Saturday, August 3, 2013

Your Best Self

When the clouds roll in and the days are dark it's easy to shield yourself with an umbrella. You hide yourself from the drip drops of life that are unpleasing by wearing your raincoat. When the clouds roll in you ask, "why?" and sometimes the puddles rise up the side of your rain boots. Then, there are other times when a great epiphany strikes like lightning. This is usually a sign that you are open to change and electricity. Epiphanies are few and far between, for most, and that is why when one comes we grab at it and try to make it take root. We vow to change our lives, vow to do it differently, vow to move into another dimension of who we are. We see the challenge and we rise to it and we are moving forward. So, why do some epiphanies become our downfalls? I suppose it is because of the way it strikes us - this lightning of thought - this idea of change. 
Many a time I've learned something amazing from those billowing clouds in my life. This last time the clouds took hold of me, shook me and the lightning that followed shifted my whole being and changed my soul and mind forever. Lightning struck me to move, to reflect and deduce that my behavior and attitude needed to be fixed. My way of thinking was beyond jaded by the world around me. Except that the world was not to blame. Outside forces cannot be at fault for anything bubbling around in my brain. I choose what I think, I choose what I feel, I choose what I believe and yet it was so easy to say that the world influenced all the chips and scars and whatever I felt I lacked. Truth is that when you really dissect your troubles and try to find a solution for your life - those nay-sayers, critics, bullies, and external outlets have no bearing or meaning. You give them meaning. Your opinions, your views, and your ideals matter. Each of us are here with our experiences and our stories and in that we gain a view. Why should other people's views mean more than our own? Your view matters. You are with yourself for the rest of your life. You. YOU. Only YOU. We are born alone and we die alone and between then and the end we have to live a life of helping others while keeping our design. 
I believe that life is a place of service - service to others by listening, helping, guiding, and just plain being there for each other. That is our main function in life - to make this world better for the now and the future. To stay present and be mindful of what we say and what we do. Our "Design" is kind of like a blueprint for what we want our life to look like. These must be drawn in pencil as life always has other plans for us. Still, who you want to be and where your passion lies never leaves your blueprint. Who you are is always changing, but I believe who you want to be does not. You have an image in your mind of your future self - it's only natural. The key is striving towards it without dwelling on not reaching that self fast enough. Life throws twists and turns that you cannot control and you're not supposed to. I believe this life is for learning, growing and teaching. To reach out to people around you and show them a slice of kindness they will take with them the rest of their life. A great legacy is one where many lives are touched by simple acts of kindness, love and generosity. These simple acts should never be done with any thought of reciprocation. You just do and move onto the next act that appears on your path. 
When I think of designing my life, I feel selfish. To think of only what I want and what I need to be happy, that's horrible. A lot of people think that way. To put yourself on the list when life is about helping others is just narrow minded and takes away from your focus on others. But we've got it all wrong.
To take care of oneself by making goals, climbing ladders and becoming stronger in character is vital to life. In order for you to be able to give to everyone else and be there for everyone else; you have got to start being there for yourself. Honestly, even just typing that I feel selfish. I feel that to put so much focus on myself would be superficial and an act of conceit. It's really hard for me to put myself on the list. Though I know that if I travel down this road of life in the same fashion I've always done I will have accomplished nothing and I will have nothing left to give at some point. It starts with the power of thought. 
So often we are faced with difficulties in life. Be it a disagreement with a co-worker or a bad break up with a guy/gal. The phrases "He made me feel stupid," or "She made me feel like I didn't matter," are used to describe certain scenarios. We put all the blame of how we feel into the other person's hands. They are NOT the ones who make you feel that way - you are. You feel stupid. You feel inadequate, you feel fat, ugly, invisible or anything else YOU FEEL. No one can make you feel anything. Yes, of course people can pull these feelings out of you by saying something crass or pointing out something about you that you already don't like. Ultimately though, you choose how you feel about yourself - PERIOD!  That realization is hard to grasp. Once you grasp it, it's also hard to keep your mind constantly open to it. You have to re-program, over time, your whole thought process. 
It sounds so cheesy, but you have to fall in love with yourself. Not in a conceited way and not in a "where can I find a mirror" way, but in a "I respect myself" way. When you don't put stock in you, how in the world do you expect anyone else to put any in you? I believe it is why we are here - to find ourselves and love what we find. It's a journey and of course we all make mistakes and have our ups and downs. Life makes it hard to love on yourself all the time, but the trick is fine tuning your life adjuster. To me, the secret to life is adjusting to life with a positive attitude. The ability to tweak yourself to life's unfolding changes. 
There is a connection between all of us and the way to give of yourself fully is to give to yourself truly. To seek out what you need to be your best self. Develop your talents and mind to it's greatest potential. Stretch your body to its limits and realize that the body is a vessel for your soul. To reach your destiny, you must treat your body, mind, heart and soul well. You cannot leave one unattended to and expect to go far. For those who rarely think of themselves, it is hard to realize how important "self" really is. You must take yourself seriously and invest in who you are and what you're here for. No matter when this realization takes place, you can change. If you're 20, 30, 40, 70, 100 years young... you can change. You are valid, you are worthy of feeling good about yourself. When you give to you, you become your best self and the world will thank you for it!