Love Yourself – Warts and All

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection.” ~Buddha

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved and cared for others. I never really thought about caring for myself and my needs until the last few years. For about 7 – 10 years I actually hated who I was. I didn’t feel like I deserved love. Sure I got compliments for looking nice, doing a good job or being nice but I figured people were being nice and didn’t really mean it.

How could I help other people if I didn’t at least like myself?

I always second guessed myself until I met someone who changed all that. This person, rather his passing, made me go outside my comfort zone. This was my first step in loving myself. Since I’ve done that, I’ve had lots of complete strangers all over the world compliment my work which has helped me to accept myself a little more each day.

Thanks to the love everyone has given me, I feel love for myself and that love is sent back out again to others. It is the love that is given, shared, received and given back out. It continues going from me to you, to my family, to your family, and on, and on and… It’s a circle of caring and sharing.

Thought for the day…Believe in yourself. Conquer your fears. Dip your toes in the water to test it if you must, but then just jump in. You are not as bad, ugly, or unworthy as you may think you are. Love yourself for who you are, warts and all.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

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The Success of Failure

“The pursuit of our dreams is not without any difficulty. Those who triumph have learned to overcome the difficulty.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t sugar coated things because sometimes that makes matters worse. Truth and reality may be difficult, but deception and misinformation have the potential to kill.

There has been a growing trend in recent years. Many people, myself included, scoffed at it in the beginning. Now that it seems to have picked up steam, it’s not so much a laughing matter. It’s the “everybody gets a prize” theory, even if that person loses. I’ve seen arguments for and against this theory. Now it’s time for a little truth. My next statement might sting a little so brace yourself.

Not everyone who gets a prize wins. Sometimes they actually lose, even if that person gets a prize for losing.

I remember, as a kid, my sister and I played board games with our parents. Sometimes my sister or I would win, but sometimes one of our parents won. When that happened, my sister and I didn’t pitch a fit, flip over the board game or picked up our toys and left. No, we accepted our loss and set the board up to play again.

When I was in elementary school, we had these yearly physical education competitions. I don’t remember winning at many of the events. I didn’t get a trophy, but I got the occasional a ribbon. If I didn’t get a ribbon, I got a certificate for participating. I was bummed out but I didn’t pitch a fit, cry or stomp off the field. I accepted that I wasn’t as good as the other kids and I knew it.

In junior high school, I had really good grades. They were so good that I was in the honor society for 2 years. Starting the following year, my grades weren’t good enough and I didn’t make the honor roll after that. I didn’t lay down a pitch a fit in the middle of the hallway. I took my lumps and accepted that I was going to have to study better and harder.

Then, in high school, I wanted a letter jacket so I could fit in with the cool kids. I knew I could get one if I played sports. So, I tried out for a couple of sports teams but I wasn’t good enough to make the team. I was disappointed, but I didn’t scream and cry or stomp my feet over it. I just practiced and tried harder the next time there were tryouts.

A couple of years later, I found out I could get my letter jacket if I took a certain number of music classes. When it was time to make my schedule out for my senior year with my guidance counselor, she told me some bad news. She informed me that I’d have to give up one of my music classes so I could take another class I needed to graduate. I weighed my choices between graduating and letter jacket. I eventually decided that graduation was more important than a silly jacket, but, just like the other times, I didn’t pitch a fit. I sucked it up and took the class I needed to take so I could graduate.

That year our band was entered into a national contest which was held about 8 hours away. We ended up in 3rd or 4th place. No we didn’t win but we as a team got a little 3” high trophy. Were we disappointed that we lost? Sure we were, but we were also proud of ourselves and how far we made it. By the way, I forgot to mention that we were a very small school, from a small town that no one even heard of. To give you an idea of how small our class was, there was about 80 kids in each grade.

By now you’re probably wondering what my point is to my trip down memory lane. I have a couple of them actually, rather lessons that I learned from not winning. The first thing I learned when I was young is that in life there are winners and losers. Not everyone who participates in a competition gets a prize, and that’s ok. You just practice and try harder the next time you try out.

My second point is that, when I didn’t get rewarded for losing, I actually won in the end. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? So how did I win when in reality I lost? Simple. I learned to not pitch a fit when I lost or didn’t get what I wanted in life because of a quote I heard. “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” by Henry Grantland Rice. The way I played the game showed my character. By not being a sore loser I was humble and I played with integrity.

Finally, and perhaps most important, I learned that sometimes when I don’t win a competition or get what I want, it may be a blessing for any number of reasons. Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Looking back on all those times that I didn’t get a job I really wanted, got dumped by a boyfriend, had my house fire, got divorced, or any other life on life’s terms stuff, I was understandably upset. However, I learned to pick myself up by my bootstraps and either try again or shift gears altogether. Eventually I’ve seen the blessings in each case.

“Practice makes perfect” was a phrase I heard quite frequently from all the adults in my life while was growing up. I used to hate hearing it because sometimes, no matter how much I practiced or tried, I wasn’t good enough. Despite all that, I grew without even realizing it. I learned to become a stubborn, perseverant, independent woman who learned that it really isn’t whether I win or lose, it’s how I play the game.

