Letting go doesn’t mean loving less

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At times, it feels like our journey through this one life is fraught with trials and setbacks more so than smooth sailing. Times when we could use an encouraging word, a hug or a shoulder on which to cry. A friend of mine is going through such a time and, earlier this week—despite my attempt to practice mindfulness (see ‘A month of mindfulness…’)—I allowed frustration over a situation out of my control to instead control my tongue. Unfortunately, this resulted in words spouted off between us, words that stung, words that could not be retracted. And, ultimately, a falling out. Although I tried to right it, the damage had been done and I realized the only thing I could do was to let go. To give my friend space. It doesn’t mean I love any less; it means I love enough to allow someone else to take my place. To pick up where I left off.

How do you know when it’s time to let go?

Photo courtesy of usamedeniz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Lean on me: finding a balance between solitude and fellowship

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I usually hike alone, using the space to reconnect with nature, to work up a sweat and to pray. This past weekend, however, I joined a group of ladies for an unhurried trek in the mountains and I gleaned a few observations along the way: 1) Circumstances might require us to slow down and come alongside others who need encouragement or a helping hand; 2) When is oftentimes less important than how we reach our destinations and 3) Although I enjoy my alone time, I believe humanity was created for fellowship and that two (or more) are better than one: if I fall, someone will be there to pick me up. Whether I fall in the literal or metaphorical sense, my friends are there to lend a hand, a hug or a compassionate ear. It’s good to enjoy our own company, it’s better to surround ourselves with a reliable tribe and it’s best to find a balance between the two.

How do you balance alone time with companionship?

Photo courtesy of Yelloo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

(Re)writing your story: happily-ever-now

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If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
~ Mo Willems

Everything we might’ve been taught says running away isn’t the solution. That we should look adversity in the face and show it we’re stronger. But what about when quitting means leaving a situation where we’ve tried over and over yet nothing changes? In her post, “You’re Allowed to Leave,” Rania Naim invites us to let toxic friends go, to surround ourselves with love—people who encourage and nurture us—and to pick the kind of energy we need in our lives. “You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes and you’re allowed to be kind to yourself, you’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.” Leaving might not mean physically. Letting go could simply mean releasing ourselves from the expectations of others and those expectations we’ve adopted as our own. Don’t wait for Someday to be happy. Be happy now.

What does your happily-ever-now look like?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Social networking: checking in and out

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Social networking

Social media can be a time waster, yet it has its place. I use various forms to maintain contact with family and friends, as well as promote my writing and sprinkle encouragement. And, social media is how I keep up-to-date as far as world events. But I can’t count the number of times I get sucked into the drama, the recipes and book reviews, music and cat videos, the goofy memes and even the political harangues. Yet I like feeling as if I’m part of something bigger than myself. Plus, I’m thankful for the people I’ve reconnected with, and for instantaneous communications—although not always a good thing when you feel compelled to respond immediately to a text or a private message. I think, like with most things, setting aside allotted time—particularly to check in and catch up on Facebook, email, texting, Twitter, etc.—might be one answer to rein in the day-to-day distractions and simplify life.

Where does social networking fall on your list of distractions?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When life isn’t perfect

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I think I can

Whether you think you can,
or you think you can’t,
you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

My life isn’t perfect. Surprise! However, when I publicize on social media or speak to others, I attempt to post or express words of affirmation and encouragement. Because a positive, can-do attitude is one that builds up, rather than tears down. Especially when life isn’t perfect. This doesn’t suggest I’m less than genuine or true to myself, but it can sometimes be misleading. Yet I choose to speak life in a society that is consumed with hate and greed. After all, if we attract what we focus on, it makes sense to choose the good things. And that’s just it: it begins with a choice. Not only that, it’s easier to win over the people around us with a smile or kind word than with a complaint or angry look. Plus—even if it’s not a good day, there’s always something good in every day.

What kind of life do you portray to others?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Asking for help

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Asking for help

[Image credit: digitalart]

Asking for help is not something that comes naturally to me. For example, at work I’ll routinely wait until I’m drowning in deadlines before raising my hand and begging for a lifeline. And after four weeks of suffering through labored breathing and laryngitis, I finally saw the doctor for help managing my allergies and asthma. When I am unable to work through something on my own, I feel like a failure, although I know that is the furthest thing from the truth. When we acknowledge our need, we validate our humanness and connectedness with the world outside ourselves. I think we’re inherently designed to help others carry their load and vice versa. It draws us closer and, I believe, ultimately strengthens us for the task at hand. Who doesn’t want to feel needed … valued … worthy? Even an encouraging word may make all the difference in the world to someone who doubts their ability to tackle a mountain.

Is there someone who could use your help today?

When only up close and personal will do

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[Image credit: photostock]

Technology and its ability to keep us connected 24/7 has been a lifesaver for me.  I honestly don’t know that I would have adjusted as well to a cross-country move a dozen years ago without email and mobile phones, and since then Facebook, texts and Skype.  But no amount of technology can “fix it” when you want nothing more than to be face-to-face during something as simple as a celebration, or as complicated as an unexpected hospitalization.  Updates still travel back and forth via satellite, but no amount of technology can make up for a message conveyed only through the human touch, or even a look that speaks volumes.  Right now I find myself in a place where I desire to provide support and comfort to a close friend going through a difficult time — while knowing my hands are tied.  And I feel helpless and a bit lost even as I offer up words of love and encouragement.  I know my friend understands and would feel the same way were the situation reversed.  I just wish things could be different.

Are distance or logistics preventing you from being up close and personal?