Blog August 2015
Let me ask you a question or two (or three) if you will. What do you admire about yourself? What are your strengths? What are you most proud of when you think of something you have done?
Of these three questions, which one was most difficult for you to answer? If you are like most other people asked, you hesitated answering each of these, especially the first question. Yet, when I asked these very same people the very same questions about someone else, they had no difficulty at all detailing the many answers. And without exception, when the obvious was brought to their attention, quiet tears began to flow. What was the obvious? Most of us cannot consciously think of ourselves in similar positive ways that we think of with others.
Let’s begin with the first question. What do you admire about yourself? Only you know what your life has been like. Only you know of the silent struggles you overcame. Many of us suffer quietly. The word ‘suffer’ is a word that means different things, so use it in the term that best describes you. If it is still difficult for you to think of what you admire about yourself, think of what you admire about others and then begin to realize that you have those qualities too! Maybe even more! Would you want a friend like you? If so, think of what it is about you that stands out. Begin to give yourself the credit you deserve for being you!
Second question: What are your strengths? This one may be a bit easier for some to answer. Do people come to you for advice? Are you good with hand tools? Can you grow flowers or a garden? Are you the best parent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, or friend that you can be? Are you reliable? Are you honest? Do you have integrity? Are you guided by a moral compass? Do you feel you are performing at your very best with the job you have? Everything we do can be a strength. Each and every day begin to notice all the things you do well, perhaps you even do better than well. Bring to your attention all the things you realize you do well. You will find with practice, you will begin to notice more positives about yourself. Noticing the positives helps you remember how awesome you are. No one in the world can be a better you than you!!
Third question: What are you most proud of when you think of something you have done? We tend to shrug off the little things we have done (or not done) that impacted a situation. We may have bitten our tongues when we really wanted to say something that probably would not have helped the situation. Or we restrained ourselves by not flipping off that idiot driver. Perhaps we picked up a piece of litter that some inconsiderate person carelessly tossed. What about that time you let someone go ahead of you in line? Remember when you smiled at someone just because? Perhaps you had the courage to apply for a job or a college course you really wanted. What of the huge changes you made? Maybe, like me, you finally got the courage to get out of a horrible relationship in which you felt beaten down, defeated. Not only did you get out of the relationship, but maybe you went on to become an even stronger, better person because of it. Be proud!! Be proud of who you are and what you have become!! If you are in a place where you want change, be proud that you have become aware of it. Once you are aware that change needs to happen, it will happen. Not always in the timely fashion we expect, but it does happen.
You don’t truly know what is going on in someone else’s world at any time. That person who is in a really bad mood, or on the brink of tears may be going through something so overwhelming that the only thing they can do at that moment is yell at the cashier. No, it doesn’t make it right nor does it make sense for another to pay for something that has nothing to do with them. So instead of fueling the fire by making some snide remark when you’re next in line, smile. Smile at that poor cashier who’s day is now not going so well. Break that cycle, be the change you want to see. Be the positive person, or as we say in our culture “be the bigger person”. Don’t stay in that negative state. Realize that you have so much more power over your environment by your thoughts and actions. With that is the power to greatly affect the people around you. We all have the power inside of us. Use your power for positive change. It’s the little things we do that make the biggest impact – The ripple effect.