Inspiration, Uncategorized

Being Kind Should Be Easy

Today I told someone I am about as transparent as I can be. I thought I was!

I tell people about my life-my circumstances-my choices all the time. What was pointed out to me, was that it seemed, “unbelievable.”  The person to whom I was vocalizing my past in an almost chronological newsworthy kind of way, revealed that to them my words seemed shallow.  As I listened further, I learned that she felt I was lying due to the limited emotional attachment to some pretty heavy circumstances. I thought, You know what? She may be right?

I am a survivor. That is undeniable. I lived through a ton of crap, all to become this tough passionatly tenacious cookie everyone sees.  Whatever happened to the girl inside? What happened the young woman that actually felt all that pain? Had I learned so well to forgive, that I no longer have emotional attachment to the pain? Or have I just entered a PTSD scenario, where I push all my feeling inward? That’s my modus operandi, so when she informed me of her perceptions I had to pause. I asked myself one seriously mind-boggling question. Am I still able to feel after all this time? After all that’s happened? Can I allow myself to let the pain in?

My internal dialog seemed to continue without my permission in an almost audacious fashion. I wondered, Do I allow others to see me feel pain? When was the last time I could remember feeling emotions of empathy or sorrow? The outer shell that I strategically placed around my feelings all those years ago cracked, and for one moment insecurity swept through me, just as if I had full-body entered a cool-pool of water. My brain betrayed me.

I spent the afternoon postulating that I had opened some form of flood gate.  My emotions all over the place reeked havoc. I decided the only place I was safe from altering my perspective was solitude. I went home. Retreated. Left in a massive hurry to collect my thoughts. To do something to get my rejection compartmentalized, and then it hit me.  I am doing exactly what I feared. I suppressed the pain of rejection so that I can move forward. She was right. I had no feeling in my story when I spoke to her. It was if it happened to someone else the way I told it.  Who wouldn’t feel like I was lying?

Survivors deal with things in a whole different way than people who have never had darkness in their life.  People who have life challenges like separating parents, or divorce, or financial difficulties, have tough circumstances they have to go through. I don’t want to make light of that pain. What I have learned is it’s a whole different thing to be a victim of something you didn’t do, and couldn’t control. It changes everything. It’s altering, to some life shattering, and at best burdensome to endure. Add several life circumstances back to back and you should have one blazing nut job!  (I may seem a little nutty but I assure you I am sane.)

If I am as transparent as I tout, shouldn’t I be willing to put some humanness in my story? Shouldn’t that include a touch of sentiment? Inflection in my voice? Some sense of burden I carry? So that maybe when anyone should hear of my successes, they will comprehend the great courage that it took to get there? If you were listening would it matter to you?

I sit here this evening compartmentalizing all that I have felt today so that I can make sense of the things that I recall. I have to go through forgiveness drills so that I can wake in the morning with a new perspective to touch another with hope. I really pray that my message is heard. That message being that there is someone who was strong enough to overcome much of the same circumstances causing them pain. There is someone who believes that if you want to change who you are, to become who you think you should be, you can.  Life can be filled with joy!

If I can share this with you, I hope that when you see someone who seemingly has no emotion, who is just as rigid in stance or maybe composed as I was earlier, you will know that there is a flood of something going on down deep. There is a story there. Everyone has an untold story. Everyone is a real person with real feelings, who has triggers that will set them off.  Everyone has a sense of being uncomfortable in a very unforgiving world.  Show love. Show compassion.

I put my ego back in check. I chalked the experience up to a lesson learned. Each one of us is different in how we process our pain. I will inject some kind of personal emotion when I tell my stories now. I have to. I want to include others when I engage in conversation. I want people to know I am sincere when I type what has happened. I want to connect on a personal level.

The last thing I want someone to feel about me is that I am attempting to remain shallow. So while her rejection prompted a childlike reflex, and subsequent retraction from people, I am glad that she spoke to me with truth. I am not afraid of introspection. It’s part of my growth process, and I hope and pray that you too find it part of your growth too. We cannot change what we need to without knowing what it is that we need to change.

Inspiration

Cultivating Fabulous Friendships

When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones.  Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories.  The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when.  Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten.  If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you.  It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off.  It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be.  Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven.  To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.

