Pick your battles

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I was first introduced to this phrase years ago when I lived with my ex boyfriend and his three children.  At the time when I became a major part of their lives, they were a mere 6, 8 and 11 years old and were dealing with the divorce of their parents.   I had the fortune of knowing them for years before their father and I were involved so I did not take on the role of “step-monster”.  I instead had a solid foundation for a relationship with all of them.  But that did not mean the transition was easy for any of us.

There were certainly days that I found more frustrating than others, as I’m sure they did as well, and inevitably arguments ensued.  It wasn’t until their father and I were having a chat one night over a much-needed glass of wine that he bestowed a little gem on me.  He pointed out the glaringly obvious problem – I was trying too hard to win the battles and not every war in that house was going to be won – by anyone.  That stunning revelation was a game changer.  Pick your battles – such a simple phrase with epic results.

It’s hard to take a step backwards and give yourself a “time out” to realize what the audible scrimmage is really about.  You have to decide if the fight is worth the effort you are putting forth to win.   It could be an argument that, at the end of the day, really has no great effect on the bigger picture but the negative energy from the conflict just may.  You must go in with a strategy but be willing to change tactics and maneuver away from the barrage of verbal banter.

If it’s not a life changing situation, give a little.  You’ll spend countless minutes and hours trying to be right when it isn’t going to change the rotation of your world.  Sometimes all of the smaller problems can become compounded and the war you face can seem extremely overwhelming.  You must learn to choose your crusades wisely.  Learn to cloak your emotions until you can see ahead of the problem that burdens your path.

The age-old saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is the same gift in different wrapping.  I have carried this ideal with me throughout the years and it has served me well.  Pick your battles – be proud of the scars of war but make sure the ones you earned were worth the fight.

The most authentic version of me

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Aging is a funny thing.  When we are young, we think we have the world by the balls.  We are confident to the point of being cocky.  To some extent, we feel (or felt) like the world owed us something.  But as we watched the calendar pages keep turning, we realized that life is merely leading us to the place where we were meant to be.

If I were to be honest, I would tell you that, deep down, I always knew I was meant to be the person I am today but somewhere along the path I took to get here, my direction was circumvented by my distorted illusion of reality.  I let others opinions weigh far too heavily on the perception of who I thought I was and it altered my trajectory for a number of years.  Those outside voices did more to define me than the voices I should have listened to that were coming from deep within myself.  I always knew who I was, I just wasn’t confident enough to give her a chance.

Today is a different story.  Perhaps is it different because I am two years away from being fifty.  Maybe it is different because I have finally created a sense of self that is directly related to the person I see in the mirror.  And conceivably, it is different because I have quelled those outside voices and listen only to the voice in my head.  Regardless of how I got here, I have arrived at the place where I feel most comfortable being the person I know I was meant to be.  I make no excuses, I apologize to nobody…..I am simply me.

 

 

 

Finding your strength

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“It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on, it takes a lot of strength to let go.” ~ J.C. Watts

~~

I was born a “fixer” and, until a few years ago, I had spent a great deal of my time taking on other people’s burdens as my own.  But something shifted in the paradigm of my reality when I got divorced in 2012.  I realized I was spending too much of my time trying to change a life that was not mine to change.  I was hanging on to problems that irrevocably had impact on my life but I had no power to solve.  I needed to let go.  But I was so stuck in the pattern of my life that I didn’t know how to let go.  I wanted so desperately for things to work out in my life that I honestly thought that this was the syllabus of my future.

It takes a monumental amount of courage to walk away from a relationship that you have put your heart and soul into but a relationship has to give you what you need for it to be successful.  By its very definition, a relationship is a form of communication.  Wants and needs are expressed and, in a healthy relationship, are reciprocated without condition.  Such was not the case for me and I knew it.  I felt it deep within myself but it took me a long time to admit it because to do that would have made me feel like I had failed.  But I had only failed myself by not seeing the signs sooner and listening to that nagging inner voice.

I finally found the nerve to put my needs first and, in finally letting go, I gave myself permission to define myself according to my needs and not the needs of anyone else.  The strength to hang on was easy, it was my comfort zone, but finding the strength to let go made me feel eviscerated, vulnerable and it was not something I was accustomed to.

I wanted to write this post because I have friends now in the situation in which I found myself years ago.  I want them to know that letting go is not always the easy choice, but it may be the right choice, for them.   It may be hard to listen to that petulant voice in your head, but that voice is the most sincerely honest advice you will ever get.

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Don’t give up easily.  If it is worth the fight, than fight, fight like your life depends on it.  But if you know in your heart that nothing will ever change, let go, let go like your life depends on it.

It`s one day after the 12th

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Friday-the-13th

I have never been a superstitious person.  I’m not afraid to have a black cat cross paths with me.  I do use caution around ladders but that is more of a safety issue rather than a superstition.  And I certainly don’t believe that I will have 7 years of bad luck if I have the misfortune of breaking a mirror into tiny shards of reflective glass.  I will, however, have 7+ horrible minutes of clean up!!

