The heart wants what the heart wants. How many times have you heard people say that to explain why they stay in a toxic relationship?
The statement usually goes along with a shrug. Nothing they can do about it. They just love their mate so much that it would do no good to leave because they would find their way back. The circumstances are beyond their control.
They want to be in a relationship so badly that they are willing to settle for things less than they deserve. Sometimes it shows up as abuse. Sometimes it's neglect. Sometimes the puzzle pieces just don't fit, but it's not uncomfortable enough to do anything about.
Oh! I just want to shake some sense into these people! That is not love! Love goes both ways! Love doesn't just take and take and take. The heart does NOT want that!
I believe that you believe that it is love. But if I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, love NEVER hurts. That is not the design of love.
The thought of leaving hurts, I know. The thought of being on your own is scary. Having to start all over again with someone new is daunting. But you are worth more than staying in a relationship that doesn't serve you.
I've got news for you.... the heart wants a loving partner. The heart wants love in return. We were built to give love and seek love in return. SEEK LOVE IN RETURN!!! Notice what 's missing??
We want to believe that love is a feeling... that we just are swept away, and we have no control over the flow of the current. Whether it's calm, or it pulls you under and you're gasping for breath.
But love doesn't just happen. Love is a functioning, growing system that two people are supposed to work together to create. When it's love, you are both building a foundation. One that will last and that you can stand on and feel solid ground when a storm comes.
When a relationship is only one sided, that is not love. If you are feeling alone, or that you are doing all the "work" to maintain this relationship, what kind of a foundation does it have to stand on? We all know that a foundation that is littered with cracks or chunks missing isn't going to last for long. And every storm that comes along chips away at those crack a little more each time....
How long can the heart really "want' emptiness just to have someone lay beside them at night? How many excuses do you need to make to others, or worse, yourself for the bruises... or the lonely times... or the neglect? Where does love say that you should tolerate lies, or deceit or unfaithfulness? Let me give you a hint- it DOESN'T!
The heart wants what the heart wants...
That is just romanticized logic for staying in a defective relationship. Because sometimes it's easier to take the neglect than it is to face the conflict that will come. The guilt that rises and gets caught in our throat. The emptiness of being alone. The pain of rejection. The fear of the unknown reaction. The terror of the known reaction...
Love yourself enough to know if you are in a toxic relationship. Love yourself enough to know when to walk away. Yes, it will be difficult. We have no control of what others do and do not do. We can't expect them to love us back just because we pour out love on them.
Let me say that again: You have not control over what others do. It is not your fault if your partner makes bad, unhealthy choices for your relationship.
You only have control over what you do. What you think, how you respond, your actions, and... what you tolerate.
I'm sure you can read the passion I'm feeling under these words. I'd say that at least 75% of your emails to me deal with unrequited love. And almost every single plea for help is the same... the truth, the signs, the red flags, are all right there, but we love him or her so much that we are blindsided. What many of you are looking for is permission to leave. The others are looking for reasons why... I don't have those answers, but I do know this:
You can't love someone enough for two. You can't; no matter how much you'd like to.
You can't make someone change if they don't want to.
You can't be someone you're not, in order for them to "love you more".
And sadly, most people don't change. If their behavior hurts you, most likely, it will continue.
No matter what you may think you deserve... I promise you, it's never so bad that you should tolerate abusive behavior. Physical. Mental or Emotional. No one else gets the right to mead out your "punishment" as they see fit.
Love yourself, just a tiny bit... just look inward, and see the smallest spark... it's waiting to be seen. You are worth more. You deserve love.
Take one step toward releasing yourself from a toxic relationship. Just one. Then do it again the next day and the next... That spark will grow and ignite a fire inside you and you'll look back and wonder how you put up with such nonsense for so long.
I hope to get that email saying that you have had enough and you are standing your ground; living life on your terms, loving the way love is meant to be.
The heart wants love. Real love. Don't just shrug and take whatever the wind blows your way. Let today be the day that you choose. Let today be the day that you take responsibility for what your heart wants. Just one step.
I'll be waiting for your email. :)
1 Corinthians 13:4
Comment below with #justonestep if you are ready to own your choices or you are showing your support for others in toxic relationships.
The Short Definition of Love
When you are asked the question, what is love? It can conjure up definitions, quotes, stories, experiences and scripture. And while every single one of those has truth, I'm going to oversimplify the definition today.
