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Saying “Thank you” – Why it Makes a Difference

thank youWhen I was in the Navy, it was really easy to feel frustrated that none of my hard work mattered. I felt like no matter how much I did, it was never enough to satisfy my superiors. I was angry at regulations that hurt Sailors more than they helped them. I often felt like I wasn’t making a difference like I’d wanted to when I joined the Navy.

One small act by a Sailor in my division changed all that. Before I left the command, he gave me an envelope with my name on it. He told me I could open it and read it if I wanted to. Curiosity got the best of me, and I opened the card. It was a thank-you note. He had written it to tell me how much I had meant to him over the last year. He wrote that I was the only person who always had time to listen to him and try to help him with his problems. He claimed that the kind of leader I’d been was the kind of leader he wanted to be one day. Tears filled my eyes as I read his words. He shook my hand and wished me luck with the rest of my career.

I still have his note years later. Whenever I feel like what I’m doing doesn’t matter, I take it out and read it again. It reminds me that the little things I do for those around me really do make a difference. Because that one little hand-written thank-you note meant so much to me, I’ve tried to pass it on. I let people know how much I appreciate their help. I’ve written notes to old teachers and other coworkers. I hope that they made them realize how important they are.

Is there someone in your life who could use a “thank you”? Please consider putting your feelings in writing. You could even give it anonymously. You have no way of knowing what that person is going through, but your positive words could be the encouragement they need to keep going. I don’t know if that Sailor even remembers giving me that card, but it made such a difference in my life and altered the way I looked at my contribution and may career and, I will never forget it.

By Lauren Raines for Uplifting Woman 

 

**Lauren, thank you for being of service to our country and thank you for being an amazing part of Uplifting Woman! **

 

-Diathe

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) Freedigitalphotos.net

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Paying the Price of Being Authentically You

Authentic Black WomanThere are many people walking around us today who have no idea who they really are. They’ve spent their whole lives trying to be some thing, some body that would be acceptable to those around them. It all started for them when they were children and just as the real them was beginning to form and grow almost ready to emerge as the person that God intended for them to be in that moment, someone around them told them that some part of them was not good enough or was not normal enough. And so, because children are very amazing, adaptable beings. They begin to change. And before you know it changing to conform to what was acceptable or good to others had become a way of life for them. They do it for so long that one day, they wake up and realize that they have no idea who they are!

How do I know all this? Well because, up until about 4 years ago, that was me. A fear of rejection caused me to become an amazing chameleon. Able to fit in and be who those around me expected or wanted me to be. Because I felt the sting of rejection as a child, I was willing to do just about anything to avoid feeling it again. Most everyone has dealt with a fear in their lives. Some very common ones are a fear of rejection, a fear of failing, a fear of being alone, a fear of not having money, a fear of success, or a fear of being too exposed or transparent. If you identify what your fear is, you can probably look back over your life and see how it has caused you to be different than you really want to be. Different than you were meant to be. For years I would envision myself a certain way but I was too afraid to really be that person because I didn’t want to lose the people who were in my life. I mean, after all they seemed to accept and love me that way and at that time that was all I was looking for.

But, regardless of how much I feared the rejection of those around me, there was this aching inside of me that wouldn’t quit. That aching lead me to begin seeking a better way. As my search grew stronger, as I read more, learned more, wrote more, I begin to change. I started to become more of ME. But, it wasn’t easy and, there was a price to pay! People who I just knew were with me for life starting dropping off. Apparently, they couldn’t handle the new me. She was too spiritual and had too many grand ideas about what she wanted to achieve and she made them uncomfortable because accepting the her would mean they would have to consider making changes too. Many of them left me devastated and I questioned whether it was even worth it all. I ended up experiencing the very thing I feared the most, rejection, but still, I kept seeking. Through what I believe was divine intervention, I begin to meet people who would mentor me and teach me and coach me. And for the first time, I not only begin to know the real me, but I accepted her and I wanted to know more about her.