Bad luck seems to be brought on by bad attitudes.  If I had woken up this morning in a state of panic because of the calendar date, I’m sure some incident would have befallen me and I would undoubtedly have had people tell me it is a result of the dreaded Friday the 13th.  I arose this morning as I always do.  I put on my jeans the same one leg at a time.  There were no black crows eyeballing me from the top branch of their perch, screeching raptor-like obscenities and warning me to stay indoors.

Did you know that historically there have been fewer car accidents on this day because people exercise so much more caution or don’t drive at all?  The irrational fear that this day imposes is an interesting phenomenon.  People have such an overwhelming fear of the 13th day of the month falling on a Friday but never really take the time to ask themselves why they have this fear.   If you reflect on your childhood, somewhere along your journey, the superstition was unwittingly passed on to you.  The moment that seed was planted, it matured into an irrational fear and has embedded its roots into your psyche.  I’m a firm believer that we make our own luck.  If you think bad things will happen on Friday the 13th then they probably will.

Friday the 13th has never imposed any ugliness on me but I also impress nothing put positive thoughts on it.  It is just another day.   If Friday the 13th is your ‘monster in the closet’ – lock that closet door and throw away the key.  It holds no more power than what you allow it to have.

Are you superstitious or was today just another day…

I have resolved only one thing….

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I am not a fan of making resolutions for the new year.  I have never followed the time-honored tradition of making a list of things that, once they are scripted, seem somewhat ridiculous and marginally unattainable.  I have known enough disappointment in my life to know that setting myself up for a possible failure, in a manuscript penned only by me, is not an option.

But this year something changed.  A small cog in the wheel of my thought process became stuck for a short period of time and had me reflecting on the past year and the role that social media played in perpetuating a plethora of misguided and angry posts.  No topic was sacred and no member of any social media outlet came out unscathed.

if-you-cant

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Friendships have been lost or irrevocably changed.  Lines have been drawn in the sand and sides have been taken.  The majority of posts I ignored and would not engage in a battle, political or otherwise, without the benefit of being able to see my opponent.  It is easy to send a cascade of beliefs out into the cyber world without having to actually face your adversary.  There is a level of comfort enjoyed when you are typing your emotional mitigation without the burden of having to face a rebuttal.  You can simply turn off your device and ignore the reply.

So my resolution this year is simple and it came as no surprise.  I have resolved to not post any negative statements this year.  This does not mean I will not have strong opinions on many topics.  It simply means I will hold my pessimistic views about any issues until a fair and just way of sharing those sentiments presents itself in a personal and neutral setting.

Social media makes voicing thoughts far too easy without taking that extra moment to calm down before we type.  Just thinking about how many eyes may read what I write has made me want to be much more culpable for the content of my posts.  Fingers crossed I can hold my tongue if the need arises!

 

Make your pages mean something

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New-Year-Sayings

In what felt like a lifetime, but just the blink of an eye,

the calendar year transpired.

 Obligations were met, celebrations were had,

and on most days we felt inspired.

Some sadness ensued, some loved ones were lost,

but we keep their memories close.

Now the new year is nigh, the past slowly fading,

and it’s time to say adios.

The ball will drop, the confetti will fly,

and some kisses will be shared at midnight.

Resolutions will be formed, new promises made

and, indeed, the future looks bright.

To the next stage we go, heads held high,

ready to take on the year.

Trusting ourselves, making decisions,

based on hope and not fear.

We forge our path, we stake our claim,

we ask the universe for light.

 We embrace the good, we learn from the bad,

and we wipe the slate clean at midnight.

 To those in my life, to each one of you,

 may you have what your true heart desires.

 May the hopes you have, may the dreams you dream,

be forever fueled by your fires.

~~

Happy New Year!

Stuart Smalley said it best

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Most of us are hyper-critical of ourselves.  I am certainly guilty of that crime.  We are truly our own worst enemy.  We over-analyse the most minute details about ourselves and never give a second thought to the perception that others may have of us – a perception that may be the polar opposite of how we see ourselves but much closer to the truth.

We have become a society of comparison.  We gauge our success, or perceived failure, by how we think we measure up to those around us.  We judge ourselves by their opinion and not by the standards we set for ourselves.  What we fail to take into consideration is the amount of effort we put into each day by just being ourselves and how difficult that journey can be.  It takes a person with a strong moral compass and courage of conviction to follow the direction in which they feel will allow them to be the most comfortable and to genuinely be themselves.

Too often we allow our actions and our decisions to be swayed by outside forces.  We ignore that little voice inside our head and we succumb to the white noise around us that berates us for those actions.  But that initial behavior represents our true self.  Those nuances of our personality are what set us apart from every other person on this planet. Those are the things worth cherishing.  Those subtleties are the little details that friends and family will hold onto long after you have left this Earth for your next journey.

It would be easy to conform into a stereotype that you feel would be welcomed by society, to make decisions that would be accepted by the masses, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if those choices were not right for you.  Hold true to the things that make you who you are and know that the important people in your life appreciate the choices that you make.  We all need a little daily affirmation – because you are good enough, you are smart enough, and, doggone it, people like you!

stuart_smalley

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