Thursday, February 27, 2014

Moving Forward In Certainty

I think I have been blessed with a strong sense of certainty. Or maybe it is a false sense. Either way, I feel like when I make a decision I am committed to that decision. I only change my mind after a lot of thought and after letting that choice play out for a bit. The reason I wanted to talk about this is there are a lot of people who have commitment issues in life, relationships, whatever, etc. I understand that certain things matter more to people than others and that plays a part into whether or not they can be easily persuaded to change their minds. Ask me where I want to go to dinner and I honestly... I just don't care but I will still provide you with an answer. In this case, I can be easily persuaded out of my reply because I lack real conviction. However, I care a WHOLE LOT when it comes to making time for people and I will explain why.

The number of times people show up late or even stand me up for an appointment or a date is shocking to me. I respect you and see value in you as a person and in some kind of business or friend or dating or whatever kind-of relationship, and because of that I am willing to make time for you. I will be true to my word and I will be there. If I have already committed to something and you need or want to hangout or whatever and I tell you that I want to be there, I'm going to explain the situation and will keep you in the loop and let you know what is going on. I will do everything I can to make sure that you know that because it is what I expect in return. A pet peeve of mine is feeling like I am someone's backup plan ESPECIALLY if they don't have anything solid set up yet. I know a lot of people don't want to invest in something or someone or a business, because they are afraid of getting hurt or making the wrong choice. So figure it out and then make a decision. People are like opportunities in that they come and they go.

In relationships, I have been hurt by people or cheated on by people who were impatient, indecisive, unable to commit or stay committed, but that would never have had to happen if we simply communicated. So instead of shutting down and becoming unsure about myself, my feelings, commitment, and those kinds of things, I am more motivated to understand my choices. It motivates me to over-analyze. But I would rather do that, then be the kind of person that propagates the same actions and results that hurt me. I'm not afraid of getting hurt. The best way to learn how to wrestle is to get beat up a bunch by someone that is more experienced than you. You learn how to move through the pain. You learn from their choices, how you react, and how to become better. It is the same with life. You can see when people are doing things that will hurt others and themselves. You can learn how to healthily deal with disappointment, failure, loneliness and heartaches. They will happen in life and that is a guarantee. So it is better to learn now, early, how to overcome those and how to avoid causing it yourself. It is learning how to make right choices and helping others to do the same.

The best way to figure out how to do this I feel is from gaining more self-understanding and self-awareness. Take time to understand your emotions and think about how you would describe what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. And then dig deeper by answering those same questions but only using reasons and things that you are in control of, remembering that you can control how you act and react. And during this period of self-awareness, look at yourself honestly. And for every weakness you identify try to identify two or more strengths or things you are grateful for. Some of our greatest strengths lie outside of ourselves, such as for me I have an amazing family. The point is that when you take this approach you can better see and understand your self-worth and you can learn to have faith in yourself and in your decisions. You have to learn from your mistakes because you won't always be right. No one is. But it still will give you confidence and the ability to commit to the decisions you will choose yourself. We have all been blessed with agency, so it is important to learn how to make right choices.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Listen to a Heartbeat

On Valentine's Day, I don't know whether to be grateful or pitiful. Seriously, it is an amazing day that should be celebrated every moment of day. A day to remember the relationships, friendships, the value of the people in our lives, and a day to take the time to say the things you always wanted to say. It is funny that I have so many friends that can't even visualize me being shy or accept the fact that I am holding back all the time. It is unusual that I have enough courage to say and do the things that I do. I can have full deep conversations with people that are complete strangers. My friends will ask me afterwards how long I have known them assuming that we were close friends but I will reply that I met them that day. I was talking to my roommate about this that it is amazing how much people are willing to share if we only take the time to listen and by that I mean listen.

How our interactions would change if we asked questions and waited until the other person really said everything that they needed to say... Not wanted to say but really needed to say. If we are willing to hold through those awkward pauses and listen. There is so much being said in those moments of silence... Hearing people find the words, catching their thoughts and breath before flooding you with confessions of emotion, watching people find the courage to say something so important, and really hearing them. Hearing their heartbeat. Hearing what makes their heart beat. No one is as beautiful as they are when they are completely emotionally vulnerable and naked. It makes me smile just remembering those moments.