Thought for the day: I thought I’d close this with a few inspirational and motivating quotes:

“Failure is an opportunity to learn again” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

“True success is the achievement of many failures” ~ Válgame

“Don’t fear mistakes, they are your stepping stone to success” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

“Success sits on a mountain of mistakes” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

“Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move.” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

No Matter What

I wanted to share a social media post that moved me. Many of these words kept me clean in some of my darkest hours. Thank you for the reminder April.❤

Here is a poem I wrote using some common recovery slogans/sayings….. Hope y’all like it! 😊❤️

No Matter What
By: April Grisham

6 years & 8 months ago
I went to get help
They all told me
“You can’t do it by yourself”

I was overwhelmed
Wanted to say, “Shove it!”
They told me to calm down
And remember, “Easy does it”

I was told to get a sponsor
And I was like, “Why?”
I thought, “What a joke!”
They said, “Work the Steps or die!”

At first I resisted
All because of fear
I said, “I got this”
They said, “Your best thinking got you here!”

I was pretty offended
But I listened anyway
Worried & scared to death
They said, “Just for today”

I began working the Steps
And started to be healed
They said this is forever
And “More will be revealed”

I began to feel emotions
I felt under attack
They said, “The best & worst thing about recovery”
“Is you get your feelings back”

There were times I wanted to give up
There were times I couldn’t see
I got angry when they told me,
You’re right where you’re supposed to be”

I stayed the course anyway
Recovery seemed so far
I wanted to run away
But they said, “Wherever you go, there you are”

I took all of their suggestions
At times I’d just smile & nod
Then, life showed up
They told me, “Let go and let God”

At 18 months clean
Everything happened so fast
I lost my job & almost lost my brother
They said, “This too shall pass”

I wanted to use so badly
I felt it in my gut
They held my hand & told me,
Don’t use no matter what”

I stayed clean through it all
But I’ve also made mistakes
But I have stayed willing
To do “Whatever it takes”

I have to take suggestions
To avoid being in a hearse
And remember that no matter what
My recovery MUST always come FIRST”

I still keep a gratitude list
I still continue to climb
Sometimes it’s really hard
But I take it “One day at a time”

Things still make me angry
At times I scream & swear
But I calm myself down
Saying “The Serenity Prayer”

I still hit my knees & pray
My brain still has a short circuit
But it’s true when they say,
It works if you work it”

I haven’t relapsed “YET”
I have a lot of haters
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with
But I know “It gets greater later”

Recovery has changed my life
Acceptance is the key”
I’ve learned so much
And gained serenity

I never thought it was possible
I never thought I’d find
A way to stay clean
And gain true “peace of mind”

So, if you think it’s impossible
And you feel under attack
Just know “We Do Recover”
And “Keep Coming Back!”

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Formula for Failure

I’m going to switch gears a little bit. I subscribe to a couple of daily or weekly inspirational readings. This particular one struck a chord in me because I’m struggling with correcting years of doing this to myself. This is one that many of you reading this can identify with. I corrected a couple of words so that anyone can catch the message of experience, strength and hope not just a certain group of people. Acknowledgement of the source is at the end for a reason, which you will understand when you read this in its entirety.

“Formula for failure: try to please everyone.”

I used to drive myself crazy trying to please everyone. In my insane home, I learned that if I didn’t make waves, and just agreed with everyone, then maybe for a little while there would be some peace. But it didn’t last long. Soon I would have to change, adapt, and give in again to placate the prevailing mood or attitudes of others. It was exhausting, and in the middle of it all I lost my sense of self.

I discovered something: I had a lot of resentments. I used to consider myself an easy going guy, but what I learned by doing a personal inventory was that by acquiescing(accept or agree to something, often unwillingly) to others by trying to please them, I was not only untrue to myself, but to others as well. By looking at my part, I realized that if I was to be happy and free, it was up to me to change.

Changing the way I interacted with others – especially with my family – was very uncomfortable for a long time. Suddenly I was no longer the pushover, and when I disagreed or refused to go along with their ideas, I suffered their wrath. But at least I didn’t hate myself or hold the familiar resentments anymore. After years of being true to myself, I’ve healed my relationship to myself and to others. Today, I have successful relationships because I am no longer trying to please everyone.

And because of this, I live a life that is happy, joyous, and free.”

For much of my life, this was me. Pleasing others, not wanting to make waves, agreeing with others to avoid conflict, etc. “Don’t make waves or else this person will be mad.” I was also the type of person who followed the crowd rather than being a leader. In doing all of this I lost the most important person in my life. Me. I’d forgotten who the real me was. Hell, I don’t think I ever knew the real me. I got to a point where I thought the world was out to get me. Eventually I got to a point of self imposed isolation because I didn’t want anyone to hurt me – again, as always.

It wasn’t until I was in such a pit of despair and headed towards that rabbit hole of depression that I was asked one simple question. A question that best sums up this reflection :

  • Who are you? Not your name, your title, or your job. Who are you as a person?

