“Deep Belief in Your Own Somebodiness”

I saw a lot of tributes to MLK Jr. yesterday. This one inspired me the most. The first element of his instruction for having a life “blueprint” was to have a “deep belief in your dignity, worth, and somebodiness.”

The word is odd but it hits the spot for me.

Especially when circumstances kick me around.

Especially when “everyone else” seems more successful and more…everything.

Especially when the world seems to be an unloving place for so many.

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Ride It Out

Whether or not we believe this quote by historian Edward Gibbon, history and experience validate that those who survive and thrive are those who believe life happens for them, not to them.

It has certainly helped me to believe in my ability to ride out a storm while in the middle of one. Believing the wind and the waves were not on my side, that the storm was too much for me, caused me to…

  1. Sink

  2. Despair

  3. Give up

  4. Go bat-shit crazy

  5. Make other people miserable

If I had only known earlier that my thoughts and words were creating the blueprint of  my life, I would not have wallowed so long in pathetic negativity, comparing, and complaining.

Today I choose the thoughts and words of peace and success because my thoughts and words will  enable me to ride it out.

Personal Angst Fixer

The Universe has given us plenty of reminders that we are not that impressive, including:

  • drooling, farting, pooping, burping, and pimples

  • a vulnerability to weather and natural phenomena

  • our total dependence upon the care of others during childhood, old age, and illness

  • in order to think and act clearly, we must go completely comatose for several hours every frickin night 

Yet, despite this persuasive evidence, we still take ourselves way too seriously.

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If we accept Schulz’s gift, rather than cringing at bad memories of…

  • stupid stuff we said

  • clueless stuff we did

  • our embarrassing failures

  • our annoying oversights and imperfections…

We can congratulate ourselves on being human and laugh at our tendency to think we should be perfect.

(Talk about freedom!)

Thank you for the reminder, Charles Schulz!

Your Mission, If You Choose to Accept It, Is…

What would happen if, on our birthdays, our mothers, fathers, and caregivers always reminded us of the following?

You have arrived on this planet as a mysterious gift.
You will only be here a very short time.
Your mission is to honor the miracle of your creation by…

  • loving

  • creating more joy 

  • finding something you absolutely love to do and doing it with all your heart

  • never taking your life for granted (or the life of any other living thing)

This mission will be extremely difficult at times. The difficulties are allowed by your Creator to help you discover the power and wisdom you have been given.

Remembering these words will give you the means to accomplish your mission.

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Productive Word Swap for Realists

Even with the best of intentions, when someone starts talking about “positive thinking,” I cringe a little inside…

Not because I am an advocate of negative thinking, rather, I have learned that productive thinking works better for realists than positive thinking. 

For realists, who find it difficult to continually “look on the bright side,” positive thinking often feels like ignoring reality, pretending, or spinning the real truth, while, productive thinking pulls us into an action mode; What is my next step? What can I learn from this experience? etc.

For realists, positive thinking generates a guilt trip; I’m not thinking positively. You shouldn’t be so negative, etc, etc. Productive thinking reminds us to stay away from thoughts that paralyze or steal energy.

The objective for “positive thinking” is commendable: stay out of negativity.

Some of us just need a productive word swap to pull it off.

Existential Angst Relief (Reminder)

Today, I heard myself thinking, “I don’t know what my life is about.” This thought is always accompanied by a sigh and maybe a little depression. But, today, right after the sigh, someone asked me to help them. As I did, my confusion cleared. “Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m here to be kind.”

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Dickinson

Emily Dickinson said so.

What Do I Do with My Mortality?

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On the rare days when I come face-to-face with my own mortality, my first cynical thought is…Why bother doing anything if I am just going to die? My second thought is…The plants need watering. 

That pretty much sums it up for me. Even though nothing lasts, there are needs all around that I can meet and, there is that sobering awareness of other mortals who have used some of their fleeting moments to make my life easier to live. Where would I be if they hadn’t taken their short lives serious enough to use them wisely?

Am I a Purpose Maximizer?

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t know the why for what I have to do, I don’t have much energy to figure out the how to get it done.

In the book, Drive, Daniel Pink reminds us that the big motivators in work (and in life) are mastery, autonomy, and purpose. He says the best bosses remind employees why their jobs matter, becoming “purpose maximizers” (as well as profit maximizers).

Those bosses give hope. And, most of us really need it…anywhere we can get it.

Because of that, I’ve gotten into the daily habit of asking myself in reference to the people in my life, “Am I a hope-giver or a hope-taker?

Power to the hope-givers!

Refuse to Be Intimidated by the Strong or Lulled to Sleep by the “Weak”

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath is well worth reading, not just for the inspiring tales of underdog victory, but also for useful insights into history, medicine, industry, education, sociology, and human survival.

Books as Gladwell’s remind me that…

  • I know so little about things I assume I know so much
  • unlikely heroes are in every walk of life
  • my weaknesses can bring me the greatest victories
  • every story counts
  • courage and audacity change the world

Thank you, Malcolm Gladwell, for reminding me that things aren’t always as they seem.