Reading the wrong book…

I recently made the decision to take some college courses and try to open up more opportunities for my life.  I made it through a good bit of my work feeling pretty good about myself and the small accomplishments I had made toward completing my coursework.  Suddenly though, I was working on one of my assignments and found myself totally lost.  I had no idea why the material had shifted so heavily in another direction.  The work I was doing on my computer didn’t seem to match what I had read and taken notes on in the book.  In my research to find the problem, I found out that the book I had read for my classwork was the book I will be using in my next term.  All of my reading was in vain.  I had to start over and begin again.

In a world where every second counts, I felt like I had taken myself far off course.  I still am not certain of the ramifications of reading from the wrong book.  Will it leave me behind for the entire term or will i catch up and stay on top of each assignment?  Perhaps everything will be fine, and I can also look forward to having a jump on my course work in my next term.  I am not sure of where this will lead me, but I am sure of one thing.  I will get a better understanding from the book I am reading now, than from the one I was studying before.

I think many of us find ourselves “reading from the wrong book.”  I’m pretty sure we have all finished chapters upon chapters of different aspects of our lives, only to find that we were reading the pages of something that does not apply to us.

We all want our actions to make sense.  All of us have ambitions and hopes for great things in our lives.  To apply ourselves and bring ourselves to a point where we feel we can reach these dreams, we have to make sure we are lined up in the area of our learning.  We can’t be successful in any test life puts us through if the course we studied was not intended for us.  The chapters I had already read were beyond my level.  I will reach that level at a later time.  Right now I need to focus on where I am at.  Similarly, we all are on separate levels in life.  I cannot expect the lessons of your life to serve as a guide to my own.  I can learn from you, but my course work is much different than yours.  If I read the wrong book, I won’t succeed when I am tested.

As you continue through life’s journey, reach for the book that describes your life where it is now.  Don’t try to reach above or beneath the level of understanding of your current standing in life.  You have the necessary tools to excel.  Don’t read the wrong book.  Take up every opportunity to create hope for your life and apply it whenever you can.  You can pass this test you are going through.  You can ace your next quiz.  All you have to do is keep on track.  Aim for that promising destiny you believe in, but never seem to be able to grasp.  First, you need to check out your book.  Is it the right one?  Are your actions in life based on a clean heart and a pure intension or from something you learned on a television show or a magazine?  Study at your level.  Pass your test.

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Aren’t we all the same?

I have always believed that we all are similar.  Everyone of us, while unique in our own ways, match each others actions in certain situations.  Sure, we may have a different hair or eye color.  Some of us may speak different languages.  Some people grow up wealthy and some grow up in poverty.  These things make us different, but aren’t we really all just the same?

Every person I have ever met has cried, this shows me that we all hurt.  All of us have laughed or smiled, revealing that we like to be happy.  We all fall in love, showing our desire to be close to another person.  We all share the same basic emotions.  These are universal.  We all use them differently, but we use them none the less.  What gives us a unique personality is the type of surroundings we grew up around and how we reacted to the emotions given to us from that foundation.  A child who has parents who were both athletes is likely to follow the same course.  A child who grew up in poverty has a much higher likely hood of living in poverty as well.  It all falls back on the way the child was raised.

What makes you who you are is not the environment you grew up in.  That is simply what helped you find yourself in the environment you are in today.  You are not the surroundings you grew up around, you are the person who reacted to those surroundings.  How does the life you have lived affect who you are?  Are you a better or worse person because of the way you grew up?  I don’t necessarily believe so.  I would like to challenge that mind set.

A goal driven person will find ways to reach their destination regardless of circumstance.  It is in their nature.  This is why you see some people come from a very poor family, but find ways to suceed and become wealthy.  While the case is rare, it does happen.  We also see celebrities, who came from well known families, make major mistakes.  You determine your course, not the influences of nature around you.  Only you can decide how to react to each obstacle in life.  This is what determines who you are as a person.

We should probably learn to overlook a persons social status when deciding how we feel about them.  We should look past the influences that have changed their circumstance, but not the person.  If we could peel back the shell of who we are we would find that we all have similar traits.  We all want the best for ourselves and our families.  We want to suceed.  We all want to be happy.  We all like to laugh.  None of us want to hurt.  None of us want pain.  We don’t really want to be alone. . . Not forever anyway.

I say everything I just said to try to point out that the person you judge walking by for the way they look or the way they act, that person could be you.  If you had only grown up in their environment, you may be their twin.  I think we could all look at ourselves and find sucess and failure in our lives.  I think we can all also look at ourselves and say we are proud of who we are.  Many may disagree here, but don’t be too quick on this.  I don’t believe anyone wants failure.  Because of this we all try.  We do the best we can with the best way we know how to do it.  Sometimes it just takes a little push from an outside source to teach us to do a little more.  Or maybe we need a little more motivation from somewhere, anywhere, but we still know everyone wants to suceed.  We all just haven’t had the same push.