Today, I’m constantly checking in with myself to make sure that the things that I’m doing and saying are authentic. Every once in a while the answer is no because I’ve fallen back into my old habit of conforming and people pleasing. When that happens, I know that it’s time for me to change some things up, maybe even let some things or people go. And guess what, I’m totally ok with that.

I want to encourage you today to be authentically you in all that you do. Look at individual areas of your life and ask yourself are you being totally honest and showing up as who you really want to be in that area. If the answer is yes, great, but if it’s no, change some things up until the true you is represented in all areas of your life. Don’t be embarrassed to get help from a coach or find yourself a mentor. When it’s all said and done, becoming who you were meant to be may mean paying the price of facing the very thing that you feared the most. But believe me, having the courage to be who you want to be, live where you want to live, say what you want to say…is worth the cost!

 

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) Freedigitalphotos.net

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How to Overcome that “I Hate My Life” Feeling

 

I hate my lifeMany of us have had that moment where we look in the mirror and we don’t like what we see—both on the inside and the outside. Somehow, our life isn’t what we wanted it to be. We aren’t living up to our full potential. We’ve lost that spark in ourselves, and we don’t know how to get it back.

If you’ve spiraled down into a depression or you just feel like you’re in a rut, there is a way to get out. Here are some ideas that you should consider. Remember, it’s a combination of little things that make a big difference.

  1. Start exercising – Even just a brisk 20 minute walk a day can make you feel more energized, help clear your mind, and even reduce your risk of heart attack and diabetes! And if you do more exercise, the health benefits increase.
  1. Get a hobby – What makes you happy? Did you like to paint when you were younger? Or maybe you always wanted to learn how to sew. Or maybe you want to try starting a garden. What’s stopping you from doing those things now? Spending a little time doing a hobby each week can help you feel better about all the time you spend working or running errands or trying to keep up with your kids. Search for groups in your area that do something you would like to do. Many craft stores offer art classes, or you could set up a group yourself. Chances are you have people in your life that would like to do something out of the ordinary.
  1. Take a class – Look for community colleges in your area. Most offer continuing education for adults who are interested in continuing their education, but maybe not in getting a new degree. You can sign up for a night class that meets once a week. Or you could do a seminar class that is only one or two days long. It’s up to you! Personally, I joined a community orchestra (I used to play in high school) and a community choir. It cost less than $50 each class, and I absolutely love getting to play my viola and sing each week. I’ve met a bunch of cool people from my area, too.
  1. Volunteer – A great way to help you put your own situation in perspective is by helping the less fortunate. There are many organizations all over the country that would love more volunteers. If you like animals, contact your local SPCA and see what you can do to help. If you want to work with your hands, try Habitat for Humanity. The library or local schools could use help, too. Working for a good cause is a major mood booster because you make a difference in the lives of others.
  1. Meditate and/or pray for clarity so that you can truly understand why you feel like you hate your life. Once you have an answer or answers set strategic goals to address each thing that you’ve identified as being the root of your feelings. Then, one-by-one, make a plan to achieve each goal. Before you know it, you will have created a life that’s not so easy to hate.

These are just a few tips to get you started. Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments and if you know of anyone who may be feeling this way, send them to our site!

 

Lauren Raines for Uplifting Woman &

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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How to Get Past a Betrayal Using One Simple Question

sad womanA good friend of mine is going through a tough time concerning the girl he loves. They were best friends for a year before he decided to tell her that he wanted to be in a real relationship with her. Then she dropped a bomb on his heart: not only was she bisexual (which she had never shared with him), but she also had a girlfriend and had been with her for the majority of her friendship with him.

My friend was devastated, hurt, and angry for two major reasons: First, after he had shared so many personal things with her, she hadn’t trusted him with a huge part of her life: her sexuality. He had other gay friends, so it wasn’t like he wouldn’t have supported her. Why had she kept this secret from him? She was supposed to be his closest friend. And second, why had she never told him about her girlfriend? They had done some physical things together—not sex yet, but enough to qualify as cheating for sure. Her girlfriend didn’t know about him, either, his friend confessed. She also said that she didn’t know what to do—she loved her girlfriend and didn’t plan on breaking up with her, but in a way she loved him, too.

