Archives for the month of: August, 2020

It seems as though everyone has their definition of perfect.  The fashion and modeling world create pictures of it.  Medicine creates ways of surgically altering to create it.  If you want a new nose, lips, chest, stomach, cheeks, even a butt there are surgical ways to alter yourself.  Perfection can now be purchased.

What is perfection though?  Is it merely how we look aesthetically?  Do we ever consider perfection on a level deeper than a puddle?

With the invent of social media, pictures of everything are floating around.  One can create an alternate life of what exists in reality.  There are marriages of unimaginable happiness portrayed in pictures and comments, which in reality are loveless and miserable.  Families whose parents portray them lovingly, who have children resenting them.  Businesses gloating over a “Best Places to Work” title, while employees feel unappreciated and abused.

Why is it so important to create a false sense of reality?  Perfection.  Everyone is reaching for the title.

What is perfection though?  Is it achievable merely aesthetically by the DNA you are dealt, or something much deeper?

If it’s merely by a lucky draw of DNA, then why are people given the title of beautiful sometimes depressed, alone and isolated?  If it’s based on a bank book, why are some people with more money than God himself who have the ability to have vulgar displays of wealth so unhappy?

I grew up with several children whose parents were extremely wealthy.  There was money to buy literally anything.  And yet, they resented their parent’s control.  Love was not something they truly knew.  It was more something they learned to “show”.  Values on gifts defined the amount of love involved.

So many people today look at life in a funnel.  They take what they can, thinking only of their own needs.  Their idea of perfection based on the number of likes, balance in their account, weight measurement on a scale, or their ability to take a beautiful picture of themself.

Is that where we are as a society?  Are we more interested in what we look like than what we are made of?

I once had an executive find a motivational book on “grit”.  The word was a novelty to him.  So much so, he bought everyone a copy of the book.  He spoke about it every chance he had.  Like an epiphany had swooped down and opened his world.  Where I grew up in the rural Midwest, grit was a word we knew from birth.  We heard it from our grandparents, parents, coaches —whomever was pushing us at that moment to bolt past pain or exhaustion.  Yet a grown man, married with children of his own, had never heard the word.

Ever watched people?  Try watching people board a plane sometime.  For some, they must believe the plane will depart without them, as they are pushing and shoving to get to the front of the line and on the plane first.  Years ago, I noticed a guy, muscular, lots of ink, very easy on the eyes.  Women in the airport were drooling over him.  When they called the flight to board, he jumped up pushing over two women—ran to be first at the gate—knocking over an elderly woman on a cane standing next to me.  Had I not caught her, she would have gone down.  He did not stop and help, didn’t say “excuse me”—his focus was to be first on the plane.  He had the manners of a swamp rat.  In that moment, when his inner person came out—his lack of manners—narcissistic behavior—he was not attractive at all.  His inner darkness showed through.  Hardly perfection.

In our quest to be perfect, what do we leave behind?  The past always gives up its secrets—one way or another.  Truth always surfaces and typically when you least expect it.

About a year ago, I found my biological brothers.  Growing up, I always wished for siblings I could be proud of.  Siblings when I walked in the door, I was elated to see.  Never did I ever in my wildest dreams think my wish would come true.  Can I just say, getting a hug from my middle brother can cause me to float for days.  He is truly an amazing individual, whose smile can light up my day.

Our parents never thought our lives would ever connect, lucky for us they did.  The how we found each other is irrelevant.  What is important is that it happened.

In your quest for perfection, maybe think about things other than weight, or beauty.  Remember the movie, “Shallow Hal”?  When Tony Robbins gave Hal the ability to see people for who they really are, instead of aesthetic beauty.  It was a gift.  If you were seen daily as your true inner person—take away the aesthetics—how would you look?  Would you have inner beauty—or would people run screaming from you?

Think about if you’re as deep as a puddle—focusing on things that define what you look like to others.  Or if you’re an ocean with a series of beautiful caves to explore.

Perfection isn’t on the surface.  Grit isn’t something you can learn about in a book.  It’s buried within your core and comes out in your fire.  It’s a part of what drives us.

What if perfection was defined by something more within our control such as our honesty?  The ability to look into your friend’s eyes and see their trust in your word.  The ability to know you are an honorable, trustworthy person.  When you look in your partner’s eyes and know they see your integrity.