Love means putting others first.
There you go. Done.
Bottom line, love means putting others before yourself. Seem too simple? Let's break it down.
When you love someone or want to show love to someone, anyone, you want their happiness. And you are willing to put your needs second to ensure their happiness. No one shows this better than a parent.
Our children eat before we do... Our children sleep before we sleep... Our children get new clothes, haircuts, new toys, new technology and we are playing catch-up; happy with the few moments to ourselves in the bathroom! Lol
No matter how old our children are... you never lose that feeling. I would do everything in my power for my children if that was in their best interest. I love them with every fiber of my being. It comes natural to me.
In our intimate relationships, the same is applied. If you want nothing more than your partner to be happy, and he/she want's nothing more than your happiness, then you have found the right equation.
What things do you do in your relationships to see that your love relationships are your priority?
When you love someone else, you are constantly thinking, what would be in their best interest?
Selfishness thinks only of oneself. Love thinks of others.
It's not about what you can get. The power you can wield. It's about what you can give. How can you help? What can you do to make their life easier? What would make them smile?
It's not about following blindly, or losing yourself within someone else. It's about helping them to shine and you grow from their glow.
Love is shown in similar forms all day every day and can be displayed with everyone you meet.
Love is opening the door for someone else.
...letting someone go in front of you in line.
... buying someone else's order.
Following the simplicity of this rule, sometimes, showing love, by putting others first isn't always easy. At times, there are tough choices to be made still keep their best interests in mind.
By putting others first, does not mean you become a doormat. (That is usually the first argument I get when I talk on this.) It does not mean you have to do whatever the other person says, just to make them happy. It does not mean that you have to go against your beliefs or endanger you or your family in any way. If they ask you to do any of those things, they are not seeing you through eyes of love and you will have to make some tough decisions.
Sometimes you have to make that call to the addiction hotline to get your love some help.
Sometimes it means you have to walk away from an abusive relationship to save yourself.
Sometimes you have to stand firm on a decision if it means the best for your family.
Love does NOT mean to follow blindly. If the other person loved you, was putting YOU first, you wouldn't have to be making these difficult decisions. You can love them, still, and love yourself too. By putting others first, it is a sacrifice. But you shouldn't be in love by yourself.
Recognize love coming back to you. Recognize when it does not.
Love is putting others first. The end. If the ones you are in a relationship with are not putting you first? They are not in love. If you are not putting them first? Guess what? You're not in love either.
Blame It On Any 'Ol Thing
I got my first piece of hate mail...
Don't get me wrong, I've gotten "dislike" mail before. If someone didn't like one of my books or had a differing, intelligent opinion, I've gotten those...
But this one was an all in, all out hate mail. It was a personal attack.
My first reaction was defensive, WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS???
Then I went to sad, Why would he say those things? That's so mean!
Of course, the insecurities kicked in, Maybe he's right. Maybe I shouldn't be advising people. After all, what do I know? I'm nobody special...
Luckily, my brain took over at that point and shut my sensitive heart down!
The long and short of it was that he was blaming me for his girlfriend leaving him. "Because of you, I lost my best friend and lover". That was probably the nicest thing he said in the whole context of the email. The rest was hateful....
Blame is everyone's first response to pain. We automatically look for an outside source we can pin the hurt on to help us deal with it. But things can never reach a solution until we go back and see what our part of the problem was and take responsibility for it. It is not an easy thing to do, but blaming will keep you in the EXACT same place that you are right now.
He went on to say that I was filling her head with stuff like "she deserves better" and that sometimes we "have to be alone until we figure out what is right for us".
Yeah... sounds like something I would say.
Honestly, I don't know specifically who this former couple is but I am thinking that she probably did the right thing by leaving. Because at no point of his rant did he mention that he loved her or was willing to make any changes to win her back. It was all about how his life is miserable without her. That's not love. That's inconvenience.
While this hateful letter was meant to (most likely) tear me down, make me quiet down or maybe even stop me from what I'm doing, but I'm afraid it did a few things in the opposite direction. This is what I have learned from this act of angry opposition:
- While it was probably very difficult for her to leave, she was able to because someone out there gave her the courage to believe in herself. If that was me, I am honored.
- I am doing the right thing. The things that I write are not unique or brilliant, but they are written in a way that the words I write resonate with the ones who are meant to get something from them. What I write and how I write is important to someone, somewhere. And if I am helping even one person, I'm doing the right thing.
