Empowerment through embracement

There has been no shortage of thoughts lately on many different topics. One that has hit me pretty hard revolves around America and our democracy. The amount of contention, bullying, negativity, hate, mud throwing, etc. is taking its toll.

I personally have watched amazing people become bitter, hateful, mean and condescending online. As a result I have seen good people be emotionally hurt and become mentally damaged.

We live in country that has been founded on freedom. So I am all about people having their own opinions and feel it’s an important part of what makes our country great. But what we have witnessed this year is something I would never want to experience again. The blatant dismissal of human dignity from both Republicans and Democrats has been gut wrenching.

All that said, let me share some of the thoughts that have flooded my mind and heart. What happens when you mix the colors red and blue? Correct, you get the color purple. In doing some research on the color purple, here is what I found:

Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with power, ambition, creativity, wisdom, dignity, devotion, peace and pride.

The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.

Effectively purple maintains a connection with both the physical world and our soul, which makes it an excellent color to represent harmony and transformation.

If you look at the venn diagram below you will see a visual representation of what I see in my head. Let me ask you to ponder these questions as I am:

* What would America look like, feel like if we embraced those items associated with the color purple?

* What can I do to help get myself and potentially those around me into the color purple?

* What has caused me to distance myself from the color purple?

Now to make this very clear, in no way am I talking about policies or political platforms, nor am I talking about any politicians. What am I referring to the ability to co-exist with people who have different ideas, beliefs, values and even ways of expressing themselves. I am not going to allow myself to change what I believe because of how angry or hateful others get not would I want anyone to change their beliefs or positions. What I will do is strive to do my best to understand what others believe and think by listening. This does not mean I am going to change but it does allow for open communication. And guess what, if after a better understanding I take the time to learn more and if I feel that a change of my position is warranted, then I will make that decision.

I firmly believe the people are inherently good. Sure, there are going to be people who wish to do harm either emotionally and physically but that is not the norm. I do believe that we must be willing to stand-up and if needed defend what we believe. I do not believe this comes from rioting or violence, nor does it come from name calling, hateful speech, threats or bullying. Real, sustainable change comes after respectful, two-way communication.

There is no silver bullet per se but what my hope is that each of us can see how we can get closer to becoming Americans (aka purple color). It’s my belief that this is the only way that we can become a country of respect, compassion, service and understanding.

Sorry for the longer post and this does not come from a perspective of trying to start political fight. It comes from my heart as I see so many people hurting. No one wakes up in the morning hoping they get to feel hurt, people want to feel hope, happiness and stability. This will NEVER come from a politician or leader, it will only come from within, thus it is on each individual to find ways to become a great American.

America is amazing and that is because of the people who make up this country. This includes Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc. We are a country made up of many different races which is awesome. These different races are what fill our country with people that have different ideas, beliefs, values, skills and talents. What a true blessing this is and one I am so thankful for. I will end with this, there is incredible empowerment through authentic embracement.

Let’s Start With “Why”

Time to get real. Why do you do the things you do? Take a minute to ponder that question and the responses that come to your head and heart.

Why-blue-2

Some Why Questions

Why did you get up this morning? Why are you reading this blog? Why didn’t you say “Hi” to the person you walked by in the hall? Why did you “comment” on that one Instagram Post? Why did click the “Like” button on that Tik Tok but not that other one? Why did you leave her/him on read on Snapchat for the entire day? Why did you kiss that boy/girl? Why are talking bad about that person or group of people? Why didn’t you give your best effort today? Why did you lie to your friends about what happened last weekend?

Okay, I think you get the picture, the question why should hopefully open our eyes. Depending on how we answer the questions above and many others like it each day we may or may not like what we see. So I return to the initial question I posed, Why do you do the things you do?

In short we can respond by simply saying that’s just who I am. Not a bad place to start but it is time we go a little deeper. To do this we must ask the next obvious question which is who am I and why am I this way? The answers to these questions will be as numerous as there are people in the world but there will be one common thing, our experiences are what shape our lives.

Looking BackLI_1-567x302

Sure, it is much easier for me to say that now when I have had many experiences throughout my life that have shaped me but I wish I would have realized this as a teenager. There is no doubt had I made this connection, I would have been nicer to others, more aware of those in need around me, more respectful to my parents, siblings and friends, not so caught up on who is dating who and why am I single. I would have made sure others felt included all the time. I would have ensured that no one group of students was not so influential on my own decisions. The truth is, I would have made better decisions.

I have felt very strongly that teenagers especially right now need to know that every decision they make has an impact, it will be for good or not so good. That impact will be felt by them and others either directly or indirectly. Having been closely involved with so many teens throughout my life but especially over the past 3 years I can see with all my heart that they are amazing. They have so much potential and talent. They have hearts that are caring. The problem is that many have been influenced by those who do not make the best decisions. They have allowed popularity and clout to fog their sight. For so many they would respond to the question why do I the things I do with a simple, because my friends do it.

For the parents and adults who have influence on teenagers, please let them know how much you love them, care about them and that they are amazing. Do this often.

For the teens who are reading this, you MUST take responsibility now for the decisions you make because they are influencing what you do everyday. Remember, we don’t get to pick the rewards and/or consequences of our decisions, thus we must make it a pattern in our life to make good decisions, even when others don’t.

Be a leader.

Be an example.

BE A HERO!

be a hero

Give Thanks Invitation

 

What is one of the mpbs-givethanksost awesome, powerful and rewarding gifts you could give someone? Simple, gratitude.

That’s right, giving thanks is something that can turns someone’s day around, it can make brighten the spirit of someone, it can be an answer to a prayer, it can literally change a life.

See when you give thanks, I mean a heartfelt, genuine and thoughtful gratitude to someone, you are giving something that money cannot buy. You are allowing yourself to connect with that person in a very special way. You are opening up an opportunity for that person a window to hope.

During this week of Thanksgiving it can become easy and almost repetitious to show our love and gratitude for family and friends which is awesome. However, I want to invite you to do something a little different this year. your invited

Take some quite time to ponder or mediate about those outside your everyday circle. Maybe its an old classmate or co-worker, maybe its a neighbor, maybe’s a teacher, coach or church leader, maybe it is a family member who you have not had much communication with for a while.

As you think about them, think about how you might show your gratitude to them. In many cases it will be an email, text or phone call. No matter what the form of communication might be, jot down what you feel impressed to share with them.

Now, go ahead and reach out to them. Share with them your heartfelt gratitude and be specific. Let them not only hear your words but feel them. The truth is, you may be an answer to their prayers or even the prayers of that persons family and friends. As you do this, there will be a warmth and peace that comes upon you. You won’t get worldly recognition but more importantly, you will receive internal and personal confirmation of your own goodness. Interesting, one more thing to be thankful for.

Leaders, the best leaders know how to give thanks. They know that without the support and efforts of others, they would not be successful. Ironically, heroes receive tons of thanks and gratitude but more often than not feel uncomfortable with the publicity. Yet, if you listen to them they give thanks for things like, being prepared, being at the right place at the right time, being raised with strong values, having faith in a higher power, etc. It seems they are never at a loss for showing their gratitude. We can all learn from true heroes and great leaders but showing our real gratitude.

lighten the load

 

I hope you will join me during this time of Thanksgiving and lighten the load of someone by giving your thanks and gratitude to them.