Live Deliberately

Living each day with deep intention.


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Name-Calling, the Act of Shaming, and Manipulation

You know I like to talk about the controversial topics, and why not? It’s good for us to think deeper, dig deeper, and try to understand one another better and what makes us all TICK. So, here we go again! What is with people who choose to tear a person down, rather than build them up? Is there any excuse for name calling? Why do some people think it’s okay and what’s their reason for doing so?

I woke up with these thoughts this morning. I guess you can say, I had a dream about my own past. I’m not saying that I haven’t done my fair share of name calling and tearing people down during my young adult years… but when I look back, I quickly realize why I thought it was acceptable behavior. Lying in bed this morning, contemplating about this topic and why I woke up with it on my mind… I quickly recalled three separate occasions in which I was verbally labeled a derogatory term or shamed for simply being the person that I am.

On three separate occasions, by one single person and by someone I should look up to, I was called a bitch, insecure, and selfish. None of these things built me up, none of them were productive, and they certainly didn’t motivate me. Looking back, I realize that at one point in time I actually believed those words to true. Collectively, we know better. We are better than this. It seems like such a remedial topic but the reality is, this happens more often than we realize… and we let it happen! So, why do people tear others down or call them by some derogatory name?

I would think insecurities or self-worth is probably top of the list of reasons why people do it. Jealousy can be a factor as people see in others what they wish they had the courage to be or do, and it makes them resentful. Shaming is the second biggest reason I believe people behave this way. Shaming is never acceptable. Shaming is one of the biggest ways that manipulators tear people down, and their victims often have no idea what’s actually taking place. We’ve all heard someone passive-aggressively shame another parent for their parenting style, or a boss using polite techniques to degrade an employee for a mistake or bad judgement call, and we have even heard a parent shame their child in language that sounds pretty standard when first uttered, but when you stop to truly hear it… “you should know better” which I’ve even caught myself saying… implies that the child is a disappointment and the parent is ashamed of them.

Why is this such a hot topic for me? I think it breeds resentment in the receiver. As the receiver, we don’t realize why the comments bother us… but perhaps it’s the act of shaming, or the passive-agressive truths covered in rose petals, maybe it’s because we all recognize a form of manipulation and we inherently do not like being manipulated. When we name call or shame our peers, friends, colleagues, employees, or children, we are setting the precedence that this behavior is acceptable, particularly to children who are watching and mimicking our every action. They grow up believing that it’s okay to call your friend a derogatory term, or shame your lover for their preferences, or manipulate your peers through both name calling and shaming into agreeing with or seeing your point of view.

So, let’s not tear each other down with mind games such as name calling, shaming, or manipulation. Let’s accept one another as individuals. Let’s be respectful to one another. Let’s show our children how to be tolerant, kind, and human.

As an adult, I realize that these are all words, as hurtful as they can be, but they do not shape us and they should never be taken for truth, which is why no one should ever waste their breath uttering such unproductive and negative things. I am not a bitch… although, I can be if you back me into a corner. I am not insecure… however, I can be very shy and I am a bit of an introvert. I am not selfish… I give what I can, but I also remember that I, too, am a priority.

Much love. ❤

 

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Are you in the arena, or the stands?

When we decide to make some major quality of life changes, there will always be those individuals that don’t understand our motives, and even worse – criticize what they don’t understand. Here’s the thing: unless these critics are down in the arena with us, they can’t possible comprehend or appreciate the what and why of our strategy. Criticism holds no weight from the stands.

I’ve recently decided to make some hefty quality of life changes, starting with my place of employment. When you reach a point of little-to-no fulfillment, and can’t seem to find the joy in what you do, or begin to see people or places as toxic environments – then it’s time to think about making a change.

That’s where I found myself. I knew something had to change, yet I stuck around for about six months longer than I should have. I felt the desire to break free from the toxic and unfulfilling work environment, and to find a more meaningful direction. I didn’t need to change my career path, I just needed to shifted my focus… I needed to narrow-in on exactly what drew me to the profession in the first place. The people. The community. The relationship between the two.

