21 to Nothing…


453127445I’m not sure how this kind of thing happens or what’s behind those sudden decisions we make in life, though I have some strong suspicions, but for whatever reason you suddenly find yourself consumed with the idea of putting yourself to the test in some capacity for some important reason. This is exactly what happened to me. I was about to return from a conference where I happily ate, drank and was merry. As the conference closing drew near, I finalized the idea that when I got home I was going to put myself on a drastic calorie reduced diet. My reasoning basically consisted of the idea that I had allowed myself to get fat and was getting to the point where I could barely tolerate that guy in the mirror. I knew this diet was the only plan that had worked for me in the past, so I put the naysayers behind me and began the 21 day quest. Naturally, my reduced calorie diet included an abstinence from alcohol for the next 21 days as well. I’m not the kind of guy that needs a drink to function, but I cannot recall the last time I hadn’t even had a glass of wine for 3 weeks. So the test and the learning commenced…

Much to my surprise, my first lesson made clear to me how important it is to make decisions, specifically the stronger your decision, the easier it is going to be to carry out your plan. When, by God, you decide how it is going to be, then, by God that is exactly how it is! Day after day I lost a pound as promised; did not cause my body to think I was starving; had vegetables and protein daily; did not suffer the litany of other ailments I would surely undergo from losing weight too quickly. My only pair of jeans that still fit soon took on the baggy look. I found a whole wardrobe of suits and shirts that magically worked again. Shoot, I could even wear a t-shirt to the gym without the all too familiar belly bulge! Victory!

Uber discipline in place for calorie reduction, my most pleasant surprise came by shaking up my familiar routines involving alcohol. Not having a glass of wine during the week was relatively simple, but not having any wine on the weekend days, that’s a whole other story! You may not realize this but Friday nights were made for wine. Choosing no wine on wine night is quite a slap in a habit’s face! Abstain I did, as I had already decided, and I was left with myself facing myself. You know what I found? Years of unresolved childhood issues and hurts left unattended? Painful realizations of what my life really consisted of? Ummm, no! What I found was that absent the anesthetic, I was damn productive. Suddenly I had a lot of shit to do! After I did it, I assumed my usual veg position on the couch minus the fatty chips and a glass of wine. When in doubt, do thinking… I think you’ll enjoy it.

My next realization and perhaps best lesson learned involved how I felt about myself. I’m not trying to tell you that abstinence is best or that you should live without many of the things that you enjoy. What I am telling you is that controlling yourself feels damn fantastic! Control yourself! Learn to say no! Resist! Take charge of the organism. Your desires, your wants, your enjoyments, your habits aren’t in control, you are! And when that day comes, for whatever reason, prompted by whatever logic, do it, feel it, overcome it. Controlling your own self is like crack cocaine to your self-esteem. You become the “effin” champion! It’s the most unusual, yet most profound thing in the world. Controlling yourself, not just for a rough 21 day test, but throughout your life, clearly is the best thing to do. I mean, if a small piece of cheese makes a mouse return to the same spot, the feelings you get from controlling yourself, alone, are worth any hardship you might face. It’s like God is telling you, “See, control isn’t bad, it’s everything good!” Try it…

At the risk of sounding preachy or, God forbid, religious, your brain really doesn’t need the substance to be okay. Your unaltered mental state can actually be very sweet and even more resilient than you have given it credit to be. The trick is to avoid rapid medication over just allowing yourself to be with yourself as yourself. Some jokes aren’t that funny. Some experiences are hysterical. In short, you start to figure out things that need to be done and things you want to get done. Have I sworn off wine forever? Of course not! But, I did put myself to the test and not only won, but more importantly learned some valuable things about myself.

My seemingly insignificant little experiment taught me so many things, the greatest of which is that control is not something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced and honored. Cliche’ aside, life is too damn short to be under anything’s control! Prove it to yourself!

Now, what’s next? What should you do? Well, if you don’t mind, find that thing that you cannot live without; find that part of life you’ve convinced yourself you have to have and go without it. Cut it off for a minute. Give it up. Just say no! It can be as simple as Dunkin Donuts coffee or as serious as a drug addiction. Point is – you don’t need anything outside of yourself to be happy and you can discipline yourself to give up almost anything (except what you need to live). But, don’t do it because I said so, do it when you also experience that urge; that calling; that determination to put yourself to the test and win.