What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become.  They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.

The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment.  Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple.  None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things.  It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.

Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies.  It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be.  Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.

It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad.  That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.

Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you.  Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you.  It comes full circle.

I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life.  I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be.  I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.

Inspiration

Feeling other’s pain

Did you ever just feel the pain with the total understanding that it’s not yours?  That’s where I am today. Just emerging myself in other’s pain and feeling the empathy that cuts through my heart like a jagged knife.

I’m constantly working on me, evaluating my behavior, improving who I believe God wants me to be.  It’s not easy. I find often that I do things not because I want to or don’t want to but because my sense of right and wrong tells me that I have absolutely no choice.  Living a life with the belief that I am on the path to my maturity and learning from my lessons is not easy. Self perspective is difficult especially when things hit so close to home that it shatters.  The point is when I expect others to be just, fair and decent I CANNOT do so without insisting this upon my own character.  This works well for me, until empathy creeps in and all is lost in the emotion of the pain.

I am struggling right now with several factors. 1.  My novel is not getting the attention I believe it deserves. 2.  My family “appears” to be distant and I miss them.  3.  I just learned my bio-dad is not the man I thought, (that’s not such a bad thing) except no one believes me and I cannot find him to prove it.  4.  I am watching people I love go through the worst horrific circumstances of their lives and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Today I cried. I sat and I sobbed because when it rains it pours. One friend doesn’t have faith in their abilities, another doesn’t have trust in others, and yet another doesn’t feel anyone hears them.  One friend is struggling with cancer, another still in the closet and yet again… one more cries alone believing their depression is without any understanding.  How do I deal when I feel as though there is nothing I can say? No words beyond “I love you.” No words.

There’s a line that is crossed when a burden is taken on that no one knows. That’s the weight of the world no one sees is piling up because although one person is going through their torture unfortunately they’re not the only people I know walking down the path of despair.  It’s unfortunate they don’t know of each other or their pain may increase, but where does that leave me? I am stuck in the middle trying to decipher where I can make any difference whatsoever with my lack of verbal content. I show up. I do but is that enough? To be the listener?

At what point I ask is the burden too much. My answer? Just as Jesus said to Paul, “Until you can stand no more.” Since I am a pretty tough cookie and I know God knows this of me, all I can do is cry. Because tomorrow I will make that call and I will listen. I will show up. I will wait until I can be needed. I will understand the anger, feed the hungry, organize the weak. I will be whatever it is they need if only for a moment because it is not enough. This is not my pain. It is theirs. I can cry all I want but there comes a time to wipe those tears and get back in the game. Same as I expect from them.

Inspiration

Empowering Women to Love

Often I am reminded of even my own sinned thoughts and actions. The other day a woman with an ill-behaved child was near me and I found myself rolling my eyes thankful that I raised my kids where a firmer understanding created that necessary fear that made my kids behave. Then I thought about it. I am what I tell other women not to be … A judger. Not only that but a … condemner.

I feel that women should take the world “Judgement” out of their vocabulary! Frankly it’s for men to do not us. We have a right to formulate an opinion about something and then it is our DUTY to encourage each other to change our perspective to “LOVE” rather than hate and HELP the woman out. Judgement = Opinion… so let’s use the right word.

Condemning is when you elevate your worth over someone else. That’s what I did. Yep, that was me. It’s not okay. I should have walked over to the overstressed and frazzled mom and offered help. This is my area of expertise. Merely by acting I could be teaching the woman who obviously doesn’t possess those talents. Maybe she’s an awesome lawyer, or housekeeper, or she loves everyone unconditionally? I will never know because I never offered to help. Not once, didn’t even think about it.

I wonder, how many times does Jesus ask us to love our fellow man? How many people has he put in front of us and wanted us to make them feel connected, wanted, appreciated, cared for? How many times have WE DENIED HIM because of our own hatred, condemnation, selfishness, need for elevation…?? Pretty scary when you think about it that way isn’t it?

Today I encourage you to pause. STOP for a brief minute and actually listen to someone who might need you to lift them up! If we can encourage one woman, to encourage another woman, and lift each other up, then we can create love that will affect every home in America. It starts with you today. What will YOU choose? Love? Doing what Jesus asks or going your own way? It’s always up to you. God Bless!

