s understandable to accept apologies, if we continue to allow toxic people to stay and wait for them to change, it will poison the whole stream and cause innocent people to suffer. We bear some responsibility for the harm it brings to our journey. While the intentions are good, and some people love deeply and want everyone to be happy and thriving, continually living with toxicity while hoping things will change will never bring peace.

Everyone handles personal boundaries differently. Some have no boundaries and take on the burden again and again, some allow those lines to blur depending on the person crossing them, and some fiercely enforce their boundaries and protect their peace. There are even people who invite the bear to lunch, and we’ve all had toxic people slip through our radar. In these moments, it’s often not the toxic person paying the price and being given a chance to grow and learn, it’s innocent people, good people, suffering again and again. We have to see these moments as opportunities to learn and strengthen our boundaries.

Not everyone who is toxic is evil or cold-hearted; many believe they are coming from a place of love. Often, it’s a learned behavior or a response to trauma. We’ve all exhibited toxic behavior at some point in our lives, but the difference is, we learned from our failures and grew from the experience. We must be willing to force the hand of those who are harming themselves and others, even if it means letting them go to create space for growth. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the toxic cycle and prevent them from stealing joy and energy from those around them. As a friend, I won’t blindly support everything you say you want on this journey. I’ll always meet you where you’re at, but I expect the same in return. It’s essential to expect what someone is capable of and not accept anything less. We must love someone enough to challenge them and push them to grow, even if it’s uncomfortable in the moment.

If you want a friend who won’t be honest when you’re hurting yourself, me, or others, I’m not her. But if you want a friend who will fiercely support all of your efforts to become the person you want to be, sign me up.

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MYTHS, SAYINGS AND IDEAS

As we go along in the span of our lives, there are many things we are told and many things we have seared into our minds, whether it be from someone looking to try and help us, or someone just looking to pass along a little advice. Many times, these things serve us in good stead. But some of these advices turn out to be nothing more than temporary band-aids for the troubles we face at best, and bogus myths don’t amount to a hill of beans in our lives at worst. Today, we will take a look at some of those things we are told that may work short-term, but are not compatible with us in the long journey of our growth, change, healing and forward movement.

On the idea of “Fake it ’til you make it”

This is what we will touch on first. Six little words have never had such a tempting lilt to so many. It’s easy to take up this credo to a situation we are facing in our lives that is difficult, or might take a lot of time. But it’s a dangerous trap to fall into, if we’re not careful. Those six words have ruined more good lives than alcohol or hard drugs ever could. Sometimes, we say this to ourselves as a sort of safety blanket in the midst of a hard situation, or we could even go as far as use it as a reason not to do something or face a problem that is brewing in our lives. We can get fat and lazy off of those six words, if we don’t watch our step. We can even let those six words wrap their vines around our dreams and visions and goals and choke them off completely, until they wither away and die.

And I know what some people might say: “But isn’t manifestation tantamount to faking it?” I can speak for no one else but myself, but in my way of seeing it, manifestation is equal parts heart, mind and soul. There is nothing wrong with wishing for things, but there is something wrong with not doing the work to get those things, or reach those goals, or live out those dreams. Your dreams, wants & desires will not be realized without a bit of elbow grease.

The best course of action is not to fake it, but rather to roll up our sleeves and face whatever we need to face in our lives head-on. Whether it be breaking off a potentially toxic friendship or relationship, or quitting a job and opening the door for a new career, or moving to a new town or city entirely, or picking a college or university to further ourselves, whatever the scenario may be. Instead of telling ourselves “fake it ’til you make it,” we can tell ourselves, “learn it ’til you earn it,” or, “practice ’til it’s powerful.” You might be able to talk or bullshit your way through a situation temporarily, but fixes for those situations do not come until the work is done, no matter how difficult it may be, and no matter how long it may take.

You cannot fake the work that needs to be done, or the desire to rise above your current situation. You have to want it bad enough. And faking it is NOT the way to go. The “fake it ’til you make it” mindset may work for a short time on things in the near-term, but becoming entrenched in it will only cause mental harm, and will only fuel imposter syndrome inside you.

On fear & hesitation

A quote on hesitation by the great motivational author, writer & coach David J. Schwartz goes as follows:

“Hesitation only enlarges & magnifies the fear. Take action promptly. Be decisive.”

