Every single person is born with the exact same innate ability, none of us are exempt from this gift. We are all given it in abundance and all parents especially reap the great benefits and rewards of this gift given at our birth.
The gift we are all given is that of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! Children joyfully share this gift with all they come in contact with. Even as small children, when nurtured, this gift grows abundantly and limitless, when not nurtured, this gift dies quickly.
A small child is able to do what few if any adults can do, they separate the deed from the doer. If a child doesn’t like the meal prepared for them they will refuse to eat it, it does not impact their love for their mother or father preparing that meal. A child does not base their love, nor withhold their love based upon a parents status, employment, education, wealth, physical appearance, nor any other reason.
A child simply loves, without conditions.
Sadly as we grow we lose this ability to love unconditionally. We replace unconditional love with that of unconditional judgement. We apply conditions to those we love based largely upon what we want them to be. Many times as adults we stop loving another person because they will not be or do what we desire them to be.
This conditional love is in direct conflict and opposition to the true nature of love we are born with.
We can learn much from children, learning to love as a child loves will improve every relationship in our lives.
The one constant in life that we all deal with is Change. Change for some creates anxiety, fear and frustration, while for others it brings opportunity and growth. How we face change in our lives determines how successful we will be in handling the newness that change brings.
Throughout my life, change has been a constant companion and something that I have grown accustomed to dealing with. Changes in work, home, family, school, relationships, health and dreams are just some of the many types I have learned to embrace over the years. For others in my life, change is not as common and therefore can cause extreme anxiety and confusion as they learn to manage the changes in life that are presented.
As my wife and I embark into a time of great change, we are grateful for the wisdom we have both learned throughout our lives and the ability we have developed to handle change as it comes. We view this time as one of opportunity and growth, one where our family will undoubtedly benefit.
Change brings a rebirth, a newness to many things. It provides an opportunity to gain greater wisdom and perspective in life. Embracing change allows peace in our lives instead of anxiety and confusion. It allows us to think clearly and manage the change effectively and beneficially.
Much as with anything in life, our attitudes with which we approach anything has a great impact on the outcome and in the end our own peace and happiness.
Change equals opportunity.
Do you advocate for people? Do you help others find success even when there is nothing for you to gain from helping? How often do you open a door for someone just to open it? Do you passively or actively look for ways to help someone?
Many people feel like they will help others, oftentimes they will provide acts of service that can help someone in a time of need. I question how many of us will truly open doors for the success of another. We find great satisfaction in the moments of help and service, mowing lawns, helping someone move, feeding a family in a time of need, etc..
There is an old saying often attributed to Confucius that says,
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I would argue that the same concept holds true in helping others. If we serve them in ways that will open doors and help create a successful future then we are performing a greater act of service than we could ever do by the traditional acts of service such as making a dinner for the sick. While these acts are wonderful and oftentimes needed, how many of us can truly help change someones life through service? How many of us confuse a random act of kindness for that of service?
We all know people, we can all open doors for others. The only question that remains is are we willing?
My life has been somewhat rather challenging, many obstacles that I never dreamt that I would ever encounter in life as a young man. I have quietly rebuilt my life no less than 4 times from the ground up. Choices of others have continually and directly impacted my life. While I am able to see clearly that these choices have created difficulties for me at times throughout my life and without the choices made by others I would never have faced the overwhelming challenges I have.
Hindsight creates a unique perspective. Without these challenges that I have endured I would not be the man I am today. I know this to be true. I also know that one key characteristic in my life that has defined who I have become and prevented utter destruction of my soul is that I have never allowed anyone and their choices the create a stumbling block of blame for where I am in life. Each time that I have stepped up after being beaten down I have risen stronger, higher and with more determination than ever to be the one controlling my life.
