Challenges – Such a Thing as Too Nice?

When I was little, I was taught to be nice. I was taught to be polite. I was told that you didn’t interrupt others when they were talking. You didn’t take things from others. You always say nice things. You just weren’t mean. I learned those lessons and manners well. Maybe it didn’t help that I was picked on and bullied in school for much of my earlier school days. I hated it and always swore I wouldn’t be mean to others. Maybe it’s just my personality. I don’t know. But I never thought there was a thing as being too nice. I always thought that being called nice was a compliment. How could it be a bad thing? It meant that people would like me, that people would want to be around me. I also learned the golden rule in school – treat others as you wanted to be treated. I was told that if you treat other people nice, they would treat you nice. Boy, were they wrong. It didn’t work in school, it didn’t work in life. All those nice little rules they teach you in school, like don’t judge a book by it’s cover, pretty is as pretty does, if you ignore bullies they will stop. You know them – we were all told them. But yeah, all crap. It is a nice idea – if everyone did it. Like a lot of things in life, if everyone doesn’t do it – it won’t work. World peace is a lot like that. The main reason world peace doesn’t work is because every country wants peace, but doesn’t act peaceful to each other. It’s great to treat others like you want to be treated, but does no good if the other people don’t do the same.

I was raised to believe that girls shouldn’t fight. That they should be good girls. And I raised my kids to not fight either. My oldest, my daughter, I taught you should never hit someone. And maybe I was wrong. Fighters get somewhere. I would never change her. I think she is a sweet, loving, caring person – who has made a great success of her life. But she struggles with being too nice too. I also brought my boys up that you don’t fight. Fighting doesn’t solve anything. Violence is not a solution to anything. But what if they were fighters? Would it be so bad? With all the people out there willing to be cut throat am I really doing them a favor by teaching them to walk away? I know that I am struggling as an adult with being too nice. Yup, too nice. I have a hard time hurting people’s feelings. I have trouble turning people away or turning them down. It boils down to the fact that I don’t want anyone to be disappointed or hurt. So instead, I swallow it and do it. But that doesn’t make me happy. It doesn’t take into consideration my needs and wants. And when they don’t return the same thing to me, I feel hurt. I feel disappointed. I try not to, but I find myself expecting everyone to do the same for me that I do for them. The golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. I want to be treated nicely, so I treat others nicely. But it doesn’t work. The rule is broken. There are far too many people out there who are takers and not givers. People out there to get whatever they can, screw everyone else. I need to learn that I need to not just give, but take what I need too. I am important. I count. Now, somehow I don’t think I will ever turn into a greedy, selfish person. But I also need to turn into a person who doesn’t feel guilty for taking what I need. I honestly believe in karma. I believe that you should send out good energy, positive things. But, it isn’t negative to take what you need from life. I honestly don’t think we are here to suffer and sacrifice. We are here to share and balance our lives. What I need to do is find that balance. And maybe be just a little not so nice.

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Thoughts – Making Sense of Life

When you think about it – we are each a sum of many, many things. We are a sum of our genetics, our parents, our upbringing, our environment, our experiences, our families, our decisions, and probably some random other things. Each of us has had very different mixes of these. To get through this life, we have to try to make sense of this cauldron of things stirred together. And most of the time we are doing it on the fly, as life rarely stops and lets us take the time to make sense of it. Also, we don’t get a re-do of almost anything. Life doesn’t have a reset button, you don’t get to take back things you do or say. And we all know that there is absolutely no one who is perfect. We all do things we wish we hadn’t, we all say things wrong sometimes. Often times, we make the best decisions we can at the time. Life is more like an action flick than it is a game of chess. In chess you have time to sit and ponder your next move. In an action flick, more often than not you are shooting from a moving vehicle. Also in chess, you are only dealing with one other person, in life – rarely are you dealing with one thing at a time. Instead, it is more like juggling many things at the same time. So, it’s no wonder things can get challenging. And when you add into it that many of us carry baggage with us on the trip, it can get hard.

