Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Disability of Bad Attitudes

In my work with individuals with developmental disabilities, I am continuously amazed by the ABILITIES these individuals have, and their positive attitudes despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles before them in living their lives. I am in awe of them, inspired by them, and honored to work with such a remarkable group of people.

When I saw the quote above by Scott Hamilton, I considered people who don't have physical disabilities but mental and emotional disabilities influencing their attitudes which shape their opinions about themselves, other people, and their own lives to the point of crippling them in living joyously, peaceful, drama-free, and harmonious lives. I believe in people more than they believe in themselves, and it saddens me to see people struggle in their lives as result of these crippling attitudes. I've learned I can't change anyone but myself.  I can only mind my own attitude to the extent of my willingness to be genuinely honest with myself, and only then can I experience and live peace and and harmony within me. In doing so, I experience a life of greater joy and happiness.

Attitude is everything, whether its about a job, our current political environment, family, our own bodies, and our perception of others; whether it's positive, negative, or one of victimization. Attitude shapes our reality. If you hold the attitude your job sucks, you will experience a sucky job. If you believe negatively of someone, you will live a reality that person is mean and hateful to you, whether that individual actually lives up to that belief or not. Our attitude shapes everything about our life, our outlook and perception through our eyes and our belief filters. Worse, it then reflects in the things we say, how we say it, our actions, choices and our behaviors.

Every day I mind my attitude through meditation, prayer, and affirmations. When I feel pulled down by others' lower altitudes of attitudes, I breathe deeply, and recenter in the highest altitude I know before reacting: God. Whether it's friends, family members, co-workers or strangers at Walmart, people show up positively, negatively, rudely, hatefully, threateningly, lovingly, etc. We can do nothing about how others show up and behave, but we can manage our own personal attitudes via our words and response/reaction to them. The higher the altitude of your attitude, the easier it is to let other people's stuff slide. Remember, these folks may be having a bad moment, a bad day, a bad relationship, or a bad life. It doesn't matter. What matters is how you and I take it on and/or respond to it; and if our attitude is genuinely, authentically in a higher altitude zone of positivity, love, and compassion, then their actions, words, choices, behaviors will slide off us like an egg slides on Teflon, thus making the whole deal a non-issue unworthy of reaction, response, future discussion, recycling, or stewing over.

The key is recognizing it in those moments, and doing an altitude check. Having a healthy sense of self, and an astute self-awareness makes it easier. Changing one's altitude of attitude is about being self aware, recognizing when we are feeling hooked into the lower altitudes belonging to someone else. If we get hooked, we must own it, and take responsibility for it. More often than not, people place the blame, responsibility of their actions, behaviors, choices off onto another person or situation, using that as their excuse for an overreaction, poor management, poor behavior or hurtful words. No one is responsible for what we do, say or how we act but you and me, the one's doing it. No ifs, ands, or buts. We must also consciously consider the impetus of our choices, behaviors, actions, or in some cases, non-actions, and address what is at the root of it. Usually, it's fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, anger, abandonment, self-judgment and/or blame projected onto another when it's really one's own self-perception at an unconscious level.

Additionally, sweeping these things under a rug, pretending whatever happened didn't, and moving on in a “forgive and forget” (a cop-out from owning responsibility, learning lessons and gleaning wisdom) effort doesn't shift the altitude of attitude. Responsibility must be owned and addressed, whether it involves another person or whether it's a conversation with one self, or both.  This effort facilitates healing, so that as appropriate, apologies may be issued, feelings acknowledged, hurts forgiven, and lessons learned to facilitate the shift to a higher altitude of attitude and awareness. It's from this place clarity is achieved, so in moving forward, better choices are made to improve one's life, and ultimately, one's altitude of attitude.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

For My Valentine, Wherever He Is

Over the last few months, I've been developing a deeper relationship with myself, which also deepens my relationship with God, my Creator. The more I unconditionally love and accept myself, the greater and deeper my love for my Maker who felt me worthy of breath, as well as the deeper the well of endless love I have available for another. Loving and accepting oneself doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, and its through this personal and spiritual development that I deepen my love and acceptance for me. The deeper my love, the greater I am able to express God's love for everyone else, and especially for my Valentine.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I share with you a few quotes about true love, and my thoughts and wisdom to further expand upon these ideals. I use them as reminders, and to shift out of potential whiny self-pity parties common with singles. The quotes remind me I don't need a man in my life to fulfill or complete me (unlike Jerry McGuire's rationale). I do seek a man to experience and travel life together. These past fifteen years have been a journey of achieving this wisdom, experiencing trial and error, and finally becoming very selective in my dating choices. These quotes help me stay on track.

I want to love you, hold your hand, laugh at your jokes, walk by your side, look into your eyes, talk about whatever, and kiss your lips every single day. I love this quote because it reflects a relationship that is about the other person, rather than what we get out of it. Many times we date someone because we need something – to feel complete, to feel loved, to fill a void. Love is about giving, and in the giving, we receive. Unfortunately, many are uncomfortable receiving what we have to give, intimidated by the love we have to offer. My Valentine is open to receiving my love and my devotion.

Just like a shoe, if someone is meant for you, they will fit just perfectly. No forcing, no struggling, no pain. This quote is now my mantra for the dating experience because my past history and pattern has been to make it work, fit and happen. The struggle and pain mentioned above is reflected in worry, anxiety, apprehension and doubt, as well as the anticipation of the expected. When it feels natural, easy, graceful, you are in the flow of the experience. Relax and enjoy the moment while practicing non-attachment. Attachment has been my greatest enemy. I remember this quote when I start to shift into what the future looks like, so I may return to surrender and allow the dating process to simply unfold. If it's meant to be, it will happen.

