Tag Archive | courage

They say that one person cannot make a difference…

I have never believed that–that one person cannot make a difference–and I am glad that people like Albert Einstein, and Mother Teresa, and Steve Jobs didn’t believe it either, for they were extraordinary people who truly changed the world.   They had ideas and imagination and vision and courage and they took those gifts and used them to the highest extent that they possibly could.  I wonder what would happen in the world if we all did that?

A few weeks back I had an idea.  I have a lot of ideas, but unfortunately, I do not act on most of them.  In the past few months I have had to look at cyberbullying and harassment in the face from a very personal view.  I didn’t much like it, but I learned a lot about myself from the experience.  It has been an experience that has opened my eyes, and with my eyes open I began noticing things that I probably would have missed before.

I have an inspirational page on Facebook.  I was coerced into starting it by my friend, El Phoenix Farris, who writes Running From Hell with El.  She also has an inspirational page on Facebook by the same name.  One day I noticed that she has put up a poster about cyberbullying, and I had just heard that my brother-in-law was being cyberbullied by an adult and I had also come to the realization that my daughter had been viciously cyberbullied by adults late last summer.  When I saw El’s poster, I got an idea. Normally when I get an idea such as the one I got that day, which I feel is “inspired,” I think to myself, “Well, that will never work.”

However, this time was different.  I dismissed that “it won’t work” notion and I messaged El with my idea.  I said, “El, what do you think if we page owners all got together and had an anti-cyberbullying day?  A show of force of sorts.  I am new at this page thing and I don’t know a lot of page owners, but you do.”  I sent the message and waited for her response telling me why it wouldn’t work.  Instead, she was thrilled with the idea, but was about to take a mini vacation, so we agreed to discuss it upon her return.

The following week I saw another anit-bullying poster, this time put up by The Bridge Post.  Them I do know and have written for, so I went to Charlene and Tammy with an idea for an article on adults and cyberbullying.  They were excited by the idea and I began writing.  I also went back to El and told her about the article.  The next day we spoke by phone, and she’d brought in a friend of hers who runs an anti-bullying page on Facebook, Bullying is for Losers.  She also invited me into a group of inspirational page owners on Facebook and after I had been introduced, and had said my hello’s, and after waiting a respectable amount of time for them to get to know me a bit, (roughly an hour or two) with El’s nudge, I launched my anti-cyberbullying campaign idea into the group and was met with excitement and a ton of enthusiasm.

I had stopped being “just one person” the second I shared my idea with El.  When the idea was released into the group it took on a life of its own and a number of very talented, very dedicated, and extremely loving individuals made magic.  After having worked tirelessly all weekend long creating posters and content for their own pages, and for all of us to share, this group of magnificent page owners, myself among them now, held an all day anti-cyberbullying day yesterday that spread like wildfire on Facebook.  At the same time, The Bridge Post released my article, and the day was a day of overwhelming emotion as we all worked together to spread a very important message, each from our own unique point of view.  I simply cannot find words to adequately describe the impact that the day has on each one of us as page owners, and on those people who we are blessed enough to have visit our pages.

Some posters were shared many hundreds of times over, each a unique creation, and they are still being shared and commented on today.  Here is just a tiny sampling of some of the many, many posters that were created and released and shared all over Facebook yesterday:

Know My Worth

Running From Hell With El

Image: Photos & Designs by Piera
Words One Hot Mess(age)  Designed by Piera Paci.

Nothing but Respect

Read, Love and Learn

 

Art the Speaks by Alison Pearce

And my little contribution, poster-wise.  I am lucky I have a forehead left after all the banging! 😉

One Hot Mess(age)

I wish I could share all of the posters.  There were so many and a gallery is being planned.  The creativity, talent, and dedication by all of these people, each “just one person,” has me in complete awe.  Their spirit of love, kindness, collaboration, and light had me in tears more than once yesterday, and the outpouring of support from people on Facebook still has me reeling.  Last I heard, a radio station local to The Bridge Post was having an anti-bullying day today and they were in contact.  Who knows how far this can go!

Of course, there is no way to measure the effect of yesterday on the people who saw what we all worked to do, but I do know people talked, and shared, and were touched, and they thought, not just about not bullying themselves, but what needs to be done when we see bullying happening in any form, anywhere.  Seeds have been planted and who knows what will grow.

Each one of you is “just one person” chock full of ideas, passion, and light.  How many times do you have an idea and stop yourself from going forward because you think that it won’t work, or no one will listen, or that it won’t make a difference?  My idea ceased to be mine once I shared it and I give all of the glory for all of it to God, but had I never shared that simple idea what would have happened?  Nothing.  And yet because I chose to share it, to give it away, it became something astonishing because of the vision and hard work by so many people, all of them “just one person.”  We all have the spark within us that is capable of igniting a fire of goodness and love.   Take that idea you have—the spark that you have–and go start your own fire!  It is right there waiting within you!

