10 February 2013

Don't Leave Me Hanging

I think that it should be a fundamental course of action to be always upfront with someone. I think that there are countless ways that people fail at this, but one that is probably very real to most people is in relationships when people are not upfront with each other. 

Never cut ties without explaining why. It’s so easy to say thirty seconds worth of words which will easy hours of questioning thoughts. For instance, let’s say you go out with someone. That someone was OK, but not a person that you want to spend more time getting to know in a dating setting. The person calls a day or so latter to try to set up another date and finds you avoid the call and let the person leave a message. Then, you never get back with that person. Yes, you did just communicate that you don’t want a second date, but you also communicate a lot of other things and leave room for imagination to run. The person now has to figure out why you avoid a conversation, is he or she really that bad that you don’t even want to say anything? Did you get the message at all? Maybe you deleted it accidently without seeing who it was from? The person will probably wonder what he or she did that made you change your mind, and there will be a lot of room to question. 

You maybe have seen both sides of this coin. What is the worst experience you have ever had with this? Do you do the same thing to other people?

07 February 2013

Just be Yourself

Just be yourself people say. But do they really mean it? Whenever I’m completely myself, I get the impression that people don’t really like it. Maybe the honesty scares people or maybe I do. What it comes down to in the end, is the fact that when people say to just be  yourself, what they are really saying is that you should just be the best version of yourself. The truth is, in my case at least, that self is actually quite complicated and messy. There are aspects of self that are good and aspects that are bad. I’m not saying that people should like and enjoy everything about a person, I’m saying that they should understand that people are messy creatures, not easily confined or constrained to a simple set of governing rules and definitions. I’m saying it’s OK to be messy. It may make people uncomfortable to be messy around them, but who says that it’s our job to make everyone feel good and comfortable around us. Sometimes I have sorrow; is it right to hide that sorrow and be a fun me that everyone likes to be around? Is it OK to bring all of me to the table and be authentic? I say yes!
In fact, the people that I  most respect are those people who are the most them—not version of self that people find the most attractive, funny, or happy. When I’m with someone, I like to be with them—and all that they are—the good, the bad, the ugly, the whole self. In all honesty, I know when someone is being themselves and when they are not. When someone is completely uncool, I know that they are being authentic with me, honest and upfront. So, when I say just be yourself, I actually mean it. Please be you. There is no one else that you can be, and the world does not need you to be anyone other than you. The world already has a lot of fake people. What everyone needs is for you to be you. If people are uncomfortable with you, frankly that’s their problem and they can deal with it. 

06 February 2013

Take the Good Advice of a Hypocrite

Good advice is only as important is one’s willingness to take it. I think that everyone has some very good advice to give, even to themselves, that they never actually take. It’s easy to say something, but much more difficult to actually do it. Why? I don’t know, probably just human nature. I can easily tell you exactly what you need to do in order to change and do things better, but I can’t tell you how to motivate yourself to actually do that. Heck, I have trouble taking my own advice most of the time. In ways, I feel like a hypocrite because I am so good ad giving advice and so far away from being able to take that advice. On the other hand, is knowing what is right and being unable to always do it worse than knowing what is right but never saying it never trying to do it? I think not. If I at least think and try, perhaps some day I will get better than I am no. However, if I never try, there is no hope at all. At the end of the day, it’s probably better to have people think you are a hypocrite for wanting to do better, knowing there is something better to do, but being unable to do it, than to give up before even trying. That is the way I see it anyway. 

05 February 2013

Don't Wait for Life to Happen to You, Happen On Life Instead

As though you were dying, as though you did not have as many days as you wanted to do the things you want to, as though every moment was special and unique and irreplaceable—that is the truth about life. It’s here and it’s passing by. It’s a thousand moments that we decide how we use. It won’t wait. Every moment is a now or never opportunity. The time that we waist and have wasted will never come back. We are running out of time, the clock is ticking. There is an urgency to life. It can’t wait. We can’t wait to do the things that we want to. Whatever we want, whatever we expect to get out of life, we must get it now. Many people wake up on their death-bed with a longing in their hearts to do something that matters and find that it is too late. The time that they had, they wasted on things that did not truly matter.

We need to know what truly matters and we need to remind ourselves and keep reminding ourselves what matters and to live towards what matters. Right now, you are dying. Your life is passing away. You are running out of time. What are you going to do with the time that you have left. Are you going to build relationships with people, work for fame and fortune, let it slip bit by bit through your fingers until you have frittered away a lifetime? Are you exchanging could-have-beens for the safety of comfort and security of fear-avoidance?

Please don’t wait. Whatever it is that you are hoping for, go out and find it. Don’t wait for it. Don’t wait for life to happen to you—happen on life instead.

01 February 2013

You Can Always Trust a Dishonest Person to be Dishonest

One of my favorite lines about honesty is from one of my favorite movies said by the character Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean where Jack said at the end: “You can always trust a dishonest person to be dishonest, honestly, it’s the dishonest ones you have to worry about.” There is a lot of truth to that statement, if someone is willing to be dishonest about anything, you can trust the fact that he or she will be dishonest about something else at some point with you. They cannot be trusted.

But what is it to be honest? I think that it is much more than either speaking the truth or not speaking the truth. It’s more about living what the truth is. It’s more about knowing what the truth is, about who we are, about who others are, and being faithful to always communicate in actions, inactions, words spoken and words held back, the truth. Being honest is not just keeping a promise, or telling the truth. It’s living that truth at all times.

Being honest is being willing to be you one-hundred percent. It’s not hiding behind assumed realities or designed fiction. It’s accepting things as they are and being unwilling to hide anything that we don’t like about it. We need to be honest with others, but equally so, we need to be honest with ourselves. I would go so far as to say that we must be honest with ourselves before we can be honest with others.

