Going Around Again: The Issue that Refuses to Leave

Do you ever think you worked through an issue and laid it to rest for the final time? The problem could be a year-long work project or a home remodeling project. Maybe you have experienced typing the last word of a research paper only to discover a glaring error in your introduction, thereby requiring an extensive re-working of the entire document. 

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Personal Potential: Only A Pittance Without Work

Personal potential amounts to a pittance without consistent, concerted effort. 

Declaring our determination to accomplish great things, overcome faults, or stand for noble causes is easy, especially when those around us are saying the same thing. 

From, “I’m going to lose 45lbs and gain control of my health,” to, “I’m going to pursue a new career or vocation,” or “I will devote all my efforts to changing (insert what you want to change).”

Why, after such praiseworthy intentions, do our actions fall short? Why do we waiver as the climb towards personal potential becomes steeper, the reality of required exertion becoming palpable rather than theoretical? 

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Discouragement: A Fatal Weapon of the Devil

Discouragement is a stealthy and fatal weapon of the devil. If Satan can keep you perpetually hopeless, he wins.

I know the idea sounds too simple. Can destroying a beautiful soul be so easy? A nearly comical suggestion!

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A Call to Lay Down Arms

I wrote the following op-ed piece for the Seattle Times in November 2019. They politely declined. I called for people to lay down their differences and learn to care about their neighbors for times such as these.

Note* When I talk about isolation, I am not referring to social distancing. Rather, I am referring to the belief too many of us hold that we do not impact each other and we do not need each other.

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Starving For Love

Food-starved and love-starved travel the same road: desperation. Both will settle for scraps.

I have run many a mile in my life. An hour or so after a grueling run, my body is so frantic for food I will eat anything within reach. My brain seems to abandon all reason when choosing food because something is better than nothing, even if that something makes me feel sick, bloated, and grumpy.

Similarly, I used to have a soul-encompassing urgency for attention and affection. I wanted someone – anyone- to love me. Not only in a romantic way – though romance was undoubtedly high on my priority list – but in every fathomable relationship.

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Stop Waiting For Happiness

Every second spent lamenting who you are is stealing a second from realizing your worth and potential. Have you ever thought, “I will be happy when I; lose weight, buy a bigger house, make more money, have more of this or less of that.” How often do you convince yourself happiness lies on the other side of an imaginary line? How much time do you spend cursing your fate because of your perceived shortcomings? 

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The Pain of Overcompensation

Destructive coping mechanisms are like resilient pests that keep coming back. Sometimes they are so sneaky you don’t know they are there until you turn around and see the years of damage.  

Overcompensating

Just as your body compensates for injury to avoid pain, so do your mind and heart. If you sprain your left ankle, you favor your right ankle while it heals. For a time, your right ankle can handle the extra weight. However, if you never learn to walk evenly again, your right side – from your head to your feet – will experience the pain of overcompensating. 

Compensations of your mind and heart are not so easily observable. 

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If I’m Not Perfect, I’m Garbage

During a jovial conversation last week, I heard myself say, “If I don’t do it perfectly, I’m garbage.” My friend had a look in her eye as if she didn’t know whether to be concerned or amused. I wasn’t sure how I felt either. I know I hold myself to unrealistic standards but hadn’t before realized I thought of myself as garbage when I prove myself human.

Yes, the nefarious beast of perfectionism had reared its ugly head. It’s the idea that we should look and be flawless — the unachievable standard of precise and impeccable performance accompanied by constant self-criticism without tolerance for being human. Demanding perfection hijacks our power by focusing on the inevitability of shortcomings and failure.

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No Excuse Exists for Abuse

Most of us want a reason. We want to know why someone treated us like something less than human with their beatings, their calloused cruelty, their systemic stripping of our ability to trust.

Tragically, too many of us blame ourselves. We try to reconcile our living nightmares by transferring responsibility onto our shoulders, “I need to try harder to be better. If I am better, they will be happy. They will love me.”

“Trying to be better” looks different for everyone. In my observation, we hold up something (achievement/beauty/social media following/a million other things) like a title to a new paid off care. We wave it around as if to say, “Look! Look! Here is the tangible proof of how much I’m worth. I paid my debt. You can love me now!”

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Meet People Where they Are

even if you don’t know what to do when you get there

Have you ever stood at an event, or in the audience of a performance, and wondered what all the fuss was about? People are clapping, screaming, jumping, crying, fighting, fainting, and your left standing in the middle trying to figure out where the free ice cream truck must have pulled in. Upon realizing there is no free ice cream, you determine that everyone has taken leave of their senses, and quickly decide to leave with yours.

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