After he finished telling me the whole story, he said that he’s still trying to be her friend and hang out with her, but she sends him mixed signals. She basically acts the same as she did before: she’s still touchy-feely with him, she acts like she wants to be more than his friend, etc. Yet now she flaunts her girlfriend in front of him. My friend goes through periods of intense anger and intense sadness. He wishes he could just erase the fact that he ever met this girl.

I hated to see my friend so torn up. He’s like a younger brother to me. I don’t claim to be any good at giving relationship advice, but I’ve been through enough to feel like I’ve learned something essential in getting over a betrayal.

I told him that he needs to ask himself this question: What will it take to make this right for me? His answer was that finding a way to forgive her and move on was what he felt would make the situation right for him. Once he figured out a way to do that, he would be ready to let the situation go. Answering that one question gave him the information he needed to get to where he wanted to be, which was out of that situation.

About a week later, he came back and told me that he’d done what I said. He decided that in his heart he wanted to forgive her, but she had never said she was sorry that she hurt him or even asked him for forgiveness. It was as if she only felt sorry that HE was upset—not sorry for what SHE actually did. She really didn’t seem to feel any remorse for the way she’d treated him OR her girlfriend (who was still unaware of everything going on). When he confronted her, she told him that she couldn’t do what he was asking because she just didn’t feel the way he wanted her to. So he employed my second piece of advice: he told her that he was taking a step back from the situation and that he didn’t want to talk to her or spend time with her for a while.

While he is still taking things one day at a time, he said that he feels relieved that they are no longer trying to be friends. He doesn’t want to be on that rollercoaster of emotions anymore. We talked about the fact that he told her the truth about how he felt and what he wanted from her, but in the end he could only control his own actions. Since she wasn’t willing to meet him halfway, he needed to be the bigger person and let their relationship go. He now understands that forgiving her is what’s best for him and so he is able to go on.

The one simple question tactic doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. I’ve used it with friends and even family members. It is vital to look inside yourself and really figure out the root of your pain. Answering this question often allows you to see the root by identifying the remedy or solution. If the solution is unrealistic, then you need to distance yourself from the person or situation that hurt you. Unfortunately, people are often not willing to change or admit that they did something wrong. You can’t control what they do, but you CAN control what you do. By focusing on that, you can choose to move forward. Chances are there are already people and situations in your life ready to fill the void that is created when you leave the negative behind.

So, the next time you’re faced with a betrayal ask yourself the question, What will it take to make this right for me? Listen to the answer and then determine the best way to make it happen. With an open heart and a willingness to do what may not be easy, it works every time.

By Lauren Raines & Diathe Garnes for Uplifting Woman

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of  [Nenetus] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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Creating a Real, Fresh Start In the New Year

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Check Out the Podcast Version of this Post Here


It happens every year. The New Year brings with it reflections on the familiar, past year and resolutions for the unknown, new year. I mean, that’s what life is all about right? Every living thing is propelled by the notion of a new beginning-a fresh start. Many animals hibernate and take a well deserved rest after long seasons where their survival often hung in the balance, only to awake later, refreshed and ready to do it all over again, hopefully better than before. Plants obligingly die or trade their bright leaves and blossoms for the dull, withered remnants of their former glory with the hope that the next seasons blooms will be brighter and bolder than before.

For human beings, we look to the periods in our lives where there can be a change in direction, thought or action that can lead us to the new beginning that all of nature seeks. Unfortunately for us, new beginnings don’t mean that the mistakes of yesterday magically vanish or that we can’t still feel the sting from past pains. But, fortunately for us the reflections that come during those periods often lead us to want to be, do and think better. Looking back over missed opportunities lead us to want to dream bigger, try harder even if we fail and be more impactful.

To heck with resolutions. They don’t work because they are often made out of a desire to change something about ourselves that didn’t come from our hearts and that only includes superficial change. For instance, loosing weight or doing better with finances are great resolutions to make. But, often there are other more deeply rooted changes that we need to make in order to take these resolutions from shallow goals to realities.