The power of honesty, loyalty, trust and honor.

What if perfection was wrapped around these four qualities?

Would you be anywhere near perfect?

Stay healthy!

With the entire world focused on Covid—2020 has turned into a year of meltdowns, protests, offended people and arguments over whether one should or shouldn’t wear a mask and why.  To top it off—it’s an election year.  Armageddon could be near after all!

As if spending the year in isolation wasn’t bad enough—I’m constantly asked why I’m not married—how could I not be married—and if I’m in a relationship.  Why do people not ask, “how are you?” Or “are you having a good day?”

So—as a break from the Covid craziness—let’s take a breather to talk about something else, shall we?

In life never forget

Where you started….

Where you are from….

What your education taught you….

If you have a life similar to mine, you are constantly reminded of all the above statements.  Never forget where you started and where you are from.  Let’s start there.  I was born, and started life in a very urban, forward thinking city—however, was raised in a small town, close knit, old school mentality.  Society has a habit of giving women complexes about things that in the overall scheme of life should be a non stressor.  Societal pressures in a small town can be even worse when it comes to getting married or having children.  When I was younger, everyone asked me how many children I wanted, followed by, “when I was an adult and married.”  An assumption was made I would be married.  My answer was always the same, “I do not want any children.”  To which I would get a horrified look.

What female isn’t dreaming of a house full of children?

This female.

The look of terror on their faces became more pronounced as I reached my teenage years and into my 20’s.

Once my friends began to marry off—things became fun.  Flying all over the world for bachelorette parties, bridal showers and weddings.  It didn’t matter we had to wear horrible dresses, made out of odd fabric, looking like half dressed, different shaped clones as we walked down the aisle.  All of us were looking forward to the party proceeding the church, so, in our minds, it was worth it.

Once all weddings were in the history books—there I stood—single.  Although I was fine with that—no one else was.

Those of you single tracking with me—did you feel the burn as you were the only one unmarried?  Suddenly it became the mission of everyone to “find you a man”.  If a male is single he becomes an immediate setup.  It didn’t matter if he had three arms, four heads or still lived with his parents.  Married people like to see people — married.

Soon my group of friends went from girl’s trips, lunches and dinners—to birthing classes, diaper changes and baby talk.  I found them no longer inviting me to gatherings because “what would we speak about since I didn’t have children?”  The judgement continued.  How does having a child suddenly make someone superior to another?

I never considered myself to be the type of person who would fall short at anything. I had integrity, loyalty, and dogged determination.  As life continues, it seems as though society merely judges women based on beauty, weight, marriage and children.  Not necessarily in that order.

Go ahead and think you’re going to be parent of the year—you do not know judgement until you have a dysfunctional, behaviorally challenged child.  I’ve stayed up many a night with friends melting down from the judgement of their parenting.  I’m not a parent—but have seen first hand the destruction from criticism.

Life proceeded—my career took off and quickly I forgot about the judgement of society.  My time was filled with business trips, meetings and strategy.

Often I’m asked, “How is it someone like you is not married?”  Someone “like me”.  As if unmarried is a death sentence.

So, here are my thoughts on relationships to those women out there feeling like social rejects because they are without children and unmarried.

Relationships take two. They are give and take— and all about commitment.  These are all common descriptive of what people use when describing a good relationship or marriage.

While I agree that all of those things may be important and true, sometimes we simply fall short in keeping up with those standards.  For instance, keeping score is not good.  I had it described to me as “washing your half of the car”.  I’ve always looked at it as washing the car.  I’m going to do as much as I physically am able to do.  Whether that is all of it, half of it or a quarter of it.  Think of how you’d feel if you were in fact washing a car and the person you were laughing and enjoying the task with, suddenly dropped their sponge in the bucket halfway across the hood and said, “I’m done!  That’s yours!”  It’s not that you wouldn’t continue washing the car, because if you are like me, you want to do your part.  It’s just that life isn’t that simple.  In life sometimes we are capable of holding the hose and rinsing—sometimes we can pick up the sponge and wash the entire vehicle — and other times we are doing good if we can sit in the yard and keep whomever is washing the car company.  No matter, we are there and giving it our best effort.

