To grow is to move away from what we already know in search of something new. Something better. To grow is to face our fears of the unknown, while trying to maintain faith that we’re doing what is needed to feel better about ourselves. Love ourselves. Growth is change. A change in our thinking and our emotional well-being. When we are emotionally well, we see life differently. We see ourselves differently. We know we have grown and will continue to do so. We know we are better than we were before.
To grow is to become happy with who we are and to continue to love ourselves, even when we do things we don’t like ourselves for. We know we can change our behaviors and improve on who we are. We know our continuous striving for growth will never stop, and we don’t want it to. Our fears are more diminished. Our faith is stronger. We know we can keep moving away from what we already know with the promise of better things to come, even in times when the unknown scares us.
“Its been said that faith can move mountains. However, for some us non-religious types, having faith during troubling times is often hard. We need to have something to help us though, and this is where hope comes in. No matter how unfortunate my circumstances have been in the past, having and maintaining hope was always the foundation for better days to come. I’m not saying faith can’t move mountains; I try to believe that something created life and the universe for a reason. I’ve just found hope to be a very important part of process.”
“Fear can be our friend, or it can be our enemy. It just depends on how we handle it. Reassuring self-talk is my go to method to help me feel better whenever I’m fearful, and I often find comfort in talking with others about how I’m feeling. But hope and belief is an important part of overcoming our fears.
We can experience worry and anxiety when we feel afraid, especially if we find it hard to turn our hope that things will be OK, into belief that they will. But along with hope and belief, I’ve found that prayer can also play a part in overcoming our fears. I don’t always get the things I pray for. But it has never let me down when it comes to eventually believing everything will be all right.
Call it belief or call it faith; it doesn’t matter much to me. All of the things I mentioned helps me to believe in myself more. And a little more in something that created life and the universe for a reason.
Call it belief or call it Faith. It doesn’t really matter much to me. I just know that prayer, people, hope, and self-talk has always helped me with my fears during difficult times and to become a stronger person than I was before.”
In December of 2010, I was poised to go off to college at the beginning of the new year, and had big plans for my future. In only the first semester, I was told that although an associate degree was a good start for a career as a drug and alcohol counselor, a bachelor’s degree would soon be necessary to get hired at most treatment facilities and to be able to do more in the field. This news was somewhat disconcerting to me, as I thought it would be easy to get a job after I graduated, but it bothered me even more for another reason. Apparently higher degree’s would be needed because they were “professionalizing the profession,” and it would no longer matter as much if someone like myself, a recovered alcoholic, already had years of experience helping people with addictions. I still worked hard in school though, and graduated with good grades. I also used the experience to grow and become more confident in myself. I wrote a post about this you can read called A Quiet Confidence.
After graduation, I applied for a counselor position at various places and kept hoping to land a job somewhere, but as the months ticked away, with no prospect of securing a job in my chosen field, I took one in sales. Although I had a lot of previous sales experience, being a salesman was never a passion for me, but it was nice earning a paycheck, and I viewed my situation as temporary.
Almost a year has passed since I took the job, and although I lived my life over that time as I always did; trying to stay in the moment, be happy, and not worry about stuff. I still felt like life was passing me by and that I wasn’t doing enough in my effort to help others. I also knew I wasn’t always being who I really was, and this made it harder to be happy. I did, of course, continue to love myself and still do, but not fully being who I really am is beginning to make it harder to be happy with me.
This June will be four years since I made the above video. I’m a little older now, and a little grayer, but my soul is telling me it’s soon time to do another one. My soul is also telling me I need to get into better shape first, so hopefully with more exercise I’ll be ready by then. I believe it’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves, which is what this, and a few other funny video’s I made represent. And I believe it’s also important to make people laugh and smile when we can. I have plans to do that and more of what has been in my heart to do long before I went to college; help a greater number of people with drug and alcohol problems. Actually, I want to help anyone struggling with fears and insecurities by showing them that we never need to feel ashamed about ourselves or our life, and that we have the power to change ourselves and our life for the better if we choose to.
My soul has been talking to me for a long time now, and I think I not only need to listen to it more, but to also start doing more. Part of this includes being who I was back when I made this video, but it will also require leaving my job and stepping out on faith. I know for some, it’s hard to believe in souls and that there may be something more than just this world. I too have my doubts at times. However, if the last few years have shown me anything, even with those doubts and ones I can still have in myself, trying to believe in more than just this world and in ourselves, can sustain us in times of uncertainty and discouragement.
At fifty-four years old, I’m closer to retirement than a career, but because I believe in education I still plan on obtaining a bachelor’s degree some day. For now, however, I have to maintain hope that by facing my fears and stepping out on faith, I will achieve my goal of reaching more people. I already know that when I try to be more of who I really am, a person who is perhaps best described by what I write on this website, I at least help people by simply being me.
I saw this little piece of paper the other day, fitted neatly in the bottom right corner of my overhead kitchen cabinet door that I hadn’t noticed before, and the experience I had as a result of reading the words on it inspired me to write this post.
You can see the words in the picture, of course, but here they are again.
Be thankful. Live simply. Be kind. Do your best. Use please and thank you. Cherish family and friends. Never give up. Believe in yourself. Listen with your heart. Help others. Laugh often and love lots.