- I am becoming a worthy opponent. The Devil is passive until you become a threat and then he begins his attacks. I must be doing something right to get him to turn his attentions to my humble writings. It's okay. I have the Light on my side and it continues to shine down the path I am supposed to be on. (I just have to work on getting a thicker skin!)
- And the writer of the email, you can blame her leaving on any 'ol thing you want to, but the bottom line is: She would have NEVER left you, if you had been treating her right.
Women (in general) are more forgiving. They often give more chances than are healthy. They see the beauty in you and hope and pray it comes to the surface and often stay longer than they should to see it happen. They want and need the security of commitment... It's how we are built. (I know there are exceptions and that is fine, but even the most independent woman want to be needed)
And dear writer of the email that launched an entire blog post-
I don't know if your heart is really broken because she left, or just your pride but here are a few words that I hope will heal your heart.
-I'm am sure that she still loves you and left you unwillingly. From your words, it sounds as if she had to convince herself to step away from the relationship. So, she didn't leave you because she loves you any less.
-I'm also pretty sure she didn't leave you for someone else. She left to save herself. If she DID go to someone else, I can guarantee that it has been building for some time and you just didn't notice that someone else had been giving her the things you were not.
-And finally, if you are unwilling to change or at the very least SEE that you need to change, please, let her go. Don't call her. Don't text her. Don't show up at her job. Don't be her friend on Facebook. Don't try and "just be friends". If you're aren't going to step up to the plate and give her your everything- then give her nothing. Let her go. Let her heal.
-I don't say these things to be cruel, but there is something missing from your relationship and until you find out what that is, she is hurting. And if you love her that should inspire you to do everything in your power to lesson that. Even if that means walking away. If you want to win her back- become the man she SEES in you. But don't woo her back if you're just going to be the same person that hurt her in the first place. Please.
Love is trying to figure out what things you did wrong and CHANGING them because it wasn't working. Love is ALWAYS about the other person. You get love by giving it away. Simple as that.
I'm glad we've had this little talk... I feel much better.
What Love Isn't
Ahh, the month of l'amour... (read in a very thick French accent) Love is everywhere. Flowers, gifts, cards, wedding proposals... February creates the feeling of passion, romance and long lasting love.
I don't want to be the one to pop your shiny helium balloon or anything, 'cause I'll be the first one to go all crazy for Valentine's Day, but just because it is the month that invokes the spirit of love... does not mean that love is what you are feeling!!
Sadly, I am here to tell you what Love. Is. Not.
And it breaks my heart to do so, because I want everyone who wants it to feel those butterflies and goosebumps of love. I want everyone to find that special someone that will stay with them forever- through thick and thin, good times and bad, fat days and skinny days, and all that stuff. But just because it is Valentine's Day does not make it so...
A client of mine had recently gotten away from an abusive relationship. He was both physically and emotionally abusive. He was her addiction. But she finally broke free and moved back in with family for support. She started going to church and became an active participant. Through our sessions she began to realize the destructive behavior and how it impacted her life and the lives of her children. She began to see that maybe this wasn't love, because love doesn't do those terrible things and cause pain to each other. Love only lifts you up. Love never tears you down or manipulates.
She had cut off communication and went out of her way to avoid seeing him and took this time to concentrate on healing. She had to realize that she could live without him, that she was addicted to him lustfully, and that she did not deserve to be treated in such a harmful, manipulative way.
Enter Valentine's Day. In walks Mr. Wonderful with a bouquet of flowers and a shiny helium balloon... oh, and one more thing... a ring. My client went blind, deaf and dumb but still managed to accept his proposal.
"He said he was going to change. The Lord told me to forgive him. If I am supposed to be a good Christian, I should give him another chance. He loves me."
I was speechless. She was in her moment of euphoria so, she wouldn't hear a word I said, so... I'm saying it to you.
What Love Is Not....
Forgiveness. Yes Forgive. Yes, always forgive. Because forgiveness is more for you than the other person. It allows you to heal and move forward and not give others control over your emotions. Yes, forgive. Even in the hardest, most painful of circumstances... forgive. But forgiving is not forgetting. Saying that, hear this- Just because you forgive does not mean that they should stay in your life. Let me say that again. Just because you forgive someone, does not mean they still belong in your life! Not all relationships are meant to last forever especially if they are abusive. You are not being a loving, forgiving person if you allow someone back into your life that is going to continue the same behavior. You know why? You are not loving yourself! That is unhealthy!! You deserve better!! Yes, people can change, but if this is the twelfth time you've forgiven and tried over... chances are, no change is going to take place. You've already proven to them that you will take them back no. matter. what. That is not love. To allow yourself to be treated anything less that amazing... that is not love.
