People Pleaser

I’ve recently been told that I give too much to too many people, that I am in fact a “people pleaser”. I am fairly certain this was intended as an insult, or as a way of making me see the light of all my wrong doing and stress in my life. However, my initial thought was, “and that’s a bad thing?”. Sure, in an excessive, overly dramatic form being a people pleaser to the extent that you no longer have an identity nor the ability to say no to people sounds like a bad way to be, but in general I think there should be more of “us” out there.

I must also take this moment to admit that I take pleasure in making other people happy. I find that if even some small way I can make someone’s life a little bit happier and more comfortable, I will do what is within my means to make that happen. Since when is this a bad trait to have?

I have definitely had my moments where I am the one giving and giving and giving and others seem to be taking and taking, but overall I have a satisfying feeling when I lie down at night in bed and I feel at peace with how I have lived my life thus far.

I have recently felt the sharp pangs of the reality that I give more than others give to me, especially when I need them the most. Even to the extent that those I have given so much to have no clue that they are the ones I am most frustrated with in my life. Upon realizing this, I was at first bitter and upset, then it was clear to me that it was time to either change the way I let those people treat me or continue feeling negatively. I have emotionally cut a few people out of my life and didn’t so much as clue them into these changes because it seemed insignificant to have them know that things were never going to be the same just as they had made me feel insignificant to them.

Overall, I think I am the way that I am. I am a giver, but I have learned my lesson about that thin line of being nice and letting people take advantage of me. So I ask, is being a people pleaser such a bad thing if it doesn’t hurt you but actually pleases you?

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Solve your problems by looking at them from the outside

Take a look into your life from an outsider’s perspective and things will become clearer. Sometimes we are too close to a problem to see the solution. Have you ever heard a friend’s problems and thought, “This is so simple to fix, why can’t they see that?” Most likely because they are too deep in the problem that they can’t see it for what is at the core of the problem.

I tend to over analyze things, and in doing so I still lose perspective on my life very now and then. If there is a problem I am facing, I immediately try to fix it and sometimes lose perspective as to what it is that is really going wrong. This is an easy thing for all of us to do because we are the ones living our lives and are not seeing it from the outside.

Imagine your life for a moment as a movie that you are watching. Play in your head the characters in this movie of your life, the hero, the villain ect and then start to summarize it as if you were telling the story to yourself. Look at the problem of the main character (being you) and what they are doing wrong. Have they truly “tried” everything, or are they only trying things that they have tried in the past? Are they being the best version of themselves?

I recently (and almost weekly) have to do this exercise when I need to put my life or aspects of my life into perspective. I thought about my problem as if I were giving advice to a friend and even thought about what that friend might say to back to me, both negative and positive responses. In the end, I feel I made the right decision because it wasn’t a hasty one.

This may seem like a pointless exercise, but it really does help, even if all it does it makes you realize that the star of the movie is going to start thinking more positively and stop being negative. It also will give you a clearer view into your life and the answers to your problems that you may already know the answers to. =0)

Ten Years of Marriage I’ve Learned…

Some things I’ve learned in our ten-year marriage. We will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in two weeks and it got me thinking about what I’ve learned about marriage, my husband, myself and how confused I still am on some aspects. Haha

1. Our relationship is based on a foundation of trust, love, respect, and friendship. Without these things, any given relationship, whether it be with a friend, parent, co-worker ect, is doomed. (You can take out the ‘love’ in these cases)

2. Communication is key. Ps- men dread hearing “we have to talk”, even if it’s about vacation plans, it’s embedded in them to hate these words when strung together.

3. Walking away from a mild argument it better than letting it escalate into a heated one.

4. Say “I love you” often, but look each other in the eyes when doing it. Even better, hold each other’s eyes for at least a few seconds and you’ll both really feel the love.

5. Always be happy to see each other. Greet one another at the door. Give hugs and kisses even if you’re currently upset with each other. Take the time to let them know that even though you’re unhappy with them, you’re still in love with them and happy that they’re home.

6. Smiling in the middle of an argument (sometimes) breaks the ice and cracks us both up and we see how silly we were acting. Sometimes, it ticks me off even more. So use this advice with extreme caution. =)

7. Cards with handwritten messages are priceless. Expensive gifts are nice (obviously), but without meaning all the gift really did was put a dent in the account.

8. Talk about having kids and becoming parents and each other’s expectations. Preferably do this before having kids.

9. Be on the same page! Once you have kids, talk about upcoming possible obstacles in your parenting lives and brainstorm ideas together on ways to solve them.

10.Take time out each day and sit in silence together and just BE.

11. Remember who each of you were before you were a wife/husband/mother/father. Don’t lose yourself to marriage and parenthood, but find a balance in your new life and roles with your hopes dream and desires for you.

12. Remember who that person was when you married them. If they had annoying habits 10 years ago, and you thought they were quirky and cute but now those habits irritate you, it’s not their job to change. Most likely, they have always been that way and it is your job to change your attitude.

13. Marry someone you actually enjoy spending time with, not just an attractive face.

14. KNow their “triggers” that tick them off and stay away from them.

15. Have faith.

I do not know what the future will bring, but I have faith in my relationship and the vows I took 10 years ago are forever binding and a sign of my commitment. Relationships shouldn’t be a lot of work, but like a flower they need to be watered and nourished.

Excellence is a habit not an act.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle

I am a loyal fan and follower of the great philosopher Aristotle and upon reading this quote the other day, it was as if a lightbulb went off inside my head. We are all born with certain characteristics embedded within us, that no matter how much we try to change, they can be altered, and even suppressed but never erased from our personalities.

Then there are the habits that we do in our lives, some good and some bad, that lead us to who we are today. These habits are often mistaken for acts of our character, when in fact they are behaviors that we constantly repeat. Unlike our personalities, these habits or behaviors can be changed. The key is to be consistent with them and eventually they will become habits that are second nature to us.