When I take a long hard look in the mirror though, I never do this with anyone but myself and God. I don't know if I feel judged by other people or I don't trust them. I don't know what I wait for. I want someone to want me. I want someone that loves me more than I do myself. I want to be able to tell someone that I really love them. I want to be able to say those words with every fiber of my being and then struggle to express every reason why my heart beats for them and them alone. I don't know if I hold this back because of the pains from my past... the betrayals, the cheats, the walk-aways, the stone hearts, the bleeding hearts, and the ones beyond feeling. Even when I fall, I still know how to pick myself back up and learn to love again. Through it all I have never forgotten who I was and what I am worth.

"I might not be someone's first choice, but I am a great choice. I don't pretend to be someone I'm not, because I'm good at being me. I might not be proud of some of the things I've done in the past, but I'm proud of who I am today. I may not be perfect, but I don't need to be. I am the way God made me. Take me as I am or watch me as I walk away."

I know my value and I also know that all I ever really wanted is someone to stand beside me. I never want to feel alone again. I want to know and feel God's love every morning of every day as I wake up to see the light shine across the face of the person who I will love the most, both in this life and the next. I will cherish her and I will serve her and I will never let her forget that she will always be the most beautiful and kind and loving woman in my eyes and I would never want anyone else.

It is hard living up to such great examples of a father who taught me how to love and respect a woman like he did my mother. It is hard to find a woman who serves as selflessly as the one that gave you life. And for all I know it may take my whole life to find someone, but in the end I know that we can find happiness at any stage in our lives. Love helps us never lose faith in others and in ourselves. No matter what our status is in life, know that we are loved and it is because we are loved that we are able to do anything.

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly you cease forever to be able to do it" (Sir James Matthew Barrie).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hope... Even When All Is Dark

One of the things I continually remind myself is that I have to remember that I am never alone. I may look like I am alone but that is not true. He is always quite near as long as I remember to pray. I don't know why I get these feelings sometime but they don't ever quite go away but they leave long enough. I am just strong enough. I was serving at a homeless shelter tonight in their soup kitchen. I had showed up earlier to wait for the rest of my group and with all the darkness I felt around me, the first thing I saw were scriptures posted on the walls. So I pulled out my phone and I prayed and I read and I thought about Christ. There was peace that lifted from the words on those pages. The Spirit has an ability to calm my nerves and speak to my heart. But before the dinner began, a worship service started. It was an interesting crowd listening to this preacher speak of a Savior that sounded more like a general than He did a brother and a friend. There was fanfare and there was yelling and hollering but with all the excitement I didn't feel like He was near.

When I got home after we were done and got on my computer before starting my homework, I hopped on Facebook. I looked around at my newsfeed and the posts that had been made and as I looked at all the people and what was happening in their lives, I felt alone. It wasn't the same darkness I felt before but the doubts began to creep in. There isn't anyone out there for you. No matter what you do or how good you become, you are going to be alone. Not the you-don't-have-a-date-for-Valentine's-Day alone but you are going to be alone. I thought of all the wonderful people I know and the amazing people I am getting to know but those thoughts weren't going away. I tried to think of the amazing women I have dated recently and all I could hear were the fears and doubts of uncertainty and confusion. But my mind was brought back to a line in my patriarchal blessing where it talked about asking for the Spirit to help me when I am afflicted with feelings of loneliness. I decided that is what I needed to do.

I prayed with all the hope and wanting in my heart. Slowly the darkness began to creep back and expose more and more of my blessing. I will have a family some day and I will marry the woman of my choosing. I will learn from her and love her and together we will lead and guide our children. Imagine that... One day I am going to be a father. It is hard to see right now but it feels right.

God is real and He is god because He never breaks His covenants nor His promises. I have seen it time and again. No matter how dark things get or how hard life pulls you in different directions, He is always there. He is constant. And He loves you. He knows you. If we have real faith then we will have nothing to fear. I must be lacking in that as of late but I am working on gaining more of it back. I believe in God and He believes in me so that has to count for something. I can do amazing things. I can see and help others see the amazing good that is held within them. If only I didn't tie so much of my self worth to this idea of needing to have a family and be married then it might actually happen. I have seen what impatience brings in this aspect or part of life with my own family. I don't need that heartache any more than what I have now. I need to be in the present and appreciate what I have. I need to serve more. Show and share more gratitude. I need to give a sincere compliment to a stranger. I need to call someone I love just so I can hear their voice. I need to see more of my nieces.

