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Halloween, My Dad and Forgiveness

I was five years old when my dad stole a tiny piece of my candy corn. After making the Halloween rounds with mom, I sat at the kitchen table with my haul laid out before me. Deciding to open my favorite treat first, I placed each candy corn neatly on the table. Starting from the left with the largest piece I continued by size until on my right was the smallest one. It was my favorite and I was saving it until the end.

Without warning, my father swooped into the kitchen, grabbed my tiny favorite and ate it.  I burst into tears. He dropped to his knees, wrapped his arms around me and asked what was wrong. I told him the tiny one was my favorite. He said he took the smallest one because he wanted me to have the big pieces.

The next day my dad brought home two packages of candy corn. We sat across from one another at the kitchen table lining up each piece. After all the pieces were laid out, he gave me the smallest one from his package and I gave him the largest one from mine. Fifty two years later the memory of that exchange with my father is still a sweet treat within my heart.

This week, be thankful for all the pleasant memories you have of your life.  Feel gratitude because by concentrating on the positive you will create more positive.


Stop Procrastinating!

As you may know, I exercise two or more times a week. You may not know exercise is quite challenging for me. It actually hurts. Not because I am fifty-eight years old, but due to having an atrophied right calf and nerve damage from two back-to-back spine surgeries.

Even though parts of my leg and right hip hurt, the rest of my body loves what exercising regularly does for me. I’ve gone from wearing a size 12 to a size 6. My doctor says I have the blood pressure of a young person. I sleep great except for the times my hip bothers me. I can jog/limp up several flights of stairs without having to stop. I have great stamina to get through my busy days.

Regular exercise is beneficial to having the best overall quality of life. And, what is best for me overall is causing my limp to steadily worsen. I can live with that because I have learned often the small sacrifices we make are what help us achieve our big goals.

This week do something you have been putting off because it is uncomfortable.  Maybe that is getting up and exercising. Maybe it is having a needed conversation about a difficult subject with someone you love.  Maybe cleaning out the garage, paying the bills, or organizing your desk is the small sacrifice you must make to have peace and contentment.  Love yourself by doing something you know you need to do.


Boundaries are Healthy for Relationships

One of the most self-loving actions I take is refusing to associate with people who are constantly negative or abusive. No matter if they are family, friends, acquaintances, or co-workers, I do not allow abuse, gossip, negativity, or being treated with disrespect. Love is positive behavior like appreciation, cooperation, honesty, loyalty, patience, support, etc.  So, negative behavior should not be tolerated, especially by those closest to us. 

Yes, it is easier to set and uphold boundaries with strangers. Yet, it is with our family, friends, and those we interact with on a regular basis that we have the most influence.  Our intimate relationships are the ones that are to be most loving and supportive. Therefore, our happiness and peace of mind are worth more than keeping abusive people in our life using fear-based excuses like – I do not want to be lonely, or they will change someday, or I can’t stop being around family. When we set strong and clear boundaries, and those limits are repeatedly ignored, it is time to change the situation which may include removing ourselves or them from our lives. 

This week remember, just because setting a boundary with someone may become uncomfortable for them, and you, does not mean you must back down. Setting a boundary with abusive and controlling people is challenging the power they think they hold over you. To create your best life you must keep your personal power. Do not give it away by feeling guilty or allowing someone to talk you out of the decision you made for the greatest good. In your heart you know it is the right decision. Part of loving yourself is to stay the course no matter what anyone else says. The truth is, if they knew better they would do better.  Since you do know better you must be the one who does better.

Confidence Comes From Within

It may seem to you that I am a super confident person. Well, the truth is I am. And, I was not always completely comfortable being in my own skin. 

For many years I sought approval from outside. I did not want to rock the boat so too often I allowed myself to be treated like a door mat. I went against my values to be liked or to go along with the crowd. I only thought I was successful if other people said I was. I felt pretty only when someone said I was. I thought other people could make better decisions about my life than I could.  But, no matter what support I got or how other people built me up I was never satisfied.                     

One day I realized that validation for who I am must come from within. Only when I look to myself for approval am I genuinely satisfied with the decisions I make or how I look.  Only when I stay aligned with my values do I walk away proud of myself. Regardless what anyone else thinks, my life is a success only when I consider it to be. 

There is a difference between needing validation and wanting support.  Needing someone to validate us is placing the responsibility for our identity and worth outside ourselves. Support is when someone aligns with what we already know to be true about ourselves and our values.   

Grow your self-confidence by remaining aligned with your values. Look to yourself for the honest validation you want. Trust yourself to weigh the facts so you make your own decisions. Don’t wait for someone to tell you how wonderful you are. Take the lead in supporting yourself because when you are your own best friend and biggest fan you will truly feel loved and that is a super confidence builder.


Refuse to Ego-Box

When a stranger just comes out of left field and is rude to you he or she is already angry at something or someone else and you just happen to get in their way. 

It happened to my partner and me today when a woman started shouting at us at a red light. It was clear she was enraged but not at us. We were already stopped at the light when she drove up. When we happened to look over she just went ballistic. My partner and I both took a deep breath and ignored her. As soon as the light changed she floored it and sped away still angry at anyone and everyone.   