But, there are times when you get to sit down and catch your breath. If you don’t take some time to slow down, regroup, think about things, and sort them out, it can get more tangled than a cat in a room full of string. Keeping everything straight and sorted isn’t always possible. Usually it is all connected in some way, with no real beginning and end to events. Thing mix together, one thing affects another. Like in relationships. People tend to bring their experiences from the past to their new relationships. There is really no way to know what baggage a person is bringing from their past that has made them who they are today. But some baggage can get heavy. Some things need to be sorted and put away. There is really no way to get rid of your past. And if you think about it, you don’t really want to get rid of your past. It is your past that has made you who you are today. I like who I am today. I may not have always done the right thing, I may not have always made the best decisions, but I can say I did the best I could. I look at my past and try to learn what I can from it. I accept that I can’t change it, and I try to move on. When you don’t let go of some of the baggage, you can find yourself carrying more and more of it. It can get really heavy. I have also learned that forgiveness is essential in life. Forgiving yourself, as well as others, is important. It goes back to the whole no one is perfect. We are all going to make mistakes. Now, forgiving others can be hard. Especially those who have truly hurt you. Truly taken something from you. But, you also have to remember that for whatever reason  they did it, it was their reason. They are not you, you will probably never understand why they did it. You may never forget what they did, but you can forgive and let it go. Put that bag down. Forgiving yourself is harder. Hindsight is 20/20. It is really easy to look back afterwards and see those decisions that you made  or things that you did and find fault. It is also easy to continue to beat yourself up for it. But those decisions you made, you made for a reason that made sense at the time. Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to accept the past and put the bag down. Don’t carry it with you everywhere. Lighten your load by moving forward without it.

But just as important as forgiving yourself for things you have done in the past is realizing that you are responsible for your impact and your actions on others. We all do make mistakes, but there are times when we must also realize that things are our own fault. That we are responsible for what we say and do. Constantly blaming others for things is just as bad as constantly feeling guilty for things that aren’t our fault. When we don’t take all that we have experienced from life this far, learn from it, and make changes in ourselves, then we are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over. Only by confronting our mistakes and learning from them, can we truly put that baggage down. There have been people in my life that always believed that it was someone else’s fault. That they were the victim all the time. Bad things continued to happen to them because they never learned from their own mistakes. Only by learning and changing can you make changes that are going to change your life. That are going to change the outcome. That are going to make your life better.

To come full circle with my point, you have to be still sometimes, pause to review your life, make sense of it and learn from it. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect the results to be different. Now, while we can all be crazy sometimes, some more than others, I don’t want to be insane. I want to continue down my path without all the baggage weighing me down. I want to find the inner peace to move forward without it. Not always an easy task, but very possible.

Goal Progress – Does It Really Matter?

Rush, rush, rush. Go here, run there, do this, take that. We all live crazy lives. Most everyone I know feels like they are living a day late and a dollar short. We all commiserate about how busy we are and how little time we have. Some are worse than others. I have talked before about priorities. I know I struggle with putting everything at top priority. And there are often things that absolutely need to be done. I can’t forget to feed my kids. I can’t just not go to work. So yes, there are things that do have to be done. But, really, is everything that important? I know there are times when I stress myself out when I don’t need to. There are times when I allow myself (note the important – allow myself) to get stressed when in all honesty, it’s just not that important. I’m trying to cook dinner, take care of my son, the dog, chat on the computer, answer my phone, all at the same time. I find myself tense, stressed, and usually unhappy about it. Who wouldn’t be unhappy about it – it’s chaos?   But the other day, I was sitting at home in morning, having just got my son off to school – I was going through my head all the things I should do before I went to bed. I should call my mom, I should clean up the kitchen, I should….. yeah. But I’m tired. I need sleep. That proverbial light bulb goes off in my head. What if I just didn’t do it? What if I just didn’t do any of it and just went to bed? Would the world end? No. Talking to my mom could wait. The kitchen could wait. The laundry could wait. All of it could wait. Or better yet, my husband could help. See, part of my problem is that I believe if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. But, honestly, he can do it too. He knows how to clean a kitchen and do laundry. But, instead of asking him for help, I allow myself to feel burdened and stressed. So, instead of doing any of it – I went to bed. And felt better for it.

