amwriting, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Forgiving Ones Self is Harder!

When you have an extensive network, and you know a lot of people, you feel blessed when you can say you have more than five intimate friends. All my life, people have moved me from one house to another, from one city to another, and from one state to another. Networking became second nature.

Last night I learned that a man I’ve known for seven years passed away suddenly. He was a heavy drinker when I knew him, but that increased over time and the profound sadness of losing both his parents ended with the crescendo of Sorosis of the liver and failure of his kidneys. What could have been completely avoidable, ended by taking his life.

The minute I heard, thoughts of how I could’ve reached out flooded my soul. The guilt of not keeping in touch, not cultivating, not even picking up the phone to see if he was okay, because he was such a alpha male, that it never occurred to me he wouldn’t be okay?!

Which brings me to the topic of this discussion. It’s so much easier to forgive others when they offend us, then it is to forgive ourselves for our transgressions. How do you forgive yourself when you know there is something you could have done and yet did nothing? What are the steps that you take to forgive yourself?

Guilt is poison! You can’t hold onto it! It cannot be resolved! It is the toxic chemical that poisons your soul and your mind. Living with guilt is harder than living with pain or sadness because it is all consuming. Releasing that guilt is what is necessary, but when you have the understanding the fault lies with in your actions, how do you get to resolution?

Thoughts?!

Inspiration, Uncategorized

Changing Your Perspective to Joy

A long time ago, a woman very harshly told me that joy was my choice. She said that if I could just see it, I could certainly possess it. She was rather insistent that I get out of my bad mood and what is tantamount to an attitude of just “get over it.”

People who are so maliciously impatient with those who are suffering often truly bother me. They say or act in inappropriate ways. If I wasn’t who I was and I didn’t understand that was more about her inabilities than it was about her worry for me I don’t think I would have come to the same conclusions, which was that she was correct.

I was losing my home, I was fighting for my life because doctors could not figure out why my immune system was attacking me, and for the most part I was becoming increasingly frail and thin. I was in a state of shock, despair and I was stuck there.

Here’s the deal, you and me and everyone on this planet has to process through the things that hurt in a healthy way. When we get stuck in one of those four or five stages of grief it hurts us in a more deeply affected way. That hurt lasts a lifetime. That’s where I was. I was stuck, and I blamed. I resented. I hurt.

When I stopped focusing on the pain, and began to focus on the things that made me smile, I began to realize I was capable of joy. That felt like a revelation to me. When I saw the innocence of children playing. When the sun shined. All of the little things that I took for granted seemed to magnify themselves just for my mental health. When I would get dizzy I began to make jokes about it and people felt more at ease. All of the sudden my world opened up to laughter which is the first step toward finding that joy.

Today might be the day that you feel is worse than the last, but Sweetheart, the only person who can turn this day around is you. No one is going to come and take your hand and force you to smile. You have to believe that you are worth it. You have to believe that you have options. You have to believe in the hope that in the huge span of your existence, this is a blimp of a moment that will soon pass. You’re going to be okay. You got this. It’s hard, and it hurts, but find something, anything that will make you smile. Latch onto it. Don’t let it go. Ride it out as long as that feeling lasts and get yourself healthier.

Do it for you. Find that joy. Good luck to you.

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

Unprofitable Anger?

Unprofitable Anger
“TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
04-20-2014
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9

“Every day of our lives we are placed in situations that engage us with other people, whether it is in the office, our homes, or in public places. Do you recall the last time someone cut you off in traffic, or you were forced to wait in line because someone up front got held up? Perhaps your employer did something that was downright unfair. Anger can result from many circumstances and most of it is unprofitable. When you feel anger, remember that your feelings are tied to your side of how you perceive the situation; which is always two sides to every conflict. If you want a peaceful existence it may be the time to confront and wait to hear. That way you feel like you’re accomplishing closure; thereby not stacking anger upon anger.””

I love to read the messages from this author. A few days ago I was wrapped in the same unprofitable anger I have felt many times in my life. When all was ceased, I reminded myself (wondering how come I cannot do this when I am lit) that I am judging the way that someone has judged me. Without discussion, without clarification, without reaching out to find out what the real issue is; and it hit me. I need to forgive. Sigh….

This message happens to me A LOT. Sometimes people frazzle me. Especially prickly people who are too serious where everything they hear is all about them and how wounded they can be from people. These people are stronger than everyone thinks but their pretense of vulnerability makes it so that they’re “taken care of” instead of having to be a grown up and deal with the problem. How do I know this? Because I was that person for many many years. When it comes to manipulating the person in front of me into thinking I am capable and vulnerable at the same time this chick has got that gift in spades. Doesn’t mean I use that now, but I can sure identify it. It makes me angry.