Yes I'm single. You're gonna have to be amazing to change that. This quote reminds me not to settle for anything less than what I deserve. Guilty of this in the past, I won't let myself do it again; that's the selectivity I practice in dating. I posted this quote on Facebook recently with a tongue-in-cheek advertisement for my 2012 Valentine. It occurred to me this quote may scare men off, especially if they don't believe in themselves as having something amazing to offer to another woman. I'm a confident put-together woman who knows what she wants in life, and I need someone who is my equal in that. I've only met two men in my life who made me think, "yeah, I would consider marriage again" because I saw my equal in them. For their reasons alone, they bailed. I've been told my independence and confidence intimidates men, but I'm unwilling to renegotiate who I am for a man. I'm holding out for the one who believes he is worthy of the best I have to offer and to receive my love, just as I believe I am worthy of the best he has to offer and to receive his love.

For all singles out there, I invite you to consider celebrating V-Day and love for self and for others. The more willing we are to love ourselves, the greater our attract-ability of the one Beloved who is our match. If you don't love yourself, or treat yourself and others lovingly, you cannot foster or generate a loving relationship with The One.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Year, Right People

How's 2012 going for you? It's already the second week of February and I'm taking inventory of my efforts in achieving my goals for 2012. This time of the New Year tends to be when one's level of focus and commitment for making changes begins to wane as distractions takes place and discouragement sets in. To stay the course towards success, we must stop and reassess where we are, what we've accomplished, recalibrate our direction, and recommit ourselves in productively moving forward.

I set my mind to accomplish a number of things this year. I diligently conduct my daily meditation and prayer, especially on the weekends when I'd usually slack. Another simple but important goal is to nightly clean my face of makeup. Laziness often deterred me from healthy skincare, so I cleanse immediately upon arriving home after work. I also joined a gym and have managed two visits a week. Four times a week would be ideal but in reaching goals, we must acknowledge and celebrate the baby steps we take towards achieving that goal. We are not striving to be perfect overnight, but to gradually initiate change as we create a new habit. I made a decision to do more writing this year, and while its been a couple of weeks since my last entry, I averaged one blog entry a week in January. Now, I am writing a blog for work (Unique Bodies-Determined Souls) which is a huge thrill for me, so writing is definitely a commitment I'm honoring. I'm also infusing my financial life and am pleased to have already achieved one of four goals I set for this year! So as I sit and review my efforts over these last six weeks, I recognize I've accomplished more than I thought;  thus, the importance of regular reevaluation, recalibration of the course, and a re-commitment to the goals.

My dear friend Leah shared a beautiful article on New Year's Eve titled, Thirty Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.  Upon reviewing the list, I was tickled to see I've accomplished a majority of this list; but it's good to review and reassess how you are living your life. A few on the list I can stand to address, and another few I have accomplished but may need to improve on the tasks. I've decided to share one item on this list with you via Journey Wisdom over the next several months with a few words of personal wisdom you may or may not find of value. I learned I don't know it all but I know a lot through personal experience, and if I open myself to listen to others' words of wisdom gleaned from their own personal experiences, I may add a little something to my own wisdom treasure chest. After all, we are all in this life experience together; why not support each other and be supported in the journey? This first item is a humdinger, one of which I spent a better part of 2011 addressing.

Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.

As a part of my “reawakening” in 2011, I realized unhealthy connections with people. I regret none of them, but 2010 and 2011 was spent keeping company with people who were unsupportive of me being my best. We each have our own definition of what “wrong people” means to us, so here I focus on defining what the “right people" are for me. I spend time with people who honor, respect, and even value my opinions, ideas, and beliefs. These individuals don't have to agree with me but they allow me to speak my truth while having a mature, respectful dialogue to facilitate understanding without judgment or retribution. My “right people” handle disagreements and conflicts with maturity that includes calm productive discussion, an openness to see both sides of the argument, and like me, have a willingness, when appropriate, to concede responsibility and/or misunderstanding, rather than blame and make excuses. They recognize I authentically speak my mind and my truth, even if it isn't what they want to hear just as I will listen to them.   My “right people” know I will call them out on their crap, and that I do it because I love and care for them, otherwise I wouldn't waste my time, energy or breath. My “right people” are compassionate, open-minded, considerate of others, sensitive, loving, and live within integrity, character and honesty.  We contribute our best to our relationship, and we work through our worst together, rather than try to bring each other down into ugliness, drama and hatefulness. The people I associate with are reflections of who I am and my multifaceted personality, my character, my spirit, and my values. They are supportive, not destructive.

It may seem easier to stay in a relationship that brings us down than to expend the energy required to leave it. In removing myself from the “wrong people”, I experienced a backlash from those who were hurt by my decision, and a sorrow within stemming from my grief of the loss. I took the time I needed to get clear on who I am as a person, and who I want to surround myself with as a reflection of me and my values. Eliminating the wrong people in your life doesn't mean you wish them ill-will, but it's important you render forgiveness where its needed, including for yourself, and send them love and blessings each day.  As the photo quote above says, If someone makes you more miserable than they make you happy, it doesn't matter how much you love them, you need to let them go.