Tag Archives: grace

Dog Eat Dog

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Dog Eat Dog

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”—Malcolm S. Forbes.

Like most animals, a dog will attack another dog when it feels threatened. Out of fear, people turn on one another. They fight for position, power, and validation. They reason out their undignified actions and justify their shady behavior. Leaving behind collateral damage, many people will do whatever it takes to make it to the top of their field. However, there are people out there who do not just look out for themselves; people who desire to be good at something but are not willing to take advantage of others. It is in the heart of most people to act out of integrity. Maybe we should start asking ourselves how can we protect others and still achieve our goals?

Being narcissistic by nature, we are typically self-serving. “What do I get out of this?” “What personal gain or benefit is there for me?” In the midst of pursuing life, liberty, and happiness  we must come face to face with worth and value. This includes our societal view, personal view, and world view. Insecurities stem from poor self image. It is not modesty or humility. This actually comes from negative self perception. First we must come to a healthy understanding of, “I am important.” Second, we must deal with the value of life in general and understand that “Other people are important.”  The conflict arises when we don’t know how to serve the needs of others while also attending to our own.

It becomes essential for us to push past the uncomfortably that comes from communicating about what is going on inside of us.
We do not have the right to blame others for our choices. Even in the face of peer pressure, ultimately we are responsible for our actions. Owning our decisions also allows for us to have grace to make mistakes. Doing this while living with other impephect people can be trying at times. It can be a lot of work, however, the benefits for everyone is tremendous.

Having children I see first hand the effects of egocentric behavior:

“Me first.”

“No me!”

“Hey, what about me?!?”

“Me, me, me!!!”

As our children grow, my husband and I are consciously teaching them how to take personal responsibility for their choices, including their actions. We are guiding them to operate in self-control. We teach them to tell themselves what to do and not try to control other people. We are instilling values for freedom and individuality. We are purposefully cultivating the celebration of each other. We want them to appreciate being in relationship with powerful people while also recognizing they are a powerful person themselves. The “I am better than you” mentality, or the “You are better than me,” has got to go. We use the phrase, “I am amazing just the way I am,” and “My best is good enough.” We want them to know that while we as people can always hone our craft and develop as people we can also be okay with where we are in process.

My husband and myself intentionally highlight the harms of comparing ourselves to others. We seek to remove jealousy between our children and others by focusing on gratefulness, building self-confidence, and a nurturing a personal  relationship with God rather than a religion full of rules. Our hope is that as our kids grow and mature they will get their identity from Him and not from what they believe others think about them.

As adults we need courage and wisdom to engage in “Brave Communication”. We need to risk rejection and let others know what is going on in our hearts as well as in our heads. We’ve got to get real. The security of being known takes vulnerability. It takes honesty; beginning with ourselves. It takes work. It can be hard, time consuming, and exhausting, yet, it is tremendously rewarding. What we fail to recognize is it takes just as much energy to bury our feelings as it does to deal with them.

In the midst of this we need to be careful not to tell others about them. This is called judgement. We assume we know the why’s and the motives of others, so we shove our judgements down their throat. We use deductive reasoning, we read body language, we listen to both verbal cues, and watch for non-verbal communications. All in all, we take the information we have gathered and observed, and after we process it we arrogantly think we know the heart and mind of someone else. We usually do not ask clarifying questions because they are awkward and uncomfortable. Instead we project on them our perspective, paradigm, and personal filters.

Growing in identity is the most important thing we can do as people. When we spend time with God we learn about His nature and character. We have nothing to prove to anyone. We don’t have to listen to introspective criticisms. We can ask Him what He thinks about us. Then we can either continue to believe a lie about ourselves as in the movie Freedom Writers, or we can change patterns, gain confidence, and prosper in life. Others may try to drag you back down like crabs in a barrel because it exposed the deep insecurities in their own hearts. Despite this we can learn to celebrate the success of others with sincere joy and also position ourselves to achieve our greatest potential.

Hopefully, as we grow in the knowledge of who we are, we will create a safe place for others to do the same. May we inspire people to be confident without becoming prideful. May we learn to be more assertive as that is where we have the most to gain. We do not have to become aggressive and run rough shod over others. We do not need to be passive and sacrifice our hearts or play martyrs either. Most certainly, we must be very conscious of becoming passive aggressive. We can’t pretend everything is okay when it isn’t: “I have no needs, no wants, and no dreams and only others are important”. Then we talk behind each others backs. We make sarcastic, cutting comments, and we undermine the core of relationships in general.

We get so concerned we will be taken advantage of. We do not wait until something occurs to a deal with a situation. We sabotage our success before we begin.  We are so afraid we will not get recognition that we draw negative attention to ourselves. We are so worried we will not get what we think we deserve that we rob ourselves from receiving honor when it is due. We get so wrapped up in others mishandling the relationship we don’t actually put forth the effort to have one.

Serving the vision of others can keep us in a place of humility. We do not all have to be missionaries to take care of one other. We just need to make people matter. We can do this by putting our money where our mouth is, our time where our social injustice passion is, or by tending to the needs and desires of another. Learning how to put people first, not exploit others for personal gain, and not live in a constant state of self-protection, takes self-respect. As a defense mechanism people hoard money, food, or random items. This is a sign of a wrong core belief. It is caused from a root of an unsafe psychological perspective. To counter this behavior in our children, we have adopted the philosophy of giving out of who we are. We choose to be generous no matter what. It does not come out of overflow and it is especially not used to manipulate.

