Tag Archives: self help

Let Hurt Do A New Work In You

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You may have heard the saying “Hurting people hurt people” and all too often it turns out to be true. There is an astronomical amount of hurt people in this world. People have endured trauma that would make most people shake their heads in disbelief, they have experienced hurts of all severities, and been victims of all types of abuse. You may not experience it firsthand or see it for yourself, but you witness it through the news and practically all forms of social media. A play-by-play of all the atrocities in the world are recounted on a moment-to-moment basis thanks to all the platforms in which people have to share them. It’s no wonder our society is breaking off into tiny little islands! People have become islands. Detached. Defensive. Self-involved. Cold. What you don’t experience you make up for by proxy.

Hurt for people can be what constant friction is to calluses…. it can create tougher and tougher barriers. If it had been you… if you had been the abused, neglected, taken advantage of… would it not be hard for you to believe in the beauty of humanity when all you’ve seen is ugliness? Of course it would! “Hurting people hurt people” can be true but does it necessarily have to be? Sometimes I believe clichés are created by people who need them to have something to make not taking personal responsibility sound deep… and 9 times out of 10 they succeed in convincing others to buy into it. This is what gives words the power to become a movement.

I’ve been hurt. Presently, in the past, and tomorrow I may get hurt… who knows! This is life. Everday we walk out the door and decide to face people we take the risk of getting hurt by someone. If you chose to allow your treatment of others to depend on the way you are treated, there would be the potential to treat people like crap EVERYDAY. You would never lack in reasons to be shitty to be people. That’s the truth! Just because you are hurt doesn’t mean you HAVE to hurt people, it doesn’t mean you have the RIGHT to hurt people, and it doesn’t mean you CAN’T HELP that you hurt people. You have another choice:

Let hurt do a new work in you.

Heartache hurts, but it also has a way of making you soft if you allow it to. Hurt helps you to identify with the hurt of others… and the more we identify with others the less likely we’ll be so quick to judge them.

Let hurt create in you a softer person. Let the hurt you’ve endured soften the way you see perfect strangers… your Dad… your co-worker… your Sister. Let hurt soften your words when you don’t understand. Let hurt soften the way you touch. Let hurt soften the way you walk into someone’s life. Choose to seek healing instead of hardening.

If someone can make “Hurting people hurt people” a truth to many, then it is not impossible for me to create a new more hopeful truth.

“Healing people heal people.”

That’s my truth.

May it become yours as well.

The Magic of Growing Down

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Remember when we were little kids and how we’d spend hours fantasizing about how much fun life will be when we grow up? We envisioned that our lives would be filled with adventure, love that lasts forever, and there was no doubt in our minds that we would grow up to be exactly what we wanted. We were too small to be able to reach our juice box on the kitchen counter and our parents dictated EVERYTHING to us, but none of our restrictions kept us from believing that we would someday rule the world! We had no solid evidence that we were even capable of living the life we wanted. All we had was the belief that we would not always be kids and that we wouldn’t stop trying to be independent… even after every failure. One day we would no longer be restricted. One day WE would be able to choose who we wanted to be… and we would be it. WE would choose where we wanted to go… and we would go there.

Take a moment to obverse your life as it is right now. Are you living with this feeling of being restricted in life? Feeling dictated to by the world? Feeling like your “juice box” is too far out of your reach? The kid version of you would have gotten frustrated, yes… but they would have reminded themselves that it won’t always be this way… and they would keep trying… even through all the failures. We as kids fought so hard to become grown-ups, but when so many of us finally got to the coveted position in life, we stopped fighting for the life that we still had ahead of us.

As kids we were trying to grow up quickly because we didn’t want to be treated like little kids.

As adolescents we were constantly struggling with having one foot in immaturity and one foot in an adult world that we thought we were ready for, but had no clue about.

At 18 we sprint towards independence because we legally can. Regardless of if we can handle it or not, we won’t let anyone see us scared.

At 21 we think we’ve reached nirvana because we can get alcohol legit and go to all the bars where real “adults” hang out. We drink our way through decisions.

Somewhere between 22 and 26, depending on if and how long you went to school for, you then have to prove yourself as an educated adult by entering the workforce. You nail a job and now you’ve arrived! You buy a suit, some new shoes, and shots for everybody… on credit… because to be an adult you have to look like one, right?

If you’re like many Americans, between the ages of 22 and 26 (28 if you’re a late bloomer!) you marry and have your first child. You try to become the all-star parent who gives their 1 year old a Disney lifestyle everyday, because they won’t remember it… wait… they won’t remember it??

From this point on you work and live to prove to others that you’re living the American dream! You’re a stellar parent… but not too perfect… hip, current, with a splash of DIY originality.  You have a home that Pinterest dreams are made of, and according to your FB statuses your hubby is AMAZING… everyday. You have reached the “Grown up” life. What now?