Actions speak louder than words. Just because they say it, doesn't mean their behavior backs up their words. Sometimes we want to hear those words so badly that we tend to turn a blind eye to bad behavior. People can only be artificial for so long. Eventually their real, true self will come to the surface. You know it. You see it... but you chose not to. Those three little words are magic. But if the way they treat you and others contradicts those beautiful words, see it and believe it. It is not love.
Being taken advantage of is not love. When you are someone's second choice, and not their priority, that is not love. If they wait to find out if there are any other offers besides yours before they give you a commitment, that is being taken advantage of. And if you are willing to drop your plans because they called at the last minute, you are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. If they can't put your first, get out of their way. You deserve someone that will be into the relationship just as much as you.
If you have to try to convince someone to love you... they are not for you. You don't match. It's not necessarily a bad thing! Not everyone is going to get along with everyone else! Don't try to force love. Don't look for things that aren't there. Don't try and change someone into your idea of the ideal mate because you will only be hurt in the end. Love is not forced. You shouldn't have to try so hard to make a relationship work. If there isn't a foundation that you can build on, that is not love.
Disrespect is not love. When someone realizes that they pretty much have a green light to do whatever they want, because you'll always take them back they will continue to respect you less and less. They will wear down your standards; coerce you to have you bend your belief system. They aren't as afraid of losing you as you are of them. When someone disrespects you, it is better to remove yourself from that person. They will never suddenly see your worth. And if you continually drop your standards ("yes, he cheated, but I know he was sorry") they will continually cross that new line. And soon, you will feel shallow and empty waiting for them to love you the way you imagined they would. Let them go.
Love is never hateful. Or abusive. Or harmful. If someone lays a heavy hand on you. That is not love. They may think they love you, they may honestly believe they love you, but love is not designed to hurt. More likely than not, it is an addiction. Addictions are possessive, love is freeing. If someone loves you, they would never, ever want to see you in pain. If they love you, they will not cheat on you. No exceptions. If they love you, they will not leave you. If they love you, they will let you know. You won't have to wonder. If they love you, they will have your best interest at heart. You won't have to force them to want to be with you.
Walking away isn't easy. We all want love. We want to feel the joy of love and sometimes we think that if we just keep trying, we can love someone enough for both people. That is not love. And when you keep trying and keep trying waiting for a different outcome, you only sink deeper and deeper into that loveless hole. They are not going to change. So you either have to tolerate their behavior or walk away, loving yourself enough to start again. I vote for the loving yourself option. The right one IS out there, when you are ready. But you can't really give yourself to someone else to love, when the love is not already there within you.
Don't settle for anyone just to have a someone. That... is not love. Be patient. Take care of you. Do what you need to do so that when love comes along, you'll be ready. You'll recognize it for what it is... and what it isn't.
As many of you know, I am a hairstylist when I am not writing, and I have recently moved from my home state where I'd been living most of my life to someplace completely different. Adapting to the changes have been quite a challenge.
People fascinate me. Now, being an introvert, I like to watch from a distance, but being part of the human race, I eventually have to participate as well. When I was studying relational coaching, my goal was to use it for mainly teens, but I am surprised that I can use this knowledge in every aspect of my life.
I have been a hairstylist, off and on for over 23 years and have belonged to several different shops. The one I left was probably my favorite and the one that I developed the best friendship skills. Granted, this was also the time I was studying my relationship coaching training, so I learned a lot and put new ideas into practice of how to get along with other people. They essentially became my tribe. I belonged. We all looked out for one another. We played together, we worked together, we loved, we lost, we bonded. It was the first time in my life, I had multiple friends. In the past, I had only been able to concentrate on one friend at a time. This became a separate.... family, so to speak. (Like I said, I'm an introvert but never had a name for my "condition" until a few years ago!)
When I moved and started my new job here, it's been an excellent reference as to how complete strangers assimilate to become one team. These twelve people, my new tribe that I had been assigned to- some have worked together before, some knew each other in passing, and I, of course, was completely new... but all of us were new to this franchise and brand new store.
