Category Archives: Inspiration

Marriage: Effort Equals Excellence

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Marriage: Effort Equals Excellence

Most people define the success of a marriage by certain criteria. The ability to cohabitate without problems, the level of excitement and frequency of their bedroom antics, or each person’s ability to provide financially for their household are all front runners. While compatibility, sex, and money ARE important players in the marriage game, I believe that they are only get you so far.

The ability to encourage a person, spiritually bonding, offering the gift of open, creative expression, and showing your partner that you fully support their life choices, bring a marriage to the next level. By prompting your other half to strive for their goals in life and allowing them to do so in their own unique way, you are saying, “You are an amazing person and need to show the world!”. This boosts self-confidence and self-love. If your partner loves themselves, it is a guarantee that they will love you even more.

Spiritually bonding makes the meaning of marriage deep. Understanding a person’s thought process, connecting through religion or similar beliefs or finding about their past, are all examples of ways a couple can build their spiritual connection and establish a means of open communication. Support is also a key factor in marriage. Showing the one you love that you truly will stand with them in all aspects, even if you disagree, illustrates that you are part of their team, part of the small group that will take up arms beside them in their personal battles.

Marriage is work. There are several obstacles that each couple faces. I am a firm believer that communication and active listening are two things that place a marriage on solid ground. It is okay to disagree, but it is not alright to stop trying. Put effort into your relationship and your partner will mirror that effort. If they don’t, talk about it. If they don’t want to fix the problem, that person isn’t really your partner. Each relationship will be tested through different forms of hardship: financial ruin, miscarriage, infidelity, etc., but a marriage dies when both parties refuse to put in work.


“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

Mignon McLaughlin

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Living for the Moment

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Living for the Moment

I recently watched Aziz Ansari’s stand-up comedy special and was surprised. It was kind of funny, but I found it a bit deep. Aziz was hilarious as Tom Haverford, a shallow, whiny, annoying, and lazy employee on Parks and Recreation. This side of Aziz was a bit different; he was analyzing life, love, relationships, and awkward situations. One topic jumped out at me. Aziz was discussing how people today do not like to make decisions. He said, (not verbatim), “We are a generation of shitty people. We never want to make plans or commit to anything because we are always worried that we will miss something better. We are constantly worried that we are giving up on the best possible option”. I thought this was very insightful.

No longer do we call up a friend, invite them to lunch, set a time and date, show up on time, and truly spend time with that person. Now, the process is setting an idea out there, that we may get together, sometime in the near future. Or, we maybe are up to having a night on the town, but we won’t be completely sure until 5 minutes before we are ready to leave. And, if two people do get together, there are a lots of pictures taken…of the place and food.

What happened to going somewhere and truly enjoying it? Let us attempt to look at things without the lens of a camera. Yes, it is always nice to capture those special moments, but I believe that we are so caught up trying to capture the amazing points in our life that we miss them! Make memories and quit worrying about the filter you are going to use on your Instagram.

More and more we are seeing signs on restaurants telling us to put our phones down, and talk to one another. I also read an article about the change in restaurant service since the birth of smartphones. There was a survey done that compared the quality of food, service, and experience in the year 2001 to an evaluation done in 2010 by examining video footage. Sending food back, stating there was poor service, and the overall experience of the restaurant all were factors that were higher in 2010 than it was in 2001. The video footage showed more people taking several pictures of themselves and their entrees for several minutes, causing the food to get cold, making the patrons send the food back. It showed people so engrossed in their phones that they did not even acknowledge a server coming up to them to make sure their experience was going well; this resulted in low scores poor service and restaurant experience.

I am not suggesting that everyone goes off the grid and banishes technology from their lives. The use of technology is a major part of our lives, making everything more streamline and readily available. I am simply suggesting that we cut down a little. Save some special memories for yourself instead of sharing it with the entire social media circus. Go on excursions that will make new stories and memories without worrying about what you could potentially be missing. Focus on the now and devote yourself to being a great listener, an enthusiastic participant, and a welcomed conversationalist! Live life for yourself and the ones you love.


“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Perseverance

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Perseverance

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

John Quincy Adams


For most, life is not easy. It is filled with heartache, disappointment, failure, sadness, and obstacles. However, life also provides love, success, fulfillment, happiness, and relief. Life is what you make it.

Sociology will prove that life is a unification of genetics and environment; a combination of nature and nurture. While this may be true, I believe that an individual’s life is theirs to control. Our choices reflect the life we will have. It is true; some of our choices are made for us, without our consent. Though that may be, how we choose to handle the consequences of those choices define our character. Life will continue to throw you curve balls, but the way you handle that pitch determines the outcome.