Life under control is awesome people… Try it for yourself!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

Love the One You Is…


Some time ago I read a fantastic book called, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It’s one of those books that just gets you and you’re just not sure why. But, alas, she is the inspiration for this blog. Actually she is the inspiration for anyone suffering from an incessant need for outward approval, though the reasons be myriad. This is really a story about you and how you feel about yourself when no-one is watching.

Something tragic has happened to you. You don’t know it’s a tragedy because you’re stuck in the middle of it. You cannot see it or you would stop it immediately. You’re pretty sure you feel good about yourself and there’s nothing specific you can point at to know that something is wrong, but wrong it is. You, like the rest of us, live in a world that very narrowly defines who we should be; how we should look and what we should have achieved, by now. The messages come so often and with such frequency that we can’t even keep track of what’s happening. All we know for sure is that we are too fat, we don’t have enough money, we aren’t successful enough(?), in short that our real self comes up short (pun intended). The unsolvable problem is that we are foolishly measuring our self-worth by a standard set by the world, for the world, falsely promising us fulfillment in that same world.

Your self value has absolutely nothing to do with anything outside of yourself. It is your self value for God’s sake. The one determining your value was always you, is always you and will always be you! It’s not based on a standard set by someone else, how could it be? You are unique in the highest sense of the word. There is no-one the same as you, despite the similarities. What you have to offer and what you bring to the world cannot be offered or brought by anyone but you. But, instead of bringing you and betting on the cards you are holding, you fold before the game gets going. The world, huffing and puffing, looking confident and smiling smugly, quickly talks you out of playing your own hand.  The moment you begin to feel yourself and start making some choices regarding your own direction, you entertain the naysayers and revert to being someone you are not.

As a long-standing member of the “approval seeking” club, I know what you are going through. You’ve learned, like I learned,  that instead of being your real self, it is far easier to be who the people want you to be. You become a master of playing the role and you become loathe to disappoint. But, let me ask you a question. Aren’t you wrongly concluding that the person you are isn’t desirable and opting instead for a safe, approved version. Who can define success for you, but you? Are you happy? Are you content? Do you have value in your own estimation? Your opinion of yourself is the one that matters the most in this world.

What kind of cosmic hoodwinking could convince us to be at odds with our own self, our only self? What kind of trickery and treachery gets a person to think poorly of themselves and to measure themselves by any other factor than themselves? Can you even see the insanity of thinking that way? If you, my friend, are not actually for you, who the hell ever will be? If you aren’t voting for you in the contest, how can you win? How can you achieve or succeed or find happiness or become fulfilled if you aren’t even choosing yourself? I mean, man oh man, you can’t even choose yourself? What happened to you that you could be so opposed to your own self?

The root of this self-destructive behavior can always be tracked back to guilt, shame, condemnation and generally feeling not so good about yourself. But again, the behavior is self-destructive meaning you, yourself are cooperating with the destruction. You bought in. You agreed. Somewhere along the line something or someone convinced you that your mistakes, your humanity; your susceptibility to error wasn’t based on something outside of you, but rather pointed to something wrong with you internally. In accepting that fallacy, you started to become your own worst enemy. Instead of leaving error and evil and bad influence with its originator, you bought into the lie that you originated the troubles, yourself. And for that, you are being wickedly deceived. None of us would knowingly choose pain or difficulty or trouble. Instead we get pulled or pushed off track. We’re human for goodness sakes and we all make mistakes. Once you have veered off course and made the mistake, it’s in the books. You cannot change it or alter it or influence it. It’s done and it’s over with. It only lives on in your mind and even that requires your cooperation. In a sense, you cooperated with wrong by doing whatever you did and you continue to cooperate with wrong by harboring your mistakes in your mind. Any professional athlete knows that in order to remain a professional, you must move immediately to the next moment. Athletic catastrophe follows any memory of errors made.

