Know Your Worth

To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth… is potentially to have everything…
~Joan Didion

Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!
~Rocky Balboa

Self confidence is an interesting thing. If it is lacking, you have one set of problems. If you have it in abundance (regardless of its merit) you have others. There is a fine line of balance there. And, as difficult as this line may be to tread, it is a necessary introspection. There a few things that damage a relationship more than unbecoming behavior. And there is immeasurable damage done to oneself who has not learned to appreciate their own self worth.

The idea of self worth is one that cannot be taken lightly. In fact, I am learning that it is a topic that must be keep to the mind’s forefront. I amaze myself every time I allow an unfortunate, often trivial, event affect the whole of my mood – even when the vast amount of everything else is going fine. I appear to have a bit of company in this trait. It seems to be more common than ought that we allow ourselves, our moods, and our forward progression to be thwarted by obstacles of the sabotage kind. In truth, crappy stuff happens, we make mistakes, and we are subjected to the mistakes of others. That does not, in it self, describe, limit, or define our own self worth.

Self worth should also not be confused with self entitlement. Not one of us is guaranteed anything – not another day, another breath, another meal, another dream – nothing is guaranteed. We have our potential, our drive, our desire, and our right now. Those things are the raw materials with which we are granted the opportunity to create our best life. Should we under represent or employ any of these materials, our progress will be found wanting. It is not the disparaging nature in the world around us that have created this gap, but our own miscalculation of perception and utilization of our unique gifts.

Today I encourage you to know your worth – and don’t underestimate it. Protect it against the occurrences that inevitably pop up to undermine it. Appreciate its greatness. It is that worth that makes you capable of completing good works. Look for opportunities to make deposits into, grow, and nurture it. Remember, this is a valuable asset to you and your worth is an amazing resource. Use that worth towards efforts of good and be generous with it. It is in this generosity that this becomes one of our most valuable and effective renewable resources. And it is all in you.

Thanks for the coffee 🙂

Photo credit Trippography

“Prudence is the proficiency of grasping reality correctly”

Prudence is the proficiency
of grasping reality correctly
and of deciding and acting accordingly:
both aspects are part of prudence
(the first is easily overlooked).

~ Christoph Schonborn

My 4 year old has a flair for the dramatic (understatement). She has picked up the habit of using clarifying statements to create apocalyptic outcomes. Take this actual, recent conversation for instance.

“Momma, can we have macaroni and cheese with dinner?” I reply, “No honey, I am making mashed potatoes.”
Her clarifying statement is, “You mean you are never going to feed me ever again!?”

Um, not what I said. At all.

Interestingly enough, we adults do this all the time, with the humor factor usually left wanting. A situation occurs and we immediately assume the worst in the intention, meaning and position of the involved party. Challenges arise and we find the failures, pitfalls and deal breakers that must obviously accompany the unforeseen hiccup.

The truth is that all situations depend heavily on perception and accurate assessment. And when I say “heavily”, I mean nearly exclusively. Think about road accidents in areas you were supposed to have been had it not been for a flat tire, busted shoe or sick child. Think of the chance encounter with an old friend that only happened because you had to divert off schedule because of a mistake, omission or plan change. I remember being able to stand with those around me and applaud a group of tired soldiers coming home from defending my freedom. I was only there because of a delayed flight.

Today, I encourage you to love them mashed potatoes – at least at first. Those moments in our lives deserve the benefit of the doubt. They deserve the opportunity to blossom into unforeseen blessing. Many times our missteps are not products of tough situations or mistakes. Instead they are the result of our inability to correctly judge the journey to begin with. Whether you curse the rain because your suit is getting ruined or you dance in the puddles, flowers are still going to bloom – it is up to us on if we enjoy the moment or overlook the beauty.

Thanks for the coffee,

Imitation is NOT a Dirty Word (it isn’t even four letters)

This is the Day 11 Prompt of the #Trust30 challenge.

Day 1 Challenge | Fabian Kruse | Divine Idea

Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

Ok. I am trying really hard to pull the positive intention out of today’s thought. With all due respect to Fabian, I am just over this whole idea. Sometimes hyperbole can be taken too far. This, in my opinion, is one of those times.

Suicidal tendencies…never imitate…really? Sounds a bit…much to me.

Understand, while I do not have the pleasure of knowing him, I can tell by Fabian’s work at The Friendly Anarchist that there are many things we would agree on, some we would not, and some that would just have to be sorted out due to semantics. I think this one may be semantics, but I cannot be sure. So, I will do my best to articulate my point of view.

First, the word “unique” is a can of worms all by itself. According to Merriam Webster, the history of the word “unique” has been a challenged one. It contains in its various meanings both the properties of being sole and without like to distinctively characteristic and unusual. The original definition was found to be “affected and useless.” The word did not come back into popular usage until the latter definition allowed for a greater appropriateness of use.

