You Are Strong…

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As I slowly but surely get back into the groove of focusing on doing the things that I love, I had a thought today. Then I personally figured it was so thought-provoking that I had to make it into a meme and share on my Instagram account.
After sharing it there, I felt like it would be an almost perfect way to get back into my writing. And this post was born.

Despite coming out on top when faced with some fairly crappy situations over the past 3 years, or so, I have made a number of observations; these include:

1. I continue to be faced with crappy situations, and likely will be for the remainder of my time on this planet (yay me!)

2. The fact that I am able to emerge victorious, no matter how dreadful things appear, suggests to me that I am indeed strong. (Note that in this context, victory for me does not mean necessarily having the outcome that I anticipated or wanted, but victory is being able to learn from an experience and therefore be forearmed should a similar experience occur in the future.)

3. Being strong does not mean that I will always feel strong.

With those thoughts in mind, I came up with the quote you see at the top of this page.

You are not weak. You are strong. At times you will forget that. At times you will cry. And you will plead to a higher power. And you won’t be able to sleep. Or you will sleep too much. And you will avoid others. And you will refuse food. Or you will eat too much. At times you will want to disappear. And you will feel weak.

But you are strong. And strength only comes through rigorous training. And in the game of life, the training comes in the form of trials. Do not be discouraged. Keep going.

Your trials are to remind you of your strengths.

And your strength and courage will in turn be an inspiration to someone else.

xo.
~Lesley.

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Why It’s Ok To Pursue A Career Change

It’s okay to no longer love what you do, as long as you explore what it is that you’d rather be doing and then take the necessary steps towards doing it.

It isn’t uncommon for persons who may be pros at what they do, who used to have a raging passion for it, to gradually become disenchanted, or bored, or to just develop a desire to chart and/or pursue a totally different course. And that’s okay!
We are not static human beings living in a static world. Our world is constantly changing, trends change all the time and we change as we adapt to our individual changing circumstances. So why does the thought of desiring a different career path make some of us feel so guilty? Why is the idea that we may be falling out of love with the career we once loved so much so scary to some of us?

The advice I have for those of you who may want to explore new options, because your present career may not be providing the feeling of fulfillment it once did, is this:

1. Explore exactly what it is that may be causing your current mindset. Is it a temporary situation? Is it something that can be changed or adjusted? These are important considerations because as fulfilling as it can potentially be, changing your career is a huge undertaking that should probably not be done on a whim.

2. Put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and chart exactly what will be involved in making the switch. This includes things like whether additional education will be required, possible changes to your finances, and potential effects on your family/relationships (especially if a relocation will be involved).

3. Once you have weighed the reasons behind your desire for change and you have accounted for how things are likely to change, and you are comfortable (truly at peace) with what is before you…I say go for it!

Good luck!

(Originally posted on LinkedIn and may be viewed on my profile, at http://www.linkedin.com/in/skinbylesley)

The “Wrong” One.

So often I hear others referring to their ex-partners as the “wrong” man or woman, especially when trying to make the point that they may now be with the “right” partner.

I’ve used that classification myself before, but recently came to a realisation that I want to share with you all. I’m going to speak solely about myself and my experiences in this post. I won’t be making any generalisations at all; however if you find parallels with your own experiences, or the experiences of persons you know, then great!

When I think back on my previous longterm relationships, I cannot honestly say that there were no good times. And for (almost) every one of those relationships I also have to admit that my partner would have taught me something about relationships, life, and maybe most importantly, about myself.

I’m the type of person who believes that every experience is good experience. Not, every experience is a good experience. But, every experience is good experience. That means that good or bad, whatever I have been exposed to in life must serve me well as a learning experience going forward.

I’m also the type of person who believes that every person in my life is there for a reason and a season. Some reasons are more bearable than others and likewise some seasons are way longer than others.

These beliefs of mine together form the basis of my next statement:

Maybe there is no such thing as the wrong person, but really each of my exes was the right person for that stage/season of my life. After each one I had learnt new things, certain aspects of my character were moulded a bit more and I had a better idea of what I wanted/did not want in my next relationship.

I may meet a “Mr. Right-For-Me” tomorrow, but on the basis of what I have stated would he have been Mr. Right-For-Me had I met him 9 years ago? No. Because the person I am now is very different from who I was then. So when others speak of finally meeting their Mr./Ms. Right after so many “wrongs” I consider it kind of ridiculous, because whatever moulding processes took place in the previous relationships, they were necessary for you to reach the stage you’re at now.

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I think that this photo is sweet. I really do. But by now you know how I feel about that “wrong” label 🙂

xo.

A VERY Brief Note On Love…

I found a notebook of mine, in which I would jot some of my thoughts and musings. I came across this brief entry, dated 2013/09/11, and felt like I needed to share it on the blog; so here you go:

“Love can exist in different forms and varying depths and strengths.

Deep feelings you may have for someone now do not have to match the feelings that one has had for others (in previous relationships).