Okay so maybe your life looks (or looked) nothing like the descriptions I detailed. That is neither here nor there. The point that I’m trying to make is that potentially we could spend most of our lives trying to not only grow up, but to grow out of the place that we were presently at. We spend our energy functioning in the present while our minds and hearts are living in the future… but the future isn’t for living! Living is meant to be for right NOW…. because NOW life is happening… NOW is what you can affect… and NOW is when you can begin to initiate change that will affect the future. Many people have went through different periods in their lives, and yet they can’t really identify with them because they don’t even feel any attachment to them… and in some cases they don’t even remember them! I’m not talking about periods of time that were blocked out because of trauma; I’m talking about pretty normal nothing-too-crazy periods in life. Maybe it’s all of high school, or all of your first marriage. It could be your kid’s teenage years, or all of collage (separate from your party days!). Whatever it was, there are those that were so focused on growing up, or just making it out of high school, or until they were 21 , or until they had a great job, or until they got married…. YOU GET THE POINT. Everyone is just too busy growing up to grow into who they are right NOW. The tragedy is that we then end up missing out on so much magic that is happening around us… in us… we don’t get to see and experience our own evolution because we are too busy planning a future that we are not yet an active part of.

I speak from experience. Not judgment. When I say “We” I mean “Me”.

I am going to be 31 in a few months and I can honestly tell you that there are periods of my life… chunks… that I recall as if I’m telling a story that I had heard from a friend about a friend… but not about me. I feel disconnected from my childhood and from my adolescents… all the way up to my early 20s.  I know they happened… I mean, obviously! I know that there were good times and bad, of which I can tell you some specifics. I cannot tell you much about myself as a child or as a teen, because I can’t really identify with that part of my life.  It’s as if I go into this dream sequence when I try to think back. It’s weird. It can be downright uncomfortable and awkward. I mean, who doesn’t know who they were as a kid or a teen?!?!  What I do know is that I had struggled for years with this feeling  that there was something wrong with me now as an adult, as a result of my detachment from my earlier years… like I couldn’t possible come to know who I am if I don’t know who I was.

I came to a place in my adult life where I had to decide who I was going to be. Was I going to be someone who kept looking back, scratching my head, trying to create a future from a past that I couldn’t change even if I did remember? Or was I going to keep looking forward and focus on a future that would be worth remembering someday? I chose neither…. Because the one thing that I could tell has been constant in my life is that I have always been either running to something or from something. At age 30 I finally understood that the concept of “Growing up” as we’ve known it to be is highly overrated

I may not be able to re-do the past, or recreate my childhood, or recall all the details about my teen years. I can’t tell you about how I felt during various special moments that I know happened or tell you with certainty what kind of friend I was in high school. What I can do is create new habits, and un-teach myself old lessons that no longer serve a purpose in who I am today…. I’m growing down. I can stop running from or to something. I can stop trying to prove my independence or adulthood to anyone. I’ve done my growing… I’m 30 years old… I’m an adult. Everything from here on is not new growth… it’s evolution… expansion… progress. 
Being a grown up is not a thing, a place, a degree, a certain level of income, or even the act of getting married (As made apparent by the high divorce rate). Being a grown up is about having the balls to say what you believe in the midst of unbelievers… and being able to shrug if they’re not on board with you, without letting it disturb your sense of peace. Being a grown up is choosing to forgive with or without an apology. Being a grown up is about using “I would never do that” very loosely… because we’ve learned that lack of personal experience with certain situations doesn’t afford us the pleasure of certainty for what kind of decision we’d make had it been us. Being a grown up means saying “I don’t know” when you don’t know… because with our finite minds, we really don’t know much. Being a grown up means that there isn’t a price tag attached to  “I love you”… yours are free… Even to  the one-toothed man that picked up a quarter that dropped out of your wallet for you at the grocery store… just when you were thinking “Ugh, really?!?! I have all these bags in my hands and it’ll be a pain to stoop down to pick it up… but it’s A QUARTER and I think I need one more for laundry. I’ll be so glad when I don’t have to pay for laundry ever again.” Yes, you say “I love you” to even him… and his one-toothed grin made you think “I really do”.

I’m growing down.

 

Yours Truly, Andrea

You Don’t Have To Like Them To Love You

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You don’t have to stroke their ego. You don’t have to indulge their insincere pleasantries and you don’t have to engage them in meaningless conversation. You don’t have to fill empty space with empty words. You don’t have to listen to verbal vomit or make nice with people who are not. You don’t have to like everyone to feel likeable. You don’t have to.

How many times have we tried and tried to be friends with someone who, for some reason or another, it never was easy to be friends with? You think that maybe if you look at the friendship a different way, or approach the person a different way, or maybe if you did more, or gave more, or if you two just lived closer THEN the friendship would work better. We just can’t seem to figure out why things with this person just don’t flow easily. Well… It’s because they are a square peg and you are a round hole. The two of you together just don’t fit.

Two amazing people may not fit together.
One amazing person and one horribly toxic person may not fit together.
Two equally toxic people may not fit together.
Some people just don’t fit together. Period. This goes for friendships and romantic relationships.

