There are billions of people on earth…even more I believe, than we can actually count. These billions of people are made up of different ethnicities, races, genders, ages, heights, weights, and the list could continue on forever. Somehow though, we don’t always seem to realize just how unique we are. We don’t realize that our genetic makeup, our history, our experiences, etc, make us radically different from every other living, breathing organism on earth. Instead of realizing that we are different, we strive to be like everyone else. We want to wear the same clothes that someone else has on, or we want to be popular in the same way that someone else is popular. What we forget though is that the person we are striving so hard to be like had a different set of circumstances that made them the person that they are. When did it get to the point where it is no longer alright to be unique and different from anyone else? When did it become a necessity to be like someone else? There’s nothing wrong with admiring someone or taking what someone else does and adapting it to your own style…but there has to be a balance. I used to admire everyone else so much, and my actions and style used to imitate that of those around me. I didn’t have my own style. I didn’t know what I actually liked. I figured that if I could just look like or act like that person I admired so much, then I too would be admired by others. I had to get to a point though where I had to discover what it is about me that makes me special. What do I like to do and how do I like to dress? What am I called to do in life? What can I do that no one else can do just like me? This is not to say that I stopped admiring others, but I discovered who I really am rather than who I was based on who others were around me. I stopped allowing others to dictate my actions and my thoughts, realizing that I had thoughts of my own. I discovered that I have my own unique flair and “flavor”. I discovered that I am ok with not being like everyone else. I also discovered that there are people around me who need me to be the person I am rather than who I was trying to be. I have learned what it means to be secure in one’s own skin–and I like it. It took a lot to get to this place, and the journey continues each day, but it is necessary for us to discover just who we are. The world needs our particular “flavor” in order to function. If we all become the same this world would be a boring place. So be you…however quirky that may be…however interesting that may be…however “unusual” that may be…there is no one else in the world that can be you better than you can be you…
Don’t laugh at me, but I have to tell you that today’s post came from watching The Little Mermaid“. I wasn’t watching it by myself in my defense (even though it is a pretty cute movie). I was babysitting a colleague’s little girl. Either way, I was watching the part where Ariel made a deal with the Sea Witch Ursula to become human for three days in order to win the love of Eric (the human prince). I watched as Ariel naively signed her name to a contract that she had not read, and Ariel conveniently forgot that Ursula was a witch so not likely to keep up her end of the bargain. For Ariel though it was worth it. I began to think about how we do similar things in order to get something that we see as worth it. In essence we sign away our conscience, our sanity, etc, in order to obtain something that we see as “better”. Ariel’s tale was idyllic in nature–it was possible because it was a cartoon. We are in real life. If we see something that we think we want, we sometimes give up everything to get it thinking that our lives will be so much better when we get to the other side; What we do not realize though is that sometimes what we are giving up is worth more than that which we are seeing on the other side. We forge ahead, believing that it’ll all be worth it–not foreseeing the trouble and trials that may await us. In rare instances, it may be worth it to push forward with single-minded determination, but we need to understand when we should do that and when we should be content with all that we already have. We are fooled into thinking that we can make rash decisions and it’ll all play out as we want in the end. Don’t be fooled…most of the time it’s worth it to appreciate what you have.
Yesterday was a tough day…I’ll admit it. It seemed like everything came at me at once. I had a few hick-ups regarding business ideas. I had some personal things going on that made me just want to go into my own secret closet, shut the door, and pretend that no one would know I was missing. I was feeling lost and lonely, and part of me just wanted to give up and quit everything that I had endeavored to do up to that point. I could sit here and say that everything just miraculously turned around and got better the minute I decided that enough was enough–but that would not be the truth. I could tell you that something popped into my head and told me that I needed to push through all the feelings and thoughts–but that too would not be the truth. Instead, this morning I found myself smiling-for no real reason at all. Nothing had changed yet. What I was faced with yesterday I still had to deal with today, but I was smiling. Imagine my surprise when I felt my lips curve and my eyes light up, knowing that the last thing I felt like doing was smiling. Something within me, though, would not allow me to remain sad and feeling lonely. It is amazing what something so simple as a smile will do to your countenance. Though the situation remained the same, my outlook brightened simply because I was able to smile. I smile because even though the situations are still the same, things are not as bad as they could be. I smile because I know that what is going on right now has no choice but to get better. I smile because someone else needs my smile to feel better themselves. Something so simple, yet poignant, like a smile will change your life.