So, I have some questions for you. What is it that you can do this year to truly make this a fresh start? What changes has your heart been telling you it was time to make? Which ones can you fully commit to? What things can you do for yourself, your family or your business that simply can’t wait any longer? If you died tomorrow, what things would you regret not doing the most? What changes will be most impactful in getting you on the path to being about the business of change and progress in 2016?

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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Blocks to Your Happiness Part 2: Demotivation

Demotivated Woman

Hopefully, you have already read the introduction to my discussion on how our bodies often give us warning signs that there is a spiritual, emotional or psychological block that may be affecting us. If not, click the link to check out the first two articles, Find Personal and Professional Peace by Identifying Your Bodies Warning Signals of Blocks Affecting Your Happiness and Blocks to Your Happiness Part 1: Refusal to Forgive.

My definition for demotivation is not being able (for some reason) to fully commit yourself to an act, even though you may want to and may have done so in the past.  When I decided to write my book, She’s About Business: A Business Guide for the Woman Who Needs a Little Know How and A lot of Motivation to Start Her Business, I was inspired because I realized how many women never get their businesses off the ground because they are demotivated. Motivation is a key component to just about everything you’ll ever want to accomplish in your life. From starting a business, to making a marriage or relationship work, without being motivated to take action, most attempts will fail.

We’ve all felt the sting of demotivation before and nothing can kill a plan like having a motivational block. The tricky part of dealing with a lack or loss of motivation is understanding what is causing it. Each time our bodies give us the warning signals (procrastination, decreased productivity, lack of confidence, loss of interest in work that you used to love, don’t care attitude) that we are feeling demotivated, we automatically think that the cause is the same as it was the last time we felt demotivated. The truth is, there are many different causes of demotivation and if you don’t understand and address each cause with the proper strategy, it will be difficult for you to move forward. Here are just a few of the top causes of demotivation and strategies to help you overcome them.

Causes of Demotivation

Fear. This is a big one. Whether it’s fear of success or fear of failure, fear can stop you in your tracks each and every time it rears its ugly head. Although most of us know the dangers of living in fear, it can still be difficult to know when fear is demotivating us. Again, our bodies show us the signs, we just have to listen. Often, when we are fearful of a situation, we will do other small things that lead up to the big thing, but find excuses not to take that final step. An example of this is picking a business name, registering it and even filing for a business license but never actually opening the business.

To overcome demotivating fear, it’s a good idea to sit down and actually write out why you are afraid and figure out which fears are actually worthy of concern and which ones are based on your imagination. Then, dismiss the imaginary ones and find solutions for the ones that are worthy of concern. For instance, if your fear is not being good enough at your trade to open your business, and your concern is a valid one, then take a class or read books on the subject until you are comfortable with your level of knowledge.

Grieving or Sorrow from a loss. For various reasons, many people don’t like admitting that they are grieving. When there is denial about grief or sorrow, there is not an opportunity to heal it. Unattended to, grief can become demotivating. Grief isn’t only about the death of a loved one. Grief can be due to the loss of a relationship, job, way of life or idea that was held in high regard.
Many people suffer grief when they let go of a lifelong dream that they have held onto, but that now seems more evident to be out of reach because of their life choices or situations. This leads them to become demotivated to do anything more.

To overcome demotivation grief or sorrow, you have to allow yourself the time to heal. The healing process actually takes a lot of work both mentally and physically so, take good care of your body during this time, making sleep, plenty of water and eating right priorities. Counseling may also be necessary to deal with this type of grief. If you are a believer, it is also a good idea to get in touch with your spiritual self and connect with God to seek His guidance and support. Keep a journal and keep track of your feelings paying close attention to the days you feel your worse and the days when you feel your best. Make note of the underlying thoughts or events that triggered your mood. And lastly, find someone who you can talk to who won’t judge but who will be honest with you. Again, a counselor may work as a sounding board or a close friend or relative.