Never have I let anyone dictate what I would and would not accomplish. I have experienced decades of of attacks from others whom by their choices they meant to destroy my life and future. From an ex wife to employees committing fraud, Each time that I rose above the obstacles created I have experienced a renewed effort at times by others to tear me back down in an attempt to keep me there. There have been many who know of many of these struggles who have often commented that it would have destroyed them. I beg to differ, for what doesn’t destroy always makes us stronger. It is ALWAYS our choice in what we let destroy us. No one else can ever make that choice for us.
As each of us will certainly encounter severe struggles, disappointments, heartaches and roadblocks in our lives, some created by our own choices, others created from the choices of others, we alone make the choice of where we allow them to take us.
Many times the urge to blame others for our own misfortunes exist, sometimes rightfully and justly so. It is when we give into this urge and blame other people, government, religion, circumstances or other, for our current circumstances in life that we surrender our will to their desire for us. We abandon our own self each time we pass blame.
It is only through faith, determination and belief in oneself that someone is able to rebuild a life, a career and family when others choices are involved. For my choices to let certain people into my life in the first place added to my own heartache. Taking responsibility for my own choices, my own life and staying determined to not be kept down. Anyone can rise above any obstacle placed before them, it starts by faith and believing on yourself!
As children we’re told “don’t talk to strangers”
Stay away from them for there is much danger
Then as we grow, we live by this rule
Not realizing as adults, it can be so cruel
Instilling fear in children, we never outgrow
Thus limiting the people we will ever get to know
then we fight this fear with each person we meet
talking to someone new can be a daunting feat
The smiles and the laughter, the giggles and the cheer
Have been a hallmark of your life for each and every year
The joy and love you you’ve given and shared along the way
Have left the others wondering how you do it everyday
A life so full of gratitude and love beyond compare
Have changed the lives of many with each person that you share
Yet there are few who truly understand or comprehend the choice
To hide your pain and anguish behind your tender voice
For each new day you choose to live, regardless of your lot
The heavy load that you endure, and the battles you have fought
Your smile was forced now natural, a gift for all to see
Your daily choice in life has determined what you’ll be
Someone who spreads the laughter, the cheer and joy around
Who overcomes each challenge with the love of life you’ve found
So others see the person in whom you’ve chosen now to be
And from your heavy burdens, this choice has set you free
How do you define yourself when asked who you are or what you do? What is the answer that you most often give? Does that answer change or vary depending upon the context or company we are in? Do you present a single answer or give a list of talents, hobbies or skills?
I enjoyed a great visit this weekend with a family friend. In a discussion with one of their children I learned of a recent identity crisis this young person had encountered this year. This individual had been an athlete their entire life, concentrating on one particular sport. They had received tremendous accolades, attention and success in this area. This success led them to be a significant part of a major University and the team in this sport. Dreams and goals were achieved in reaching this pinnacle of success. They had achieved what they had intended to throughout this young lifetime journey.
The end of last season, this individual was injured and no longer able to compete. With humility and tremendous gratitude for the opportunity they moved forward into their senior year in school. Keep in mind this individual is extremely goal oriented, driven and finds success in life. The identity crisis occurred when the new school year started. Their entire life had been this sport, each time they were asked to tell something about them, they replied with the same answer, I am a _(athlete)___. They would proudly tell others what position they had on the team and who they were.
This part of the team became who this young athlete was. This is how they identified themselves and who they viewed themselves to be. When asked this year who they were, they were confused and unable to respond.
Now this young person is far more than just an athlete. They are an amazing example to so many in so many other areas. They are a very intelligent, motivated, strong and determined young person. They were simply in the process of discovering truly WHO they were, not what they were.
Many times we find ourselves struggling with WHO we are and get caught up in the what we are or were. This confusion paralyzes many. Some get stuck in the glory days of High School and end up a fifty something still talking about that one pass that would have won state. Others get hung up on the what we are and become puffed up with pride and ego, unable to see the true world around them.
It is in the Who we are that changes the world. When we focus on the what we are we change nothing.