Many thanks to Running From Hell With El, Bullying is for Losers, The Bridge Post, Living Happy, Happiness in Your Life, Always Leave ‘Em Laughing, Our Mind’s Meadow, Bedeempled Brain, Art The Speaks by Alison Pearce. A Victim No More, You ARE Enough, Know My Worth, Photos & Designs by Piera, What Makes My Heart Sing, Nothing But Respect, A Cowboy’s Hope for a Cure,Poopsie, What Makes My Heart Sing, Rebel Thriver, and Read, Love and Learn.  If I forgot anyone, let me know and you will be added!!

What About Bob? What about you?

I am not in the business of doing movie reviews, but our family has a number of favorite movies, our own cult classics, so to speak.  One is the film, What About Bob?  It stars Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, and if you haven’t seen it, you should add it to your Netflix queue, or better yet, go buy it on Amazon.  It is inexpensive enough.

The movie is a comedy, and it is the story of Bob, played by Bill Murray, who is a man with a number of phobias that have him nearly crippled.  Bob is bounced from one psychiatrist to another, because he is so high needs, until he becomes a client of Dr. Leo Marvin, played by Dreyfuss.  Dr. Marvin sees Bob for the first time just as his new book, Baby Steps, is released at the day before he and his family are set to go on a month long vacation in New Hampshire.  Bob is very upset at the idea of going an entire month without seeing Dr. Marvin, and leaves his appointment, book in hand, distraught.  I am not going to tell you the entire movie plot, but Bob follows the family to New Hampshire, much to the chagrin of Dr. Marvin, but to the delight of Dr. Marvin’s family, because as they get to know Bob, as flawed as he is, they find out what a treasure he is as a human being.

Why is Bob such a treasure amidst his giant ball of fears and phobias, and with his absolute lack of boundaries?  He is such a delight because he is genuine, and honest, and extremely transparent.  Bob is who he is, warts and all, and he’s not ashamed of that.  This blatant personal honesty about his many quirks and shortcomings seems to draw people to him like a magnet.  Bob gives people the gift of allowing them to admit to their own fears and imperfections and he accepts them unconditionally.

As the movie progresses, Bob begins to take some giant steps forward in facing, and removing his fears, and he begins to deliver another gift to the people around him–the willingness and courage to face their own fears.  As Bob heals himself, quite publicly, openly, comically, and with no apologies for who he is, others begin to see that they to can be who they are, speak about what scares them, and erase their fears, too.  Bob becomes a beacon of hope to the people he meets.  It’s a hope that they can be genuine, and flawed, and courageous, and in the end, still be loved and accepted.

I wonder what would happen if we were all more like Bob?  If we did not build elaborate facades to hide our true selves, and our flaws, and our fears?  What is we were trusting enough, and willing enough, and courageous enough to just be who we are, each and every day, with no apologies needed.  What if you showed your own fears, and imperfections, and vulnerabilities, and quirks fearlessly?  What if you were genuine?  What would that look like for you?

Why do we so often fear being who we really are, and work so hard to hide our flawed beauty?  I suspect the answers are as unique as their are people, but there is a commonality in there.  We have all been hurt, or felt “less than,” or been told that we are not enough as we are.  We relentlessly compare ourselves to others instead of looking in the mirror and working on that one person.  We are afraid that no one will like us, let alone love us, if they really knew our thoughts and feeling and fears, so we pretend.  It doesn’t have to be that way, and it takes far too much work to maintain the facade.

We all have areas that need work, or where we need help, but if we do not face them, or admit to them, there will be no change.  If we are not genuine with the people in our lives, how can we expect them to really know us, or know what we really need?  At the same time, how can we expect to have honest relationships if we are not who we genuinely are in public, or in private?  So many of us are terrified of being human.  What will people think if I am not perfect?  If I do not hold it together all of the time, what will become of me?  What if people find out that…fill in the blank.

Generally speaking, I think we would find out that we are all more a like than we are different.  I think we would all enjoy our lives more if we were “real” with ourselves, and with others.  Of course, if we dropped the facades and exposed the areas where we need work and fine tuning we would have to have the courage to do that work, but we wouldn’t be alone in doing so.  In the film, Bob is not a victim. He is a person who strives to become better, then he becomes a survivor, and in the end, he thrives, surrounded by people who love him, and celebrate his uniqueness.

