Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are you a master or a victim?

“If it's never our fault, we can't take responsibility for it. If we can't take responsibility for it, we'll always be its victim.” ~ Richard Bach

Are you a master of your life or do you play the victim? Bad things happen to all of us. Some of us experience much worse things than others but what we do about it is what separates us into masters or victims.

For a victim, everything is happening to them, instead of through them. Looking in the mirror is difficult and it is easier to blame everyone and everything else. If you look in the mirror, you may have to realize that you are choosing to be or remain the victim. Yes, you have chosen to be the victim. No, I’m not saying that you have chosen to have bad or horrible things to happen to you. You do, however, continue to choose to let an act, circumstance, agency or condition to control you.

Indeed there are times when it is appropriate to feel like a victim. Something has happened that caused you to experience a loss, injury or death. You have to mourn it, grieve it. In fact, it is completely healthy to experience all of the emotions so that you can heal from it. The problem is when we become so comfortable being the victim, avoiding working through those emotions and enjoying the attention of others that we hold our lives hostage and blame others for it. How many of us know someone who blames their current life/addictions/situation on their childhood, their ex-spouse, their past abuse, etc?

Often times when you talk to those who are victims to their past, you assume that the events they are speaking of happened practically yesterday. However after you’ve gotten to know them, you realize it may have happened 10+ years ago and you have to wonder why they haven’t been able to move past it – they are stuck!

To give up your victimhood means having to take responsibility for your life - this very moment. It means you have to let go of your safety net. Let go of drugs, alcohol or any other emotional addictions that you use to numb, lessen or avoid the pain. Facing all of it is scary but you can do it!

You have to claim your pain - own it. Don’t allow it to shame or control you but rather allow yourself to recognize it for what it is. Then just like a beginning swimmer - you have let go of the edge and learn how to swim through the emotions rather than letting your life drown in them.

Reclaim the power you have given over to memories, to someone or something that keeps you a victim and takes away from your energy. Why are you letting them have that control? Get the negative self-talk out of your head! You are worthy! The only person you are penalizing is yourself.

To quote Jillian Michaels,
“Today I want you to ask yourself this one question: why not you? Why not you to do something for work that you love? Why not you to have a healthy body? Why not you to have healthy love? Why not you to be, have, or do anything you have ever dreamed?! We are so quick to think others are more deserving over ourselves. The truth is that we are all deserving so WHY NOT YOU?!”

Take back the power! My youngest daughter learned of a rape of a woman and became so terrified that she was constantly checking and locking windows and doors. I kept reassuring her that she was safe but one night she finally burst into tears and told me, “if you get raped, you die”. I tried to reassure her that rape did not always mean death. In true, pre-teen fashion she practically yelled, “How do you know!?” I calmly told her, “Because I’ve been raped and yet here I am – so no, that is not true.” She immediately began apologizing for my past. I explained to her that she didn’t harm me so she wasn’t responsible and didn’t need to apologize. A friend of mine was completely floored that I’d share such a story with my daughter. I explained that by not talking about it would be like saying I had done something to be ashamed of and would give power back to that person. I’m not willing to do that plus I didn’t want my daughter to grow up believing wrong information. I have freed myself of those victim chains by being able to talk about it and I wanted her to know that the woman had no reason to be ashamed either. Lord knows I carried that burden around for years, long enough for the both of us. You have to let it go.

