Shifting Our Focus

“Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go.”

– Katherine Weber

I came across this quote today and it hit me like a slap in the face. I wasn’t searching for quotes; it was just there like it was meant for me to read. I really started to think about my life, my thoughts, and my attitude towards certain things. For the last number of years (too many years to put an exact number on), I have said to myself, “my life is a series of losses.” It is all I have been focusing on. My losses. My life has been one loss after another. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of money, or a number of other things; my life is a series of losses. However, I am not the only one who is alive on this planet. So many others feel the same way as I do. So many others have it worse off than I do. Our eyes are sometimes open only to our pain and closed to the pain other people go through. We get lost in our own pain all too often. We forget what matters. We give up. Once we start shifting our focus to others and helping others, our own lives improve as well. Not only do we make someone else feel better, but we feel better for helping someone else. I will slip and lose my focus from time to time, but before my life ends, I am hoping to help other people see things in a more positive light. After all, isn’t that what we were put on this planet for?

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Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Each experience we go through changes us. Each situation, good & bad, shapes us. Little by little we learn something from life’s challenges. We don’t learn it all at once. It takes time. It can take months, years, or a lifetime. It takes many lessons through life to get to the point of patience, acceptance, tolerance, listening, and asking for help. We don’t even have to go through the experience ourselves; Just watching someone else go through it, we should recognize a light bulb go on in our minds. We should be able to learn from any situation whether we ourselves go through it or not. It really doesn’t have to be a hard lesson to learn; it can be minor. If we keep our eyes open, we will learn from any good or bad situation, or we will be presented with it again.

Acceptance is a big lesson for me personally. I will never be a millionaire, live in Hawaii, have a huge house, or that perfect job. I compare myself to my family, friends, and to people I have never met. It’s hard not to. I feel I should be at a certain point in my life, or have accomplished this and that, and I am not and I don’t. I could have worked harder. I could have pushed myself more. I could have accomplished more. I also know there are others out there wishing they were in my shoes.

With the help of God, family, and friends, we fight our own battles. We have our responsibilities, problems, accomplishments, and failures. We should not compare ourselves to others. We are all different. We all learn at our own pace. We go through different challenges and sometimes the same challenges, which affect us all differently. We are all built and made different from each other. Accept it. Tolerate it. Have patience. Don’t compare yourself to others. It will get you nowhere.

Look and Learn From Each Other

There comes a time in everyone’s life when it really hits them that not only is there someone else out there going through something worse, but there is someone else going through a situation in which no one wants to trade places with, regardless of how much or little drama is involved. It opens up their eyes and helps them realize everyone has something to deal with. Everybody has their own set of issues. Some problems are more serious than others, but it does not mean they are any more or less important. Everyone has a cross to bear. There are people who are struggling to survive. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. There are other people just going through the emotions of life and not really experiencing life to the fullest. They are either too busy, going through life too fast, or not paying attention. There are few people who live life to the fullest no matter what is thrown at them. Every single person has high points and low points of their life. It is not necessarily the actual high points or low points of a person’s life that matters, but how a person deals with those high and low points. Do they grow and learn from those high and low points or do they act out and ignore the potential lessons that come from those things in life? Every single person has done both. This is how people grow and learn.

Picture the homeless man living in a box on a dangerous corner downtown. He lost his job and not able to pay his bills. He was forced out of his home. Now people pass by him, judge him, and look at him with contempt.

Picture the loving wife and mother addicted to alcohol. She hides bottles in the attics, closets, and under a loose floorboard. She easily explains away lost money. She tries to quit over and over, but keeps relapsing.

Picture a troubled teenager. She comes from a loving, close family. Somehow she starts hanging around with the wrong crowd. She doesn’t do her homework and discovered drugs and alcohol. She is out of control, angry, and unhappy. Her parents are doing everything in their power to try and help her, but she refuses any kind of help.

Picture a healthy, elderly man living alone. His wife passed away recently. He is lonely. He pushed his friends away. He doesn’t want help from his kids. He is depressed and tired all the time. He has little interest in anything. He doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t want any outside help.