Not being clear about what you truly want. We often mix up what we truly want with what others want for us or for themselves. Have you ever looked to someone else who has been successful at something and tried to emulate their process? That’s not a bad idea, but the danger is that we can often lose site of the way that is best for us in our effort to reproduce something that was meant for someone else. Sure you may want something similar, but the way of getting there could be totally different. You can become demotivated by trying to do something simply because it’s a good idea or because it worked for someone else, but is not something that you actually want to do.

To overcome being demotivated by not being clear about what you truly want, simply be honest with yourself and everyone else about your true desires for your life or business. Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Articulate want you want very clearly and actually put it in writing. Study it and make sure that it remains in line with where you want to go. It’s okay to tweak it from time to time as long as it remains true to what you want at any given period. Realize that this is your story and you can write it differently than anyone else’s. I believe that when we are truly honest about what we want, we are closest to our true purpose.
  

 

Image courtesy of  [Witthaya Phonsawa] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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Blocks to Your Happiness Part 1: Refusal to Forgive

Stressed Woman-Unforgiveness

Hopefully, you have already read the introduction to my discussion on how our bodies often give us warning signs that there is a spiritual, emotional or psychological block that may be affecting us. If not, click the purple link to check out the intro article, Find Personal and Professional Peace by Identifying Your Bodies Warning Signals of Blocks Affecting Your Happiness.

Refusal to forgive. I love talking about forgiveness because I know first hand the dangers of a refusal to forgive and want to help as many people as possible avoid them. I used to be really good at not forgiving and therefore, for a long time I remained stuck in a position where insurmountable blocks kept me from living the life that I wanted. Choosing not to forgive comes with many negative side effects and stressors that we should all want to avoid. But, what exactly does it mean to forgive? Many people don’t understand it let alone really understand how to do it.

“Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness” (Forgiveness Definition, 2015). Forgiveness isn’t some magical thing that happens simply because we say the words, “I forgive you”. Unlike many would lead you to believe, a willingness to forgive doesn’t make us automatically forget what happened either. Forgiveness is a conscious choice that we make to simply let go of negative feelings and emotions and open a door for new ones to enter into that space in regards to a person or group of people.

Just like it’s important to understand what forgiveness is, it’s also important to understand what it’s not. How many times have you had someone whom you have forgiven, do a whole new thing to hurt you yet again? When you call them out on the new thing, they accuse you of not having forgiven them for the first thing. It’s actually quite laughably really but many of us fall for it. “You haven’t truly forgiven me if you haven’t forgotten it” they say. They may even accuse you of being a hypocrite and question your values and morals as a person, which can cause you to be even more confused about forgiveness. Well, this is a form of manipulation on their part and once you truly understand forgiveness you will never fall for it again. You may choose to forgive the same person over and over again but it doesn’t mean that you are to excuse or downplay the next offense. Forgiveness also does not mean that you have to continue on with this person in your life at all. Regardless of how hard they try to convince you that your walking away means that you have not forgiven them, some people are just not meant to be in your life especially if they are not willing to do better and be better themselves. Remember, most people who go around constantly hurting others are masters at manipulation and keeping a person like this in your life will constantly bring you pain.

How Refusal to Forgive Hurts You

When you don’t forgive, it causes all kinds of turmoil in your life that can lead to many blocks to your happiness and success. There are physical, spiritual, emotional, and social warning signals that your body gives to let you know that you are dealing with unforgiveness. Many people suffer from high blood pressure (of course there are many other factors for this disease), loss of faith in God and people, sadness or depression and multiple broken relationships all because of a refusal to forgive. Other warning signals are being angry all the time for unknown reasons, feeling like the world is against you and isolating  yourself from friends and family. If you see the signs that unforgiveness is blocking your blessings and your peace, take action now before it’s too late! Most of us were not taught how to forgive but not only does God say that it’s possible to live the life of a forgiver, but He says that we should do it and I believe that He gives us the strength to walk in forgiveness each day. Trust me, I know that forgiving isn’t always easy, but many of the victims of unforgiveness often turn to substance abuse and other harmful habits to deal with the side effects. So, at least making an attempt at forgiving is so much easier than allowing your symptoms to take you down a dark road. Forgiveness is like many other things in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

 