So, I took the dive. Thanks to all of those who were in the arena with me. They got it. They understood my passion, and my drive. They had an appreciation for what I wanted to accomplish, and they stood behind me 110%. The support and encouragement that I received from those in the arena with me – setting out to achieve the same fulfillment and happiness that I sought – held more weight than those of the critics in the stands, who just couldn’t see my vision.

In addition to a more rewarding career, I wanted more quality time with my daughter, flexibility in my schedule, and time to focus on my health, which was taking a very sharp decline and fast. I’m only one month in and there are still some adjustments to be made, and still some fine-tuning to be done – but overall, I find myself in a more consistent and jovial mood. I’ve been able to focus on what’s important in life, and make my career align with my values. Even better, I have more control over my health and stress-levels.

So, stay in that arena, find your teammates, fuel one another and go for the goal. Pay no mind to the critics in the stands for they’re not on the field with you; they have no stake in the game.

(Helpful reminder: Judgement is just a mirror through which people see their own insecurities reflected back at them. When you find someone judging you, it might help to remember that they’re may be feeling insecure about the qualities they may lack, such as the courage to pursue the unknown.)


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Be still with this…

“The scars are there because the wounds have healed.” – John O’Leary
The end of 2016 was difficult for me. While many exciting things happened, many heartbreakingly sad things bubbled up. I’ve been forced to revisit past memories, some self-inflicted and others not. Memories that I care not to remember and serve no purpose, yet somehow I feel more whole and complete recalling them, sitting with them, and making my peace with them. Those who know me understand that the many paths to where I find myself today have been very bumpy and yet, I find myself in a stronger place in life with myself, my peers, and in my circumstances. I feel fortunate for my friendships and my successes and failures, all of which have molded the person that I am. And so, while I am still recalling painful memories from my past – a past that I am choosing to forgive and growing from – I am thankful for the quote that I heard today, because it reminds me that what doesn’t break us, makes us stronger. 
I had to share the quote with you because it might resonate with you as it did for me.  

“The scars are there because the wounds have healed.” – John O’Leary


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Wo(man) on a Mission

So, you’re on a mission… You set your sights on a goal, you get hyped about starting, and stoked to see your dreams become reality. And then life happens and you get distracted, and you wander off the path for a bit. How do pick back up and find the bread crumbs you left for yourself?

I know this all too well… here I go again… I’ve lost sight of my vision many times but I always find myself coming back to it. It happens, we all get distracted. Building a home and planning and preparation can be any easy excuse… But I won’t tolerate my own excuse(s).
How do we hold our vision? How do we stop ourselves from making or allowing excuses for losing our vision?

We enlist support in friends and colleagues. We rally our families and make sure they know what our vision is and the end game, and what it’s going to take to get there. We ask them to hold us accountable. 

How do we motivate and get back up off our tush? Shake off the shame from ditching your dreams (temporarily) and just start somewhere. Find the groove again, pick a point to start and just go. 

And lastly, stay on target! Don’t allow yourself to lose focus for too long, and persist. Because, why? Because you don’t want to look back and regret not chasing your dreams… 

[love]


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I want what I want…

Let’s face it, I’m a millennial. I have a different approach to life, a vastly different view on work-life, and the desire to be creative. I’m literally dying inside while sitting in front of a computer all day where I work (like a puppet) on things that other’s want me to do (even if I don’t agree) and my creative juices are, well, somewhere in the pit of my stomach causing me feel ill and lousy, and plain ol’ blah.

“How was work?” is usually the first thing people ask after a long day. I remember a time when I would rant and rave, excitedly sharing news about my day. I was making a difference. I was doing something great. Lately, I hear that question and I cringe at how to answer it without 1) pretending it was awesome, and 2) sending myself into an hour-long rant about how boring and unfulfilling it is.