Therefore being “unique” does not require that you be “sole.” (I feel the urge to now draw a comparison with the word “soul,” but I will spare you the self-indulgence.) “Unique” is simply “distinctive.” And I can assure you, thankfully, there are other pots out there just as cracked as you or I.

Imitation, in and of itself, is not a terrible thing. It is how we teach our children, learn different abilities, get comfortable with new tasks – we imitate those before us. Even when we are breaking out of the box, we are employing tactics of box breaking that have been used before. Since we were a minute and a half old, we cease to ever be able to operate on a wholly blank slate. We are a product of those things we know to have gone before us. Whether we operate in support of or in rebellion against a previous example, we cannot deny the influence of that example.

Representing that divine idea in my authentic self does not require that I push off the positive influences and examples provided by others. I am appreciative of the model to follow, the lessons learned thereby avoiding mistakes already made for a host of new ones I will make myself.

So, I will continue imitating where I feel it is useful and appropriated without fear or guilt of others believing that I am suicidal or in some other way deficient on my own two feet. I am, in actuality, confident enough to appreciate the wealth of ability in both myself and you. Teach me a better way and I will imitate it – and buy you lunch for your ingenuity and willingness to share.

**Photo credit by  David M. Goehring

Yeah, We Got It – You Can Get Belligerent : #trust30 Challenge

This is the Day 10 Prompt of the #Trust30 challenge.

This is the second #trust30 post at MLWFY. You can find an explanation for Day 7 and the post for Day 8 over at My Beautiful Chaos. Day 9 was Tweeted.

Day 10 Challenge | Eric Handler | Your Personal Message

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

I understand that being a media junkie can have a negative effect on one’s personal outlook. Oh well – I will just have to remain vigilant. I am an information junkie. I am always on the lookout for a new story, a new view, a new blog, new method, whatever – well, at least new to me.

Living with immediate access to internet and a 24 hour news cycle, this is an easy monkey to feed. But the personal outlook assault is a very real danger. I am not going to name drop those who I feel to be the first offenders – you already know who they are. They never show up to promote anything. But man, they are always looking to tear something down – bashing, fighting, condescending, insulting, slandering, disrespecting, offending. Never mind that they do more to fuel separation, constrain ideas and stunt progress – they just continue to rip away. Nice – that works, we should keep doing that (sarcasm intentional).

I will be the first to admit that there are things that I don’t like I have no problem naming them – The sexualization of today’s children (namely girls) being on top of the list. Ask most people who know me if I can be a snarky smart…well you know…and they will laugh and say, “duh!” I am opinionated and passionate. I believe in a right and a wrong and understand that the gray has to be muddled through. I understand that injustices must be named in order to be righted.

I get it – you can be belligerent. But can you be benevolent?

It makes me nervous when I realize I am dealing with a person about whom I am not sure of the answer. I tend to disassociate when I realize the answer is “no.”

Now, I will name drop. The wrongs of the world are a fact of life. Wasting time and energy raging against their existence is futile – not to mention soul sucking. These folks know that things can be better. They have decided to spend time and energy doing that. The wrongs of the world stir the belligerent in their soul. The goodness of their hearts harnesses that energy into positive creation. And isn’t that the highest and best use of our energy – not to mention soul filling?

Mothers Fighting for Others – Yes, I will mention them as often as I can. This group of fighters saw the injustice. They chose to focus on creating an environment of love, support and empowerment.  Can we rage against the injustice that brought these children to this place? Sure. But what about these children? They need light now – and that’s what MFFO provides. A light, a love, a hope.

What I want for them is simple. I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel safe and secure. I want them to go to school and grow up to be great women. What I want for them is what their Mothers would have wanted. That is it. It’s that simple.

Creative Coast – Those who don’t know Savannah wouldn’t believe half of it if we told you. Like any family, we have our issues – we are working on that. Creative Coast has done amazing things in feeding the diversity and beauty of our beautiful city. The mission statement reads:

To nurture the members of the Savannah community engaged in creative or innovative endeavors and to cultivate an environment in which they can thrive.

Nurture, cultivate, thrive – seriously? How can that NOT be exponentially more effective that continually attempting to condescend and destroy?

Dinner: A Love Story – I love to cook. I have a big family, a big job and little unscheduled time. Some days, getting dinner on the table from something other than a bag or a box might as well be as challenging as milking the cow, churning the butter, killing the chicken and picking the vegetables. But I want to. Lots of us want to.

Meet Jenny Rosenstrach. This chick gets it

DALS is a website devoted (mostly) to helping parents figure out how to get family dinner on the table. You can assume I know how busy you are and how many other things are ahead of “thaw chicken for dinner” on today’s to-do list. I will never fault you for firing up a frozen pizza when you can’t bear to turn on the stove. I will never judge you for not coughing up the extra bucks for the organic broccoli. And I will never promise you that family dinner is something that can be figured out in five easy steps!