I like watching the natural progression of things grow. How people group together; find different ways to assert their authority; come together to weed out a common enemy, toleration, education and bonding together. It is amazing to watch.
I had been asked to be the leader of our motley crew but had declined. I wanted to devote my time to creating and not so much cutting. But knowing that I am out of the running for a leadership role, I am able to watch the process unfold without bias.
It's a good group of girls here, under a good GM and a positive owner. The shop will do well, and these girls look like they are here to stay. So I am anxious to watch the friendships unfold and to see if it stays "just" co-worker status among them or if they will bond together as a cohesive unit.
I am having a nice time learning who everyone is. They're likes and dislikes, things we have in common, their work practices (how they cut differently than me or customer skills or retail skills). I am fascinated with their family-lives, how many kids they have, boys/girls, ages, married/single. Their hobbies, their joys, their addictions, what makes them laugh.
While I miss the cohesiveness of the tribe I left behind, I am learning so much about myself and the others and this experience is only going to make me a better person by being able to love on these new people.
We have all been thrown together for about a month now, and in that short amount of time I have learned so much about these young women. Their heartbreaks and their trials and the things they are doing to cope. If they have a common denominator among them all, it's strength. I have heard of some of their trials; things that would cripple another human being, but these girls don't give up. They find a new way to keep going. They all have strong family ties and as with everyone, they are all struggling through something. I am humbled that they trust me, an outsider, to tell their troubles to. They don't tell me to "get" something from me, they are just sharing. I am honored that they feel comfortable in such a short window of time to share with me. Apparently, I fall into the "momma" role wherever I go.
It is true that people fade in and out of your life in seasons and that not everyone you meet is supposed to be in your life forever, and sometimes its hard to let go of your "comfort zone", but we can grow stale if we stay in the same "place" for too long. I have discovered that I am a wanderer. I physically need to move from place to place to stay inspired. I think I've known it for a long time but was too afraid to step out of the "norm". But when I say "place", I am more referring to a mental or spiritual attitude if you will. We as humans need to grow. We are created to want other human companionship, and yet its scary to face change. I wish for you to embrace change. Me, the introvert, says reach out and love people. All kinds of people. It doesn't have to be up close and personal, but we can love from a distance as well.
I will have to get used to meeting new people and leaving others behind. And while I feel the need to not settle- at the moment- I hope that I leave behind me a trail of affection and that I touched people's lives with love. I hope that those I come in contact with feel inspired and if I'm lucky, I will have the opportunity to watch their dreams come true. (Facebook at its finest! I can move about the country and still keep track of all my people!)
We all come in contact with people every single day. Make it a positive experience. And while we won't build tribes with all these people and they may only be in your life for a season, (or less), let it be a good experience for all involved. A little love, a little kindness can go a long way. Lead with love.
The other day, I went out into my back yard and there, going up the step in the mix of some boring weeds, I saw the most brilliantly colored flower. Nothing has ever grown there before and I wondered what it was doing there now! It was so simple and beautiful and thought surely is was sent to grow there to give me a message.
So, I wondered what kind of message it could be? Let me give you some back-story... I feel closest to God when I am out amongst nature. I feel He is near me and I am more open to hearing his messages. The breeze suddenly feels like a caress. The birds sound like a choir. The colors seem so intense that I feel like I disappear. I don't feel this way every time I go outside, but I know that if I am troubled, that's where I meet Him. And he will comfort me. He will ease my pain. He will scold me. He will give me direction. Not that He whispers to me or anything... I've asked repeatedly for Him to send me a text message, but He must not like that option for me... Any-hoo.... So I feel this random flower was "sent" to tell me something.
Maybe, to look for the rose among the thorns? That would be the obvious choice. And sometimes I do need to be reminded of that. I can get pretty crabby some days and only see things that just irritate the tar out of me and only witness the annoying things about people, but sometimes, hidden underneath the perceived "annoying" there is something truly beautiful there just waiting to be noticed. It was there all along. I just needed an attitude adjustment to see it.
Or maybe, it was stop and smell the roses? Again with the roses? The point being that sometimes I get so busy and forget to notice the small things that make me happy. The little things that remind me why I work so hard. A sunset. The smile from one of my kids or grandkids. An ice-cream sandwich. I am pretty busy... I do work a lot and forget to watch the sun set...