As I said, I hadn’t noticed it before, but my wife told me later that she had cut it out of a magazine, and put it there a few weeks ago, with the idea of making a plaque like it. This isn’t the first time she’s gotten a craft idea from something she saw in a magazine. And it’s not the first time I’ve failed to spot something new or different in our home, which by the way, is something I have a problem with, at least according to my wife. But anyway. I liked what it said, and I believe I was supposed to see it when I did.
I was down that day and hadn’t been feeling very good about myself lately. This mostly stemmed from my failure to secure a job as a drug and alcohol counselor over the last three months; a position that had been a dream of mine for a long time.
There were two main reasons why landing my dream job was difficult, and they actually added to the way I was feeling. I only had an associate degree in a field that demanded a higher education. And I learned my age was very much a factor. Although I proudly graduated college in January of this year, it quickly became apparent that being 53 and not having a bachelor’s degree, makes a poor combination when seeking employment in any type of helping profession. The inspiring part of all of this though, was that after reading those words, and more than once I might add, I began to feel better as I slowly remembered something I had been forgetting this whole time.
I am thankful for everything in my life because it helped me become who I am. I do live simply and not extravagantly to impress others. I am kind and do my best at things. I always try to use please and thank you. I do cherish family and friends. I never give up. I do believe in myself. I listen with my heart, and I certainly help others. And as anyone who knows me will attest; I also laugh often and love lots.
I think most would agree that living as these words suggest can be an important part of being happy in life. And although having the ideal job is also an important part of being happy, in the end it doesn’t necessarily matter what job we have, or in my case, don’t have at the moment.
What matters is that we love ourselves, which I do. And that we’re happy with who we are, which I am. It’s just sometimes we need a reminder of why these things are true.
Like me. A lot of people love lists. So I thought I’d share a list of some things that can help us face our fears and overcome them.
1. Hope. Having hope that things will be all right is perhaps the best way to begin the process of overcoming any fears that crop up in our lives.
2. Understanding our fears and why we have them. This can come through self-examination and talking with people we trust about our fears.
3. Talking to others. Talking to someone about how we’re feeling is one of the best ways to help us distinguish between real and perceived fears, and it often relieves some of the worry and anxiety we have.
4. Self-Talk. We need to tell ourselves everything will work out. This should include reminding ourselves of past unwanted circumstances we got through and how things could always be worse.
5. Remaining positive. Trying to remain positive when we feel fearful can be hard, but redirecting our thoughts of doubt and worry to more positive ones has been proven to help us with fear, and in some cases, actually improve our circumstances.
6. Helping Others. This has proven to take our minds off our own troubles and in many ways we’re helping ourselves as well. Especially when we help someone who has had a far worse past than us, and yet still became a stronger person than before.
7. Belief. Having faith can be hard for some people, including me. But trying to believe in more than just this world has helped me in times when nothing else has.
I would explain my belief further, but you can read about my beliefs on my blog. I promise it won’t be scary.
I was asked recently how I can say “I believe everything will be all right even when it’s not,” when for some people—those who have experienced great tragedies in life was their example— things may never be all right again. The reason for the question had to do with an older post I wrote called Grateful To Have Met You, but after explaining my belief and helping them understand what apparently can seem like a bold statement to some, I began thinking there’s probably other people who read my post and wondered the same thing. So with that, here’s basically what I told the gentlemen. If you’ve read my older post, I hope it clears up any questions you have about my belief or the title of this post.
First, I fully understand that things may never be all right for some people. We each handle things differently in our lives, and I don’t want to seem arrogant with my belief. However, what I’m actually referring to when I say I believe everything will be all right even when it’s not has to do with the lesser, but still disturbing things that can happen to us in life. And the reason I believe this to be true is that I’ve learned “I” can eventually be all right. It doesn’t mean I’m not fearful and worried through rough times, but I learned how with help, I can get through adverse circumstances and even grow from the experience.
I’m not saying I could eventually be all right under any circumstances, like losing a child or a grandchild mind you. And I must add here that I believe statistically my children and grandchildren will long out live me. But I do know that we can either use adverse circumstances to make us a stronger or let them defeat us, and it’s up to us, and only us, to ask for help when needed.
Depending on our beliefs, we can pray for guidance and reassurance to whatever may have created life and the universe. Talk to someone. Try to maintain hope that things will turn out all right. And we should tell ourselves we can and will get through whatever I’m experiencing as often as we have to. So prayer, people, hope, and self-talk are our tools.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering what if things won’t be all right like the person wanted to know?
Well I certainly can’t speak on what anyone should do under the type of tragedies mentioned before; I don’t feel it’s my place to. I can only say that I know people who have gone through some of the worst possible tragedies ever, and yet eventually found some level of happiness again. This at least should give us hope that we could do the same.
Below is something I wrote in 2005 before I ever had a blog. I certainly wasn’t referring to the tragedies of life when I wrote it, but I was speaking of the lesser adverse circumstances that we can experience. It was true for me back then, and still holds true today.
“Today I know I can eventually stop feeling worried and afraid when things aren’t going well in my life, not only by praying, but believing there’s a reason for everything and that something gave me the ability to be happy, which I wasn’t during most of my life because of my fears, and because of my drinking.”