Feelings that are important to you do not need to be defined. The absence of definition does not change the fact that they exist and they have relevance.

Love abundantly and often.”

xo.

What is Worth Your Happiness?

What is worth your happiness?
Note that I’m not asking, what is your happiness worth? That may be another blog post for another time. But I was asked by a friend to write on this topic, so here goes…

Mulling over this question led me to think about times where I have more or less sacrificed my own happiness for the sake of someone else’s or in an effort to “keep the peace.”
To be clear, my definition of sacrificing one’s happiness is the act, whether consciously or not, of subjecting oneself to negative or harmful situations over which one has some (even the slightest) degree of control.
As I thought about it, I realised that there have been too many times where I have sacrificed my own happiness for the sake of someone else’s. I am sure I am not alone in this regard, and that many, if not all, of you reading this post can relate.

I feel it is prudent that I also mention the things which I do NOT consider to be sacrificing my happiness. I have a son, and sometimes I have to make sacrifices where my own comfort is concerned for his sake. Whilst my comfort may be affected, my happiness is not. Because that sacrifice is born purely out of love and its purpose is to improve or edify his life in some way. Just the knowledge that I am somehow improving his life experience makes me happy. So no, that would not be considered a sacrifice of my happiness.

I know that by now someone out there is asking, “Well, what about compromise? Surely that should not be considered a sacrifice of one’s happiness!” I agree. But we often tend to run into a grey area insofar as the idea of compromise is concerned. We feel that good human beings should compromise, yet where is the threshold for when compromise becomes  doormatism (I just made that word up. Look for it in your Oxford in 2020)? I don’t have the answer, but my personal guideline is that 1. when it stops feeling like I’m being met halfway and 2. when it feels more disheartening than encouraging, then I have left the realm of compromise.

Too many of us when we find ourselves in less than ideal situations are so afraid of things getting worse, instead of better, if we extricate ourselves from said situations. In that moment we may be so blind to the possibility of true joy outside of our present sad situation. So what do we do? We make ourselves “comfortable” and “live with it” telling ourselves that we can’t do any better. Lying to oneself in this manner is a surefire way to ensure true happiness is not realised.

As a general rule, if the sacrifice you are making does not now and/or will not in the future give you a sense of peace, joy or comfort, then you are sacrificing your happiness.
If the actions that you take (or don’t take) are solely to appease another whilst leaving you feeling genuinely empty, unsure, discomfited, or just downright sad, then yes, you are sacrificing your happiness.
Doing things for others is great, but the feeling that should come out of it ought to be a sense of joy and fulfillment. If ever, even as a fleeting thought, you feel taken for granted, used or disregarded, then there is truth in those feelings and you should listen to them. 

Taking all I have said into consideration, the answer to my original question is: Nothing.
Nothing is worth your happiness. Your happiness should be the one intangible, invaluable possession that no one is allowed to take from you. At the end of it, who on this earth is responsible for your own happiness but you? Who should you count on to ensure your happiness?  YOU. Giving up your own happiness will never make an unhappy person happy, and it will never make a bad situation better. Therefore, no one, no situation, NOTHING is worth your own happiness.

I want to thank my friend for suggesting that I write this post, because it has encouraged me and I truly hope it encourages others as well. Feel free to come back and read it as often as you need to…I know I will!

xo.

Lessons I Learnt Today…

I like to think that everyday I learn something new or that an old lesson is reiterated; today has been no exception so far. As I was seeing my patients this morning, a number of lessons were reinforced to me, please note that each of these may be completely unrelated to the other, here goes:

1. You cannot afford to not have health insurance.
I live in Barbados, where public healthcare is free to all citizens and permanent residents. Our healthcare system is pretty decent, but as with any decent system, it has it’s drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that we have very limited resources for a not-so-little population (relatively speaking, of course! We are 260,000 on 166 square miles. You do the Math.) especially as it relates to highly specialised health services. The fallout of that is that if you need to have a highly specialised procedure done like yesterday and there is a backlog of appointments for said procedure for the next 10 months, and you can’t afford to pay to have that procedure done privately even though you’d be able to get an appointment like tomorrow and you have no health insurance that may cover the costs…you will be left in dire straits.

I suspect the situation is even more dire for those living in countries where free health care sounds like an urban legend. There are lots of arguments against insurance generally, but I personally feel that good (or even average!) health insurance coverage is a necessity that should not be overlooked. None of us knows what tomorrow may bring, so better to be prepared for the worst.