Eventually, I fell into social pressure.  Looking back, it wasn’t something I wanted to do—more something that was imposed on me as a right of passage into being an adult.  One could write a book on the idiocracies of society and the pressures created by them.  I make no excuses and own my bad decisions.  What I’m saying is—had I grown up in the urban, forward thinking part of the world—my decisions would have been innately different.

By my 20’s I found myself healing from a relationship which had been a very abusive one—nearly taking my life— the finale of it took me years to heal from physically and to extract myself from mentally.  After the healing was to a point I was mobile again and I had moved far enough away to feel secure, things felt as if they were finally getting back on track. A great job—freedom—success—healthy—I was an independent woman.  Most importantly, I was safe.

While recovering—My hope about the validity of a healthy, long-lasting relationship had disintegrated —I found myself focusing on career, hobbies, friendships.

The experience caused me to evaluate all relationships and marriages. It made me wonder about the secrets people potentially keep, the lies they might tell, and the capacity of people, in general, to remain loyal to one another on a long-term basis.  Loyalty and integrity have always been first and foremost in my life.  This experience exacerbated those traits to a much higher level.  I held myself to the same expectation.

You realize how much effort it really takes to be in a successful, faithful marriage or long-term relationship. It takes honesty, guts, loyalty, integrity and constant communication.  You must deal with your issues, admit to your faults and confront your fears head on.  You need a great deal of patience, love, maturity and respect after the initial passion is gone.  I don’t mean love as in lust — but love as in I’m going to care for you, support you, put you before my own needs, remain faithful to you even when you’re being unlovable, annoying, or sick and never think of wandering to a more convenient path— kind of love.  It’s easy to play house in our heads when we are young.  When things get real after a decade or more together—problems with children, issues with parents, political differences, religious discrepancies—that’s when the rubber meets the road to success or failure.

I spent years alone after what I perceived the greatest failure of my life.  There was no dating and my sense of self was slaughtered. It’s an experience that will drain you and leave you dry.

Over time, as Morgan Freeman so elegantly states, “get to living or get to dying” — I gave myself some grace and began to accept myself.  My nutrition became healthy —my fitness routine calculated, challenging and strong.  My happiness became a personal accomplishment. I put my past in the rear view mirror even though the darkness of it, at times, still disturbed me, my goal became to turn it into a life lesson.  To help others push through their own dark period — my self improvement—ongoing.

The reality is—There may be no way to tell if your partner is lying to you or cheating on you. There may be no way to know for sure that you will never commit an act that hurts your partner or anyone else — even when you believe you never would.  But if you believe in trust and integrity—listen to your instincts within you—apologize when you make mistakes—and believe people inherently have good intentions—it is possible to move past the pain of the darkness.

Relationships are a complicated dance of empathy, understanding, communication, effort, trust, loyalty, compassion, vulnerability and integrity.  Ultimatums drive people away.  Jealousy only shows immaturity and failure.  Lying will leave you empty and alone.  Know yourself before you expect someone else to know you. Love yourself. Be prepared to forgive things that you would want your partner to forgive you for. Know what you can’t forgive and don’t expect it in return.  You can’t hold others to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

In the end, although I remain single, and although I’ve seen very, very few successful marriages based on honesty and trust— although I’ve seen more toxic relationships than healthy—I still believe marriage be it legal or a committed relationship— can be a beautiful partnership and journey.

Sometimes we forget how long a lifetime can actually be when we enter into a partnership like marriage.  We focus on the wedding and not the work.  We focus on ourself —our own needs—instead of the partnership.

Perhaps we also fail because many of us haven’t learned the value of a relationship that has a reward beyond measurement for our effort, care, patience, and respect. Sometimes we become so jaded and resentful —we don’t fully connect in a healthy way.  We drive away those that are good for us— and migrate toward those unhealthy for us as it is easier to explain fault than to do the work involved for success.  We do this in friendships as well.

The silver lining is that there is always a chance to come back, to learn, and to use mistakes as stepping stones to greater things. I’ve had to walk away from people I originally thought possessed the loyalty and integrity desired—but in reality were dark and toxic.

Sometimes the darkest lessons lead us to the brightest peaks of our potential. Know that it is possible to find yourself in there— beyond dark—and come back brighter than ever.

You are never in the wrong place.

Sometimes you are in the right place looking at things the wrong way.

Blink to clear your eyes—see things in a different positive way—do the work—the reward is limitless.

Stay Healthy!