Reference of quote

Forgiveness Definition. (2015). Retrieved from http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/forgiveness/definition

Image courtesy of (stockimages) at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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Find Personal and Professional Peace by Identifying Your Bodies Warning Signals of Blocks Affecting Your Happiness

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So many people face personal and professional blocks and spend most of their lives feeling like there must be something wrong with them since they cannot seem to get over the hurdles they face, even though they know they are there. Whether you refer to those periods in life when the road blocks seem to be insurmountable as depression, the blues, down in the dumps, a funk or any one of the numerous synonyms that work, it’s clear that women often face times like this more often than men. I’ve faced more than my share of these moments in my life and know first hand how devastating it can be to seriously think that something is just plain wrong with you and to feel powerless to fix it.

Research suggests that women in particular experience many more hormonal changes throughout their lives than do men due to things such as childbirth, premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, contraceptive drugs, postpartum period, and menopause, just to name a few. The truth is, as women we have many moments in life when it can be very easy to fall into a slump and unfortunately, many women never find their way out.

One of the reasons that I decided to obtain my Master’s Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Life Coaching, after I was already a certified life coach, is because I really wanted to understand not only the spiritual side to helping women break these barriers, but also the emotional and psychological. One of the key things that I’ve learned is that our bodies have ways of letting us know when there is something wrong with us spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. Many of the warning signals that our bodies give off can be interpreted incorrectly and often go ignored. Incorrectly interpreting or simply ignoring the bodies signals can often lead to depression and an overall sense that something is off.

The good news in all of this is that it is possible to find the peace that you’re looking for and happiness both personally and professionally once you learn how to correctly identify the signals that your body gives to warn of spiritual, emotional and psychological blocks. For the purposes of keeping this article short and easy to digest, I’d like to touch on two particular blocks that many women face, a refusal or inability to forgive and demotivation in separate articles. The links for those articles are below.

Blocks to Your Happiness- Part 1: Refusal to Forgive: http://upliftingwoman.com/2015/12/03/blocks-to-your-happiness-part-1-refusal-to-forgive/

Blocks to Your Happiness- Part 2: Demotivation: http://upliftingwoman.com/2015/12/03/blocks-to-your-happiness-part-2-demotivation-2/

 

 

Image courtesy of (stockimages) at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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7 Words of Wisdom To My Younger Self

ID-10063253If time machines really did exist and you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what things would you warn the younger you NOT to do? What things would you insistently encourage your younger self TO do?

Oh, if only we would have known what we should have done we could have done it better (I totally just made that up). When we reflect back on our mistakes and our accomplishments, it’s important to remember to count them all as useful experiences that make us who we are, good or bad.  Still, if only we knew then what we know now…

I asked myself what were the top words of wisdom that I would pass on to my younger self to make her journey a little less dramatic and a lot more peaceful. The list was too long for one article, so I decided to narrow it down to my top seven.

The cool thing about experience is that even though we can’t go back and give the wisdoms that we’ve learned to ourselves, we can pass them on to our children and others. After you read my list, create your own and see just how far you’ve come.