2. Communication is very important
I cannot read minds. I am pretty sure that you cannot either. You see someone doing something and you assume that you know why they’re doing it and their thought process behind it. I know because I have done it myself. Very rarely, does anyone stop to consider possibilities for someone’s actions other than what we have already come up with.
Instead of assuming that you know why someone said/did or didn’t say/didn’t do something wouldn’t it make more sense to ASK them why or what their thought process is?
Because in my own interactions with others I try as much as possible to remind myself that, no, Lesley, that person may actually have done/said that for another reason and *gasp* the reason may have nothing at all to do with you. Since adopting that attitude I have tried to demonstrate that level of thinking to my patients especially. Example: Patient says her son doesn’t want to take her to the supermarket after Pilates and he prefers to just be given a list to buy her items for her but that frustrates her because she doesn’t mind going to Pilates and relaxing in the car until he is done then she will go to the supermarket and pick her items up, including anything she may have forgotten on her list. She believes that he is being selfish.
My response was:
1. Have you ever told him that you don’t mind sitting waiting in the car (because let’s be honest, who likes waiting in a car for an hour?). Her response was, “No.”
2. Maybe he isn’t being selfish at all but instead is being thoughtful because he believes that you may get frustrated waiting in the car for his class to finish, so he may be offering to buy you the items because he considers that this is being helpful to you.
The look on her face was as though a lightbulb in her head had just been switched on. Now had there been more communication, e.g. her telling him that she doesn’t mind waiting, then the hurt feelings and frustration MAY have been avoided.

My point here is that people need to communicate more often and more effectively. Say what you are thinking when you are thinking it and invite others with whom you interact to do the same. Stop assuming that someone knows what you mean to say or do and make a conscious effort to stop subconsciously treating others like mindreaders. Most importantly, stop taking the words and actions of others so personally, everyone has something else going on, the world does not now, and did not ever, revolve around you!

3. Worrying is a huge waste of time.
More than half the things we worry will happen never do and even if they do we end up effectively dealing with them. Worry gets you nowhere. Stop it. It’s like sitting on a rocking chair going back and forth and expecting to end up at your final destination.

Additonally, worrying plays on your mind, stops you from eating, stops you from sleeping, stops you from smiling (all the above are my favourite things to do by the way, I therefore have no time for worry) and eventually makes you physically sick. And if you don’t have health insurance see Lesson 1 above.
Stop it. Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan. The Universe is perfectly ordered. Relax and enjoy the ride.

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Have a great week!

xo.

You Are Enough.

Stop waiting and hoping for others to see your potential when you aren’t even looking for it in yourself!

Acknowledge your potential, tap into it, embrace it,  and tell the world about it. You never know who may be listening and is willing to help propel you forward!

You are enough. Come on…get on with it!

xo.

Do Better.

“It is to no profit to have learned well, if you neglect to do well.”

~Publilius Syrus

This quote was on today’s page of my diary. Yes, I still carry an actual physical diary in which I write my business appointments, because I actually like putting pen to paper. Don’t judge me. Anyway, back to the quote. It strikes a chord with me because I think it applies not only to formal learning, but also learning from one’s life experiences.

How does it profit you to experience certain fortunes and misfortunes, if you refuse to learn from those experiences and furthermore refuse to apply that knowledge to your future decisions and actions? The simple answer is that it doesn’t.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the same undesirable situations repeatedly,  with seemingly no clue of how we end up in said situations. Everytime the situation in question presents itself we are  able to acknowledge and identify it, which suggests that SOME form of learning has occurred. Yet we seem to be unable to avoid the occurrence of the situation and incapable of managing it if it does occur. Many of us, therefore, are neglecting to “do well” with our learning.

It may be worthwhile to reflect on a situation, large or small, that you are faced with repeatedly. If not a situation, then any pattern of behaviour that you exhibit or that you tolerate from others. Think then about  what you know to be undesirable about the situation or behaviour and the effects of such. Acknowledge that you have learned much of what there is to learn about it (oh goodness, I surely hope you have learned since it IS a situation that presents itself repeatedly) but that you just have not been putting that knowledge into practise insofar as preventing the situation and/or its effects. Now resolve to do better.

Knowledge is power, but the non-application of knowledge is powerless. It is not enough to learn from an experience, one must put all that is learnt into future practice.

I hope you can draw as much from this as I have. I would love to hear your thoughts!

xo.

Ya Gotta Work!

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Words to bear in mind as you plod on towards your goals. Honestly, I first heard this quote in the lyrics of a song by dancehall recording artiste, Beenie Man, and while it made sense it was not as relevant to me then as it is now.

I intend to attain my goals in life. My dreams are big and my determination even bigger. I know they will not be handed to me on a silver platter. And I know that my hard work will make the reward that much sweeter.

I hope that you can draw similar magnitude of inspiration from the quote above as I have.

xo.

Be The Change…

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The photo is one I took of my baggie from lunch today. Each and every phrase on it is something that I tell myself and others close to me at least once a day.

Everywhere I go, I find some inspiration in something that I have seen or heard or read. It may not be as blatant and obvious as on my lunchbag today, but guaranteed it is there to be found and added to my catalog of inspiring things.

I implore you to find some little bit of inspiration in every day. I also implore you to BE an inspiration to someone, somewhere. You already may be and just don’t know it yet. It is simple though: be positive, roll with the punches, let your light shine for others to see and you’re already there.

Oh and my lunch? It was AWESOME!

xo.