Are any one of these situations more important than the other? No. How many people would want to be in any of these situations? No one. Life happens. There are some situations in which people have no choice in how certain matters turn out. People have control over some things, but then there are other things in which they don’t. People need to judge less and leave the judging to God. People need to realize they are not the only ones hurting in this world. We all are. We are all dealing with something. Learn from each other. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and picture what they are going through. Look at what they are dealing with. Everyone is in this world to help each other. What matters to everyone in the four scenarios described above is that they are not alone. They want to know someone cares for them. They want to know that when they are ready to change their life and turn it around for the better, not only is not too late, but at least one person will be there to help them. Look around. What can we as a society and individuals do to help someone today? When people help others, they not only help improve someones life, but they improve their own as well.

Lessons Learned, Part Two

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Everyday is a new beginning. Everyday we wake up, we have a chance to achieve something, learn something, try something new, go a different direction with our life, or continue on our intended path. Each new day is an opportunity to learn something. Each passing day is a chance for growth. We can either focus on improvement and the good in our life or we can waste each day given to us by focusing on the bad and completely ignoring life all together. I wish I would have started earlier in life regarding things I have learned throughout my life. I am not talking about things learned out of a textbook. I am talking about life lessons. I wish I would written these things down, read them over, and learned from them. However, it is never too late to start!

The following list is a continuation of life lessons learned:

1. You can’t change anyone but yourself

2. Everyone tells lies at some point in their life. Second chances are often worth it. Learn to trust again.

3. Giving is better than receiving.

4. Life is short. Tell people you love them, spend time with people who matter to you, and do what you  love.

5. You will never learn it all, but never stop trying!

6. It is taking me longer than I expected to be the person I want to be.

7. We can keep on living even after we think we can’t.

8. Life can change in a matter of minutes, good or bad.

9. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You always have a choice.

10. Change is the only constant thing.

Think about your own life and examine your own life lesson’s. You will be amazed on how much you write down and learn from what you write down. Add some humor to your list and don’t always focus on the serious side of life. Remember to  keep your list going. This would be a good “hand me down” for future generations and others to learn from. What are your own lesson’s learned?

Life & Death

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Life & Death

I have been through many loved ones passing away in my 35 years. I can’t really compare them all because each one rips my heart out. On one hand I am sad because they are gone. On the other hand, I am at peace because they are in Heaven. I have lost babies, pregnancies, 2 brothers, grandparents, in-laws, cousins, an uncle, an aunt, & high school classmates. I have been through the shock, the sadness, and the acceptance. So how come today feels a little different when I find out that my husband’s cousin passed away? It was a total shock. I didn’t think it was true and still don’t. We weren’t super close nor did we talk much. We were more “Facebook friends” than cousins through marriage. I saw him two to three times a year. So why I am I experiencing a heavy heart? Is it because he really was not that much older than my husband? Is it because he lived alone and died of a heart attack while at home? Is it because no one found him for a while? Is it because it happened around Thanksgiving time and we are just finding out? Is it because I know all too well that one day we are here and the next we are not? Or is it a combination of all of that? Whatever the reason, I am saddened by the news. He was the first one every year at Christmas time to send us a Christmas card. We’d always receive his Christmas card the first few days of December. I wondered a week ago why we didn’t receive his card. I thought it was strange that there was no Christmas card from him yet. I really don’t know why it takes so many deaths for me to realize that one day we are here and the next we are not. I don’t know why it takes so many deaths for me to realize that if I don’t go after my dreams today, I may not get the chance tomorrow. Let this be another lesson to me to enjoy the moment, go after my dreams, and tell loved ones that I love them.

Moving On After the Hurt & Pain

If I take a poll of how many of you have been hurt before whether it is physically, emotionally, or mentally, I bet everyone’s hand would go up. How sad of world we live in that everyone has experienced pain in some way. In a lot of people’s lives, we experience hurt over and over. We have all been involved on both sides of the coin. We have all hurt someone before and we have all been hurt by someone or something. It doesn’t matter what side of that coin we are involved in, we always feel like crap. In either case, we are unsure what to do next or what to say next. If we hurt someone, we want to make it right and apologize, or we should feel that way! If someone has hurt us, it is difficult to listen, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to forgive them and to move on. One of the hardest things in life is moving on after a hurt or after some sort of pain has been done to you. However, moving on is what you must do not only for your sake, but for the someone or something that hurt you.