Yeah, she could belittle parents like me as parasites attempting to kill the children we secretly loathe. Curse us working moms who put career ahead of family. That would mostly certainly encourage me to listen to anything she has to say, right! Yeah, right after I daydreamed about punching her in neck, I would go find some other cooking momma to appreciate.

TED – Hands down, this group is the best example of building up instead of tearing down. Will TED call out wrongs? You bet they will. Do all the TED folks agree with each other? Nope. Do I agree with every TED idea? Haha – for certain not. But agreement is not necessary for meaningful discussion of ideas. Sharing a value of mutual respect is. And these folks have that crafted to an art. From the website and repeated on their facebook page:

TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So TED is building a clearinghouse of knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

Want to get belligerent – fantastic. Can’t wait to hear how that works out for you.

Want to do the really work of benevolence – fantastic. There is certain to be some effectual influence you are going to be proud of.

**Photo credit by Nancy McClure

My Sound, Your Sound

My noise is not your noise.

~Jeff Turner

One of the most wonderful things about this country is our freedom of speech. We are able, with limited restrictions, to have, hold, change and voice our own personal ideas about almost anything. This is good for me. I love to converse, I love to learn, and I love to converse about the things I learn. An open and well connected source of conversation thrives in this circumstance.

One of the most abused things in this country is our freedom of speech. We are able, with limited restrictions, to defame, discourage, tear down and belittle the personal ideas of almost anybody. This is not good for me. I love people, I love ideas and I love people with ideas. A hostile environment of ugly and ill will kills all of these things.

In my observation, the root of the latter comes from a personal respect issue – while we are allowed to take things much more personally, we do not feel obligated to offer any other persons a modicum of respect. Even as I read that back, I know it sounds hard and have attempted to put it a different way. In truth, I am inclined to put it in the “it is what it is” pile and move along.

The reality is we all have different ideas, beliefs, priorities, backgrounds, preferences, passions, peeves, etc. More than the idea that we are not all ever going to completely agree is the truth that we all shouldn’t. I love coastal, southern Georgia for a myriad of reasons. I am super stoked that some folks prefer colder, warmer, western, eastern, northern, southern locations. I like my space and, as much as I love people, we won’t all fit here. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to find appeal and wonder in different things – think of all the wonderful things we would lose or miss if we were all covering the same ground in the same way.

Today, I encourage you to embrace the uniqueness that is you. Know that those things that are noise to others does not make it any less valuable as sound to you. In turn, respect the sound of others, even when it hits your ears as noise. I am obviously not saying we have to agree, condone or even like. We are even capable of removing ourselves from the clash respectfully. But, more often than not, when two different people with different everything, come face to face in mutual respect, real conversation happens – and the noise becomes a sound that can teach, heal and reconcile.

Hat Tip to Jeff Turner

Today’s quote from Jeff Turner was found while reading his new series “Listening as a Strategy.” It’s great, non fluff stuff. Not a bad idea to check it out.

Featured Photo from Funkor Child Art Center ~ Artists are Sara 10, Zehra 12, and Ayla 11

Exceptional is the Goal

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.

~Dale Carnegie

Let me start out today with this disclaimer. Yes, I am aware that some things, situations, places, people completely stink. I agree that there are times when the redeeming quality that you can find isn’t worth the effort it took to find it.

However, contrary to recent (or maybe just more noticeable) behavior, a good many people are starting to think my disclaimer is the norm. It is not. If we were real honest with ourselves, we would instinctively know that it is the very rare exception.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrases, “that’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard of”, “why in the world would they do it that way”, “this makes me sick”, or other moans that sound like that. I have heard them so often, I have noticed them coming from my mouth as well, even as I am disgusted by the same behaviors in others – now ain’t that crazy.

I have had to spend a good bit of time reminding myself that the way I see things isn’t always the way things are. My perception is only one of a variety of perceptions – all of which have different histories and influences. Should I assume the worse of the available perceptions is accurate, my attitude and influence in the situation becomes yet another negative influence. The situation escalates and I have achieved my prophecy – completely self fulfilled and avoidable with a better attitude.

Today, I encourage you to mind your company and mind your behavior. Think of those folks that you really enjoy spending time with – they are uplifting, supportive, positive, encouraging. Appreciate that in them and commit to treating others that way. Our behaviors, if not carefully watched, are apt to follow in line with those around us. I am not placing blame, as we are all responsible for our own reactions and choices. I am acknowledging a choice to remember that good is nice, great is better and exceptional is the goal. And we can get there – with character, self control, and just a little help from a few friends.

*Featured photo credit ~ sanja gjenero
*Carnegie Photo – Public domain