When my phone rings, or I get a text, even when I am busy, I jump to answer it. Whenever I am doing something online and a chat box opens up, even if I am busy, I jump to answer them. Like I have to be on call 24/7. And if I don’t answer them fast enough – uh oh. Why? I have no clue. What would happen if I wait 5 minutes to return the call or answer the text? What if I didn’t answer the chat box? Will they get mad, hate me, and never talk to me again? Chances are – no. And if they do, do I really need them in my life? Those who know and love me know what my life is like. They realize I am juggling a million balls all at once. If they feel the need to get upset because I can’t get back to them right away, it’s their problem, not mine. I use to keep my phone right by my head when I slept. And when it would ring, I would struggle to wake up, put on my glasses and read who the call was from. Yikes, yeah, no wonder I’m tired. So, really – is the world going to end? No. I’ve talked all about changing my priorities. I’ve talked the talk, it’s time, once again friends, to walk the walk. I have all kinds of nifty sayings to back me up. Like “Just because you have something urgent, doesn’t mean it’s an emergency for me” and “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”. I truly need to realize what is important immediately, and what can wait. Burning dinner, not an option – sleeping through a phone call, completely acceptable. Not returning a text in 5 minutes or less, not a priority. I am not Domino’s Pizza. I never set the 30 minutes or less rule. Instead of getting stressed out and panicked trying to do everything at once. I need to recognize those times, stop and take a deep breath, and reset those priorities. Maybe that means sending the son to his room and crating the dog. Maybe it means taking myself off the grid by turning off the computer and phone. Gasp, someone might need me. Well, they can call Underdog, this person needs to focus. I know I will struggle with this one. For some reason, I have programmed myself to be a beck and call girl. But – with practice, I’m sure I can do this. I can stop the insanity and organize my time and energy better. There are only so many hours in a day, and only one of me. I need to stop acting like the world will end every time I am not there to save it. I will leave saving the day to Superman and start acting like one person, with limited resources. Because when it all boils down to it – does it really matter? I mean  really?

Goal Progress – Farewell Facebook Games

There is a fine line between entertainment and addiction. It is also easy to ignore things that you don’t want to see. When I started this blog one of the goals I set for myself was less time wasted on the computer. I said I wanted to do it, but maybe didn’t really want to commit to it. You know how we do that. We know what is good for us, we know how to make good choices, yet we still do things that aren’t healthy. And then we cover it up, or lie about it, or delude ourselves into thinking it isn’t so bad. A theme I have mentioned here in my blog before. Today’s evil I am talking about? Facebook. Now, Facebook itself is not evil (although my husband is convinced it is). No, honestly, it is an awesome site where I have been able to connect with many family members and friends. Some from high school, some from through out my life. So, how could it be a bad thing? How could staying in touch with friends and family be bad? Take a look at the games. Those time consuming, all invading, addictive games. Farmville, Hidden Chronicals, Fish World, Words With Friends. Just start, invite a few friends, add another app, and before you know it – it will take over your life like a drug. Before you know it, days of your life disappear. There was one woman who even killed her child over a Facebook game. No way. Not me. I could never be that bad. Right? I can handle it, just one game, just a few minutes a day, just a few games, just one more. Yup, gone. I was a goner.

