Inspiration

Worthy of Love, by Jacob Nightingale

“We instinctually measure our self-worth based on our perceived value to the tribe that surrounds us, and unfortunately, I am a rocket scientist on a football team.” 

Find your Tribe, and there you will discover your value. Find your willingness, and there you will decide your worth. 

We were all innocent once. A child; vulnerable and uncertain. We struggled to make sense of the world. Nothing was certain except for our undying love and devotion to those we valued. We gave our trust freely to those we loved, without reservation. We would do anything to please them, and give anything to see them happy. There is no greater devotion than the love of a child and every child wants to believe they are loved equally in return. A child is always seeking feedback and reassurance, because they want to know one thing—if they too, are worthy of love. Our body may have grown and our spirit has matured, but that child still wants to know, “am I worthy to be loved?”

Worthiness is measured, not by how much you are loved, or by how much love you have been given. Worthiness is measured by how much love and devotion you are willing to give.

A child is born willing to give ALL their love and devotion; no one is more worthy of love than a child.

Like all children, we’re all pure potential. Our Will is the very essence of our potential and we are free to create ourselves however we choose. Is there a such thing as worthless potential? 

No one is worthless; we are all a work in progress, and our progress, our worth, is based solely on our willingness to learn, grow, and improve.  

While we can measure our “value” based on our past contributions and accomplishments, it’s solely based on another’s appreciation and value for what we gave. However, our worthiness, is only effectively measured by our willingness to give, and whether we did the best we could with what we had.

Are you worthy of being a friend, parent, leader, partner, spouse, doctor, student, artist, author…?

Love is the devotion to creating value, contributing, supporting, actualizing dreams, and nurturing growth, improvement, creation, and connection. If your worthiness is based on your willingness to give love and devotion, you need only to ask, “How much love and devotion am I willing to give?” This is your worthiness.    

Are you worthy of Leading? 

How much are you willing to give those that choose to follow you; to nurture, inspire, guide and support their growth and improvement?

Are you worthy of being a parent?

How much are you willing to give your child love and devotion; to support their development, to offer comfort and safety, and to nurture their growth?

Are you worthy of being a friend or romantic partner?

How much are you willing to give love and devotion to the relationship, to nurture each other’s growth and aspirations? 

Are you worthy of creating success?

How much are you willing to give to reach your objectives?

Are you worthy of love and devotion from another?

How much love and devotion are you willing to give?

While we cannot state another’s worth, we can decide if it’s “worth it” to give. When you give to someone, you are investing a part of yourself to them, and for someone to be worth it, they must be willing to accept and willing to invest. If someone is unwilling to give, how can they be worthy of what we are giving? If they are unwilling to grow and improve or to contribute and nurture growth, how can they be worthy of our support and contribution? If someone is unwilling to give love and devotion, is it worth it to give them ours? We cannot allow ourselves to give to those that are unwilling, and if we are unwilling, we are not worthy of what others are willing to give. 

It’s amazing how this simple shift in perception can change everything; it can break down the chains of self-doubt, worry, and insecurity. You don’t need to ask whether someone else finds you worthy. You can measure your own worthiness and the worthiness of those you keep in your life. If you are willing to give love, you’re worthy to be loved, and you are worth every ounce of love you have in your heart. That small child can find peace and comfort, knowing that no matter how much they were cast aside, forgotten, or unfairly challenged, they always have been and always will be “worthy of love.”

Inspiration, Reflection

Time to Serve Only You

One of the hardest things for me to do is to ask for something for myself because after I ask, I feel selfish.  In the era I grew up, women were taught to be “quiet about” the things that they could do better than a man. We were put in our places, told that we had a place along side a man, but certainly never in front of one.  Biblically we were taught that a woman’s place is in supporting her husband. The community of men aspired to get that message out to every single woman.  So, when it came time for me to want a little alone time (something every human on the planet SHOULD have) I felt selfish.

Today, I sit here knowing that after 3 harsh months of school, activities, behavior modification for the kids, husband schedules, date nights, friends, family, and my adult children I feel horrible that this is the first day I got to sleep in. What’s going through my mind? The numerous things I SHOULD be doing not the numerous things I COULD be doing. Instead of taking the day off for me, or carving out some much needed writing time, in my head is a laundry list of items that still need checked off.  “Ortho appointment for the eldest.” Check.  “Dry cleaning for my husband.” Check. “Pick up kids at three separate times.” Check. “Plan dinner so husband isn’t mad.” Check. “Take dog for grooming.” Check… and the list goes on and on. So much so that I honestly do not have two consecutive hours of my own.  There’s no time between travel and duty.