I guess all I am asking from all of this is when you look at someone else, don’t judge them.  They grew up different than you.  The person you are looking at is not the drug dealer or the prostitute, the begger or the dirty person you pass by on occassion.  This is just the environment they live in.  The real person is inside.  The person who hurts, cries, laughs, smiles and wants to be loved.  This is the real person.  Rather than judging their situation, help them out of it.  Share your sucesses and ideas that have helped you along the way.  You had help.  Somewhere along the line, the helpless lonely person, that is you, was given help that got you to where you are.  These people could be there too, they just haven’t had the help.  We all do it the best way we know how.  They just don’t know how.  You may think it is easy, but for them it is not.  Don’t be too hard on them though, you could have grown up in that environment.  It could have been you.  They aren’t where we are, just like we aren’t where some others are.  None of us are without flaw.  Why?  Because I believe we truly are all the same.

Act your age…

I had a difficult time trying to get my kids ready for school this morning.  My oldest son, who is eight-years-old, is constantly making noises, singing or talking.  Sometimes this can become very annoying very quickly and cause me to yell at him.  I don’t know how many times I have had to tell my son to act his age.  What I think I am missing about the whole thing is that he is eight.  He is not old enough to be an adult or act like I am.   I rememeber when I was young, I always acted similar to the way he acts now.  I enjoyed singing or making noises.  It was fun to run in the house or climb the walls.  I am not saying that it was permitted.  I just knew it was fun and did these things when I felt I could get by with them.  I wonder when I yell at my children to act their age, if what I am really saying is, “act my age.”

I often wonder if I am failing as a parent.  I can’t help but wonder if I am good enough or if I provide the necessary needs that should be provided for a young one.  I have been divorced for over three years now and it seems the further I go, the more I realize, I am not a mom.  It is easy to be a dad.  I enjoy the role.  Most of the dad traits just come naturally to me.  But to be a mother . . . not so much.  I struggle to give them what they need and can only hope that what little bit of good I can instill in them will grow in them, causing them to be great when they get older.

Now, I look at myself.  Do I act my age?  Am I as mature as the common 29-year-old man?  I want to tell myself that I am.  I can’t help but see all the areas where I am lacking though.  I am not acting my age.  I am acting like someone who doesn’t have it together.  Sure, I am stretched to the limit with my hands and feet spread apart, clinging to what little bit of life, peace, hope and happiness I can hold on to, but in the end, I feel I have fallen behind and not only is it a struggle to act my age, but to be my age.  I fail.  I fail regularly.  Is it this failure in me that has caused me to redirect my children when they act like me?  The very things that make up who I am is the things I try to change about my children.  I wonder if it is fear that they will one day become me, and fail in the same way that I have.

The outcome of my life is still under my control.  I may seem to old to change my ways, but this old dog is going to learn new tricks.  I am ready for a different life.  A life where my kids can look up to me and feel proud to be my son.  A place where my kids can be themselves without fear of getting reprimanded for it.  I love my children.  Really, they are my life.  Without them I am nobody.  They have shaped in me the very essence of who I am.  With all that they have given to me, I feel it is time to give back.  My kids shouldn’t teach me, I should teach them.  I am their father.  It’s time to act my age.

Mirror, Mirror…

It’s funny how much the losers in so many movies remind me of myself.  I don’t completely understand why I feel this way, but I always seem to share similar attributes with the characters in the movies who seem to have no luck at all.  Is it that I am a loser myself, which makes it easy for me to relate?  Maybe it is that I am that guy who can’t seem to get it together no matter how hard he tries.  Truth is, I think I am that man.  But why are these movies so popular?  Are there more people out there, like myself, who fall into this very same category?  Maybe we all have these insecurities about ourselves.  I think Hollywood is aware of our insecurities.  Writers and producers always seem to try to paint the picture of their main characters as the common man.  If this is true, I may not be as alone as I think I am in this world.  Maybe we all see ourselves in dim light.

I can remember times in my past that I looked at my situation in life and thought to myself, ‘Nobody will ever want to be with someone like you.’  I have thought this about relationships, friendships, jobs, you name it.  I have felt failure in ever category imaginable.  I find it funny though because I also like myself.  I look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘You’re not so bad.  In fact you’re kind of cute, and funny, and just an amazing person who anyone should love to be with.’

Our insecurities shape who we become in the public eye.  People never want to be around someone who doesn’t like themself.  Question is, how can somebody like themself when no one around them treats them respectfully as a person.  It’s a double delimna.  It’s a scale that is hard to balance.  I don’t think as many people view us unfavorably as we might make ourselves believe.  We are just as much the perfect person in the movie as we are the loser.  This all depends on whose eyes we are looking through.  I would like to think that other people see me the way I see myself when I look in the mirror with encouraging thoughts.  Maybe we aren’t all that bad.  We should find courage in the promise we see in ourselves.

The next time you look in a mirror, don’t see the person that is a failure.  You are not a failure.  If anyone can look at you and tell you that you aren’t good enough to make the cut, I can say pretty assuredly, the same person who tells you that is struggling to make the cut themself.  We all deal with issues of insecurity.  It is the people who look in the mirror and believe the positives thoughts, who overcome these insecurities.  You are not a loser.  You are not a failure.  I look at my own life and worry about the areas where I have failed.  While sometimes that is a sad story, it still doesn’t make me any better or worse than the next person.  We all make good choices, we all make bad choices.  No one is immune.