I used to plan everything out. I was supposed to attend college, become a doctor, establish my career, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. Simple enough, right? Well, that is not how things played out. Now, at an age where more are established in their careers, I am going back to school, working to attain a more stable life. I have learned to accept what you cannot change and work to change what you are able to. No one tells you that you will encounter death, miscarriage, unemployment, eviction, money problems, malfunctioning cars, destroyed homes, natural disasters, break-ups, and failures. This is life’s fine print. Now, it is not all depressing. There is light at the end of the tunnel! The key is perseverance. Pushing through all the bad, doing all you can to overcome the pain, heartache and frustration is what makes you a better person. The most important lessons are learned through the toughest problems.

Too many times, I have seen people experience a life change, one that was unplanned or unexpected, and then do nothing. Complaining will not change your life. You have to take action. Don’t want to live with parents? Work toward getting your own place. Unhappy at your job? Find ways to improve it or look for another. Want the finer things in life? Sacrifice things you can do without and save for the things you want. Make an effort to be better, to do better. Find happiness in what you do have and celebrate life’s joys that you are able to experience. Whether it is for the betterment of yourself, your family, or others, it is important to place effort to strive for improvement.

The quote above by John Quincy Adams is one of those perfect truths. Life will always be difficult in some way, but if a person is patient and persistent, those difficulties will fade away and eventually disappear. All that will remain is a path that leads to your dream. Never give up. Push on and go get what you really want. Persevere.

Image

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Image

Image rules all. Everyone is caught up in their own self image that they fail to see inner beauty and ignore their own self worth. New clothes and shoes, makeup and fake hair, implants and surgery, are the focus of our society.

To me, people fall into two categories. The first chooses to return to the “all natural ways”, flaunting their natural hair, skin, etc. The second focuses on trends; the latest hairstyle, types of clothing, makeup, shoes, etc. Both determine a person’s idea of what imagery is acceptable. Each side is set on being the “right” way. I say, why can’t we have both? Life can be a balance between the two.

Self image is actually based on how others see us. That means we form our perceptions of ourselves from the opinions and thoughts of other people. Other people. Those who have no control over our daily lives. Does that make any sense?? Shouldn’t our self image be formed by our own thoughts and not based on opinions of our peers? Truth is, we choose from the images we see and use what the media tells us is good, right, and beautiful as a measuring stick. This skewed form of measurement provides unattainable goals. We are so blinded by our own willingness to fit in, to be loved and accepted. The obsession with image is leading us further and further away from things that truly matter.

Positive self image is a hard thing to come by. We have to accept our flaws and believe that we are perfect with our imperfections. Our talents are not defined by our shoes, clothes, hair, car, and home. Our ability to love is not determined by how many partners we have had. Our faith is not measured by the amount of bible verses we can quote. If people were to channel the energy they place on taking the perfect selfie on Instagram, posting the most insightful quote on Facebook, or tweeting the funniest thing on Twitter, and focus on self improvement, self love, and promoting community, we would be better off.

I am not the first to say this and surely will not be the last. Nevertheless, the truth must be spread. Image is not everything. Pretty things cannot cover up an ugly soul.


“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Confucius

Ten Ways To Open Your Heart – Pt. 10: Promise without Forgetting

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Ten Ways To Open Your Heart – Pt. 10: Promise without Forgetting

Keep every promise you make and only make promises you can keep.

Anthony Hitt

Promises are bonds that should not be broken. Life sometimes gets in the way of promises. Time, money, and effort are all necessary to keep promises. Though this happens, it is necessary to stay true to your word. I think it is necessary to stick to what you decide to do. The promises could be small: promising to come home straight from work, promising to take out the trash, or promising to spend more time with someone. The promises could be big: promises to travel the world, to move to another state, to devote your life to someone else. Whatever the size or significance of a promise, it is still a promise to be kept. Sometimes we forget what we promise. We make plans but do not follow through with them. We attempt to revamp our lives with promises to stop drinking, smoking, making career changes, or spend less money. But, we forget. We make promises to communicate better, to forgive easier, or to be understanding. But, we forget. Make commitments and stick with them. If things go awry and it is not possible to complete the promise, make adjustments. Becoming a better person, friend, and/or spouse is a promise that should be kept. Making a difference or a life change that will affect not just you but your family, friends, or coworkers, is a promise that should be kept. Change for the better and life will evolve in ways you did not know it could. A real promise is a promise to yourself. Put forth effort into self-improvement because self-love can conquer all.

