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?

I’m Not Interested In Your Opinion

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Facebook can really be enlightening. If there is one thing most wouldn’t dare argue, it’s that there are so many varieties of opinions out there. Everywhere you look on social media and most conversations you have on a daily basis are filled with people spewing their opinions. I do believe there was a time we could simply state our opinion and leave it at that but these days we feel we are entitled to an opinion and if someone feels different than we do then they are obviously wrong. Why do we feel the need to throw more sticks on an already raging fire? I can see if something is really, truly important to us but if not why even go there?

For the rest of this week, I am going to try and keep my opinions to myself. If someone says something that lights a fire underneath me, I will allow it to simmer and burn out rather than turn up the heat. I’m not even sure I can do it but if it brings peace to my surrounding world then I am willing to try it. Can you do it? Will you?

Distorted Vision

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Have you ever considered what a gift it is to be blessed with the ability to see? We are given so many gifts, but it is up to us to determine how we use them. I can give two people a shovel and one person may use it to dig the foundation for a beautiful home while another may use it as a weapon to hit someone over the head.

 Our vision is a lot like that too. We choose how we interpret the things we see. We can look for something good in someone, in a situation or we can use our vision to see everything that is bad. What’s not fair is that people choose to see the good in this and bad in that. Who wins? What is the benefit?  We are not taught or told how to use our gifts. That is when our free will is put to its toughest test. 

Do you know two people can look at the very same thing and still see it a different way? Who do you trust? Are you right and the other person a liar? Look at the whole blue dress/ gold dress drama that unfolded before our eyes. That should have been a clear sign, a distinct message that our vision is faulty.  See it doesn’t come down to being right, it comes down to the fact that what we think we see may be different from what someone else THINKS he sees,  but NO-ONE is wrong. We have to respect that our view, our vision, our interpretation is just as valid as the guy standing next to us. How could we ever all agree when the nation was divided, news anchors were divided, families divided? It was the most valuable lesson we may have ever learned IF We WERE PAYING ATTENTION! If we know we can’t trust what it is we think we see then why do we argue about such silly things? I saw it this way, I saw it that way (sighs). We are ALL blind!

 Remember, this is before diagnosed vision problems come into the picture. 

We don’t all see 20/20. Sometimes we have a astigmatism. According to Web MD, astigmatism occurs in nearly everybody. Everybody! I had no idea.. Did you know that?When light enters the eye it is refracted more in one direction than the other, allowing only part of the object to be in focus at one time. Isn’t it crazy to know we may never see the whole picture, just one side or the other? Maybe that explains it all. We think something is the way it is because that is what we see but we need to remind ourselves that what we see is just not real, not really anyway. Sure we can make out the general gist of something but the edges just aren’t smooth. We can see it superficially but the details are lost somewhere in our clouded vision. SO, we compensate by creating the image we think we see in our own mind but if we created it, is it really reliable? 

 Quite a few years ago, everytime I was under an immense amount of stress, I would lose the peripheral vision in my right eye. I could only see what was straight in front of me and to the left and the world to the right just disappeared. Does that mean it wasn’t there anymore? Was it less real or nonexistent just because I couldn’t see it? Things are not always as they appear. What’s even worse is people’s faces started to look distorted too. The first time it happened I was so terrified that I wished I couldn’t see a thing at all. People started to look like monsters to me. One eye would be down where their chin should be and one side of their face was longer than the other. Our mind plays tricks on us like that too. It makes it appear that people are monsters and that monsters are people. Everything is jumbled up. Who then, what then, can we really trust?

Let this be a reminder that just because we swear something is true, it is only our truth and not necessarily the whole truth. We are artists, creators. We paint our own pictures. We write our own stories. We can trick ourselves into believing that we don’t have that power because we blame someone else for grabbing our pen. Its easier to say, not my book, not my story so you never have to take responsibility for what is written on the page. I pray that we all have clearer vision. I pray that we choose to use our eyes to see all that is good. We can only see what we allow ourselves to see, remember that. If the eyes are closed, the mind is closed. I pray we see a better world, a better way. I pray our eyes look for peace, love, resolution.  I pray we see the truth lying under the distortion that we alone create. Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that your distorted vision could ever be less or more distorted than mine. Close your eyes. Look with your heart.

Advice I Seemed To Ignore

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Today’s daily prompt: What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/powerful-suggestion/

I think I may have been given this advice but I’m not sure it was drilled in hard enough. The first piece of advice is not to take life too seriously. Be silly, laugh and find enjoyment in everything you can.

The second is to tell people who constantly have an opinion of who you are and how you live to mind their own business. People can make me feel pretty crappy with constant replay and criticism of my every action. How I raise my kids, what I teach them is important or not, and whether I choose to work or not is none of anyone’s business. In fact, their opinions are not warranted or wanted. I wish someone told me to put people in their place from the very beginning. Put people in their place and nip the disrespect and criticism in the bud as soon as it starts to bud. 

How about you? What advice do you wish you were given years ago?

Less Is More

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Its not necessary to speak everything you think. That’s what we do, speak and not think about how the words sound to the person listening. We speak so freely that we forget to use our filter and many times our words, comments and opinions are hurtful to fellow human beings. Speak less, listen more. Be conscious of your words, especially the tone and underlying feeling. Are your words condescending? Do they judge? Insult? Blame? Criticize? How is the person reacting to you? Do they feel they need to explain themselves? Do they ever ASK for your opinion? Keep your opinion to yourself and share some kindness. That will always be welcome.