How about, God has it under control? He took the time to create this beautiful, perfectly made flower and bring it to my attention. He's got the whole world in His hands. My troubles are nothing compared to his power and compassion. No problem is too big or too small to take to Him.
But no... none (or all) of those. Because as I was working all day, the next chance I got to go outside and check on my pretty little surprise, it was gone. Orange petals had fallen to the concrete and the center hung low. My conclusion was that the lesson must be: Nothing is promised. You don't know how long you have to appreciate the things and the people around you. Your world could change in an instant.
Yes, that must be it. The flower was here, and when I thought I could appreciate it another day, it was gone. So I pass this lesson on to you. Love those around you. Never let them doubt for one minute that they are important to you. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunsets. Kiss the babies. Take nothing for granted. The very breath you breathe is not promised. Make sure you use every one as if it was your last. Let no words of ill-will be said to those you love. Always be the best person you can be from one minute to the next. Life is short. Too short.
Forgive. Be thankful. Be kind. Show love. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't live a life of regret. Live every day to the fullest. And even if your day consists of having to go to work, or another day of boring mundane activities, do your best to find the joy in every day. There's a reason you are, where you are doing what you're doing. So when you go to bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to be thankful for all the good things in your life. :)
A New Perspective
The 30 Kindness Challenge is officially under way as of the 15th of June! And while your verbal support is greatly appreciated, what we need now is action!! Some people may think that this is a silly endeavor and can't really understand why I would want to do something like this. What can one person do, kind of thing... So, this blog is to get you to see things with a new perspective.
Today, as you are out and about, just take a moment to take notice of how people treat one another. Look for kindness, and you will see it. Look for anger, and you will find it. It is the goal of the 30 Day Kindness Challenge to be able to see kindness every time you turn around. It's my hope that it can replace a lot of the anger. I know that it can't replace all of it, because we all have angry days, but if we made a conscious effort to make a difference, what kind of world could it be?
So what do you see when you take a moment to get outside of yourself and see others? Notice how kindness can change an interaction. See how kindness can alter attitudes. Notice how kindness can bring a smile to a face no matter how young or old. When kindness becomes a part of our daily routine, we won't need to stop and think about it.
So do me a favor, while you are on your way to work, or the store, or out in a public place, take a look at those around you. Try and guess which ones are participating in the 30 Day Challenge! Look for ways you can show kindness and tell us all about it.
Be the kindness you hope to see in others...
Join Us for the 30 Day Kindness Challenge
Put A Little Love In Your Heart- And Share It
30 Day Kindness Challenge- An Invitation
A Change of Attitude
A Change of Attitude
As a society we have fallen into the pattern of "if he is nice to me, I'll be nice to him". We need to change that attitude. What if the other person is thinking the exact same thing? You could have passed up a new friend, a possible sale, a potential relationship or just that warm fuzzy feeling of sharing smiles.
What would happen if you decided to be nice first? What if you smiled at everyone you came across? How do you think you would be perceived? And do you think this would help or hinder your first impressions?
We only have a short time on this earth and personally, I'd like to be remembered as a kind, caring and loving person. When my name or image comes up in conversation or perhaps on a web search, it is my hope that the way I lived my life will have people thinking fondly of me. And in order to achieve this, I try to be kind every day, to everyone I meet. Most days, I think I am successful. I'll be the first to admit that I have my "off- days" where I would rather not have to speak to anyone... but luckily those days are few and far between. Lol. (I bet you have felt the same!)
Loving behaviors and just being kind should be an automatic thing regardless of how you are treated, or who says "hello" first. The meaning of kindness is seeing the value of every person we meet. Sure, sometimes we have to look a little deeper, but it's there. We just have to take the time to see it. And I promise you, more times than not, you'll see it the moment you show kindness. And even with those tough ones that you can't seem to get to crack a smile, I'd be willing to bet that they'll think about your kindness again at some point in the day. Sure, they might think you're crazy, but... you may have been the only person to love on them in who knows how long.
Sometimes we don't get to see the impact of the kindness we bestow on others, but it is never wasted.