It’s human nature to have fear or reservations about things that transpire in our lives, but we must not let it dictate our every move down to the letter. If we are not careful, we will let fear and hesitation and reservation steal some of the best times of our lives away from us, to say nothing of the opportunities that it may cost us. Humans are afraid of change. We are creatures of habit, and also of repetition. Once we sink our teeth into an idea or belief or routine or whatnot, it will take forever and a free t-shirt and matching cup of coffee to get us to turn loose of it. Being the big fish in a small pond has its perks, but it simply is not sustainable in the long run. There is more to life than what we see in our every day lives, and the myopia that ensues from this mindset will be a major detriment to us if we continue to linger in it.

Apart from this, we must learn also to take calculated chances and risks in our lives more often. Many times, we find ourselves chest-deep in a wanting or yearning pang over someone or something we desire, but we get cold feet and back out of it before we can act on it. It’s important to take those risks and chances when they come, while also being keenly aware that, if we don’t put at least some preparation into it, it runs the risk of backfiring, and we will touch on this a bit more in the next segment of this blog. But if we are patient, we will soon have all that we have ever wanted!

Hesitation and fear are powerful animals, but we are more powerful fighters against these! We get cozy in the normalcy and sameness of the situations we experience every day, but to grow and change into our better and best selves, we must the page and write some new chapters. History has never favored those who have sat still in life; the ones who got up and rocked the boat and raised their voice and led armies and battalions and marches are the ones who have statues raised and stories written about them!

The war against complacency and sameness and small thinking is not won in a day; it can be a lifelong process for some of us. The battlefield of our minds can be a very bloody and treacherous place at times. We must always be alert for whatever our minds pitch at us when we propose changes, ranging from spears to missiles. But with hard work and a willingness & burning desire to want to be better, we can come out victorious, and reap the rewards of the changes, no matter how spooky they may seem to us!

On being prepared

Many times in life, we see an opportunity arise and we say to ourselves, “God, if only I were more prepared, I’d do it!” Well, what’s stopping you from making the preparations for when it comes along again, if it does so? As mentioned above, taking bold risks and chances can pay huge dividends, but only if we first season them with calculated preparedness. Flying by the seat of your pants may work in some short-term situations, but we must have a proper course of action and path forward if we are to someday get what we want and deserve in our lives.

Think of it as trying to find your way out of the forest: Sure, you can chop and hack your way through the limbs, branches, weeds and bushes and come out in a clearing somewhere, but would you rather wing it and hope it works, or would you rather have a map showing you the easiest and best way out of the forest?

I know this can be a touchy subject, as many have grown up having known only how to wing it, or only how to fight for what they have, but there is another way to get what you rightly deserve in this life. You did the best you could until you knew better. Now that you know better, it’s time to do better! No longer do you have to fight for what you want; you wield all the tools and resources necessary to get anything you want, even if you don’t yet realize this fact. You have fought long enough and hard enough; it’s time you had a smoother and easier ride into tomorrow, and toward what you want in this life!

I believe too that it is better to be over-prepared for a situation than to be under-prepared and left with egg on your face when/if the situation does arise. I know that some situations will blindside us, but if we look back on all that we have accrued in terms of wisdom and preparation, we will see the path through the situation open for us, more times than not. All that we have been through has prepared us for those times when the bottom may drop out. It could be one hour in the span of a life, it could be a great many months or even years. But when those situations find us, look back on how you managed and overcame. You have survived 100% of your worst days so far; read over the notes you took in your mind, and use them as much as you see fit. And never EVER stop observing and taking notes; this is how we continue to grow, and how we continually rise above those dark situations!

We may be blessed in our lives and have preparations for things that ultimately never come to be, but we will at least have that knowledge, and we can take some of it and apply it to other situations that may rise within our lives! Always, always stay prepared ❤

I hope this blog post finds you well, and in the comments, tell me a little bit about your feelings on these subjects, and what you do to keep growing, evolving and being the best version of yourself that you can be!

As always, take care, much love and may God richly bless,

-Jon

JUST DON’T

It’s that moment in a social situation when things get awkward. When the person you’re talking to starts squirming & fumbling for words. They are struggling to keep the conversation going. That moment when people are at a loss for words. I realize my illness, my pain, my wheelchair & dozens of other chronic illness-related issues, I live with make “them” uncomfortable. If I’m being honest, saying the wrong thing happens a lot.