It’s not always easy to be honest. It’s not easy to admit that we are not good at something. It’s not easy to admit that we have done something wrong to another person. The truth does not claim to be easy, it claims to be right. If doing the right thing was easy, everyone would probably be right more often. But no matter how difficult it is, as Neil Warren said, "truth is always friendlier than anything less than the truth."

31 January 2013

Who's Shoes to Wear?

Our perspective is vital to us but also easy to get trapped, become trapped in one power of focus and miss out on all the other angles from which to see things. In a way, we know we do it. We know that we decided to only view things from one perspective. In a way, it is necessary to maintain a focus to stay headed in one direction. The cliché about walking in someone else’s shoes or the phrase “if I were you” get at the idea that we don’t see things the way they truly are but the way that we want to see them. It’s fine to not consider other perspectives if the one we have is right, but what if it is wrong? It’s fine to live most of the time from one perspective, but it should be a decision to live in that perspective. It’s important to think about the shoes we are in, and the shoes that others are in. Important to know and understand why we do things that we do and why people do the things that they do. It will help make a lot of sense out of things that would otherwise make no sense at all and also help us to relate to and understand other people.
So, there is a balance between walking in the shoes that you are in, and considering what it is like to walk in the shoes of others as well. We can become hostages to thoughtlessness if we do not consider the thoughts, lives, and actions of others. But, we can also become distracted and unfocused in life if we only consider others and what they would do. It’s another one of life’s balances. It seems that so much of life is learning to maintain a balance of two opposite things for which the middle between them is the ideal.

29 January 2013

A Glance

It started with a single smile and a look in the eye
There was a question asked in that moment of silence
It brought me to wonder if there was a reason why
There was a possibility that the heart had spoken

When the time came for me to ask you for a chance,
I started with a word and got caught up in your eyes
There was a silence as I fell into a sudden trance
When I came to I had introduced myself to you

Your name was something lovely and sweet
I had it in my head after it was time to sleep
Hoping it would not be long until again we meet
Wondering how a glance can steal away a night

28 January 2013

Forgotten How

It's odd that, as a whole, we believe our society is more advanced, smarter, healthier--simply better than societies have been in the past--when in reality we are less happy than we were a few years ago on average according to polls. If we have everything so figured out and together, why don't we know how to do something so fundamental as enjoy life? We may have gained a better understanding of how to increase our life-spans, but are less sure what to do with those extra years. We know how to watch TV, but not how to watch our children grow up and enjoy the moments spent with them. We know how to text a friend but not how to look them in the eyes and understand their heart. We know how to get happy but not how to be joyful. We know there is a problem but not how to fix it. We know more but understand less.
I’ve eaten lunches with people who are so busy on their phone or computer or tablet to ask me my name. Sure, they may work next to me, they may know that it, but they don’t know to reach out to a human being. They don’t know how to make eye-contact. It’s completely contradictory that we humans are afraid of what it is to be a human and unwilling to learn. Even though they know that to be human is to be real and that to be anything other than that is to not be at all—aside from being a fake. We are so attached to things and the acquisition of things that we have lost sight of who we are and what we are made to do. 

The Habit of Thinking About Habits

Habits, make a habit of making good habits seems to be the center of the true heart concerning how to be successful. I’ve read several books on how to be successful, how to be good at such and such a skill, and it all seems to come down to having the strength to form good habits. It’s not so much as  making good choices as it is fixing our minds to no longer think in ways that are not good.
In a way, it’s not really a surprise that I’ve begun to reach this conclusion. It is no real secret, only now revealed. In the Bible, there is a lot said about renewing your mind. Think about certain things, not others. But the one thing that is still difficult to do, and is not yet will understood, is now to actually be successful in developing new habits. I find that it is the most difficult thing to form a new habit. My whole mind is used to thinking one way and geared to continue doing that. It has a momentum to it a direction of motion that it wishes to continue on.
 I’m referring to my brain as a separate thing than myself now because in reality that is what is actually occurring. Our brains develop a wiring system as we think one way for a while, that become automatic after a while.  It’s like when you are driving down the road, and decided that you will now be going the other direction. That is a decision that you can make, but the car and everything around you is still moving in the other direction. It will take time and effort to stop the car and change directions and momentum. If we t think about ourselves in this way, it helps to realize why it takes time to change a habit. It’s not going to be easy. It will never get any easier either.
In this way, we are trapped by our brains. We know what we want to do. We can make decisions, but our decisions will always require effort to bring to fruition. We can’t park the car and walk wherever we want. We are bound to drive this way forever. But knowing this about the way things work is helpful. If we know what to expect, then every time we make a decision, we know what to expect. We are not surprise by who we are. 

27 January 2013

Shades of Gray, is a Dark Way to Think

Samuel Johnson once said, “The fact that there is such a thing as twilight does not mean that we cannot distinguish between day and night.”
We are so accustomed to shades of gray that we become blinded to the obvious contrast between black and white. Truthfully though, although there may be shades of gray, there are also many things that are plane to see as right or wrong. While it may be wrong to assume everything is simply right or wrong and that there is an easily assigned ruling of right and wrong for all actions, it is equally wrong to assume that there is no such thing as right and wrong at all. It is no easy task to judge between right and wrong. We must be wise and discerning not to lightly consider things of moral nature—not assume that any standard imposed on us from any source is to be trusted of the merit of its spoken voice but by testing and weighing. We must not faint from the task of thought and the council of reason and heart in matters of right and wrong, we must not surrender under the burden of discussion and debate. We must acknowledge the challenge and pour ourselves out on the balances until a verdict is reached. We must never conceded the war to avoid the demands of battles. We must fight to know and understand what is right. 


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