Inspiration, Opinion

A mother’s plea-leave mine alone!

There’s no kind of heartache that can match what happens when you see your child or someone you love about to hit head on into something that is going to end badly. Whether it’s drugs, or friends, or choices or mates; it hurts to watch them grow through some pretty painful human things that young people go through.

You want so badly to shout, “STOP” but they won’t. You want to define the hurt, to identify it for them and give them a path to either get through it, or avoid it altogether. That doesn’t work. The only thing you’re left with is an undeniable sense of powerlessness.

There’s no advice, no words, no wisdom, no mercy that will be accepted or even considered. They will undeniably come to education or experience all on their own without your incredibly unwanted help.

For all those people who would come into my life, I want to scream at you, “Knock it off!” Stop the drama, the conflict, the chaos, the manipulation, the games, the toil and the turmoil and just leave me and mine without you. Just go away. Just take whatever that makes you feel good when you do evil things and move on down the road. Just be done with us.

Some say that people (even I do) are both good and evil. That people are basically great and they do bad things, but what about those people who wake and think negative. They always have an angle, they’re always looking for someone to control, to overpower, to use, to manipulate for their bidding? What bout those broken people? Are they the ones you need to throw out of your life?

I have learned in my long life that people do change. They are capable and that I myself have been what I call a manipulating person. I certainly don’t even think I could do that today if I wanted to but I can recall a far away youth that presented those opportunities that sadly I took advantage of. I hear my hypocrisy on the issue, but to my credit; although admitted, decided one day to take a change… and switch. Deny what was and move into a more thankful being. Because I got the help I needed. I truly believe when they do too, the end result will be either loving and generosity or unforgiveness and bitterness. It will be there choice.

The thing with time is it takes time for this butterfly effect to happen. In the meantime, my children will be in harms way and potentially broken. As the doctor’s say, you cannot fix broken people by loving them more. They have to want to be fixed. They have to want that They have to want that. Yes, I am repeating myself. The people I’ve met don’t even think they have a problem. I find that so heartbreaking…

Inspiration

It is Tough to be in Pain

Sometimes I forget that life can truly be painful when it’s not so much for me. Pain is a relevant thing in my life… that being said, it isn’t a constant but I have had tremendous burden of it throughout my whole life. So, for someone such as me to admit that I am one of those ‘take a pill and get over it’ individuals it is not because I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, it is because I am not currently walking in them. Speaking to you about your woes pulls me back into my own and like a crab trying to get out of the water while other’s pull them down, I run the opposite direction. Shame on me.

There is a moment when we realize maybe someone could feel less wounded if we took a minute not only to share our burden but to life someone else’s above our own. The loss of a child, a man, a job, may seem merely an obstacle for some while for other’s it may be their biggest burden. The measure of main is indescribably difficult from person to person and it shouldn’t be up to those of use who have endured to sit in judgement of what that actual affliction should be.

It is with powerful reverence that I can even utter this retrospective conclusion given that my admission to the offense is certainly evident, however, I will pause to give a forlorn gaze upon you as I whisper, “You are not alone. I am ready to hear.”

There are moments when people want to know that their worries are held in high regard. The one denominating characteristic is that they want to be valued. How dare I not give credence to that basic acceptance we all feel?

I do value yours as you have mine. I do see you for what you in see me. I hate the things in you that I hate about the things I see in me. I am you, further, distant, different having past through the torment you currently suffer. I am hope, and light, and forgiveness and you in the infinite wisdom of time healing all wounds will be resolute in the completeness of knowing that you too will one day erect from whatever feeds your life a living hell right now, much more victorious than I should have ever or ever will be. For you have the benefit of acknowledgement and affirmation and that my friend is the first step to the momentous climbing out of the depths of despair you find yourself in.

You are worthy, admirable, and possess great strength and courage. All things are possible through these actions. I do have faith in you. You should too.

To learn more about me, check out http://www.RebeccaNietert.com or catch me on one of my social sites through twitter: @RebeccaANietert or Facebook: BexNietert