These are innocent, benign comments from people with no malicious intent. Many times they think it’s funny and yet they’re completely serious. Sometimes I can shrug it off or laugh it off. Other times, my bitch switch is flipped and it’s on. I’m ready to completely obliterate someone in anger and frustration. Faster than you would think, anger turns to frustration, and frustration turns to pain. Before you know it, I’m launching headfirst into the abyss that leads me down the dark road to depression.

“You’re so lucky you don’t have to work.”

“I wish I could stay home all day, like you.”

When you want to say it, just don’t.

I hear this often. Each time my mind’s eye suddenly sees my day in what it perceives, they think I do all day. There I am on a lavish sofa, the sun gleaming through the windows, making me appear like a starlet under the glow of the spotlight. I have snacks to the left of me, a controller to my right, and I’m snug in the middle with… Netflix. My dogs are at the table playing poker with their friends. My house is a magical place where dirt evaporates and items walk themselves back to where they belong. Once in a while, I glance up from the TV long enough to see my dishes take a bath and dry themselves with my self-cleaning dishcloths. All I do is think about dinner and bam! There it is, ready to serve itself when the time is right. The washing machine collects dirty laundry and bedding, proceeds to wash, dry, put it away, and make my bed. I’m like 5 episodes into my binge-watching by now. This fantasy vision is short-lived, and my brain brings me back to reality.

What they don’t think about is the fact that you can’t work because you can’t function. Your day is consumed with effort through pain, fatigue, and brain fog. There are meds to take, scripts to fill, doctor’s appointments, organizing all of this, and dozens of other equally not-fun medically related things that need to be done. They have not had to consider the implications of being unable to work for an extended period. How do you pay for your bills and healthcare, the isolation, your lack of relevancy in the world, and a multitude of other equally reasonable questions that rattle in your brain, echoing throughout your life?

I don’t work in a regular, scheduled, leave-my-home capacity because I’m unable to. I have physical limitations. I would give anything to be healthy enough to go back to work. I’m not on vacation.

The truth is, when you’re chronically ill, you spend most days just trying to stay alive. Prioritizing what has to get done & figuring out which filth you can live with for today. Because it’s not all getting cleaned. By the time most people arrive at work, your body has already begun to retaliate, to get you to retreat to your bed.

A lesson I’ve learned the hard way is that when someone living with a debilitating chronic illness shares their time with me, I must be very important to them. I know what sacrifices were made for them to give me space in their lives. Don’t depreciate their value. Appreciate every minute they give to you.

TAKE INVENTORY

I may be an enigma. If I am, I’m ok with being odd-woman out.

I do not play with drama. I will not listen to gossip. When it comes to love I’m all in. My integrity means more to me than anything. My reputation is so far down on the list of things that matter. Giving first is a compulsion. I trust until given a reason not to. I’m not afraid of confrontation. As a friend, I’m all in. I choose kindness, honesty, love, & peace.

I have a few sayings that if you know me, you’ve heard.

~“Don’t waste your minutes.” Life is short we are only given so many minutes, don’t waste them.

~“Make good choices.” We all have choices. Don’t let anyone make them for you. Remember all choices come with consequences so put thought into them. Once you’ve made a choice, own it. If it was the wrong choice, learn from it, make amends, & move on.

~“Protect your peace.” Set strong boundaries. Do not bend them for anyone. Personal peace is as vital as breathing when it comes to quality of life.

I don’t try to fix people or their problems. I support them, love them, but allow them the space to fall. All of life’s stumbles teach us how to be better. I won’t take the chances to learn away from others & I do not let them take them from me. I’ll handle my business & be grateful for loved ones support.

This time of year we all start taking inventory of our lives. Checking in with ourselves, what we like, what needs work, what we can leave behind, what we need moving forward, etc… We seek out & celebrate our blessings, reminisce about those we’ve lost, & make an effort to express our gratitude to those still here. I always try and do this all year. But life is busy & messy. I’m grateful we have this time to remind us to focus on what is important & to contemplate changes that may be needed.

Kindness doesn’t have a season. It’s so simple. Start with being kind to yourself & it’ll grow. It’s so much better than growing the gossip grapevine.

MOTHER’S DAY IS COMPLICATED

For many, Mother’s Day comes with conflicting emotions, triggered by all of the Hallmark-esque, posts, & comments of perfect children, perfect mothers, & perfect lives.

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