Why is someone else more deserving than you? You might see people around you that you assume aren’t “damaged goods”, as you may call yourself, so they are more worthy in your mind. You don’t always know their story. Everyone has their own ghosts and demons to conquer. Your past does not define who you are. It is a component that shapes your life but you get to decide – Are you a master or a victim?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 83: Gratitude

  • Holiday Traffic: I love it when there is a holiday that only the government actually observes because it eliminates so much traffic!
  • Learning new things: Someone is absent from work so I am picking up part of those duties. For the first time in a long time, I'm learning something and feeling like I'm contributing to the overall productivity of the team.
  • Party Invitations: Gotta love it when you can design birthday party invitations that get your kid so excited! YAY!
  • Ice: When playing around with the girls at the dinner table and you shift your foot under the table, they might think you are playing, forget your foot is hurt and will stomp on it a few times while giggling madly. The look on their faces when they realized I just stopped breathing - yeah they probably will remember it next time. Yeah, ice is a good thing!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 84: Gratitude

  • Quiet dark rooms: When you get a migraine so bad that you are nauseous, a quiet dark room is your friend!
  • Voicemail: The same can be said for voicemail because it holds all of the messages from calls you miss while you take care of yourself.
  • Indoor Plumbing: When your nauseous, indoor plumbing with cool running water is an amazing gift that we all too often overlook.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 85: Gratitude


Today has been beyond awesome! My Marine official is on mailstop so he's coming home and I get a flag on my daughter's 13th bday! You have no idea how much it meant after the past couple of weeks. The doorbell rang, I opened it and a box was left. It had a customs tag which let me know it was from the Sandbox. The side of the box read American Flag and I just stood there hugging a box in tears. When I finally went to open it, it was taped shut so tight and I was shaking so much, I didn't think I'd ever get it open. Then I just hugged that flag and cried for all of us.

The flag was from one of our Combat Support Hospitals. "I want to take a couple of minutes to say thank you from all of the Soldiers at the 115th Combat Support Hospital at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. ... Being apart from our families has been difficult for all of us, but with selfless people such as you backing us, it makes getting out of the rack a bit easier. From the bottom of my heart, and the rest of the hearts you have touched here at Camp Dwyer, Thank You!"

I went to Michael's and got a flag case and some certificate frames so I can hang it up!

Happy Birthday to my daughter!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 86: Gratitude

  • Early to bed: Sometimes you just have to lay down and sleep. This was one of those nights.
  • Military: Today marks 10 years since the start of the Afghan war. Some debts can never be repaid. Thank your service men and women.
  • Prayers: When you find out a friend has lost a family member and you can't be there to give a hug, you can always offer up a prayer of peace.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 87: Gratitudes

  • Dinner Out Alone: No one was home so I went out to CPK with a book and a notebook. I ordered a drink, some food, read, wrote and people watched until I was smiling.
  • People Watching: I love to people watch. I watched young couples with their kids. I love it when a father will pay as much attention to the kiddos as the wife. Or the grandfather who knelt down to kid level to play with his grandson until the kid was giggling so happily. I watched a mother explain to her tweens the Housewives of Orange County which cracked me up. The two gentlmen who were sitting behind me were talking about thier work and sex lives. The manager came by to check on me. People fascinate me.
  • Chatting with Friends: I love it when friends I haven't talked to in a while reach out and we chat again like it was just yesterday that we saw one another. I love their zany sense of humor.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 88: Gratitudes

  • Being able to go straight home: For the first time in a long time, I didn't have to pick anyone up, go by a store, or do anything other than drive straight home from work.
  • Soup: Hot soup and breadsticks on a cold rainy day is just delicious.
  • Blankets: I have this super soft fluffy warm blanket that I probably paid too much for but it is a purchase that makes me smile when I get to curl up in it.
  • Concern of others: My sons are moving and my girls went to their dad's so technically I should have had the evening alone but one by one most of the kids had been by the house at some point. It is cute how they all get worried about me being alone and sometimes alone is exactly what I need.
  • Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, passed away today. He was such an inspiration so I'll leave you with this:
    “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 89: Gratitudes

  • Rain: I absolutely love the rain! Had to laugh at a man who I was walking past who said, "I'll give you $5 for your umbrella." I just laughed with him and said, "Will you melt?" He laugh and said, "ACK! I'm melting!" His wife was behind him opening her umbrella and laughing at him. They were cute and made me smile.
  • End of a Day: Some days, you just want your day to come to an end so that you can curl up in bed and let all the drama from your day disappear. Today was such a day.
  • Apologies: When someone does something wrong that offends another, it is nice when an apology is offered so everyone can let it go.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Life Engagement & Change in Perspective

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." ~Hans Christian Anderson

Life Engagement
I work in the corporate world where one of the biggest topics is Employee Engagement. This got me to thinking about whether or not we are engaged in our personal lives. To be fully engaged, you are physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned.

