You Are Not Less Than

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Sometime I look at people and I see their shame. They wear it like a coat that blinds them to the truth of the very things that make them unique and amazing. I see the cloak of guilt that follows them around relentlessly whispering you are less than, you will never be enough. We learn to hide behind the lies that we come into agreement with. We start to believe that we do not even deserve a seat at somebody’s table.

Sometimes I look into the hearts and eyes of people that I love and I can feel their heaviness. Sometimes I wish people could see themselves through my eyes instead of their own. Sometimes I wish there were more hands available willing to lift people up than there are pointing fingers knocking people down. There’s a heaviness on people that we put on one another. It’s not supposed to be this way. We are not meant to live in pain. We are supposed to lay it down. We are not meant to judge and criticize and force our way on somebody else. We are meant to support, encourage and lift up. I pray that eyes are opened. I pray that the truth comes to light. Why can’t people see the angst they cause? Why can’t they see they are the problem when they think they are being the solution?

You are NOT less than. You are more beautiful than you could ever imagine, far more beautiful than a single, flawed human eye could ever see. You are more than. More than who people say you are. More than your choices. More than your regrets. More than your mistakes. You are so much more than you think. I pray someday you discover your worth and no one ever holds the power to define you again. You were made in the perfect image of God and He doesn’t make mistakes. Step into who you are and hold your head up high. You are beautiful and you are loved and there IS a place for you at the table. Just sit down and claim it.

Push and Shove

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I posted yesterday about carrying guilt and the weight it places on each and everyone of us. I also suggested that most of my own guilt comes from my own haunting, obsessive thoughts. However, guilt can come from almost anywhere or from anybody and I am guessing this is true for many. We may think we know it all. We may think we have all the answers and that we know what’s best. We may even believe we are helping someone when it comes to guiding them with our insightful wisdom. The truth is not every answer is the solution to every problem for every person. We are all different and we have the right to choose for ourselves what we believe is the right choice when it comes to living our own lives. It’s not always beneficial to put in your two sense or to gently nudge someone in one direction or the other. If you shove someone in a direction they don’t want to travel, you ultimately cause them inner turmoil that eventually leads to guilt. That’s not fair to do to anyone else. It’s just not. 

I bring this up because a new baby in the family brings up the real question of whether to breastfeed or not. Unfortunately, some of us are easier led by others and we lack the confidence to stand up for ourselves. Is breastfeeding a good thing? Sure, I won’t even try and argue but is it good for everyone? No. The answer is no. It’s not natural for everyone and if a woman feels her baby is not getting enough breast milk and wants to supplement with a bottle, then the hospital should lay off the pushy guilt trip and hand that mother a bottle. Many of us second guess every decision we make and why? Because too many people have opinions that drown out our own. Let people decide for themselves and respect whatever it is they decide. They deserve that kind of respect. We all do. What do you think?

Go Away Guilt

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Guilt is the enemy. If I wrote down the list of things I feel guilty about in a week, I could fill an entire book. What is guilt exactly and where does it stem from?

This is how Wikipedia defines guilt:

Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse.

Back to the where does it stem from part. Only I make the choice to decide if something I say or do is beneath the standards I set for myself. The enemy is not guilt, the enemy is me and I need to replace that re-occurring wasteful thought with a healthier, more inspirational one. It’s so important to practice kindness and compassion and it’s easy for me to do when it comes to others. Why then, am I so darn hard on myself? 

How about you? Do you feel guilt often? How do you handle those feelings when they come up?

 

Knowing Your Triggers

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Because I am a control freak, my demeanor often reflects that too. I am not outwardly too much of anything. I am a numbed down version of who I should probably be. I don’t like to surrender myself in any situation. That includes matters of the heart or matters of my own will. We all have triggers I guess and last night schoolwork turned me into a loaded gun. I get to that point where I just snap and I hate myself for it in the minutes that follow. It’s hard for me to shake that side of myself off. I hold myself to a pretty high standard and when I act in a way I don’t approve, I take it pretty hard. Sure, it’s easy to say everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to forgive and do better. There are just some lines that should never be crossed. The first time, we just look at the line and it feels awful. Next time we move a little  closer and maybe touch it with the bottom of our foot. Eventually we have the confidence to step right over it and never come back. I see that pattern in people all the time. It’s like taking that first drink that leads to a lifetime of debilitating drinking. That’s how it starts and knowing my own limits and not going outside of them is something I’ve always practiced and admired in myself. So what is one to do when that imaginary line has been broken? Is it possible to imagine it there again and promise not to do it again or is it important to be honest and say what’s broken will always be broken and remember how this day feels because of one bad choice and don’t ever make it again. It’s not even something that would be that big of a deal for the average person, but a step out of my comfort zone in this direction was surely a step in the wrong direction. So today, I will try and convince myself it’s okay to make an occasional mistake and make that important promise to myself that I will grow from it and next time choose better. You can never go back but you can choose to remain stuck in a moment or to move forward. I’m going to keep on moving. 

I Bet You Didn’t Know…

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One thing I’ve learned about writing is that the writer only shares what he wants to share. If the writer is putting the story of his life into words but leaving important parts out, how will the the reader ever really understand and know the writer? I am going to share a very personal story that may or may not give you a new perspective on who I am or how I think. The benefit is mostly for myself because when we store pain in our hearts for too long, the heart starts to ache. So, this is one of those painful events that have been holding my heart prisoner for so long. It is time to set the pain free.