7 Words of Wisdom To My Younger Self

  1. Put God first in all that you do: I heard this term all the time growing up but had no idea how to apply it to my life. I would tell mini me to take the time to really understand what it is to apply this principle to her life early on. Putting Him first means that you will also be seeking His will for all that you do. By doing this, there is a better opportunity to ensure that your earliest big decisions are guided by Him. Everyone makes mistakes, but knowing this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to avoid as many as we can; especially big ones.
  2. Learn to forgive fast: As a coach, I come in contact with many people whose issues are directly tied to an inability to forgive. I believe that many feelings of anger, hatred, bitterness and suffering are all tied to issues of un-forgiveness that have not been addressed. Honestly, even the most spiritually strong often have trouble mastering this forgiveness thing. Even after many revelations about the importance of forgiveness and writing books about the issue, it’s still a struggle for me and I constantly have to check myself regarding it. Now, I try to forgive as soon as possible. Learning to consistently forgive takes work, practice and application time and time again, but the rewards of mastering forgiveness are life transforming. If I could go back in time and get my younger self to learn this concept a lot earlier in life, I could have avoided countless amounts of bitterness and pain.
  3. Saving yourself for marriage is not old fashion and can save you much heartache: I don’t know why more parents don’t teach their children this principal. Maybe it’s because the world says that it’s no longer necessary.  Or, maybe it’s because many parents feel that it would be hypocritical because they didn’t follow this principle themselves. It’s not hypocritical at all though to learn from your mistakes and admit to your child that you fell short in certain areas but don’t want them to make the same mistakes.  I would explain to my younger self that even though she wasn’t taught this, she should know that she is worthy of this honor and that if a man is the right one for her he will know that she is worth waiting for. Don’t conform to what society says is acceptable on this or any other issue.
  4. Pursue your dreams hard early on when there are no obligations to restrict you: Start pursuing your dreams before marriage and children come into the picture. Pursing your dreams as hard as possible early on reduces the chances that you’ll have regrets about not doing so later. This will also ensure that when you are a wife and a mother, you will have the ability and the time to commit fully to your family because your career/goals will already be in place.
  5. Don’t get sidetracked by people, actions, jobs etc… that are only meant to distract you from your true purpose: This one can be difficult because figuring out which things are distractions can be tough. But, if you are putting God first in your life and are in tune with your purpose (even if you don’t have it exactly figured out you should still be pursuing some dream or goal) and pursuing it steadfastly, it will be easier for you to see things that are not in God’s will and that are distracting you from your goals, dreams and purpose. It’s really important to learn to use discernment when it comes to this, which leads me to number 6.
  6. Follow your gut. We’re all wired to use our instincts and discernment on some level to keep us from harm. Many times it’s easier to turn our instincts off than to listen to them. This is especially true when it concerns things we want to do, even when deep down we know we shouldn’t be doing them.
  7. Don’t use being young as an excuse for being stupid. I made so many mistakes that others said every young person must make. After a while, I begin to excuse every stupid thing that I did simply because I was told that it was acceptable since I was young and had to learn things on my own. It’s true that there are plenty of tough lessons that we all had to learn the hard way in order to become who we are meant to be. On the other hand, there are others that we walked mindlessly into simply because we were young at the time and gave in to the notion that it’s okay for young people to behave in a reckless manner.  I’d tell my younger self that there is no age requirement for wisdom. If something looks, sounds or feels stupid then it probably is.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman
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What Happens When We Refuse To Move?

ID-10087374There comes a time in every situation or relationship where we have to make a choice to change or take some type of action. Many times we feel the need for action deep down inside of us, but for various reasons, we often refuse to move. Maybe we’re afraid of change, afraid of starting over, afraid of being alone or afraid of failing (I could go on forever listing the things that we humans are afraid of but I should stop here).  We make every excuse we can think of to stay put, but what happens when we stubbornly refuse to move? 

It’s my belief that that nagging feeling that urges us to move is God and often our own spirits, which are usually more in tune with God’s will for us than we are. The urgency is a warning, much like the fight or flight response, it’s our bodies way of letting us know that there is danger ahead if we stay. Have you ever been in a relationship and you had opportunities to get out but you just were not ready to let it go, even though you felt deeply that you should? Finally, the relationship ended with you being devastated or hurt in a way that would not have happened had you gotten out sooner. Or, what about the job that you knew was not for you? Maybe you stayed there at the detriment of your mental, physical or spiritual health or your family or relationships. Finally, you were forced out in a way that you would have preferred to avoid.

So, what does happen when we refuse to move? Usually, we end up flat on our faces. The good news though is that God is merciful and gracious enough to always have a plan B for the times when we don’t follow His plan A. And furthermore, because He is God and we are not, His plan B, C and even D will always be better than the plan we have for ourselves without Him. And don’t worry; even when we end up flat on our faces He has a recovery plan in mind. Hopefully, we will ultimately get to a place where we learn to listen to the urging and MOVE regardless of how afraid we are! What things do you need to move on or from today? 

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Image courtesy of [StuartMiles]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diathe Garnes- The Uplifting Woman