I find that what I see in others that really pushes an emotional trigger within me; is exactly what I do NOT like about my self. Yea. That’s the truth. I don’t like that I did that in my past. It disgusts me that action is part of the whole picture of what makes me truly who I am. I have to own it, face it, and try very hard to not only control my own behavior but not condemn someone else for theirs. Harder than it seems I assure you.

This type of anger is so unproductive and robs me of my precious joy I have fought so hard to captivate in my life. I own my own joy. I can allow someone to rob me of it or I can choose to let go of the pain those actions cause and do the very best I can with who I am. I cannot change someone else. I cannot fix a broken person but I can listen to what made them break. That’s my pledge. To be patient enough to listen; and if needed, be the truth.

Today when that person really gets to me I am going to ask myself one question? Who am I mostly mad at? My actions or the words they spoke that offended me and reminded me of my own insecurities? Remind myself that words are just words and people often use them incorrectly and/or communicate horribly. It’s not about what’s said sometimes, it’s about the meaning behind it. Find that out by starting that conversation, by solving the problem and I’ll have less issues with this type of unproductive anger. If I need to own bad behavior maybe I can come to terminate that too? Just do something!

That’s just me….

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

Inspiration

To be Happy – Be Thankful

The other day I heard a phrase that caught my attention. It said, “the only way to be happy is to be thankful.” I found that to be poignant because I continuously struggle at to see positive things rather than negative things. Moreover, the actions of others have more power over my emotions then sometimes I’m willing to admit.

The people around me tell me that this is the common denomination of women everywhere. I don’t know if that’s true, but what I do know is that most women that I know are mom’s, wives, and colleagues. And what that says to me is that their lives are full. With an abundant life comes the responsibility of introspection. You cannot have a husband or children and not learn valuable experience based on both pain and joy along your way. It’s been said that to be my age is to graduate from the “University of Life.” However, rules and application always are subject to approval or acceptance.

This past week I have been introspective. I’ve seen the attitudes of my children and my frustration levels with their choices begin to build in a very negative way. Whenever this happens to me, I sit down and think about what I can do to fix it, because ultimately I am the peacemaker. I try and ask myself if the offenses that I feel are due to my own interpretation or are they actual offending actions because in my past when I have confronted someone I have been so wrong. Experience has taught me to pause.

The problem is that just when I think that I am clear on what the issues are and clear on exactly what injustice trigger has just been pushed; it’s then when I decide to talk to whomever it is who has offended me. Usually my gut instincts are right on track. But this week they weren’t.

What I forgot to do is to take into consideration all the factors involved. I don’t have a mind that deduces a problem based on facts. I have a creative mind that is based on emotion and by human interaction. It’s the old saying, “feeling versus thinking.” I am the feeler and for the most part the people who I love who are closest to me and my life are the thinkers. So much so that the concrete approach to a problem can be quite disarming. What this does is cause massive miscommunication for all parties involved.

It takes a great sense of intellectual responsibility to look at oneself and realize that the problem lies within. In life, when we look at our own actions or we look at the offense that we feel; we not only need to remind ourselves to really look at whether or not this is our interpretation, but we really need to understand that person has their own set of injustice buttons as well. You would think that at my age not only would I comprehend this beyond a reasonable sense, but that upon need of it I could certainly reference at a moment’s notice. This past week that was certainly not the case. Admitting that could be the first foundation of solidifying a better approach upon the next surge of teen attitude.

This past week I was wrong. I was incorrect about the motivation behind the attitude. I withdrew my affections instead of engaging. It took me a long time to process through my own thinking because it’s not a natural thing for me to do. I have to remember that while I’m pressing my pause button, the people that depend on me will view my absence as abandonment. It’s certainly not! I need to understand how my reaction to their behavior can sometimes cause more of a disturbance in our communication rather than healing the hurt feelings.

Life is about change, and nothing ever stays the same. I think there’s a song about that? I believe the key to a successful relationship is to communicate whether that language is defective or whether it is productive. You cannot fix a problem or a broken dialogue without first starting to talk. If my approach is with love the outcome should be in a relationship that all those prior behaviors count when matters like this come up. I feel that if we can remind ourselves that we are loved and respected, we can remind ourselves to love and respect the people who have feelings of regret or pain. We can move on to a better dialogue. Ultimately we can solve the problem.

Everyone knows what right and wrong is. The power doesn’t rest in the inability to find the truth. Our success will be based on whether or not we can do the right thing despite our impulsive feelings and negative emotions.

I’m learning to be thankful for the blessings in my life. That attitude is teaching me that the joy I desperately seek is in direct correlation to my perception. It’s certainly not easy and takes a great deal of focus on my part but it’s certainly doable…

I’d really like to know what you think. How do you handle situations where you either are the person who is confronted or you are the confronting person? How do you get through the miscommunication to effective rich dialogue for the betterment of both parties? If you’re so inclined, I would love to know?