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I was much more tolerant and a lot less frustrated with life when I followed a good friend’s advice. She said, “Quit expecting others to be like you.”

When I took this advice to heart, I realized, that I probably cared too much. I cared about what other people thought, I tried to please, and I ended up falling short and rarely having any time for myself.

I remember that in college, I became “dorm queen” and was voted, “Miss Clark Hall.” In high school, I wasn’t popular because I was too shy. Yet, college was an all-important opportunity to shine and become popular. That didn’t go over very well, as “friends” infringed on my time, called at all hours, and wouldn’t take “no” to go and do things with them. I ended up being put on academic probation as a sophomore at NTSU in Denton, Texas. I tried to be “everything to everybody” and the person who suffered the most was myself.

Even as a young mother, I did little for myself. I was always there for my family and extended family. It took me a long time to realize that if I didn’t care for myself, no one would. I now get regular massages, walk, eat right, and get plenty of sleep. It took me nearly 40-some-odd years to realize this.

When I hear someone tell me they are in an unhealthy relationship, I can certainly relate to that. I stayed in one for almost two decades. I wised up and wish I had done so 16 years earlier. I believe my self confidence kept me there as a prisoner and now, I would NEVER tolerate anything even remotely similar.

Life is a series of stages and phases. We move through each as best as we can, and the important thing is that we grow while doing so. If you don’t learn and keep repeating harmful patterns, you are small, and you’ll wither inside. Each of us has the capacity to be strong, mentally and physically. If we aren’t we’re letting ourselves down. Cheating the very fiber of our beings. Don’t be angry at the situation and keep living it. Get out and start new. It’s not as difficult as you might think.

If something isn’t right with your world, you have the power to change it. Don’t look to another person for your happiness. It has to come from within. When you are good for yourself, others will be attracted to that. The friends you’ll have will want to see you prosper. Negativity has no place in a healthy person’s life. It’s the most hampering attitude one can cultivate.

The finest thing that we can bestow on others is to thrive, be full of grace, happiness and give back whenever we can. When an integral piece of the puzzle is missing, the person is no longer whole, yet fractured. I aim for being whole. As a work in progress, I continue to crawl towards completeness. I hope I’m afforded the time.

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