Tag: Life

Stop giving people permission to hurt your feelings.

I believe that adults who have experienced some of the worst life has to offer-whether it be in their personal, professional, or even spiritual lives—know that things will not always go their way and people will disappoint. Most times, people are only looking out for themselves or they associate with you because of what you can do for them. Pragmatism ain’t always pretty. The problem many of us have is accepting this reality. Truth is, when things do not go as we expected or people hurt us, we are not so much angry at the offenders for revealing who they are; we want to kick ourselves because they are not who we wanted them to be.

The need for validation is debilitating. There is a big difference between valuing the opinions of those we trust and who have our best interests at heart, and needing your boss, your friend, your mate to approve everything you do for your accomplishments to matter. That is an emotional vice-grip that will ultimately choke the life out of you. To give anyone that much power over your feelings and your reason for being is tantamount to selling your soul to a buyer who will never appreciate (nor care about) its value. It’s a waste of your time and effort.

Never surrender who you are, what you achieve, what you are capable of to the care of others. Own your individuality, what you create and the magnificent person you are destined to be. People cannot take what is wholly and unquestionably yours. No one can rearrange the steps God has ordered. Master becoming confident, independent, determined, and downright fearless. Stop throwing the word friend, sister, brother, “ride-or-die” around arbitrarily. Everyone has not earned those titles. Know the difference between a true friend, acquaintance, co-worker. Be careful who you allow in your circle.

No, it will not be easy. But it is possible and it is necessary if you are ever going to be free. You may bend, you may even crack, but your innate strength (much of which may be untapped) will never allow you to shatter or break beyond repair.

There are people in your life who genuinely care about you. They are the ones who are present when you are doing well and they are the ones who come through when you hit rock bottom. The others, just happen to share the same air. Never make them the breath of life.

Note the difference.

Life Is Not Complicated, Protests Are

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    There are certain issues I do not comment on because no matter my opinion, or how “right” I think I am, or how many facts I present to support my reasoning one thing is certain: the people who disagreed with me before my impassioned arguments will likely disagree with me long after I make my case. And that would bother me IF I were trying to convince people to see my side. I am not. I would be offended IF I needed people to validate my opinions. I do not. I am perfectly content knowing what I know, believing what I believe, and doing what I need to do to stand up for my convictions. Furthermore, I respect anybody who does the same, whether I agree with their point of view or not. Anyone who can express their unwavering, thoughtful, righteous support of any cause should be admired, not vilified. In a society where you are rarely sure what side of the fence people stand on, the ones who plant their feet firmly on committed soil represent a resolute minority more of us should emulate.

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    For over a year, Colin Kaepernick has been that “minority”. For most of that time, he fought the battle alone; wordless; silent, save an explanation or two detailing why he chose this course of action.

    “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said, via NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    As of this writing, he has declined interviews, refused to rebut criticism and refrained from engaging in mindless Twitter wars. He is adamant that this is not about him and insists that this demonstration is bigger than football. His fight remains reticent while his actions ignite the vociferous fury of those who view his actions as dishonorable, disrespectful, and self-serving. And as a proud U.S. veteran who fought for the freedom Mr. Kaepernick now exercises I do not understand what the uproar is about. I’m inclined to believe his opponents do not either. I’m referring to those opponents who use the same freedom to demand the man’s head be served on a platter; opponents who use the very liberty he is being condemned for to call him (and fellow NFL players) “sons of bitches” and other crude appellations. It is the epitome of hypocrisy to crucify a man using the same nails you accuse him of driving into the U.S flag. How can anyone justify denouncing what they perceive as hate and irreverence, with hate and irreverence? Silent protesters against violence and social inequities impugned by adversaries spewing vitriol. Make this make sense.

    Even though he remains a lightning rod for profane attacks his willingness to compromise (not submit) is ignored. No one talks about the fact that in September Kaepernick met with former Green Beret and brief NFL long snapper Nate Boyer. After the discussion Kaepernick decided to shift from sitting to taking a knee during the anthem, saying “We were talking to [Boyer] about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from fighting for our country, but keep the focus on what the issues really are. And as we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee. Because there are issues that still need to be addressed and it was also a way to show more respect to the men and women who fight for this country.” (Source: SBNATION). If we are going to denounce his intentions, tell the whole story.

    Colin Kaepernick is one man who, despite the risks (to his career, personal life and reputation), took a knee to protest the pervasive social injustices that has eroded the very fabric of civilized society. How many people can say the same? How many of those who stand in judgment of Kaepernick (and who agree with him) can say they are willing and ready to take the same risk for the cause? I personally will never ask anyone to do something I would not do myself. I also will not criticize someone for doing anything I have not.

    On Sunday, September 24, 2017 — after the NFL came under fire by the forty-fifth President of the United States, Donald J. Trump — over 200 of Kaepernick’s sports comrades joined him in his protest as a show of solidarity. After over a year of  silently protesting

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    (largely by himself) to raise awareness about the dangerous plight of black men and women in our country, Kaepernick’s “voice” resonates; his purpose amplified by the boorish comments of the commander in chief and those who echo his dissent. Ultimately, it should not matter what catalyst sparked such widespread support. I’m just happy the dialogue has begun in earnest. It remains to be seen how long this united front will last and what, if anything, it will achieve. I do know when all is said and done, we must never forget that through it all (the name calling, the judgment, and the risks), Colin Kaepernick was never afraid to stand alone; he never faltered in his pursuit to address social injustice around the country. And for that I will always respect him.