To answer that question I had to ask myself a couple more questions:

  • What are you passionate about? What drives you? What do you want out of life?

As I answered those questions over the following years, I began to get to know who I was, along with who and what I wanted in my life or not. I discovered new talents and things I was passionate about. For once in my adult life I began to enjoy life before it got to late.

So, who are you JQ Reader? What do you want out of life?

Each of us has a past and some of us have had it harder than others but we keep it to ourselves. Anyone of us could be dealing with “stuff” at anytime we talk to each other. Perhaps because of your hardships, instead of being a people pleaser or a peacemaker, you’ve hardened your heart and/or became bitter. Maybe you walk around with a chip on your shoulder and you lash out at anyone and everyone. Or maybe you even blame others for your misfortunes.

If this is you, I repeat the question above; Who are you JQ Reader? What do you want out of life? Do you want a life full of drama, chaos and hate? If so, I can promise you that finding any kind of happiness will be difficult and if you do, it won’t last long. Your anger and hate will overpower the happiness and you will be miserable again. Why not work on changing your mindset about your life and getting to know the real, authentic you? You just might be surprised by how much your life will change for the better.

Thought for the day: If you are unsatisfied with your life, why not try learning about yourself, your dreams, your desires and your passions? It could change your life in innumerable ways.

(The above inspirational I quote was from Wisdom of the Rooms Quote of the Week)

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Unconditional Love  

“My relationships with my cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.” ~ William S. Burroughs

Humans learn something new just about every day. We learn what to or not to do, how to or not to do things, what to or not to say and much more. We learn these lessons from a variety of teachers starting with our parents and teachers in school. When we leave school and home we don’t stop learning. We continue to learn from other people around us but did you know that we also learn lessons from animals too? Believe it or not we can and do learn some of life’s lessons from animals, specifically our pets.

How many of you own a pet, rather have a pet that owns you? Have you ever noticed that no matter how you look or feel, what you’ve done in your life or what mood your in that animals don’t care? They still come up to you anytime, anywhere and give you lovins. That’s called unconditional love – affection without any limitations or conditions.

I’d known about unconditional love for many years but I don’t remember really feeling and understanding it until I needed it the most. I was laying on my couch feeling sick, depressed, and like nobody loved me. My two cats didn’t care. Despite how I looked and felt, they came up and curled up next to me. Until this point I had a hard time treating others with unconditional love. These furry little teachers taught me to love others, and myself, warts and all.

Thought for the day: If you ever feel like nobody loves you, look into the eyes of your cat(or dog, etc). They will love you until you can love yourself.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Courage

“Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr

A few years ago, I was involved in a self help group and my task was to find speakers for certain nights. I lucked out for the longest time and didn’t have to speak. I was grateful for this because I hate public speaking. Besides, I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear my story. I was able to get away with it until one fateful night. I had no choice. I couldn’t find anyone to speak so I was going to have to do it. I would be remiss if I said I was looking forward to doing it. Actually, quite the reverse. I was petrified.

Someone taught me a couple of acronyms for fear. I could Face Everything And Rise or Forget Everything And Run or that False Evidence Appearing to be Real. These acronyms helped me overcome my fear that night and other times since then. After thinking about it, I decided I needed to get passed my fears. So I stepped up to the plate and spoke.

All to often our fear of doing things in life is because we are afraid we won’t succeed. I used to hear, “If you don’t even try, you won’t know if you’ll succeed.” I also used to hear, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” by Thomas H. Palmer. No matter how old we are, when we can overcome our fears, we grow a little each time.

Thought for the day: What happened when I spoke? Many of friends came up to me and said that my story helped them and that I did a really good job. This was the first time I learned that I had a message I needed to share.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.

Impossible Dreams

“If you don’t believe in yourself, then how will anyone else believe in you?”  ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Recently, I started watching a tv show called “Objectified”. It’s a show where the host interviews famous people in their homes. After watching a few episodes I realized something that many of us forget. We forget that many famous and wealthy people came from humble beginnings.

Yes, that famous actor, musician and athlete that you idolize was once like you and me, living paycheck to paycheck. That CEO, layer or doctor with all the money was just like you and me.

Another way they were like you and me is that they each had hopes and dreams. They just took advantage of opportunities that were presented to them or they worked really hard to get where they’re at in life. Sure, some may have were either handed or born into a successful life, but many people had to work at it somehow.

Some of us remember when we were young and adults asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Older generations may even remember hearing that if we worked hard we could have the American dream. Somewhere along the way to achieving our dreams, something happened and we gave up on our dreams. Maybe we pursue other dreams or we give up altogether. This was me.

I had dreams, took some wrong turns, ended up somewhere in did want to be and in the end I gave up. Years later I woke up, discovered a new passion and some hidden talent. My new dream? You’re holding it in your hand.

Thought for the day:  When life knocks you down, never give up. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps, dust that stuff off and keep trying. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” ~ Vince Lombardi

***Please be sure to read more of my posts