The book, "First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently" by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, identified 12 questions to determine employee engagement so I decided to make a few for us to use to consider if we are truly engaged in our lives. How would you answer these:
  • Do I know what is expected of me at home, school, work, as a spouse, as a friend, and as a parent?
  • Do I have what I need (skills, education) to do things I need to do?
  • Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have I received and given recognition or praise?
  • Does my spouse, family or friends truly seem to care about me as a person?
  • Is there someone who encourages my self growth?
  • Do my opinions get recognized and seem to count? Do I recognized others opinions?
  • Does my personal mission statement/purpose make me feel important and contributing to the world, my family and friends?
  • Are my family and friends also committed to contributing to the quality of our lives?
  • Do I have a someone I can lean on - a best friend or confidant?
  • In the last six months, has someone talked to me about the progress I've made towards changing my life for the better? Have I talked about my progress? Have I recognized the improvements others are making in their lives?
  • This last year, have I had the opportunity to learn and grow? Did I take advanatage of that opportunity?
Did you answer "No" to any of those? If so, how can you make small changes to become more engaged in your life? It's yours so you should make the best of it! A more fulfilled person is a happier person.

Change in Perspective
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mundane routine of our lives that we become creatures of habit. We go through our days on auto-pilot and end them feeling drained, unfulfilled and emotionally depleated. For example, I bet most of you take the exact same route to work/school every day. Do you always have the same thing for breakfast? Do you spend your weekends getting caught up on chores, laundry, etc. to the point where you have very little time for just you?

Stepping outside your comfort zone might help you gain some new perspective! Try some of these suggestions:
  • The Path Less Traveled: Take the scenic route instead of the same old way.
  • Mental Health: Take a guilt free "mental health day" where you focus just on things to feed your soul. I give 3 of these a school year to my kids. Sure they have vacation time but haven't you ever had a day where you woke up feeling like you just couldn't deal with the things life was going to throw at you? A day where you feel like you just need to pamper yourself? Sometimes you have to hit the snooze button on life for a day and just take care of your mental health.
  • Fall is in the Air: Take a drive out to the country and watch the leaves change! Nature is painting a masterpiece for your enjoyment - you just have to pause long enough to see it.
  • Meditate: Get up 30 mins earlier every day and meditate. Take the time to clear your mind so that you can focus on what you need to do.
  • Walk/Explore: Don't skip lunch but perhaps pack a lunch so you can go for a walk - explore your surroundings. You never know what you can find. I found a mesa out behind the many office buildings where I work. It became a goal to find a way to get out and up to it.
  • Color Your World: Buy a bright new scarf, jacket or shirt in a color that you love to add some color to an otherwise drab day. Something that makes you smile when you see it.
  • Plants & Animals, Oh My!: Have an office? Get a plant or a small fish bowl to place on your desk so that you have to pause during the course of the day to tend to something beside your day to day job. The mental break this provides will do you wonders.
  • Breakfast: Get up early one morning and go for breakfast before work. Sit and sip your coffee slowly without all the harried frantic pace of your normal morning.
  • Interests You Love: Think of something you love or would love to do then make some plans to do it. For example, I want to go horseback riding. It is something that makes me smile on the inside just thinking about. I looked up places where I can go do that.
If you find small ways to feed and nourish the true you, you will become a more fulfilled and engaged person in your personal life. This will also reflect positively on your professional one.