The amazing thing children have is innocence. How do we lose that along the way? Why is it so hard to find once we are older? Children see the world and all of its beauty. They love unconditionally. The last time I went to see my family here in Utah, my niece giggled in excitement to see me and after running across the room in a fashion that was something between a waddle and a bouncing ball, I lifted her up into my arms. The smile on her face lit me up like a new flame and when she reached up to touch the scruff on my chin, her hand stayed long enough that I knew it reminded her of her own dad... my brother. This was home.

This was what that felt like. I had almost forgotten. It had only been weeks but why did it feel like years, I do not know.

It is hard when I feel like I have so much love to give and yet I am so afraid of being alone. This is what makes me hold on so tight and makes me wish that the other person would never let go. I want to be wanted. I know this is only one of the reasons why I come on so strong. There is an inner fear and I think it is still a remnant of broken relationships in my past. It frustrates me though because I am not my past. I am who I choose to be. I do not have control over what will happen or even how or when things will occur. But I still do have a choice and that makes all the difference in the world.

No matter how dark the world may seem I can still choose to hope for a brighter future. And not just hope, but have faith. Today and every day we can have happiness and love. Hope is grown from remembering moments like these where even when we are alone in the dark, light starts from within and it grows as we pray.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

25 Habits of Happy, Healthy, & Successful People

When I find good articles I love to share them and this particular article is actually both for myself and my sisters. Both of my sisters are huge lovers of lists. They make lists for everything! And it is a bit contagious but it is a fantastic article and I think it is something everyone can relate to. I personally love to push myself and see how I can be better. Looking at the list I still have a few more to work on, specifically #3, 17, 20 and 24. Here is the article below:

Who among us doesn't want to be a happy, healthy and successful human being? Still, it can be easy to lose your way, which is why I've compiled a list of habits you can use to help reach your goals. 
So what is it about happy people that makes them the way they are? Below are just some of the ways they separate themselves from the rest of the crowd.

1. They don’t hold grudges.

2. They think outside of the box.

3. They go by a routine and make exercise a part of it. It takes practice to develop healthy habits and stick with them. Once you do, your internal foundation will be strong.

4. They have a supportive tribe, thereby not wasting time with negative or toxic people.

5. They don’t care about what other people think. Does a tiger lose sleep over the opinion of sheep?

6. They don’t people please.

7. They see difficult and challenging situations as opportunities for personal growth.

8. They consider handling rejection a skill and are resilient.

9. They make time for themselves. Whether it’s getting eight hours of sleep every night, finding 15 minutes to read the newspaper in peace or an hour to go to the gym, they make it a priority — just like everything else. When you take care of yourself, you have a bigger impact on others.

10. They are spiritual. This doesn't necessarily mean religious. It could mean setting aside time for reflection through yoga or meditation.

11. They practice deep breathing.

12. They know there isn’t such a thing as “having it all,” and they’re happy about that. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place for them otherwise?

13. Fear doesn't hold them back. They're ready to take risks.

14. They know how to say “NO,” and don’t hold back. These people have learned to set boundaries. Plenty of them.

15. They learned a great deal from other people whom they admire. Either they had a great mentor, or they took note of how those they aspired to be like handled various situations.

16. They follow their inner guidance. Not only do they have a vision, but they follow it.

17. They give without expecting anything in return.

18. They aren't pretentious or conceited.

19. Passion is what drives them. They authentically believe in what they're doing.

20. They don't complain.

21. They live by their core values in both their professional and personal lives.

22. They're happy to swim against the tide.

23. They finish what they start.

24. They don't compare themselves to other people.

25. They want you to succeed, too.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Value of People

I had a presentation that I gave yesterday for a public speaking class. We were asked to describe our passion to the class in under 3 minutes. If you want to see the actual presentation slides, comment below or email me and I will send the PowerPoint to you but I feel like I represented my sentiments and feelings well. Ironic, this is the post that would follow "The Value of Nothing." People mean everything to me.

"Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don't see it yourself."
- Edmund Lee -

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Value of Nothing

I have tried and waited and looked for you. I have stood before you with arms wide open. I have given you the choice and waited for you take our shot. But the only shot I heard was the one I felt in the chest when I opened up to you and all I heard was nothing. I waited and all I found was nothing. I told you everything and all I got back was nothing. I invested. I spoke from the soul. I gave you too many chances, but I realize now I would have found better luck in front of a mirror because all you said was nothing. And when I finally walked away, all I heard was nothing. It is good for you that nothing can stop me from loving you, so if you figure yourself out then I hope you can come back with something. Because I know what I am worth, and I know that I am worth a whole hell of a lot more than nothing.