You may not be a professional athlete, but you are a professional of your own life. Well, you should be! Somewhere along the line, you have to choose you. You have to cast your all important vote for yourself if your ever going to approach the life you want to live. How much time do you have on this earth? How many chances do you get? You owe it to yourself to get on your own side. Stop playing a role and just be. Vote for yourself. Have confidence in yourself. Be 100% for yourself. If you can get there or even close to there, you will, for the first time in your life, find out something incredible and amazing. You’ll find out that you do have something to offer and that you are indispensable. You’ll discover that the thing you bring, no-one else can bring and bring it you will. As you bring it, you’ll reinforce who you are and feel fulfillment in epic proportions. This is authentic living. This the truth!

Love yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself.

Love the one you is…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

The Measure of a Man…


k23725167This is a story about your life. You know, the one you are living right now. It’s about where you’re at today. It’s about your successes and your failures. It’s about how much money you make and where you work. It touches on your relationships, your togetherness and your loneliness. It reaches into every facet of your life and there’s no part of your existence that it doesn’t explain. It’s not about how you measure up, but rather how you measure yourself.

I got into a discussion the other day about the term “realistic.” I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say that most people who utter those words, use them for limitation and not for endless possibility. My key point centered around the question, what is realistic? You see, the world but half expresses itself. The things you see are not made up of what is really back of them. But, on we go wrestling on the outside with a world defined by our inside. The circumstances you encounter scream for supremacy as the first cause, but in truth are in reality a result. They align themselves perfectly with your expectations. If they are pervasive and miserable it is no-one’s fault but your own. Likewise, if they are glorious, spontaneous and grand, for that you make take credit as well.

The question that concerns you most is not what hand the world has dealt you. The question of utmost importance is, what do you think of yourself? What do you expect for your life? What things do you think you can have in this life? What is the measure of yourself? The answer to those questions is played out amongst a million, precise variations in the life you are living right now. Look around you. The environment you are in, you chose. The proof is in the pudding. Whining about not having enough money is foolish because you make exactly what you think you can make. No more, no less. The only way a man raises himself from mental poverty is in finally convincing himself of his own value. I say finally, because a man is knowingly or unknowingly in a contest day by day; a contest between what apparently “is” versus what may actually be. How he votes determines the election. The more highly he values himself, the more he expects for and from himself. As a man seeks to improve himself and does, he begins to grow out of whatever confining conditions have seemed to hold him back. He cannot help but succeed the more because he is more. In this his life solemnly testifies to the man he has become.

The most ironic, yet heartbreakingly sad “reality” is that man is free to decide upon his own estimation of himself. His self-esteem, his self-value is decided by himself. It’s not for no good reason a man aims so low. He aims low because he lives in a world  constantly whipping himself out of himself. His behavior is bad; his desires are bad; his decisions are bad. But are they? Those in advantage methodically make plans to ensure the so-called lesser man remains lesser. Is he lesser? God has made from one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the earth. A man, in order to be a real man, must raise his estimation of himself. He must consider and take to heart whom God says he is. God’s men cannot settle for second best.

The people of the world exhaust themselves in the endless pursuit of success; success measured by boats and houses and leisure time. The Kardashians are not real people. Yet, you have to commend them in that they have made themselves indispensable. The estimation they make of themselves being clearly evident. So whether your success is measured in boats and houses and leisure time or by love, relationships and legacy, the measure will always be found in yourself. The way to success is found in the value you place on yourself. You must find the way to do what you alone can do and in that which you have no rival. Instead of investing pointless energy in comparison, you must spend your energy in your estimation of yourself. It can never be called selfish to think highly of yourself because those who love themselves love others and for that the world will always be in need.

No matter what you have gone through; the mistakes you have made; the blunders you have done, each day offers the bright and shining hope of a new day. And as the sun ebbs the horizon offering light to all the inhabitants thereof, you awaken offering your light in your way, to the world. Start where you are, as you must, but know the limitations you have imagined are your own and hold no sway in a world created by infinite possibility. You wish to be a man of courage and boldness, be that man. You desire to be a man of magnanimous wealth and supply, be that man. You dream of earning the respect of all around you, respect yourself. No circumstance, no condition, no predetermined fate can stop a man who knows who he is and values it.