There is an emotional trend amongst some circles that say that if you cannot vibe with everyone you meet, that it’s because you are not one with humanity, or you are too picky, or you don’t have enough love in your heart, or you’re stuck up, or it must be because you’re broken. That’s just… Well that’s just a load of crap to me. It’s like saying you couldn’t possibly be a nice person if you aren’t friends with every nice person you know, or that you couldn’t possibly have a sense of humor if you don’t aim to make everyone you meet laugh.

Be sincere by complimenting when you truly mean it… Not out of a need to be known as complimentary or because you need people to always feel good around you. You are not responsible for their mood or ego. They are.

Speak when you have something you really want to say, not to fill empty space with empty words. A silent smile carries more value than the white noise of meaningless conversation. You don’t have to be anyone’s entertainment and silence is not something to be afraid of.

Love where there is love to build on. There can not be true love without respect, so stop trying to love those who you don’t respect. If there is no respect, then there is no trust… And to try to love without respect and trust is only lying to yourself. So respect yourself enough not to act out a love that is a lie.

You are funny, nice, caring, creative, passionate, loving and giving. That is who You are… So you don’t have to like them to love You.

Yours Truly,
Andrea

When The Seasons Change

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There are seasons in life just like there are seasons in nature. Some are bright and touch you with the warmth of all the hope they contain. Others feel as if the cold and harshness of it all knows no limits. Then there are those seasons that are caught in the middle… the ones that feel as if you aren’t where you want to be, and yet you aren’t where you used to be.

How can one tell when the seasons are changing in our lives? How do you know when the season is changing within a relationship, a friendship, or a job?

Sometimes we can confuse a bad day, a bad week, or a dry spell for a change in season. We think “Everything is going wrong, so it must be a SIGN that it’s time to go!” or “All we do is fight all the time. It’s obvious that this means we’re not good together anymore.” In a society where there seems to be a common belief that happiness is a sure sign of a great life, I have found that there are two types of hard times in life: The kind that offers us an opportunity for a BREAK THROUGH, and the kind that’s preparing us to BREAK OUT. Regardless of which we might be in, both offer us an opportunity for personal growth.. and the more we grow the more the people, places, and things around us have no other choice than to shift to make room for all the newness growing within us.

If you feel that the winds of change may be blowing, here are four teltail signs that you may be going into a new season:

  1. You’ve tried everything to reignite it, but after many attempts, the passion just isn’t there anymore. By “Passion” I mean the fulfillment you once got out of it, her, or him. It was like an invisible cord that kept you connected to it regardless of how little money you made doing it, or if your Dad thinks he’s a moron, if your Mom says that you could do better, or if no one understands what all the excitement is about. Maybe it happened slowly or maybe it was a rapid progression, but your passion just isn’t there anymore. Maybe you don’t understand why you no long feel fulfilled by it. Maybe you’ve attempted over and over again to reignite the flame because YOU REALLY WANT TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT IT… but… nope… you’re definitely not anymore. Here’s what I do when I feel my passion waning: I pause from all the trying that I’m doing… trying to love what I’m doing or trying to act like everything is just peachy keen. I let myself just be. Then I pray and seek out my motives behind any discontentment. Is it because I’m just pissed that I didn’t get a promotion? Am I harboring unforgivness or holding onto anything that is causing me to self destruct? Do I just have a bad attitude? Lastly I become purposeful  in either making things right within myself if I’m the problem or I become purposeful in making the changes necessary to find where my new season may be taking me.
  2. You feel like a fish out of water. “What happened?! I used to be so good at this!” is something you may have thought to yourself. Whatever it is that used to come so naturally to you has now got you feeling like you’re floundering. Sometimes we digress in nature due to becoming too comfortable in our abilities that we no longer challenge ourselves. Maybe it’s because you’re distracted for some reason. Maybe it’s because the grace that once empowered you to be able to do what you did so well has lifted. If that’s the case, then it may be that a new season is coming.
  3. If  the idea of change doesn’t seem to be as scary anymore. When we’re in the right season of life, the idea of change can be scary. We have a peace about our position and don’t want to disturb that peace. Yet when a new season is upon us, all of a sudden we crave change. We want to take risks and we start seeking out opportunity. We become open to walking away from what’s familiar.  Observe those cravings when they come. They may be trying to tell you something.
  4. Time. As in “Give yourself some.” Just like the literal seasons, they aren’t going to go right from one season straight into another. There’s going to be a transition into it. If one day you love something and then the next day you hate it, that doesn’t mean you are going into a new season. It means you’re human and some days you’re more into something than other days. Give yourself some time to draw a clear distinction between a new season and moodiness. If you have a long stretch of time in which you feel the same way consistently , then that may be the time to evaluate things.

I know that new seasons can be hard…. Especially if you can see it coming and you aren’t quite convinced that you’re ready for it yet.  Just try to keep in mind that the ending of a season has no discomfort that cannot be healed by the beginning of a new one.

Yours truly,
Andrea