Nights offer no downtime because the kids are old enough to go to be at 10 o’ clock.  So after dinner, homework, activities and being available to “look at” my husband as I listen while he talks, there is no room to escape for some me time.  Life becomes all about pleasing someone else, and the more you do, the more they have no concept of the lengths that you go to make them feel included, happy, fulfilled; until you’re brain is completely fried and you’re an empty shell.  It’s a mother’s life and we have all felt those moments from time to time.  Serving other’s is a powerful gift, but when is it time to serve yourself?

My advice, is to do it. It’s that simple. Put off the chores and take a day off.  Go do whatever it is that fills your cup.  Whatever brings you a blissful moment.  If you have to ask in advance, stop beating yourself up. Your husband clocks out. Your kids some home. Your friends can wait.  You never clock out. You keep going like that annoying pink Energizer rabbit.  It’s time to replenish the batteries and NOT feel guilty for it.

Psychology today says, “Being alone allows you to drop your “social guard”, thus giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence. Often, we are swayed by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of those in our immediate sphere. Of course, you may ask others for their advice and opinions but ultimately, consulting yourself and making up your own mind about what you want to do will lead you into the life that’s best for you.”

Don’t wait. Make today great. Make it about you.  It’s normal and it’s so very necessary. For me? I am going to Louisiana to see my adult kids for one weekend. I’m leaving behind the people who need me the most so that I can gain a newer perspective about where I should lead them, about how much patience I should have and maybe gain some joy along my journey.  Just a moment of peace.  That’s all I ask. For me.

Inspiration

Learning How to Forgive Through The Pain

Forgiveness is not for the one who hurt you. Holding on to the hatred and pain toward that person only hurts you. The perpetrator is going about their lives completely unaware of the resentment you are harboring. Even if they know about it, they have already rationalized their behavior and probably learned to forgive themselves. So, the only one holding on to it is you.

Forgiveness is about releasing yourself from the pain of carrying the weight of an emotion that can and will rob you of your future joy.  It’s about learning to let go. It’s about understanding that forgiveness is a gift we give ourself.

I had the people in my life who I thought hurt me and I confronted them.  There’s a saying. When we have conflict we feel our own pain.  When we begin to define a resolution to our pain, we find their truth exists, our truth and somewhere in the middle is what really happened. If you’re a mature problem solver you can meet somewhere in the middle of that to earn some respect for both individuals.  Thats’ when the healing begins.

A friend came up to me and asked, “What if that person isn’t here? What if they died?”  To that I replied this simple phrase, “Forgiveness is about you, not them. They don’t have to be here for that.” That my friends is the simplest truth of the forgiving process.

Find a quiet place.  Take two chairs, and place them facing each other.  Sit in one and convince yourself that the person who hurt you is in the other.  Talk to that person. Shout at that person. Yell until you cannot yell anymore.  Then imagine that person getting up and walking away.  That’s what they have already done. Your closure isn’t important to them. You’re feelings don’t matter. How you remain in the pain is of no consequence.  Now, are you going to let that person have that much control over your life-for the REST of your life? Are you really going to allow someone to hurt you? To continue to cause you pain and harm time and time again? Are you going to allow them to steal your joy?

No! You’re going to then and there, decide to forgive them. You are going to decide that you’re NOT going to allow that person to give you one more days heartache over what they did to you. Deciding to take back your own feelings, your own pain, is a huge courageous step. It means you and you alone are going to be responsible for your emotions going forward. You can no longer “blame” anyone else. There’s no fingers to point.  You’ve made a decision to let it go and what an amazing decision it will be for you!

The shackles will break, the wave of relief will come and the light of your world will begin to appear.  I hope that if you have been harmed by someone, that this course of action will be the first thing that you do today. I would love to know you’re happy.