God has graciously granted man the chance to be whomever he wants to be and has done it without limit or check. Check yourself and see what measure you have placed on yourself. Throw off the chains of genealogy and circumstance and be exactly who you always knew you could be! The world is waiting for you to be who you were already supposed to be. Your past has no bearing unless you make it so. Your background, your education, your job, your track record is nothing more than an account of the man you used to be. Be whomever you want to be today and see if the great God does not honor your desires at every step. See if He will not back your every effort and toil with a handsome reward; the reward that follows every man who believes.

What is reality? Reality is exactly what you expect it to be!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Do You Approve…of Yourself?


226ASP6179944780The world we live in is an approval machine! From birth forward we were all taught suggested behaviors, traits, personality types to help us gain the approval of others. As we matured, we started getting additional messages from the ‘system of things’ on how to continue garnering approval. I suppose it makes sense, in some respects, that if you are going to live in a society then you have to abide by certain societal expectations to be accepted. You generally have to wear clothes and you’re not allowed to pick your nose in public, for example. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything wrong with wanting to be accepted. I mean who doesn’t like receiving approval from others? But, there’s something infinitely more important that being approved by others and that is being approved of yourself. Do you approve of yourself? That’s a question worth answering!

You being the only you, you have; begs the question, do you like yourself? I’m not talking about publicly where we’ve all been taught to develop a cheery public persona. I’m talking about you, home alone, staring in that mirror. Do you love and accept how that guy or gal acts? Or are you pissed at that image for its apparent failure to live up to…wait for it…what everyone else thinks he or she should do?

You may not realize it, but all of us were conditioned very early on to seek the approval of our parents. It wasn’t such a bad idea because we were children and didn’t have the wherewithal to make good choices yet. Some parents gave you unconditional approval. Some parents provided you with conditional approval or said another way, “If you obey what I say, you are good. If you disobey what I say, you are bad!” Some parents gave you very little or no approval no matter what you did. And finally, some parents were just not there! If you were unfortunate enough not to get the unconditional love parents, as many people were, then you learned very early on in life that you needed other people’s approval to be okay. Then your life mission became, what do I need to do to be approved by others?

So, here’s the rub. Assuming you are an adult now, you have to learn to get approval from that person staring back from the glass:

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

~ Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.

You see, us humans are a peculiar breed. We all have our own weirdness, quirks and undesirable characteristics. We all make mistakes. We’ve all zigged when we should have zagged! We are all imperfect and have all been broken in some respect. The trouble is we don’t want anyone to know it. So we parade around in our masks literally hating the person we are or have become. Our love and acceptance of ourselves is conditional and we don’t meet the conditions. It may have worked to shape your behavior when you were five, but it doesn’t work now!

You have to get to the place where you approve of you, no matter what. “He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest, for he’s with you, clear to the end. And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test, if the man in the glass is your friend.” Make your mind, your friend!

Now track with me here for a minute… Let’s say you’ve done some pretty gnarly deeds. Let’s imagine you’ve hurt people in catastrophic ways. Or maybe you just haven’t lived up to what you know in your heart you should be. In any case and in every case, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever doing better or being better or getting better if you don’t love that person in the mirror. No one beats themselves into becoming something admirable. Instead, self loathing and self hate only issue in more awful results. The past is passed and cannot exist in the present unless you make it so (including your upbringing). What is in the present is you, with all of your faults and failings and human frailties. Love that guy anyway! Love that gal anyway! Approve of yourself anyway!

You just make the decision that you are worth something. You matter. You do have value. You’re not of value because you do everything right. You have value because you are a living, breathing human being, formed and made by God Himself.

Step out of the ‘wheel of things’ and finally recognize that you don’t need other people’s approval to be okay. Stop masquerading, it’s exhausting. Cease changing colors to match the whims and fancies of every person you meet. Do you, be you in all of the glorious you, you can possibly be. The world doesn’t need another me, one is enough ;-). What the world needs is you; the real you; the true you; and nothing but the YOU!

Just some good thoughts…