Never forget what you set out to do. Keep your promises and never forget.

Ten Ways To Open Your Heart – Pt. 9: Forgive without Punishment

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Ten Ways To Open Your Heart – Pt. 9: Forgive without Punishment

Forgiveness is the final form of love.

Reinhold Niebuhr


Forgiving someone is not an easy task, but we already know this. What we fail to realize is that we tend to make the person who we believed wronged us, suffer. How many times have you held a grudge? How many times have you brought up past indiscretions that you claimed you had moved past? We need to forgive without punishment; allowing someone to have a “free pass”. This does not mean become a doormat. Forgiveness is a divine quality. One that will set troubled souls free. Taking time to realize what went wrong and forgiving someone will prompt a change in emotion and a person’s outlook on life. When you choose to forgive, do not make the person jump through emotional hoops. Give them the opportunity to state why they did what they did and attempt to understand their point of view. Accept that no one is perfect and that everyone deserves a chance to achieve forgiveness. Stop bringing up the past and move forward. This is harder than it seems. It is difficult to allow a person to simply walk away from a problem or work through your emotions and forgive them. However, if we are able to do this, we will find peace and comfort. Relinquishing your frustration, anger, hate, or any other negative emotions will free you and you will have the power to move forward with your life.


Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.

Marianne Williamson

Ten Ways To Open Your Heart – Pt. 8: Trust without Wavering

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Ten Ways To Open Your Heart – Pt. 8: Trust without Wavering

Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It is the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

Stephen Covey


Trust is commonly associated with romantic relationships. Though this is one type of relationship where trust is essential to the success of the relationship, it is not the only kind. Trust must exist between family, coworkers, friends, and God. Trust is a feature that is very hard to build up and very easy to destroy.

In romantic relationships, trust is vital. Allowing yourself to open up to another person, and having it reciprocated, will build a strong foundation for the relationship. Trusting that your partner, your spouse, your other half, will be there through difficult situations, listen to your needs, and provide you with honest, loving feedback, makes the perfect partnership. Sometimes people stray away and cheat. For whatever reason they felt unloved, cheated, and tarnished the relationship forever. Trust is stripped away and may never come back. Some couples are able to see past infidelity and work to repair their relationship. Others call it quits. Either way, trust has to be found again. The person who cheated has to relearn to trust their feelings and themselves. The person who was cheated on has to trust the one they love again (in order for the relationship to work). Likewise, if they decide to break up, that person has to learn to trust that others will not follow a similar path. Trust in a romantic relationship, in a marriage, allows a connection to be made with someone that is unique to all relationships; a connection that devotes your heart to another. Trust must be sheltered and protected in order for the relationship to thrive.

Connections made with coworkers need trust. Trusting your peers at work may not be a forerunner on people’s lists, but it is necessary. It is important to believe that the people you work with are dedicated and committed to achieving goals that will benefit the entire group, and not solely themselves. This is something that most will shy away. Though many jobs are based on individual performance, a sense of trust is still important. It is important to believe that the company is practicing ethical business, that your coworkers will support you in a communal effort, that you are being treated and compensated appropriately. All these aspects are based on trust. Make the most of your career and illustrate the type of trust you want. If you show it, people will mirror it.

Family is always there for a person to lean on during tough times. The saying is, “If you can’t trust family, who can you trust?” For those who do not have a stable family structure, turn to those who have supported you emotionally. Family can be defined as people who love and support you unconditionally. There are no genetic requirements. Trust that they will be there in the most difficult times and trust that they will help without waver, without expectation. Relinquishing fear and trusting others is a powerful tool. Use it.

Friends follow the family suit. True friends can be trusted to be there when you need them. They will be faithful and diligent throughout the years. If you are lucky enough to find friends with those qualities, tell them how much you appreciate them. Show your gratitude at every turn and give back their love and trust. Friends are just as important as family. If you allow yourself to trust them, and they trust you, the relationship will be overflowing with positive vibes and love.

If you cannot trust in your spouse, coworker, family, or friends, there always one who is dependable. He can be trusted completely, blindly, and absolutely. That is God. When things get difficult and life seems bleak, we forget to trust God. We think, “He must not care. He cannot be listening.” This is the wrong mindset. Deuteronomy 31”6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave your nor forsake you”. God will always be there and you must trust Him. It is not easy to see His plan, especially if you are focused on your own. Do not turn away from Him, for He will not turn away from you. Trust Him and give your life over to Him. Trust that there will always be love, acceptance, and understanding from God.