Everyone sins, just differently. Let’s all remember that. God forgives us when we ask for it. It’s important that we learn this graceful lesson to be forgiven my our Father in Heaven.  Do you think God sits around thinking of all your mistakes? No, he loves unconditionally. Learning to forgive yourself is a whole other blog. 🙂

Reba

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

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

Righteous Anger vs. Immature Emotions

Often people will say things that sting the other person when they were only trying to release these pent-up feelings or anger. They say things that are really a reflection of their own internal unresolved issues rather than anger directed at the other person. Generally, most men are afraid of women’s anger and will do whatever necessary to protect themselves from it. We as women know this, however, when we’re in the thick of whatever it is that has pushed our injustice button; we are hesitant to remain mature or calm about how we feel. This is unfortunate because angry women are not always angry at the man – but at some internal frustration. The same holds true for men.

Men are more likely to vent, and to let it out. Women are more likely to stuff, and keep it in, but both of these approaches to solving the anger issue are bad. If you always vent, you’re venting and exploding, lots of times, when what you should be doing is chilling out, because there’s nothing you can do about the traffic jam. If you’re always stuffing it, you’re stuffing it a fair amount of the time when there’s something you should be doing to get that jerk to quit calling you stupid for wanting to go see the latest Julia Roberts movie this weekend. Sometimes you need to speak and sometimes you need to be quiet, but learning which and when; now that is key.

Before you do anything, just say “Stop!” Ask yourself if this is one of those times when you need to do something about this or chill out? If you don’t do anything but that, you’ll stop before you explode or stuff it and you’ll be better off.

To understand righteous anger vs. anger that is immature let’s dive into the reasons for the emotion.  There are only two basic emotions – fear and love. All other emotions are degrees of these two. From what I know Anger is an emotion that has its root in fear.

Anger is an emotion that people express when they are: upset, frustrated, uncertain, anxious, hurt by another person or life in general, or confused. Many men and women when expressing anger are really covering the deeper emotion of fear. Unexpressed anger can be the result of a variety of personal emotional traits: the need for approval, the need for love, insecurity, a fear of rejection, guilt, resentment – to mention just a few. There is a flip side to this issue, however, and that is the impact of angry words spoken while in this fear state.

I’ve learned through some pretty horrible knock-down-drag-out come to Jesus meetings is that anyone who is angry needs to speak the truth in a loving manner. Anger can be communicated without name calling, yelling, screaming or threatening. Feelings of anger do not have to replace feelings of love. It is important to realize that being angry with someone does not mean you no longer love them, despite what men think about women getting angry.

No should or shouldn’t are allowed in your talk to each other, because your spouse using them is being a parent instead of a spouse. You don’t tell a spouse what they should or shouldn’t do. You tell a spouse what you would like them to do and then give them the opportunity to choose whether or not it is something they want to do.

I use “I feel” messages. Remember along with emotions come facts. Both should be argued and in a way that does not put the other spouse on the defensive.  An “I feel” message allows you to express how you felt about something they did or said. It gives you the opportunity to express your feelings but doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your way.

Consider this though, “I feel” messages will be met with more openness than saying, “You always do,” or “You hurt me.” You want to talk about how you feel, not point fingers at what your spouse did or didn’t do.

Don’t jump to conclusions about what your spouse is thinking or feeling. If you want to know, ask him! I really hate absolute comments or inference in an argument.  Just because you share your feelings doesn’t mean your spouse “heard” what you were saying.

When communicating we need to express and listen to be understood. A lot of us are guilty of hearing something other than what is actually being said. Make sure that you express your needs and that your spouse understands those needs. Asking him to repeat back to you what you’ve said will help. You can’t resolve a misunderstanding if you are being misunderstood!

I’ve been taught that in a healthy marriage both spouses should feel free to express their emotions, needs and desires. It is inevitable that expressing emotions can, at times mean expressing healthy anger nd engaging in conflict. Anger is a healthy part of a relationship if the anger is properly expressed. If done correctly arguing, conflict and friction in a marriage will sharpen and strengthen the marriage. This maturity is only something that through love and care can mature a marriage or relationship to the level of ultimate understanding and fewer conflicts.

You get to know and understand each other better. You feel safer within the relationship if you know it is safe to express your feelings of anger. You learn that marriage is not a competition, a game where one spouse has more control than the other. Nothing promotes love and intimacy more than working together without fear of reprisal with a commitment to doing what is best for everyone.