Life Is Not Complicated, bad behavior does not get a pass….

This is a little out of the ordinary for me. I do my best to avoid ever writing about topics that are too subjective or personal. There is nothing worse than a blogger who exploits the keyboard just to sound off on some judgmental rant. This does not do anyone any good. As a writer I respect the power of words.

DSC_1525However, over the past few weeks, people very close to me have asked how I am able to remain so resilient in the face of the adversity I face each day (and have faced throughout my life). And I am not just talking about passing acquaintances. These are men and women who are very dear to me… who trusted me enough with their concerns and their pain and who really wanted to know, how I cope. Look, I am not a superhero by any stretch. I am no better than the next person and I will never pretend to be. Things bother me, I get offended, I get disappointed and I find myself praying for strength. But no matter what is going on in my life; no matter what hurts me, causes me to be irritated, angry, disappointed… no matter what takes me to that negative head-space, I always make a conscious decision NOT to live there. I refuse to stay where I am unhappy. I refuse to engage people whose sole purpose is to aggravate me. I refuse to dwell on what is going wrong, what didn’t get done, who is saying or thinking what about me. I’m just not going to do it. And neither should you. Because while you are sitting there, stomach in knots, head pounding, stressed out, not eating, worrying about what “they” are doing, “they” are pretty much just doing themselves. Not thinking about you. At all. So basically, the only one hurting is you. Is it really worth it? You have so much life to live. You have children, relationships, aging parents, bills, dreams. Why compromise your time and energy on people or circumstances you either (A) can’t do anything about or (B) don’t have your best interest at heart? I mean think about it… Once you get past the emotional aspects of your discontent, and focus on the reality, chances are you will realize you are wasting precious time.

I am not saying it’s easy, I am saying it’s necessary! Granted, I was raised this way. My parents and grandparents did not tolerate Carlos In the Archway Let Goidle thoughts or behavior. If the action did not have a purpose or lead you in a positive direction, their feeling was “why bother?” This is how I was built. This is why I refuse to fail. This is what I want for my friends and my family. While I do not always understand the source of their pain, I hate to see them in pain. One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t let a bad day make you feel that you are having a bad life”. Yes, you will get angry, frustrated and sad. Just don’t stay there. People will disappoint, hurt, irritate, test and upset you. Don’t stay there. Plans will fall through, projects take longer than you anticipated; that outfit looked better on the mannequin than it does on you but it is too late because the event is an hour ago and you have no time to buy a new outfit (yes, this was a crisis, and I had to help talk someone off the ledge behind this one!) Take a deep breath, exhale, wear that outfit like it was tailored for YOU, and don’t stay there. Accept that you will not always deal with situations with polished sophistication (Ahem) but trust that you have the power and exercise the will to improve how you cope.

I am not preaching, judging or berating. I am sharing a life lesson that has gotten me through some of the toughest challenges. Take your life back from people, thoughts, issues, actions that should not lay claim to your happiness. You have the power to do so, you just have to believe it and claim it. Life Is Not Complicated…. We are.

Life Is Not Complicated

Life Is Not Complicated, appreciate every single day…

Best-Spiritual-Practices-For-Awakening-VideoMy Dad used to tell me not to wish my life away by praying it was Friday, or wishing for a day that was a ways off. Great advice. So many of us don’t take the time to appreciate the moment, the day, the experience (good or bad). In “Life Is Not Complicated” I talk a great deal about not letting the challenges of life make you lose sight of the meaning of life. And I don’t just mean the major tragedies. Understandably, loss in any capacity, will shake you to the core. And neither I, nor anyone else has the right to tell you how to feel or how to cope. However, I’m also referring to the little annoyances that make us wish a day would just “end”. Bad work day, minor disagreements, kids misbehaving, unexpected expenses… I get it. Any and all of the above could have us wishing for the moment on Monday when we can say TGIF! Don’t lose sight of the blessing of the moment. No matter what, look to your friends, pastor, priest, even family to encourage and support you and let you know while it may seem insurmountable at the time…your life, your today, your moment still matters. One of my favorite quotes is, “What if you woke up today with only the things you gave thanks for yesterday?” It’s all about perspective.

I woke up this morning and I gave thanks for my life, despite the emptiness I feel at the absence of my parents and grandparents. Despite the fact that in the last month I have lost dear loved ones, and in the past three weeks I have had some issues with my publishing company which have resulted in the delay of hundreds of books reaching eager buyers. I have my obstacles and my moments too. That is one of- if not the most- important message I will ever convey about this book. I am not perfect. My upbringing was not perfect, my life was (and is) certainly not perfect. I would never try to portray myself as some foremost authority on life or facing challenges. However, through my personal experiences, growth, relationships and desire not to let my life become meaningless or a drag, I developed a coping method that works for me. I can attest to the fact that overcoming is indeed possible; standing strong, possible; persevering possible; becoming better no matter what your circumstance or the opinions of others, possible.

Nothing in life is promised. Each day is a valuable opportunity to play an important role in this world. Treat each moment like it’s the performance of a lifetime; approach every show like it’s your first, respect it as if you’ve invested years, appreciate it like it’s your last. ~Life Is Not Complicated, You Are