I had a man come up to me one afternoon in a grocery store. I unfortunately had no recollection of who he was but he told me that I had taught his daughter in my Broadway camp one summer. He said that she had the best time and felt so welcomed that she still talks about it to this day. (It was well over five years ago!) She was considered a "social outcast" and had no friends so even signing up for the camp was a huge step for her. After jogging my memory, I knew who is daughter was. She started out very shy and and tried to stay off to the side, but she was welcomed in and she was part of the family in no time! At the time, I had no idea of the impact she took with her, I was just "doin my thing", but how happy it made my heart to hear about it several years later.
But think of what your acts of kindness could mean to strangers. We have no idea what other people are going through in their lives, but we are all going through something. What if your simple smile meant the world to someone else? What if you purchased the coffee for the person that was just having the WORST morning? What if you gave a compliment to someone who was absolutely filled with self-doubt that day?
Starting today, be the one who smiles first. Take the initiative, be the ambassador for kindness. Let's go for that change of attitude. Bring kindness to others, don't wait for it to come to you.
If you haven't signed up to participate for the 30 Day Kindness Challenge as yet, click here and write your commitment statement in the comments below the blog!!
More to read:
Put A Little Love In Your Heart- and Share It
Put a Little Love in Your Heart & Share It
The subject for today: Kindness. Does anyone even know what that means anymore? Is it such a difficult thing to do?
I was people watching the other day, (something I LOVE to do... usually) and I have to say that it was a sad turn of events. It seemed like every single person was having a bad day. I was outside sitting on a bench watching people of all age groups, shapes, sizes and colors, meander about. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold and the sun was shining. That's enough right there for me to be grinning like an idiot at everyone that passes... hmm, maybe I was. That's why I wasn't getting responses!
I digress. As I am watching the folks I couldn't help but notice the extreme LACK of kindness. Just in general. The workers at the food truck did not smile at their customers. The parents were short with their children. Passersby lacked common manners when accidentally bumping into one another. Family units separated by technology and passing up this amazing time to interact. No one held open the door for ANYONE! How have we come so far from common decency toward our fellow man? Are we all so busy that we can't stop for a moment and recognize the person standing next to us, sitting across from us, or smile back at me!!!
What is kindness? Maybe we have skipped a generation where that was taught? Is kindness a characteristic or is it something that can be learned? Are we born to naturally be kind and then lose it along the way as we shift our thinking to the "me first" mentality? Or is it something that we don't even notice until it is brought to our attention?
Well... here I am. Bringing it to your attention.
Kindness means seeing the value in every person we meet. Every person. Some might take a little bit of searching, but there is value there. And not just seeing the value, but acting on it.
We as humans were made for relationships. We were born to be integrated into tribes. We need each other to survive. Yes, yes, I know, there's an exception to every rule, but for the most part, we need to be loved and appreciated by others. Kindness is just a form of that love. A smile, a nod, a kind gesture... all ways of expressing that a person is valued. It's that simple people.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
What are you doing to show kindness to others? It doesn't take a whole production, it could be something simple as:
- letting someone with fewer items go ahead of you in the grocery line
- buy the person's coffee behind you in the drive-thru lane
- opening the door for someone
- letting another driver over during traffic
- smiling at the teller at the bank
- adding coins to the charity bucket of your choice
- putting down your cell phone when a loved one comes in the room to talk to you
- watching what your kids want to watch instead of your choice
- slipping a note into your husband's lunch.
- complimenting a stranger
- leaving a gift for someone anonymously
- offering to do a chore around the house
- helping out a co-worker or classmate with an assignment
- offering a smile...
What kind things have you done today? How are you making those around you feel loved and valued? What kinds of things can you add to your weekly routine to increase the acts of kindness? And most importantly, how does it make you feel when you see the results of you tiny acts of love?
Let's make a difference in the world. Let's take care of our tribe. Let's learn (again) how to love and value one another with every kind of kindness!
A Big Announcement
Now that the release of my second novel Waiting for the Sun has passed, I can move on to my BIG announcement!!
This has been a long time coming!! I am so excited to announce the official 2014/15 Nationwide Tour of the Total Truth Workshop!!
All year I've been doing smaller beta tests of the workshop to get out some of the bugs and to make sure I'm offering up what the kids need most and I am pleased with the results as are the kids. So the only thing left to do is to take it out on the road!
This is will be my first attempt to travel with this kind of event, but I see it as an adventure! So many new places to see and new families to meet! And lots of good information to be passed around to make a difference in people's lives and futures! I am so excited! (& terrified!)
"I'm so glad someone finally listened to what teens need and not what they think we need."