What I want from my work-life is to be able to be creative, have fun with it, look forward to getting my sleeves rolled up and getting in there. I want to do something that is actually making a difference… not plan all these wild ideas of what-ifs, thinking up the plan and designing the program to get there only to just watch it get dusty on a shelf, never to be implemented.

I want to enjoy going to work. I want to enjoy 99% of the people I work with. I want us to lift each other up, celebrate one another, and make each other better. No one enjoys the gossiper, the whiner, the know it all, the nosey-Rose, and the slacker. Complacency is the culprit for all of the above. When people get bored, or fed-up, their ugly comes out. We all have those moments. I have them often. Soul-sucking personalities in your work-life are toxic, and spread like the wildfire.

I want flexibility. I want to work the hours during my personal peak productivity. I want that mid-day gym work out that gets the blood pumping and the creative juices flowing, staving off the 2 o’clock death hour that sends you into a coma, longing for a place to curl up for an afternoon nap. I want meetings held standing up or walking through the park. I want less lengthy reports that actually take away from the stuff that actually produces results.

I want colorful work spaces, fresh air, healthy work conditions and options. I once asked for a standing work station. It didn’t have to be a desk. It just needed to accommodate me standing up when I got tired of sitting through the 8 to 5. I was told that it “wouldn’t actually be better for me to stand for long periods of time.”

I want to wake up with the sun, not before it. To cherish the morning routine, not dread it. I want to not hit the snooze button three times. Who ever thought the idea of starting “work” at 8 AM was productive anyway? It’s no wonder why so many zombies stroll into work cranky, and some can’t shake it for the remainder of the day.

I want to taste my breakfast, sip (not gulp) my coffee, and actually help my daughter pick out matching clothes in the morning.

I want options. I want joy. I want health. I want to live, not merely exist.


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Create Your Own Personal Freedom

If you ask someone what number one thing they want in life, they’ll say something along the lines of happiness or joy – or if they’re like most, they’ll say they want XYZ – but only because XYZ will make them happy. We all starve for happiness, for that feeling contentment and satisfaction. But to each of us, happiness and joy looks different depending where we are in life. For me, happiness and joy show up as small spurts of personal freedom.

Personal freedom like those little moments when you don’t feel rushed to be anywhere. Personal freedom allows you to come and go at your own pace. It’s the freedom of working during your peak productivity levels and not during someone else’s. It’s the freedom of sleeping until 7:30 – 8:00 AM and waking refreshed and ready to tackle the day. It’s the luxury of taking a break when you need to recharge or refocus, or the ability to stop and chat with someone unhurried and unfiltered because you can be where you are and who you are whenever you want.

I long for moments like that. I think most of us long for moments like that. Here’s the best part… it’s possible. I invite all of you to make room for little moments of personal freedom in your daily routine. Here’s how:

Personal freedom is different for everyone. Personal freedom is defined by the individual. So, ask yourself What am I seeking freedom from? Is it time constraints, the need for more money, or is it the quest for personal space? For me, it’s freedom from the mundane, or the boring old routine that no longer aligns with my values and dreams.

Next, identify What do you want to do with that extra time? Do you simply need more time to think, or space for peace and quiet? Or maybe you want to tackle the daunting to-do list… even if it’s five minutes at a time. Do you need time to reconnect with self through meditation, or connect with others? Do you need fresh air, a few extra minutes with your kids, time for a healthy snack, read a chapter of your book, or plain ol’ sleep!

Now that the easy part is out of the way, let’s address the meat of the issue: How do you make space for personal freedom? Are there increments of time you spend wastefully? It doesn’t have to be half hour increments, either. Are you spending 10-15 minutes a few times a day on social media? Are there household chores that you can delegate will teach responsibility to your older children, thereby freeing up time for you? Is there a longer route home that will allow you to squeeze in more time for peace and quiet or finish that podcast? Do you spend 30 minutes washing dishes when you have a dishwasher? (Trust me, the few extra bucks on your bill is worth your sanity.) Can you turn a chore, like walking the dog, into time for fresh air or a moment for contemplation? I encourage you to dig deep into your daily habits and find a few minutes here and there.