The key thing to remember is that when someone is so enraged they are willing to take it out on an innocent stranger they are not thinking. They are on auto-pilot of deeply wounded ego. There is no talking to them to point out how they are behaving. Most likely they are aware of their behavior but are blinded by their ego so they are looking for someone, anyone to pick a fight with. 

Don’t take it personally because when people do something like this they are directing their self-hatred outward. They are really mad at themselves and vomit their self-hatred onto others rather than look within to deal with the source of their pain.   

Love yourself more by being the emotionally responsible one and refuse to engage. No, it is not easy but it is definitely worth you taking the high road to not get involved with someone and their raging ego.

Give Second Chances

Over a year ago I banned a man from the Romancing Your Soul Facebook page who was abusive to me and other people.  Recently he wrote an email through this website asking if I would consider unblocking him on FB so he could participate again. He expressed doubt I would because if he were me he probably would not. I gave him access, allowing him to be part of our group again. 

For me it is important to give people the benefit of the doubt and another chance. It took me many, many mistakes to learn before I got to the place of consistently living my best life so why would I expect anyone else to get it on the first or even second attempt. 

It makes us feel good to support other people on their journey to do their best life. So it is important for us to accept that people will have bad days but that does not make them bad people. 

Treating other people as we want to be treated is giving second chances. Then we watch for the behavior that is a clear sign someone has changed for the better. And, if someone goes back to how they were before, we set another boundary.


Stop Trying and DO

I tried to quit smoking for many years. I actually quit smoking cold turkey when I stopped trying and I just refused to allow myself to pick up even one cigarette. Each moment that went by and I did not succumb to rationalizations of you can ‘have just one’ I got stronger. It was by not picking up even one that I proved to myself yes I am quitting.

I tried for a long time to stop letting the bad behavior of other people get under my skin. I actually stopped letting other people’s bad behavior push my buttons when one day I took a deep breath and just refused to engage.  Doing it once was what I needed to prove to myself it was really possible.  With practice no longer choosing to ego-boxing became my new norm. 

We are not powerless over our own life. We are not powerless over our ego. We are not powerless over our mind that has a mind of its own. WE are the higher, wiser, controlled, patient and loving Self with power over each of our thoughts, words and deeds. 

Our happiness, peace, self-respect and self-love come from making ourselves take the actions we know need to be taken to create the life we really want.  Yes we can accomplish the goals we set for ourselves, when we love ourselves enough to stop trying and actually do what it is we say we want to do.


Violent is Not Our Nature

I do not believe human beings are by nature violent. I believe we are so much bigger than that. Yet we do not have to look far to realize that today we continue to live in a violent world.  But we do not have too. We are choosing too. And that means we must understand and accept responsibility for allowing ourselves to become desensitized to violence instead of growing ourselves out of this primitive mentality.

Through television, movies and video games we are programmed to believe fighting one another is how to solve problems and conflicts. We begin to buy the lie that it is possible to hit another person in the head with a baseball bat and have them remain unfazed, get up and continue fighting.  As someone that was accidentally hit full swing in the head with a bat, I promise no one simply gets up – ever.

What we put into our mind and heart is what we become. WE must be the one to protect ourselves because those who continue to serve up violence, stupidity, ridicule, cruelty and irresponsible behavior masquerading as entertainment are not the ones who have our best interest at heart. The society we are creating is a reflection of the types of unconsciousness we are allowing ourselves to be exposed to.

It is time to say enough already! You and I do have the power to put an end to the idea violence, disrespect, and control is the answer to creating a better world.  Not true. Protect your mind and heart and those of your loved ones. Turn the violence, ridicule, bullying, carelessness, irresponsible sexual behavior and constant negativity off. It’s not just a movie or television show or video game. Negative behavior changes our brain for the worse. Positive changes our brain for the better. It is time to accept responsibility for choosing positive.

Pigs Can Fly

In 1980 two people I know met and fell in love.  They are extraordinary people with deep values. They are honest, kind, compassionate, love animals and work each day to make the world and the lives of other people better.  Because of their shared values and common goals they have been together happily for 33 years. And for 33 years they have waited for the day they could get married. 

Today my friend told me they are planning the ceremony.  He shared that there is a picture of a flying pig on the invitation. He said, “I know it is a strange thing to have on a wedding invitation but we thought we would get married only when pigs could fly.” 

I am so happy for my friends. I am pleased that two very good men are finally getting to realize their dream. I am happy that we are learning to accept love in all of its forms. I am happy that pigs have learned to fly.

Let go of Trying to be Perfect

I am so glad I stopped trying to be perfect. Working so hard attempting to be something that was impossible to attain was a drag.  It was depressing to stumble and fall and then beat myself up for thinking I should have done better. Or that I was stupid or not trying hard enough. 

One day I had enough with being a perfectionist and then a funny thing happened.  When I stopped worrying about making mistakes I stopped making as many mistakes.  Instead of being nervous that I would mess up I was able to focus on whatever I was doing so I actually did my best.    

I am not perfect and don’t plan to ever be. But that does not mean I let my behavior slide. No, I work very hard to be the best me possible.  I carefully watch what I say, what I think, my actions, and how I treat myself, other people and all life. And if I mess up I do my best to learn from the mistake. 

Yes, I am happier and create my life better now. And, since I stopped trying to be perfect I no longer expect other people to be perfect either. Boy has that helped strengthen all of my relationships. Especially the one I have with me.