"I love this workshop. I think it will help a lot of people. Miss Elizabeth is awesome."
"The Total Truth Workshop wasn't boring at all. Miss Elizabeth always thinks for fun things for us to do and before we realize it, it became a lesson."
I'm kicking things off here in my home town of St. Louis, MO first on the last weekend of June, 2014 and then starting off slowly. A weekend here, a weekend there and when school starts back up, I'll really swing into gear hopefully offering two workshops per month through the winter months. What a life change for me! But I welcome it with open arms. I could use a good challenge to keep me on my toes!
I've been working diligently on the website which is now live. (I wish I was more tech savvy, but I am not! So, I had to work at it in bits and pieces at a time.) I am thankful for my support system at St. Louis Onsite (Shout out to Paul Arthur and Joey Felps) and to the newest addition to my tech crew, Ryan Lambert. Ryan is working on making the teen website pop with awesome videos. I am so very blessed to have so much talent around me.
I am also so thankful for my Personal Assistant, Sarah Arnold, she gets my phone work under control and helps keep me on track to what my most present task is. If you only knew how much I needed that!! Lol!
The workshop is starting to get press and is moving along faster than I'm ready for! So that just means I need to work harder and faster!! But I wanted to let all of you know first before it is released to the rest of the world! I am excited that it is getting positive feedback. I hope that helps the Total Truth Workshop get off the ground and have all the weekends sell out!
For those of you that don't know about the Total Truth Workshop, it is a project that I have been "working" on for about six years now. It was going to be just a book called Do It Now or Re-do It Later- and it still will be, but it seemed to me that teens would get more out of the information if it was presented to them in a live, interactive format. When we have the opportunity to experience something over just reading about it, those experiences are more likely to make an impact and stay with us longer. And since creating fun camps and classes are my forte, this seemed like a perfect fit.
So basically, for one weekend, these kids will come and hang out with me and we will work on life lessons, accountability, goal setting, and all the things they won't be taught in high school but NEED to know to be successful in the grown-up world. It's called Total Truth because I won't pull any punches or sugar coat the facts. The real world doesn't care whether you're tired or not feeling well or ran out of money. The world moves on and you need to be ready to move with it or get trampled by it! (I know the trampled part! I don't wish it on anyone!)
It's so much more than sitting in a room and being talked at for three days. I wouldn't want that... I can't think of anyone that would! There are games and dancing and a fun atmosphere. These kids will come out of this event with a good idea of where to go next to make their future one they can look forward to. Instead of waiting to see what opportunities or jobs "fall into their lap" they will have the power and the know how to go and get what they want. They will be given a set of tools to help deal with bumps in the road and letting go of harmful habits and replacing them with productive ones. The workshop also deals a great deal with relationships and communication. Two things that everyone needs to be comfortable with so they can be prepared to deal with the relationships of their future. Bosses, teachers, family members, love interests, co-workers. The information they learn at the workshop will be of use to them the very first day.
This workshop will be a huge asset for those kids who choose to use it. They are not only creating a future for themselves, they are linking with like-minded teens and developing a support system, a mentoring group and new friends that will last them a life-time. And me. I'll be there with them for as long as they need me. I've set up a members only Facebook group, their own membership pages within the website, on-going blog posts to keep them on track and they will have life-time access to me and to any webinars I host.
I am just so excited about this whole thing! This is my life's work. This is what all my years of experiences have led me to. I wish I had something like this when I was in my teen years. I certainly wouldn't have made as many mistakes trying to figure things out as I went. I hope you will come on board and help me spread the news about my new "baby"! I can't wait to share it with the world! I love this age. So many new things coming their way and so many things to learn.
Please comment below or shoot me an email if you'd like to know more information but I'll try and keep everything posted on here so you can see my progress. To find out more about the Total Truth Workshop, please visit the page on this website or you can bounce right to the brand new website to learn all the details! www.totaltruthworkshop.com
Please be happy for me and keep theses prayers and well wishes coming my way, because I need all the encouragement I can get!
BONUS if you or would like to sign up for the Total Truth Workshop (in the St. Louis area), please send me a message in the Contact Me and I'll give you a discount code for HALF OFF!! This offer is only good until June 17th.
(Not in the St. Louis area? Message me anyway and first, let's see when I'll be heading to your city and second, I'll give you a special friends and family discount offer that you can use!)