It’s been a while since I last wrote…there’s been a lot going on but I could not go another day without writing. Over the last couple of days I have been extremely focused with a goal in mind, so I have been working toward that goal. In working towards that goal I began to think about all the things that I have accomplished in life so far, a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, getting married and staying married for the past three years, beginning my writing career, etc. I am extremely thankful that with God’s help I have been able to accomplish all of these things. I also began to think about the people who I have around me in my corner who root for me daily. For a long time I struggled with trying to make everyone like me, and trying to make up to others for mistakes that I may have made, but I came to realize that you can’t force anyone to love or forgive you. You cannot force someone to believe that you are truly sorry for what you may have done that hurt, offended, angered, whatever the case, that person. Instead of trying to gain a bevy of friends, sometimes we have to take a step back and look at those who are standing with us still–those who have loved us in spite of our mess ups, those who have seen us at our worse, and those who still choose to love us. If we stop and take a look around, we will see that we are surrounded by these people who are a silent force pushing us towards our goals–a cheering squad if you will. Regardless of if you have one friend or 100 friends, that one friend can be worth the 100 friends. Be thankful for who you have in your life. True friendship and love is one of life’s greatest treasures. Cherish it when you find it.
Why is it so hard for us to smile sometimes? Is it because someone spoke to us the wrong way? Is it because it seems that nothing is going right in our lives? Or maybe it’s because we see no reason to smile. I’ve used all of these reasons, so believe me I understand…and not everything is going right in my life right now, but I have decided that regardless I will smile. Even when it hurts, I’ll smile. Things may not change overnight, and things may actually get worse, but still smile. It’s so easy to frown, but interesting fact that I found out recently…it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile-so why not exercise the smile muscles more than the frown. In the midst of all the craziness going on in our lives, we have to be able to find some modicum of joy that we can capitalize on. I look at that small piece of joy like a kernel of popcorn. As a kernel of popcorn the seed is seemingly insignificant, but when you place the kernel in a tight place that is hot and dangerous, then the kernel becomes something appealing. From a seemingly hard place comes a delicious piece of popcorn. If we have even a small kernel of joy, that joy can become explosive and appealing to others. Joy can be contagious. So start with a smile expressing joy that can only be found on the inside of you. Before long, others will want to have a piece of “popcorn” too. Smile…it looks good on you.
It’s another day…and there’s so much to do…but it’ll get done in due time. I just had to take a moment and write because this is what I do. I was sitting and thinking to myself about all the times I have encouraged others and then when I needed them to be there to encourage me they were nowhere to be found. I don’t blame them for not being there…I don’t fault them. Maybe they are busy or maybe they just had other things on their mind. Either way, it doesn’t matter why and it no longer matters that they didn’t encourage me. What I began thinking about today is that I need to be active in encouraging myself. Sometimes we can be so complacent when it comes to encouraging ourselves–we hesitate out of a misplaced sense of humility-or we get so down because someone else is not telling us what we may want to hear. There comes a point though when regardless of our surroundings, and regardless of what anyone else may do, we need to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves that we are awesome, amazing, incredible, intelligent, beautiful, or whatever other descriptive words we can use to describe ourselves. Sometimes all it takes is for us to be able to truly see ourselves for the priceless treasure that we are. Then we’ll be able to accept it when no one encourages us because we’ve already encouraged ourselves. Even in the midst of crazy situations where we just want someone to come and hold our hand, but no one comes, we will be able to stop and look at ourselves telling ourselves that all is well. One of the greatest things we can accomplish in our lives is being confident in who we are and knowing that if no one else will see our value, then we must see the value in ourselves. So go ahead; you have my permission–say something nice to yourself about yourself. Repeat it until you believe it. You’ll feel better soon.