Hi, my name is Kimber, and I was a Facebook Game Addict. Recovered. Yes, recovered. I took a step back and truly analyzed my time. Now, here’s the thing. Working midnight shift at the hotel is generally boring. I have 8 hours to fill, and about 1 hour worth of work. So, that’s 7 hours of staying awake. At night. Alone. When I was taking online classes, that wasn’t enough time. Now that I’m not taking classes, yeah – it’s an eternity. But, I was lucky, some of my friends are insomniacs. They stay up at night for various reasons. So I got invited to the games. So heck, why not. It passes the time. Then, a few more, then, more. Then, I would leave work, come home, play the games while I got my son ready for school and go to bed. Then, I would play them all night, come home, play them in the morning, put son on bus, and stay up awhile to play some more. THEN, get up in the evening, log on and play, pack up, go to work and play, then come home and play. Um, how many hours is that? Yeah, took over my life. Now, I have felt sad (and laughed) at those people who get addicted things like World of Warcraft or Sims. I mean come on, we live in reality, right? Um, yeah, I was obsessed with imaginary fish, in an imaginary fish world. Now, that being said. It is not evil. It is not the game. It is the mind set. When my priorities changed. When I started delaying life to play a game. That’s when it became a bad thing. And, I was shocked, when I resisted changing it. But, I prevailed. I have over come. I have kicked the habit.

When I did finally realize it (for real) that I needed to get rid of the games, I did make a clean break. I got rid of the fish, the word games, the hidden object games, the friend games, the “friends”. I cleaned out so far over 100 people I didn’t know, didn’t talk to, didn’t even realize were on my friends list. And there are more to go. They were “game friends”. People who needed more friends, to get more stuff in the games. More gifts, more coins, more energy. Yeah, when I look at it now – I have no clue how it all happened. So, I emerge victorious from Facebook, into the light of day. One small step for man, one HUGE step towards my goals. I am strangely proud of myself.

Challenges – Always Look On the Bright Side of Death

There are many sayings out there, such as always look on the bright side of life, every cloud has a silver lining, and even you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Attitude can make a big difference in life. Sometimes all it takes is changing the way you look at things to turn them around. When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and faced many mood swings, where everything was either really, really good, or really, really bad. But I think that is true is many teenagers, they tend to think everything is absolute – the end of the world or the best ever. My mom always told me that it was best to sleep on things, to give it a little time and it won’t seem so bad. And even in my extremes, I found it to be true. Just when things seem their absolute worst, give it a good night’s sleep or a little time and it will not seem to be so massive. So, when making big decisions, I try to leave myself some time before I make them. Now, that doesn’t mean I get to let myself off the hook. The decision still needs to be made. And stuck to. I had one friend who was never able to make any decisions. He would procrastinate until all his options were gone. Then, he didn’t have to make a decision, instead they were made for him – by either someone else or by the situation. So, putting things off too long can be just as bad as making snap decisions. There has to be a balance.

Another thing you have think about is the people around you. Whether you realize it or not, attitudes are contagious. If you are constantly around people who are negative and look at the bad side of things, you will find yourself either seeing things the same way. Or you will find yourself constantly exhausted with trying to remain optimistic against the tide. Now, there are some people in your life who may be negative that you can’t avoid all the time, such as family members, or people you work with. But, you can counteract that by spending away time with people who are uplifting and positive. There is also a difference between venting to let things go and being a constant complainer. Letting a friend vent to you, or rant about something is something that can be good. But putting up with or being someone like that will attract that kind of energy to you. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize that it’s even happening. I’ll be having a conversation with someone who is negative, I’ll think I am not being influenced, but when I look back, I realize how it tainted my thinking and I started looking at things in a more negative light. But also, the same goes for the opposite. When I am with someone who looks at things in a positive light, I find myself feeling more positive and encouraged. Negative tend to look at why things will never work out, while positive people tend to find reasons why they will, and also find ways to make them work.

Now, as I said, you can’t always surround yourself with positive people. And in my life, I don’t always look on the bright side. In fact, sometimes I find myself complaining more than I like. But – being aware of it, I am trying to change that. I am trying to be a more positive person, be with more positive people, and look for reasons it will work instead of why it won’t.