Day 90: Gratitude

Today's Gratitude

  • Highway Safety: It has been another crazy day here in San Diego. It seems there were two guys who thought it was a fantastic idea to randomly shoot people driving on the interstate. The police have shut down major highways. I'm just glad I got home safely and hope everyone else did to.
  • Preening of Thirteens: My youngest will be 13 on Saturday so today she actually asked to finally go spend that gift card she's had since Christmas. She wanted new clothes. My girl wants to look more like a girl! Being a teen is hard but it is fascinating watching kids transform themselves and step outside their comfort zones to reach for things.
  • Comfort & Chocolate: Unfortunately, my older girl is going through a rough emotional time right now. I'm rather worried about her but I let her curl up next to me on the couch last night and gave her chocolate just to see her smile.
  • Life Cycles & Fish: I love fish and swimmie frogs but alas my fish keep dying lately. It breaks my heart that fish do not last long but they make me smile when I have them. Swimmie frogs seems to last much longer so I'm going to get me one. I haven't had one in a few years.
  • Darling: Lately, Tim has taken to calling me Darling and something about that just makes my heart smile.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 91: Gratitude

Today's Gratitudes

  • Relaxing: My daughter says to me today, "We didn't accomplish anything today." I replied, "Oh yes, we did. We relaxed and sometimes that just as important."
  • Laughing with my kiddos: I love to hear my kids giggle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Do You Have a Problem?

This is so true! Learn it! Live it! Love it!!

Source: From Here

Day 92: Gratitude

Today's Gratitudes:
  • Learning to Live Like a Palm Tree: Check out my post here to see what I mean.
  • Working through being upset: Sometimes I just need to back away from things, regroup, then try to express myself more clearly because communication between people is key. Tim was sweet and reached out to make sure I was ok.
  • Family: I had a long talk with my mom to get caught up on everything. It was so nice.

Learning to Live like a Palm Tree

"Alone with myself, The trees bend to caress me, The shade hugs my heart" ~ Candy Polgar

When life throw things at you, learn to live like the Palm Tree:

A palm tree can survive in intense desert conditions, in tropical climates and through hurricanes! Part of their amazing ability is due to their roots. In a drought, a palm will actually survive when all else is dying because of the long tap root system it uses to find water deep within the ground. This root system makes the tree sturdy and helps it weather the storms. We also need a support system to help us get through the rough times. When we are surrounded by family and friends, we can weather the storms life throws at us. Roots keep you grounded and strong.

In a hurricane, a palm tree will flex and bend, practically in half. If it stood rigid, resisting the winds, it most likely would break. Instead, a palm tree grows upward with a new disk added each year to the trunk that allows it to flex, kind of our the discs of our spine. We need to learn to be more flexible and adaptable to the winds of change. Life is full of change and you must learn to flex and change too.

Have you ever seen a palm tree where the bark on it has ruptured and is peeling off? That's because the bands of bark around it break. It won't be confined by the status quo. We need to not be satisfied with it either and push ourselves to grow to the point of bursting. We should not be defined by our circumstances but push through the barriers to a better life.

When a tsunami hits and the palm is trying to hold firm, it will often shed it's fronds to lesson the resistance and allow itself to survive. Our egos are like the fronds. We often times cling to them in the harsh storms life throws at us and should shed them so that we can continue to survive. Once the storms have passed, we often have gained new perspective and will grow new fronds while standing tall just as the palm tree does.

The sap in palm trees runs through the entire trunk like grasses so even if the outside gets banged up and damaged, the tree does not die like other trees. I like to think of the sap being like love. If we get banged up, cut, beat upon, the love we carry inside us will see us through the surface injuries and helps to heal the deeper wounds.

A group of palm trees form an oasis. If we gather our friends and families close to us, they can provide us with shelter and help us reinforce our vulnerable parts. Younger more fragile life learns to grow in the shade of the love we can share.

So when life throw things at you, learn to live like the Palm Tree!