What is the key here?  Is it the willingness, or the honesty, or the courage?  It is a combination of those attributes along with a healthy sense of humor, and a lot of hope.  I believe we all hold those keys within us.  They are the keys that turn us from people pretending to live  into genuine people who are not just surviving, but are sincerely thriving.  Don’t be afraid to use your keys.  The door is waiting to be opened.

Fear–The greatest motivator to stay absolutely stuck

Fear is a strong emotion, and one that can serve us well, warning us of dangerous situations, and propelling us into action to protect ourselves, whether through fight or flight.  That is fear in its best and proper form.  However, how many people are slaves to fears that keep then so stuck in life that they can barely move, or if they do move, the movement is some misguided form of self protection, be it anger, nastiness, or simple inertia? It is still fight or flight, but you are fighting life, or fleeing from it. This type of fear is never healthy and it sucks all of the joy right out of most everything.

Most people aren’t aware just how much of their lives are dominated by fear.  People alter who they really are because they fear not being liked or accepted.  People do not ask for help when they need it because they are afraid of being seen as weak, or being told, “No.”  People lie because they fear others won’t find the truth acceptable.  People do not share their thoughts because they fear being wrong, or that someone will disagree, or that no one will listen. People don’t try new things because they fear failure.

People don’t try to change an bad situation because they fear they may fail at that, too—“It won’t do any good, anyway.”  People stay in bad relationships and bad jobs out of fear, and remain in unhealthy lifestyles because they fear change.  At its basest form, fear become anger and meanness.  People fear getting hurt so they hurt others first to protect themselves.  They fear looking at their own behavior because they are afraid there will be nothing left if they tear down the walls of anger, nastiness, and arrogance.  How will they protect themselves without lashing out, being defensive, blaming others, or making excuses?

Fearful people are often lonely, and unhappy.  At the heart of fear is almost always the fear of loss–loss of possessions, loss of safety, loss of reputation, or a loss through an insult to their pride or ego.  Fearful people take the hurts and losses in life and turn them into weapons, walls, and shields, yet we all have hurts and losses in life, so why isn’t everyone living a stuck, angry, small life with no joy?   That’s an excellent question, and I certainly don’t have the entire answer.

I’ve always told my kids, “Face your fears, and they will disappear.”  I try to live that, but like everyone, I have my own fears, though over the years they have diminished to a very few things.  I’ve had a lot of losses, some at the hands of other, many self-inflicted.  I’ve had hurts, and some pretty awful experiences, again, some events coming from outside of me, and many self generated.  But, at the same time, I have had to face a lot of my fears because I didn’t want to stay stuck in the ugliness that I had created by believing false information, or by feeling like a victim, or blaming the world for all of my problems.  At the heart of it all, I feared that “me” wasn’t good enough, and from that sprang many mistakes, poor choices, and much self sabotaging behavior.  Who would want to stay stuck in that muck? Not me, but to get out of that muck, I had to own my role in my life, my choices, my behavior.  That was scary business, indeed, and not gobs of fun.  Being stuck in fear and anger and poor choices was a lot less fun, though.

Fear gives a person a very small, myopic, world view.  It creates a blindness to all of the color, and goodness in the world.  Fear holds people back from discovering the beauty in others, and the beauty within themselves.  How can anyone truly live and enjoy life when everything is a perceived threat to their ego, or their limited sense of self worth, or their position, or their power?  But fear does not give one power.  Fearful people prefer to have power over—power over others, power over the situation, power over the world.  Power over is not personal power.  Power over takes personal power from others.  Again, not a happy, or healthy, way to truly live and enjoy life.

Personal power, on the other hand, gives joy to life.  It allows its owner to set healthy boundaries, make good choices for themselves, be vulnerable, be open, be willing, and in the end, be genuine and happy.  Personal power can empower others to places of goodness.  It is a light that shines, not a wall that blocks out the sun, and the light of everyone, and everything in your world.  You cannot get to a place of personal power without facing many fears, without having the courage to heal, make mistakes and start anew.  You cannot have personal power without the courage to admit your faults, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself and others, and change your course.  When you have personal power you don’t need or want power over anyone.  Personal power is not the freedom from fear, but the knowing that fears can be faced, and erased.

Leaving a fear based life starts like anything else—with one step in the opposite direction, and then another, and another for a life time.  You can change fear based behaviors and actions by looking your fears in the face, making friends with them, then showing them the door.  You can change your mindset from one of suspicion and avoidance to one of joyfulness and openness, but it will take work.  It’s work that is well worth it, and you can do it.  Please, don’t be afraid to try.  Don’t let fear motivate you to remain stuck.  Get yourself out of your own muck.  You’ll be amazed at the results.