Compliment a stranger

First thing, sorry it has been a while since I posted. I just think that you shouldn’t write because “its time”. You should write because you feel passionate about something and feel led to write about it.

With that out-of-the-way, something has been on my mind a lot lately. It is a heavy topic, too much to write in one post. But it is important to me.

The power of your words is something that is taken for granted nowadays. So many people do not realize that what you speak, to yourself and others, holds a greater power than most other outside forces.

Everyone gets angry and everyone lashes out at the people they care about most. Some people even lash out at strangers. But that is not the way humans were intended to treat one another. A father yelling “SHUTUP” at the top of his lungs to his teenage daughter is going to have a profound effect on her. She will never forget his words, but she will also never forget his tone as he said it.

It is impossible to have zero regrets. Because in the heat of the moment, you may not think about what you say before you say it. But the power of what you say and how you say it stays with a person. It hurts them. I was always a very sensitive kid. Probably too sensitive, but my sensitivity made me highly aware of the power that words have on others. Some of the strongest memories I have are words people have spoken to me. The words that made my heart ache for years and years. The words that made me who I am today.

So many people are too involved in their own emotions to think about what they say. However, positive words can have just as much power as the negative ones. Telling a stranger that you like their shoes may be the only positive words they hear all day. Asking a homeless person how they are doing today may be the only words spoken to them in days. Taking an extra second out of your day to give someone a word of encouragement or positive reinforcement can have the same impact as thinking about the words you’re going to say before you lash out. Compliment a stranger.

I know I have hurt people in the past, and I know I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But what I have learned and tried to implement in my life is having just enough self-control to control my words. The waitress that got an attitude when you sent your food back, she just lost her mom to cancer. The retail associate that you just cussed out for pricing something wrong, she’s working three jobs to support her family. Think before you speak.

Even if people are perfectly kind to the people they interact with, many times they lose that filter when talking to a person they love. You may not yell at a stranger but yelling at your mom, sister, significant other etc., hurts the same, if not more.

I’m saying this in the hopes that you think will think twice before speaking. I am saying this because maybe if you think twice about how you speak to others, maybe you will think twice about how you speak about/to yourself. If you show kindness then kindness will be shown to you. I know that sometimes life sucks. I believe that sometimes it seems like you are a punching bag for everyone around you. But I also believe that if you keep going, if you keep showing compassion, if you show other people that there is love in the world, then love will be shown to you. Life is too short to yell and scream at strangers, the people you love, or yourself. We are all limited in time on this earth, some more limited than others. Make that time count. Do good for yourself and others. You need to hear these words. You need to know that what you speak has power. Compliment a stranger, and most importantly, compliment yourself.

I moved a mountain

I have always gotten a knot in my stomach when even thinking about talking to my dad about everything gone wrong between us. I wasn’t scared of him, but I was scared of the aftermath. I was scared of causing someone else to be uncomfortable. I was scared of tearing down an already fragile relationship. But this week, things changed. This week I took a leap of faith. This week I had courage like no other. This week we began to heal our relationship.

My dad and I have always had a gap in our relationship. There has always been something missing. What he thought was best at the time, turned out disastrous for me later down the road. He thought he was doing the right thing, and I was too afraid to tell him any different. I am a peacekeeper. I do not like drama. I do not like fights or arguments, and I would rather have myself get hurt than anyone else around me. But going through what I have been going through these last two years has shown me that sometimes those difficult conversations have to be had in order to move forward. You cannot live in the past and you can’t dwell on things you cannot change. But, you still have to acknowledge those things because they were real and they hurt us.

Before this week I had never told my dad what happened throughout my childhood and the trauma I went through. I never told him what happened and I always held that against him. I held something against him that he was not even aware of. Through my own healing and self-reflection lately, I was able to see that. And this week, we both took responsibility for our mistakes and we took the biggest step forward we ever had.

In my heart I know that my dad would lay down his life for me in a second. I know that he loves me and I know he feels guilty. But this week I could see it for myself. I saw that my pain hurt him. I saw his raw emotions and I saw that he really wants to be a daddy to me like I always wanted. This week I saw a great foundation being built between us that we can move forward with. He cannot go back in time and neither can I, but this week I saw that he would go back and change what happened in a heart beat and that is what I needed. I waited years and years to hear the words he said this week and I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders.

These last two years have been about healing: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The stress of what happened made me sick. And I will deal with that for the remainder of my life. But my dad is sick too. And that loose end was tied up this week. That loose end is now a knot that we will continue to work through.

This week could have went 2 drastically different ways. And it went the best way possible. My leap of faith was the best choice I have ever made. Having that little ounce of courage helped me and my dad heal. I was scared, but I was fearless. It sounds like an oxymoron but it isn’t. Because I was scared and I overcame that fear with faith and strength. I found the strength inside myself. I want to tell you that just because you have had a bad relationship with someone (maybe parent, grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle, brother, sister etc.) your entire life does not mean that it is beyond repair. Just because you have not spoken to them or had a real conversation with them in years means nothing. I want you to feel the strength that I felt. I want you to have God on your side. I have no doubt we had angels in there with us this week. I want you to know that taking a leap of faith can change your world, and it can help you heal. Having faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Imagine it, you moving a mountain. That is amazing to think about. You need to hear that I believe in you. I believe that you can move that mountain. I believe that you can be honest with the person who has caused you pain. I believe that you are strong.