[Side bar: I know there are those of us who work jobs that don’t allow much flexibility. Try turning your work space into a sanctuary. Make it more like home by bringing in something warm for those days where your bones are so cold that you can’t function, or your favorite tea, coffee, or treat to give you something to look forward to. Play music that helps you relax and tune out other office chatter. Buy a yoga ball to sit on rather than a chair if you’re feeling a little sluggish.]

The most difficult part is to follow through. Whatever you do, if you’re clearing space in your day for personal moments of freedom, you must intend to use that time for those things that will lift you up and bring you joy and happiness.

I challenge you to make space for personal freedom.

Peace, love, and freedom.


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Finding Your Balance

 

I asked a friend to share a topic for me to blog about. I’m getting a little bit of writer’s block. Balance, was her response. Balancing family and personal life, specifically, but what I’m about to share is going to serve you in seeking balance in any areas of your life.

Ooooh, I love talking about balance. We all fall off the balance beam from time to time. It’s remembering to get back up that’s so important.

Maintaining balance is a struggle in our generation. With everything at our fingertips, we should be able to do it all… Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, eat healthy and nutrient rich meals, give 110% at the job, maintain a strong and healthy relationship with the significant other, provide a clean and healthy home for the family, help the kids navigate life, academia, and social networks, provide nutritious meals, keep up with friends and extended family, etc… And while some of us have help, it’s still a lot to keep up with while trying to maintain you sanity. 

But what if we don’t have to struggle to maintain the balance? What if there was a tool or guide that will help us to maintain the balance so that we can continue to replenish our spirit?

Maintaining balance is simple, once you lay the ground-work. There are easily four pillars to finding and maintaining the balance in your everyday life.

  1. Identify Personal Values. Most of us are not living from our values. We are simply going about life addressing things that demand our attention NOW and not prioritizing where our time is spent. Sit down right now and identify your top 5 values. You may have to start with a list of 10 and narrow them down to the top 5 (i.e. time for family, personal happiness, health and fitness, accountability at work, personal freedom). Your top 5 values could change many times during your lifetime. That’s perfectly normal. Live from your values.
  2. Simplify Your Life. Now sit back and take a look at how and where you spend your time. Are you spending time on things that do not align within your top 5 values? If so, refocus and prioritize what’s important right now. Are you participating in evening networking events when you could be at home with family, or at the gym with a fitness partner. Rearrange your schedule to focus on what’s important to you right now. It doesn’t mean you won’t make it to that networking event, or catch up on that TV show. Once you’ve staged your top 5 values as priorities, you’ll find that you’re you have time left to tackle some of the other things – like a good Archer binge watching session.
  3. Set Boundaries. Once you’ve identified your top 5 values, make them untouchable. That’s right… it’s time for a little accountability here. These are your values. These are values that you’ve identified as crucial to your happiness and balance. It is your personal responsibility to make time for them – for the sake of balance and harmony. Do not apologize or sacrifice, and for the love of all things sane, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY about focusing on what’s important to you. If you say you’re going to make a 7:30 PM yoga sesh, enlist the support of your partner to rally the troops, get dinner in the mouths of your littles or set an alarm to remind you when you need to get your butt out the door.
  4. Schedule Time for Self. Don’t forget to care for your basic needs. Do you need to take a minute when you first get home before tackling dinner or laundry? Find a place where you can go for some peace before tackling the evening. Hell, grab a glass of wine to accompany you. Shut your bedroom door and take your time getting our of musty work-day clothes. Take a small walk around the neighborhood or yard and get some fresh air. You can’t run on empty all day. Take time to re-energize.

If you feel like your balance is off, it might be because you’ve made time for yourself a last priority.

Remember, Self Care is Not Selfish.