What do you really want and what are you willing to do to get it? Blending dreams with vision is vital. Wisdom, rational, and faith are required to see the magnificent become reality. Being intentional about the direction you are headed in life and enjoying the journey in the meantime will make your traveling much more pleasant. It will also keep you focused, allow for you to navigate the turbulent waters of life, and get calibrated if you veer off course.

Don’t get me wrong. I want it all. The thing is, what I am willing to sacrifice to get it? Unlike Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization which is self seeking, self-serving, and self-focused, this way of life seeks first what is right, what is true, and the betterment of mankind. This is when we will truly get what is ours, others get theirs and more. Wholeness will manifest as you are satisfied mind, body, and soul. Being a leader is about serving not demanding. As in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” your wants will be met in the most unexpected way, because who you are will not go unnoticed.

We have the ability as humans to change our patterns of behavior. We have the ability to change how we have gone about things in the past and we have the ability to make different choices from now on. We can go from dog eat dog, to becoming companions who know how to live with strong and powerful beings.

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Naughty or Nice

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The Christmas spirit is all about believing the best in people. Atheists, agnostics, and Christians alike surround themselves with hope and joy. It is a time when we celebrate humanity, the gift of life, the gift of a savior, and the gift of acceptance. Somehow we belong to a bigger picture. It is a greatness that bonds us together. We see fit to forgive and we desire goodness and grace be extended to all mankind. Even grumpy, ill tempered, self-centered old mister Scrooge is worthy of yet another chance.

It would behoove us all to believe in the goodness of others all of the time. If we genuinely treat others how we want to be treated, adhere to our values, and allow for grace, more often than not we will win. Constantly worrying and fretting over what bad people may or may not do and dwelling on the “what if’s” of the unknown is tormenting. If we take responsibility for our own actions we only have to be concerned about what we offer to this world. We can be kind because it is who we are, not because others deserve it. We can show love because we carry love, not because others demand it. We can show respect because we respect ourselves, not because others earned it.

Living from a place of peace reproduces peace on earth. When we extend goodwill and mercy to those who have known very little, our reward is eternal. Walking in freedom rather than control cultivates honor. We can believe in the goodness and sincerity of others because we believe in the goodness and sincerity in ourselves. It is our jobs to communicate our hearts, our needs, our feelings. It is our job to manage ourselves, to tell ourselves how to act, behave, and what thoughts to discards and which to meditate on.

Many live in a regular state of fretting over when and how others will eventually hurt, disappoint, betray, or simply let us down. Most of us do not even realize the arrogant self-preservation mode we are living in.  Taking up the power to judge people before they have even done anything wrong not only validates our distrust in humanity, (which not only proves us “right”) it also keeps us separated, self-righteous, and prideful. We do not give people a chance to fail. Thereby, we do not give people the chance to grow and clean up their own mess. How can someone get on the nice list if we automatically default them to the naughty?

Someone’s past does not define them. Many people have made mistakes and change for the better. Our future is not written. Patterns of behavior can change if we introduce new opportunities, new circumstances, and choices beyond our current box. Predictions are only that… predictions. They are not fact. They are not fate. They are not predestined, and they are open to faulty interpretations and misguided discernment. Even the Mayans, in all of their “wisdom”, got it wrong. For far too long people have used threats, intimidation, and manipulation to experience feelings of safety. We are too focused on external things such as behavior and performance.

We can change people’s actions for mere moments with scare tactics, but it is when we connect with people’s hearts that they will be changed forever.  It is when we place value on the internal and unseen riches such as love and acceptance that people truly flourish. When people know they are not required to be perphect to be worthy, they will know they are good enough by simply being themselves. We will come to find more people on the nice list if we would stop trying to be what we think everyone else wants us to be and just concentrate on being us.

In the Spirit of  the season, may this next year bring new perspectives. May we shift our paradigms. May we take down our defense mechanisms and live on the happy side of offense. May we show people love without fear, grace without conditions, and transparency without shrewdness.

Merry Christmas to all and the Happiest of New years. May 2013 be the best surprise you’ve ever experienced!


Inside

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“Inside”

She may dance and sing and twirl inside.
She may laugh and giggle and not be shy inside.
She is silly, frilly, and smiley inside.
She is wild and free and delighted inside.
She is comfort, warm, and mild inside.
She is love, innocence, and pretty inside.
She is adventurous, ambitious, and a fighter inside.
She is protective, fearless, and exciting inside.
She is hope,
she is joy,
she is life inside.
Her hair is down, her arms arms are open, her eyes are bright inside.
She is glory and humor, she is splendor and cheer, she is elegant and clear,
Inside.
She is beauty, she is desire, she is mystery inside.
Soft as satin, and smooth like silk,
Her face is glowing, and her skin like milk…inside.

She is passion, she is sweet, she is stubborn, she is meek.
She can roar like thunder and pour like rain.
She can light up a room and dye like stain.
She is tender, she is wise, she’s a fun-filled surprise.
She is radiant, courageous, and fire…inside.

She has wings to fly…inside.

She is time in a bottle and make moments last forever inside.
She is fanciful, dainty, and quiet inside.
She is a walking contradiction and simple as a clear blue sky;
She is spontaneous, outrageous, and committed inside.
She is thoughtful, thought provoking, and thought of inside.
She is daring, risk-taking, and calculative inside.
She embodies grace, displays poise, and excels at posture,
Inside.
She is strong, she is rested, she is exuberant inside.
She is observant, careful, and trusting inside.
She’s a dreamer, a seeker, and a climber inside.
She is smart, intelligent, educated inside.
She’s a rainbow, a cloud, a pot of gold inside.
She is faithful, stable, and devoted inside.
She is the world’s best story ever told inside.

She is me and I am her, but to truly live
I must let her out and no longer hide her…
Inside.


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