Take me for example. I characteristically am a sensitive person and my feelings get hurt quite easily. I have learned over time to not take things so personally by reflecting on what it is that was said or done to me that affected me in a negative way. After such reflection, I come to an understanding as to why my feelings were hurt and I feel better. This is my way or working with an existing, unchangeable characteristic that is within me that I cannot change.

However, I have some good habits and some bad ones. When I was about 24 years old I gained a lot of weight working in an office and I blamed my environment for “making” me fat. One day I started going to the gym each morning before work to complete 5 miles regardless how long they took, and whether or not they were completed with jogging, running or walking. I did this every day and eventually it became a habit that I never quit. People would ask me how I was so dedicated and other assumed I was a fitness nut. It was just a habit that I got into, a positive one.

We often get caught up in negative habits that we mistaken for signs that we are weak of character or not “great” at something. The truth of the matter is, that we haven’t trained ourselves for greatness. We have not established habits in our lives to make positive changes in our lives. When I feel my life not going in the direction that makes me feel the best about myself, I reflect on my everyday rituals and behaviors and make positive changes. By doing these behaviors daily, they in turn become habits that lead me to where I want to be and who I want to become.

Just some food for thought that you can implement within your own life.

Life is a jigsaw puzzle

Life is a jigsaw puzzle. Why? Well think about it. We are either living a completed puzzle or we are searching for that missing piece. It is never and yet always complete. There are times in our lives that we are waiting on a different piece to the puzzle and are sometimes looking in the wrong places or perhaps it isn’t destined to be found at that time. Thus, it is a very hard aspect to grasp because we always seem to be searching for something in our lives. We see that once our puzzle is solved we can reflect back on the mixed up pieces and truly appreciate how each piece fit together to get us to where we are now in our lives. This puzzle, once completed, may lose a piece here and there along the road of our life but it will always find itself once again, and usually when we least expect it.

Life is a jigsaw puzzle because we are all connected. All of us touch someone’s life in a small or large scale everyday. We drive among people, breathe the same air, work beside people, wait in line behind each other at the grocery store, open doors for one another, we are not alone.

I personally like puzzles and perhaps that is why I went into the design field. In a given space, there are a series of puzzles that need to be placed correctly together to create the right harmony in the environment. Such is our lives. The hardest concept to grasp is that all the answers to life’s puzzles usually come once they have been solved. Annoying in its perfection, life is just that way and hence we must have faith and hope and know that in the end, with our completed puzzle, we will see how all the interlocking pieces fit together to create our current reality, good or bad.
We must realize that each and every one of us is connected in some way. Therefore in order for one of to have a completed puzzle another person’s puzzle must first be fixed or in some cases misplaced. God has a way of moving things around for us to get us to where we are supposed to be in our lives. But what is interesting to discover is that He is moving other people around too, to get us to our place in life.
For example, you get a new job after months and months of searching. You got that job because the previous person was fired, retire or quit. Or maybe a new position was created because there was more workload needed that one person couldn’t take on themselves, hence creating a position for you to eventually attain.

I think of where I am in my life, and who I am and all the people and places I have met and things I have learned thus far on my journey through my life and all the beautiful pieces that have created my puzzle. What tends to happen to me, is after a few months or years, with a nice completed puzzle (life), something shifts in the universe and I am thrown for a loop and once again in search of the harmony I once felt in my life. Such is life. Life doesn’t stop living for us, it goes on and on and we must keep on moving forward and not giving up. We are all connected. I would not be here had my mother and father not conceived me. I would not have found my husband had I not been with the wrong guy. My husband would not have found me had he not moved to California. We would not have fallen in love had we not had to say good bye to each other and face our true feelings. I would not have moved back to California from Georgia had my sister not gotten sick. Everything, good and horrible, have connected together to make me who I am today and have guided me to where I am today.

Remember that we are all connected like a giant jigsaw puzzle and we are not alone. So if you feel that your life is missing something, search if you must,  but remember that your are not alone in your feelings and that the pieces in your life will connect correctly in time and with faith. =)

Pay it Forward

This concept has been around for quite some time, but every time someone does something nice for me, especially if they are a stranger, I am reminded that I should pay it forward.

Today I was at Costco, and had a heavily loaded cart with a large box containing 6 jugs of water, and also a large economy package of water bottles. I should also remind you that I am nearly 7 months pregnant, and was having a difficult time reaching my purchases without squeezing my swollen belly into the edges of the cart. I stood there for a second wondering to myself how I was going to get them out the best way without hurting my back.

Mid-thought, a women with two kids rushed to me and said, “Let me please help you with that.”

Her two little girls patiently waited as she lifted my boxes out of my cart and arranged them neatly into the trunk of my SUV. She smiled at me and told me to be careful. I told thanked her for looking out for me and as I pulled my SUV out of the parking spot, I turned to my left, waved at her and his family and the gave me generous smiles back.

My smile is still on my face at it’s nearly 11 hours later.

It is the simplest gestures that we do for one another that shows us all that we are not alone on this earth. I spent the entire time inside of Costco avoiding eye contact because I was in a rush and was in my gym clothes along with my baseball cap that was pulled down over my eyes to further avoid chit-chat from people on my quick trip into the store. Yet, this lady still put aside her busy errands she may have planned for the day, had her children wait and set her own shopping cart aside to help me out.

Thank you kind lady, for your small gesture, it has been noted in my mind and has reminded me that we are all connected. We are never alone. People do look out for one another. I will surely do something nice for a stranger as often as I can in hopes that they to pay it forward.

I urge everyone to do the same, even in the simplest of forms, because those are the ones that often have the largest impacts.