Today is one of those days where I’m extremely tired and I would rather be home in my bed, but I still had to get up early to go to work. I got to work and wanted to turn around and go back home, but I made up my mind that today is still going to be a great day. I began working on some things that I needed to take care of for the week, and I looked over my calendar, and wanted to crawl under my desk and pretend that I was on vacation (can’t you hear the waves in the Bahamas…sigh). No matter what I was feeling I had to snap myself out of my daydream and reconcile myself to the fact that there is work to be done presently and that people are depending on me to do what I am responsible for doing. Though I may want to hide under the covers at home or hide under the desk at work, there is still work to be done. Many of us dread going to work on Monday and look forward to the weekend, but some of us still have a plethora of things to take care of on the weekends due to all that we do during the week–and so the cycle continues. However, though we may not have a spare moment to breathe, there are times when we just have to keep pushing. In these times we may get weak and we may want to just throw in the towel, but we have to keep going. If the responsibility was given to us then we are strong enough to handle whatever comes our way. It all comes down to our mindset and how we view what we have to do. I know that if I looked at all that I have to do as just an obligation, then I would probably have quit a long time ago. Instead, I have to see that all that I am doing is for a greater purpose, and one day I will reap the rewards of all of my labor. So I encourage you to push on…even when it seems difficult, keep pushing. One day it will all be worth it!
Yesterday I did something I never thought I’d do…and I actually enjoyed it. I was in a photo shoot! In preparation for what will be happening in my life in the upcoming months, I thought it appropriate to take some professional pictures. I went into the shoot thinking that it would be drudgery and I would be completely bored, but by the end of the shoot I felt like a real fashion model. It was amazing how confident and happy I felt by the end of the shoot–as if all eyes were on me. When I thought about it though, I realized that it should not have taken a photo shoot for me to feel confident and beautiful. It should not have taken the admiring glances of the photographer or the exclamations of awe from the makeup artist for me to feel confident in my body and who I am. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I am not confident, because in many ways I am, but my confidence needed a boost. I realized that before anyone else can adequately boost me up, I first have to be confident in myself. So often we neglect to encourage ourselves and really look at ourselves in the mirror, and when someone compliments we are surprised because we did not realize that about ourselves. Every so often we need to take a moment to tell ourselves how beautiful or handsome we are–not in arrogance–but in recognition of the gems that we are. We are worth it!
We all have things that we fear, and we have all made mistakes. However, it is up to us to decide how we handle those fears and how we move forward from our mistakes. There are tangible things that we fear such as snakes, spiders, dogs, etc. Then there are the intangible things that we sometimes refuse to acknowledge. For instance, many of us have a fear of succeeding. I know that this seems ridiculous but really this fear is quite real. On the surface we all want to succeed at what we do in life, but some of us are afraid to succeed for fear of being in the spotlight–or we fear that once we succeed then we will probably mess up afterwards. Either way, there is a battle going on within us because on one side we want to succeed but on the other side we are afraid that we will fail. This is a tough place to be in. Others of us may fear being rejected or abandoned. We choose not to embrace people because it is seemingly safer to dwell alone than to face someone possibly rejecting us. We build walls around ourselves, and we become our own best friend and enemy. The problem with building these walls, though, is that while we are keeping others out we are also keeping ourselves blocked in. Sometimes we have to be willing to be hurt in order to get what it is we really need in the first place. In another vein, all of us have made mistakes and have done some things that we regret. We get stuck in the fact that we have made these mistakes, and we remain stagnant because we refuse to let go of what we have done. Our lives begin to rotate around the fact that we have messed up, and we forget that though we have messed up we cannot stay there. We will only be able to live fully if we get over it. We cannot allow ourselves or anyone else to keep us bound especially when we have expressed our regret, asked for forgiveness, and made a choice to move forward. We have to realize, when we are faced with fear and the mistakes of our past, that we are stronger than our fears and bigger than our mistakes. We are strong enough to fight against the fears that threaten to envelop us and we are big enough to see past the mistakes to what is next to come in our lives. It is time that we stand up and know that what is within us is much greater than what we have feared, and our mistakes do not define us. Our mistakes add character and teach us valuable lessons that we can then teach others. Remember, you are stronger than your fears and bigger than your mistakes-no one and nothing can keep you bound unless you allow it to.
Allow me to introduce myself…I am Grace Waters, an author, poet, dancer, motivational speaker…and I could go on and on but I won’t. I am most passionate though about writing. I feel like I have been writing since before I was born. Now I know that is just not possible, but it sure does feel that way. From time to time I’ll post some of my writing, and hopefully you’ll want to respond. I like interaction because it makes me know that I’m not talking to myself. Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to comment. I look forward to meeting you.