Can You Be Honest?

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1) Do you feel personally attacked or offended when someone has a viewpoint that differs from your own?

2) Do you get angry or feel resentful when someone disagrees with you?

Why in the world am I asking these questions? It’s taken me a very long time to learn the real meaning of agreeing to disagree. If I would blog about something important to me and someone would disagree, I used to take it very personally. Now, I am comfortable in the things I believe while at the same time understanding that believing something does not make it true or right for anyone else. I have also learned to listen to someone else’s viewpoint in a way I can really understand where he or she is coming from, NOT with the intent of arguing or trying to change anyone’s mind. Listening and trying to be understanding and empathetic when it comes to what makes someone think the way they do or act the way they act can develop into a deep respect for each other’s differences. If we go beyond the words and really understand the passion behind a particular belief, maybe we won’t be able to agree but we may be able to better understand. Mutual respect, couldn’t we all use a bit more of that. Empathy, kindness…spread more of that. Someone has to do it, why not YOU?

Dear Abby

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I am a 43 year old capable woman. I am independent and I have a brain to think for myself. I am having a problem and I need your help. Sometimes I just need to talk to people so I can vent some feelings. I simply want someone to listen and support me. How can I get them to stop giving me unsolicited advice when all I really want them to do is listen?

Sincerely,

Make It Stop

It seems lately that everyone has all the answers. The problem is, I don’t have any questions. Sometimes I am begging and reaching for support, empathy, compassion. All I hear is you should do this or you want to know what I think? No actually, I don’t want to know. What I think is you think too much and listen too little. I already know what I need. I need you to stop talking and stop knowing. If I want your advice, I will ask for it. Otherwise, please leave it at that. I don’t want anymore opinions or suggestions. My head already races with too many of both. I need you to be my friend and not judge. I need you to love me. I need you to be there for me with that knowing look that I will and can figure it out on my own. I need you to just sit quietly and allow me to talk and then let’s grab a cup of coffee and talk about that silly movie we saw last week. That is what I need unless you want to tell me it’s something different, but I hope you know better now.

Mind Your Own Business

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I made a serious commitment with myself today to mind my own damn business. What does that mean exactly? Well, I am choosing to have little concern when it comes to the flaws of others. I am choosing not to look for them, not to talk about them, and certainly not to focus on them. I am giving myself the gift of becoming disengaged from the opinions others have of me. Can you imagine the freedom that comes with that one tiny new decision? I’ve learned this year that I can be myself. I am who I am and I am not afraid to show both my strengths and weaknesses to the rest of the world. I’ve learned that someone’s idea of who I am is more of a reaction they have to me than it is about me at all. We bring stuff out in others. Who knows why? Maybe we see something in them that we don’t like about ourselves but we cannot see it in our own reflection and project our dislike onto someone else. Maybe someone doesn’t like the way we look or the way we speak. Maybe someone doesn’t know us at all but believes their opinions of us are really the truth. There is no possible way I will ever get everyone to like me. You know what I decided? That’s okay and better yet, I will no longer waste precious time trying to explain who I am or trying to convince someone to like me more. I am me without apology so I am forever released from the anguish of the opinions of others. When you know who you are and like who you’ve become, you can live life with the freedom to never look back over your shoulder wondering what people think. Opinions are never going away. People will always have them. My advice, mind your own business and don’t let the opinions of others consume you anymore. Be who you are, do what you do and be grateful for the people who appreciate you just the way you are. That my friends is a good plan.

Freedom From Opinions

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Every time I hear the song Follow Your Arrow I have to laugh. The words are a bit silly but the point is well made and an important one at that. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I will post part of the lyrics.

If you save yourself for marriage
You’re a bore
If you don’t save yourself for marriage
You’re a horrible person
If you won’t have a drink
Then you’re a prude
But they’ll call you a drunk
As soon as you down the first one

If you can’t lose the weight
Then you’re just fat
But if you lose too much
Then you’re on crack
You’re damned if you do
And you’re damned if you don’t
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want

If you don’t go to church
You’ll go to hell
If you’re the first one
On the front row
You’re self-righteous
Son of a-
Can’t win for losing
You’ll just disappoint ’em
Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em
Don’t mean you should join ’em

Say what you think
Love who you love
‘Cause you just get
So many trips ’round the sun
Yeah, you only
Only live once

So, what do you think? Did you hear the message? Judges gonna judge, critics gonna critique. Why on Earth do we concern ourselves with the opinions of others? No matter who we are, someone’s NOT going to like us. No matter what we do, someone will think we didn’t do enough. No matter how many different ways we do the same thing, someone will say we didn’t do it right.

Why do we care so much anyway? Stop today and start to live your life the way that feels right for you. That is what is really important. No-one will ever know you as well as you know yourself. No -one will ever live your life, or face your challenges or ever live a single days inside your shoes. If your goal in life is to impress everyone you know or make everyone in your life happy, I am sorry to inform you that you are wasting your time. Live life for you and be proud of who you are. Don’t second guess your decisions and explain or apologize for the choices you’ve made. They are only yours to make and no explanation is ever necessary or required. Live proudly and live wisely. There is only person who has the right to an opinion about your life and that is you. Let the rest go and never let the opinions of others influence your opinion of yourself.