Life can be good; is good at times. Life can be fun; is fun at times. Life is full of joyous events and memories. Look back on your life and think back to all the joyous memories. Sure there are a lot of them. Do you remember what you learned from those joyous events? I bet you can pick out a couple things you learned from those happy events. Now look back on the not so good moments. Look back on the moments where you have had to go through pain, hurt, anger, grief, & distrust. From the moment we are kids, we experience hurtful situations. It is all part of life and growing up. We don’t get our way, so we cry and make a fuss. As we grow older, the hurtful situations become more painful, but we learn more from them. Once again, do you remember what you learned from those not so joyous events? I bet you learn more from the sad times than you do the happy times. We grow more as a person going through pain than we do going through happy times.

Moving on after the pain is hard. You may not want to at first. That is understandable and normal. You want to stay locked in your anger and grief forever. You may not be able to handle moving on at first and that is normal too. However, the most important thing you can do for yourself and for the person or situation that hurt you, is to move on. Don’t let that person or situation drag you down. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Show them that you are the better person. Show them you can overcome their hurt and their stupid actions. Don’t hang on to the pain. Grow from it, learn from it, and make your life better because of it. Take something away from the situation and do something positive out of it. Help someone else in that same situation. Volunteer your time. Write for your self only or write something for others to see. Change careers. Exercise more. Make yourself healthier. Do whatever you can think of to improve your life from that situation and move on. Last, but not least, forgive the person or people that hurt you. It will take a long time. It will be a long road back to “normalcy”, but the journey will be worth it. Forgiving someone else shows them are you the better person.

Going through hurt and pain, makes the happier occasions special. Going through grief makes you appreciate the happier moments more. Life is hard. Life really sucks at times, but the journey is worth it. We learn from the situations, good and bad, that we are in. Those situations make us a better person. Life is not all about hurt and grief. There are many happy moments to take pride in. Move on from the hurt and pain. Don’t let the hurtful memories overcome you so much where you forget all the good times.

Life Goes On

If its one lesson I have learned over and over, it is this one: Life goes on. No matter what happens to you or someone else, the world keeps moving. I learned this lesson early on and for some reason life keeps throwing it at me. We all have our issues and our problems to work through. No one goes through life unscathed. Some seem to have an easier life than others. They may have a few issues to deal with, but they seem to have less hurdles to jump over. Than their are others who at every turn have an obstacle to work around. Why is that? Why are some lives easier than others? Why do some people have lessons thrown at them and problems to deal with one right after another while others seem to breeze right through life? I wish I had that answer.

I think some people are stronger than others. I think some can handle having problems thrown at them at a faster speed than others. God made all of us different and he made some of us with stronger souls than others. There is a reason we go through what we go through. There is a bigger plan for us. There is a reason for it all. Although we don’t fully understand why some have an easier life than others and why we go through the things we do, I do believe whatever is thrown at me, I can get through and overcome. I have that confidence in myself.

We are all at a different point in our life’s journey. Even though we have company along the way, we have to walk the road alone. No one can walk our journey for us. We have to complete it ourselves.

So how do you keep going after once again being thrown in a hole and forced to get yourself out of it? Just like you did the first time. You move on one day at a time. You let yourself go through the emotions of hurt, anger, pain, grief, and once that is done, you pick yourself back up, and climb a little at a time until your feet are on solid ground again. It is possible to do over and over. I am living proof of that. It may take a while, but it can be done.

  I read something online that fits just about every obstacle life can deal to you. I don’t know who said it or who wrote it, but it sure does fit. “Allow yourself to hope to believe and to trust again. Don’t let a few bad memories stop you from having a good life now.” Remember not to wallow in pity for too long or you will be stuck. You won’t be able to move on. There is a point in all situations where it is time to find a way out of that hole you were thrown in and get yourself out of it. At some point, you need to continue with life and move on. Remember,  life does not stop for anyone or anything. Life goes on!