What being a fighter means

I think that at this point, the whole world knows that the United States Women’s National Soccer team won the world cup. I love soccer and I love watching this team play and I followed each player and their journey to becoming the world champions. Carli Lloyd, the MVP of the world cup, said something in an interview that caught my attention. She said “I am a fighter. I will stand strong. I will stumble and I will fall but I will never give up.”

She didn’t say that she “may fall” but she said “I will fall”. There is no doubt about it that in this life, you will fail and experiences hardships. But, your reaction to those are what makes you, you. No matter how great of a person you are and how nice you are, there will always be someone that pushes you to your limit, and convinces you that you should give up. That your fight isn’t worth it. Well I am here to tell you that it is so worth it. Your fight for life is worth it.

Being a fighter does not mean you won’t fall and you wont experience obstacles. Being a fighter can only be defined by you. You may struggle with an addiction to self-harm but you haven’t reached for a blade in 2 weeks. You are a fighter. You may have a chronic illness and go to the hospital once or twice a week. You are a fighter. Or you may just be having a hard time and you got out of bed every single day this week. You are a fighter. A fighter can cry and kick and scream because that is how we as humans experience emotions. Some may get angry and some may just cry (I just cry). Being a fighter or classifying yourself as a one doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings. You do not have to be a brick wall with no emotions to be strong. You just cannot ever give up.

I will not sugar coat it. I almost gave up. I almost ended it all because I didn’t know how to cope with what I was going through. I felt like I ripped apart my family by being honest about my trauma. People were cruel to me and I couldn’t handle everything I was feeling. But I was a fighter, because in the end, I didn’t give up. I never truly wanted to. I just wanted someone to tell me that it was okay to feel what I was feeling. I feel all of my emotions so deeply. I love deeply and I get hurt deeply. It is a blessing and a curse because I love with all my heart but that can hurt sometimes. But I embrace it because that is who I am. That is how I make connections with people. Some “friends” used to tell me that I wasn’t tough because I was sensitive and they said I wasn’t strong. No one ever told me that I was allowed to feel deeply. No one ever told me that I was a survivor. No one ever told me that I had all the strength and spirit that I needed already inside me. But through my own healing, I learned that how I deeply and how much I feel is okay. Just because I hurt doesn’t make me a wimp, it makes me human. People knock me down 9 times but I stand up 10. (Sometimes it just takes longer to stand up than others and that is okay too).

I want you to know and hear that your small victories that maybe no one else notices but you, are meaningful. I want you to know and hear that you are a fighter for surviving. And some days just surviving is all you can do. That is okay. You are a fighter and you stand strong. When you are backed in a corner with no one else there to help you, let your strength take over. Feel your emotions because that is how you heal. If you need to cry for 2 hours straight one day to let everything out, do it. Never let another person take away your fighting spirit. Because we all have that spirit. We have to know in our hearts that if you let that spirit take over, the pain will get better. You have more strength in your heart than you could ever imagine. A fighter like you and I never gives up. Do not ever give up. I have your back and I am so proud of you for coming this far.

A faith that breeds bravery

The bible talks about having a child-like faith, and I never really understood that until I witnessed it first-hand. Children have a type of faith like no other. They believe without question, and they have a hope that never dies. Teens and adults doubt, and question things all the time. We ask the “who, what, why, and where”. Kids don’t think about those things, you ask them to trust you or believe in something, and they will.

If you tell a kid who is dying of leukemia that it will be ok, they wont doubt that. If you tell a kid who is missing a leg that they can climb a mountain, they will climb the mountain. Many times adults and the peers around you have been through experiences that have made them doubt themselves and others. They almost always see the glass-half-empty because they have had life experiences that led them to believe that is how you don’t get hurt. But I have learned that having that blind faith, will help you go farther than doubt ever will.

Ever since I was a kid I was always positive, and I saw the good in everyone and everything. I always trusted and believed in people even when they hurt me. I chose to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. To be honest I was probably naive, but that was, and is, who I am.

Two years ago I was not a positive person anymore, everything was not fine, and everyone hurt me. Everyone was forcing me to do and say thing I was not ready to and everything had a dark undertone. I was in a black hole of sorrow and negativity where the “trusted” adults around me continued to push me farther into a negative mentality. I lost the faith that I had. I lost the blind trust that I gave people. I lost hope and bravery.

But somewhere between two summers ago and now, I gained my faith back. I began to see the good in people again. I began to believe the positive words I would tell people when times were hard. I started to believe my own words of hope and triumph. Everyone telling me “just be positive”, “everything will get better”, (and my personal favorite) “you’re fine just have faith”, were just empty words. I had to start to believe them for myself. I had to come to realize that I needed to take my own advice. Empty words of advice have no power. People will give advice just to give it, but they do not understand that no one will believe your words until you believe them yourself. Your words have the power to change people. But you have to have faith in your words and you have to trust yourself in what you tell others.

I learned as I got my faith back, in Jesus and in people, that I was a happier person. I started to believe that things will be ok after all. The child’s faith I had for so many years did not go away, it was just tucked away while I learned how to heal. With faith comes hope and bravery. With hope and bravery come strength and perseverance.

I want you to hear that it is ok not to be positive all the time when you’re struggling to heal. But I also want you to know that blind faith with give you back the hope you think that you lost. I want you to know that with faith breeds love, hope, and bravery.