I grew up surrounded by family as a child. I had big families on both sides and you could say I was pretty blessed. One side became unexpectedly smaller much sooner than it should have. The pain has stayed with me to this day. I had two male cousins my age. I wasn’t particularly close to one but the other one and myself shared many memories together. He would come stay at our house and camp out in my backyard. We would have get togethers and vacations together. We grew apart for years but then I was given a wonderful opportunity to get to know him and grow close to him once again. My friends became his friends and he moved in with us for a short time while I was in college. We would go out drinking or just hang out at the house. He became someone that I shared parts of myself with that others would never know.

I remember the day I got the call. My heart absolutely sank when my uncle told me my cousin had killed his girlfriend and taken his own life. I remember saying who? It just didn’t make sense. It didn’t add up. I had known this boy for so many years and it couldn’t be possible. Not only did our family have to deal with the knowledge that he had taken someone’s life, he had taken his own as well. There are some things we cannot run from. There are some things we cannot make go away. Did I now see him as some horrible monster? Did I think he deserved to die as well? It didn’t matter. He was gone. And so was this innocent girl. We had two innocent families dealing with unquestionable, unfathomable pain. These were some of the saddest and darkest days of my life.

This day forever changed me. I realized that we are so quick to point a finger and judge, but sometimes a situation slaps us so hard in the face that we learn to never judge another circumstance again. Some people don’t ask to have bad things happen to them. The truth though, is that we are connected to people who do bad things and make bad choices. They don’t automatically become the bad decision they make. The years, the memories, the good we knew in that person does not disintegrate into nothingness because of a bad choice.

If there is a lesson here, it is that you just never know. I choose compassion over an eye for an eye for personal reasons. Remember that other cousin I mentioned earlier in the post? He took his own life too. I have lived with the guilt of being the sole survivor that age on that side of the family. I have carried the burden and responsibility of making my life good and living it fully in honor of all three of us. Don’t be too quick to judge and don’t always choose to be too harsh. There is a lesson in every circumstance. Mine is that life doesn’t always go the way we expect for the amount of time we expect it too. Drink it in, love with all your heart and don’t waste time on the people and things that just don’t matter.

Confessions Of A Stay At Home Mom

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I know what people think. Wow, she gets to sleep in and lay around all day blogging and watching soap operas. She has the life to do whatever it is she wants while the rest of the world goes to work. Well, I have many thoughts too but not all of them are entirely accurate. The truth is, if you don’t walk in someone else’s shoes, you really have no idea what their life is actually like.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to stay home and raise my kids. I continue to feel fortunate that I am home to take care everything at home and keep track of everyone’s schedule and be available to run everyone around. Secretly though, I feel frustrated, angry and dumped on. I think everyone forgets that just because I do not have a paying job, I am not here to cater to everyone’s needs. I am not here to pick up peoples trash or transfer their dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. I am not here to wash clothes and then carry them up steps and put them away in everyone’s drawers. I am a human being and once in awhile I would like to see everyone around here pull their own weight. I have become a prisoner to chores and driving and the sad truth is no one appreciates me anymore, it’s just become expected that I follow behind everyone taking care of their needs.

I made a choice a long time ago to put my needs on the back burner. I guess now I have to live with that mistake. In a world where people are believing they are entitled to anything and everything, I have now become the entitler. I often feel sad and angry and when I start my day each and every morning feeling like I am bound to others who have little appreciation for me, it is hard to not sink into this dark hole of anger that swallows me whole.

My dreams are not of traveling to far away places. They are actually much simpler. My dreams are of someone lightening my load without me having to ask. My dream is someone taking away my overwhelming chains of responsibility that tie me down. My dream is someone really looking at me as a human being and knowing I make personal sacrifices to always take care of everyone else. It is my choice, I know that. I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for a way to vent so I can release all this negativity that has become stuck at my very core. It hurts to not feel human. It hurts to be trapped in a cage I have designed for myself. So I am looking for the key to escape so I can experience the freedom of a light, loving heart absent from the contempt and pain I carry that makes my heart dark and heavy. It is a terrible burden to carry, to live in the confines of a sad world I have created for myself. It is hard to admit I have forgotten how to dream and I have stopped trying to fulfill my purpose outside of catering to those who don’t seem to notice my pain. It is hard to admit that I am more than a mother, that I am also a woman and a human being that needs support and respect. It is hard to admit that I have stopped living period at my own expense.

These are my confessions of a stay at home mom. I know I am supposed to feel like the luckiest person in the world and believe I am working in the most important job of all, but the truth is it comes with guilt and shame and is not always what it appears to be. I am chained to being mom and house cleaner and dishwasher and driver and child advocate 24 hours with no escape to a job that actually pays and a staff that gets together for lunch. It is a lonely job and a thankless job and at the end of the day, there is nowhere to go. I am at work all the time, every day, every weekend, every holiday. We all need a break sometimes, even mom. I have learned so much about myself through my personal choices. I learned that I am not a superhero even though I wear a cape, I cannot leap over problems with a single bound, or fly over the rocky points to avoid the pain. I am only human, every day and I do not have the power to create a perfect world for those around me. I am connected to every failed paper, dirty dish, bad race, heartbreak or circumstance and there is no escape. That is what comes along with the job title of mom. And I am also tied to the joy, accomplishments, and special moments that make this whole job worth it in the very end. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but know, it is not as easy as everyone might believe. Next time you see a stay at home mom, remember, she could use a little help once in a while too. And that little deed you offer to do might make all the difference to help her carry on and continue to selflessly do for those around her.