Intention has been coming up a lot lately in conversations with my friends. Intention along with authenticity and integrity are the keys to living a life of freedom. As I write this, I feel that is enough to say, but I can go on to how I came about this realization in my own life.
I have stated many times that I went through a season of unfortunate events. During that time, I felt that I would never get a break. It seemed one bad thing was happening after another. I began to question everything. I began to question my choices of friends, decisions, and commitments. That is when I began to examine my intentions. First, I began to look at my friendships. I had and still have a pretty tight and small circle of friends. I did not put much thought or emphasis on my friendships at the time because the friendships I had were many years in the making. The friendships I had were over 20 years old. I didn’t question those because they had lasted so long how could there be anything wrong with them? It was not until my season of unfortunate events had ended that I was able to see the true nature of some of my relationships. I began to notice that some of my friends were very present in my life when things were at their worst. I got phone calls everyday. At the time, I thought it was wonderful. I had a friend who was ready and willing to listen to my problems and I am thankful for it to this day. It was what I needed at the time. It wasn’t until my season of unfortunate events ended that I realized all the support, check-ins, and attention began to be replaced with something else. I was then faced with out of nowhere confrontations, discouragement, and negativity. All of this was confusing to me as I thought friends would be happy for my life to take a much more positive and happy turn. It seemed that every good thing I shared was quickly shot down. Every new opportunity I shared was met with warnings and dissuasion. Where was the celebration? I thought friends would be happy for their friends. It seemed to me that it was my misery that was attracting certain friends’ attention. True friendship was not their intention. There was some joy and comfort they found in my struggles, but not in my happiness.
As my life and the circumstances around it began to improve quickly and exponentially, that particular “friendship” began to weaken until eventually all contact ended. Although the relationship has endured for well over 25 years, surprisingly, I didn’t miss it. I began to realize that over the years there have been several instances when I was in a happy season, that particular person would find a reason to be absent. That same person would come back into my life and seem somewhat disappointed when things were going well. I also noticed that while I shared, participated, and supported my friend’s endeavors, the same was not reciprocated. The absence of longing for that relationship was validation to me that that particular person’s intention was not in line with what I considered friendship. My intention created what I had believed was a friendship, but the other person apparently did not have the same intention. To everything there is a season. The same goes for relationships.
Now I am at a wonderful place and things are better and better everyday. I am examining my intentions. I am deliberate and focused. Life is so much easier. Decision making is effortless. There is little to no back and forth in my mind as my actions are motivated by clear intention.
I can’t say enough about the power of genuine gratitude. Not only is it great for others to know you appreciate who they are and what they do, but it is just a good feeling to feel gratitude.
When most people think of gratitude, they think of saying “Thank you” after getting something or and polite acknowledgement of something. I’m speaking of a feeling, something that lasts long after the words “thank you” exit your mouth. I’m talking about walking and living in a constant state of gratitude. There are so many wonderful things in this world that we take for granted. This blog post has the potential to reach people I would have otherwise had no opportunity to speak it to because of technology. That is something to be thankful for! The fact that I don’t have to hand write this post is a blessing (I have very difficult to read handwriting). I have a computer of my own to make this post. That is something to be thankful for.
Throughout the day, name at least 10 things you are thankful for. It doesn’t have to be something grand or extravagant. Just see if you can feel gratitude in everything you come into contact with today. Think about what your life would be like if you didn’t have it and feel those feelings of gratitude.
Today’s Writing Prompt: Your Most Embarrassing Moment
Do you recall a time when you were so embarrassed you thought you would never recover from it? Write about it. Describe what happened, the reactions you noticed, and how you felt. You can even write about how you would have liked to prevent it or rectify the embarrassment.
No matter how one feels about monarchy, one must admit there continues to be a fascination with royalty. We use it in our everyday speech as a compliment. I often hear “Good morning, Queen!” from a nice young man when I am dressed fashionably or a “I hear you, Queen!” when I say something intelligent or witty. Last week, my cousin used “Queen” to describe me. I then told him my crown was bought and paid for. I just had to start wearing it. In my reply, I realized that although I was in possession of a crown, I had not been wearing it. This caused me to examine why.
It has been always been my belief that we all have crowns. I think deep down most people feel this is the case, but do we walk around on a daily basis like royalty? I didn’t. People were seeing it in me, I feel it is there, but I was not wearing my crown. When I was younger, I was known as the smart kid, teachers pet, and all those things that go along with being a bright student. Although it was a good thing, this caused me to be teased by other students. Being the smart kid wasn’t the popular thing to be. So I took off my crown. It started with self-deprecating humor and dumbing myself down to be what I thought to be more acceptable. As I got older, being smart was cool again. I reached for my crown and starting wearing it proudly. Then there were other times I felt undeserving of the crown upon my head. I would respond to a compliment not by simply saying “Thank you”, but by pointing out a flaw in myself. I wanted to let people know that although my royal blood is evident to others, I doubted it. I am ready to start wearing my crown at all times, at all functions, and in front of all people. Are you?
Some of us are afraid to touch it, some of us are intimidated power and responsibility that comes along with it, and some of us don’t feel worthy of wearing it. We all own one. Start wearing it!
In talking to my cousin about life, he loves to say that situations have layers. I am quick to come to conclusions and make decisions, but he often reminds me of the layers. I tend to overlook the layers, but I realize that I have them too.
Let me explain what he means by layers. Layers are those experiences that determine how one reacts to things, people, and situations. For instance, I will not eat watermelon in public because of the stereotype associated with African Americans loving watermelon. I love watermelon, but I will not eat it in public because I have attached a negative image to my eating watermelon. I will turn it down if offered to me even though I really love it. I’m not quite sure if the stereotype is a negative one, but I still will not be seen in public eating watermelon. I know it’s silly, but that’s not enough for me to change that behavior. So if I were turn watermelon down in public and asked why, my cousin would say there are layers to my decision. Basically, the decision and the reasons behind it are more complex than it appears.
I am generally intolerant of bad behavior. I do not take into account the “layers” behind the situation. I am quick to disassociate with a person who I feel has treated me unjustly. There have been several instances of my ending relationships rather abruptly because I don’t feel it important for me to understand the why. I would rather remove myself from the relationship entirely. My cousin often reminds me of the layers behind people’s actions. I’m on the fence on whether or not to take these layers into consideration. I do think it is best to remove yourself from a toxic situation as to not add any negative layers to your own life.
I feel that it is important to acknowledge these layers and not to judge people too harshly. So if I turn down your watermelon at a public function, don’t take it personally. There are layers behind that situation. I’m working on it.
It has become evident to me that being humble is quickly fading away.
To many people, being humble is a weakness or a lack of confidence, but to me it has always meant something different. One can be humble and confident. The two are not mutually exclusive. When I think of being humble, I think of being a person who is well aware of their gifts, talents, and accomplishments and also aware of their weaknesses, shortcomings and goals yet to be attained. Having made significant accomplishments does not mean there is no room to grow or that any shortcoming or weakness should be dismissed or ignored.
I am reminded of an incident in my hometown of a student who was gifted academically and athletically. The student earned many scholastic awards and several scholarships for academic and athletic merit. Unfortunately, that student made a series of poor decisions and was arrested. Of course the incident received attention on all of the local news outlets as this highly decorated student had fallen victim to the trappings many young people face. What surprised me was the reaction of the student. The student did not take ownership of the wrongdoing, but instead reacted with anger towards those who mentioned or passed along news of the arrest. I am well aware there is a certain type of person who loves to see the mighty fall from grace, but the student’s reaction was troubling to me. I am also well aware that the highly accomplished, gifted, and talented fall victim to the same temptations as everyone else, but those gifts and accomplishments do not excuse or dismiss bad behavior or eliminate the consequences of poor decisions. The student’s reaction was that of prideful boasting of previous accomplishments and a dismissive wave of the hand to the arrest record. All of this documented on the student’s social media site and quickly spread like wildfire. Certainly one poor decision does not take away all of your accolades, but those accolades should not excuse one from misconduct.
In my opinion, there has been a major shift in values. With the rise of social media and instant access to almost everything, we have been taught to create a cult of personality with little to no attention paid to maintaining an honorable reputation.
This post was just to vent my personal frustration. I have no solutions to offer other than to challenge all of us to protect ourselves from valuing the trivial and transient and to place your value in the things that cannot be replaced.
Change happens. There is nothing we can do to stop it. We can prolong it but, it is inevitable. We don’t have to like it but, we must learn to accept it. It makes some people uncomfortable. Oh well.
I have always been the type of person who accepted change. I am not normally a combative person. I do like to challenge things and I am assertive. I also know when to pick my battles. Sometimes it is not worth it to put up a fight just to kick the can down the road. I like peace and peace comes with acceptance.
In the past year, my life has changed drastically. For the most part it is good but, there are some things that weren’t so great. Fortunately for me, those bad things were temporary. Nonetheless, there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had to work with what I had. I had to make adjustments and, more importantly, I had to get on with my life. I had to surrender, embrace the changes, and work through them. Had I fought it, I would have prolonged the discomfort. Now it is just a distant memory. I even laugh about it now.
Life is good and I will continue to give little time to the things I cannot change.