Tag Archives: inspiration

Note to Self: Soooooo much distraction… pause and focus

20 Feb

Note to self:

I apologize, I’ve been an absentee blogger for too many months. I’ll be the first to admit that you are my most important reader (I’ve learned that through my discovery of self-love) and it was often the pure satisfaction of having you read and admire my work that kept me writing. Until it wasn’t.

I stopped blogging partly because I lost my focus – I became distracted by too many “squirrels” and reading other people’s blogs and believing that others had more guidance than I could get from you.  I was wrong.  Now I realize that it is important to take time to consciously observe (there will always be sooooo many squirrels to distract), pause (with intention) and then focus back on the love we share (unconditional love and acceptance is wondrous!) This has been a cosmic discovery.

You know I never really left you when I stopped blogging — we’ve been on a journey of exploration and discovery. We’ve read so many new books, gone to so many new places, listened to so many inspirational and enlightening CDs, loved and lost and loved again, and in the process I found you (maybe for the first time.)  I’m happy that you are open to the belief that our best life and deepest love is yet to come!

So, today, I address you, the Royal We (me, myself and I) with a commitment to start blogging again… sharing thoughts through this virtual paper so that we can discuss, savor, create, enjoy and relish with the manifestations they inspire.  It’s a life journal open to the universe – a tracking of where we’re at and where we’re going… I finally appreciate what my mother meant years ago when she said “you can never run away from yourself… wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s so true and it’s refreshing.

I love you to the moon and back…

Your BFF.

p.s., If this sounds esoteric or self-serving to anyone reading this far, that’s okay. This blog has always been about observations and ideas about interpretations of life (for my benefit.) If it happens to inspire or resonate with even one other person, that’s gravy and I’d be grateful to know about it.

p.p.s. Life is good!

Own Your Day or it will Own You…

17 Jan

Thanks for joining me here today!  It’s going to be an awesome day ahead – or is it?

It’s been almost 18 months since I’ve posted on this blog and today is the day I do something different and start posting again.  Since June 2015, a lot of things have happened in my life – both positive and negative (I’m sure it’s the same for you!) – the most notable that I haven’t earned an income since May of last year, despite having the expertise, experience, putting myself out there, having tons of positivity, optimism, and donating my time to my industries (through various volunteer Board of Directors work.)

For whatever reason, I’ve hit a brick wall in terms of income (I can’t collect unemployment as an independent consultant,) and… yet I’m surviving, and it’s time I got back on the road to financial abundance.  I’m not sure exactly HOW that will happen, but meanwhile I’d like to share a few of the survival tips I’ve learned as I start posting twice weekly from now on.

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I’ve found a couple of awesome life coaches/friends who encourage me to stay positive despite the financial lull and sometimes a lack of positive supportive people in my life.  Maybe this resonates with you?

I’m grateful for so many things in my life (health, friends, opportunities, partnership, inspiration….) and as my world changes and I become more abundant (here’s hoping!) I’d like to encourage others, through my blog posts here, to know that life doesn’t end when you hit a gap in earnings!

I’m a Big Proponent of Positive / Optimistic Thinking

I love books and motivational speakers and reading anything that promotes good health, self-love, and the Law of Attraction (making dreams come true!) – and I love promoting people and things that create positive energy, so I’d like to share two great inspirations I found today: (Thank you to both Maria and Marie !)

  • One Wise Life – daily Facebook motivational sessions.  Maria Flynn of OneWiseLife.com hosts an incredible, daily 9:30 EST Facebook Live session. – Today’s session was very relevant to me:  “If you Don’t Own Your Day, Your Day will Own You.”  Here’s the link to the rebroadcast (click on the pic)

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  • MarieForleo.com videos  – today’s segment was about the importance of a positive attitude with some great advice:

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Becoming my own Cheerleader…

One of the ways I’ve discovered that I can be productive, do market research in customer service and put myself out in the mainstream to find new work (hopefully in my specialty) is to bartend at major sporting events.  While the financial gains are yet to manifest, it does remind me that cheerleading is an important part of sporting events – and also in life.

One of my goals in 2017 is to finally write (and take the journey) to become my own best cheerleader!  I hope you’ll join me along the way, keep reading, and share this blog if it resonates with you.  Sometimes I feel like a lone eagle who joyfully supports, inspires and (hopefully) motivates others – and I’m learning that I need to do the same for myself.

I’d love to hear your comments – or brickbats.  Blogging can be a lonely sport – and I’m hoping something I say might inspire you along the way.  And if you have ideas on how I can find contracts, speaking engagements and just to say hi – drop me a note (caroldekkers at gmail dot com.)  Thanks for reading and…

Have an awesome week!

Carol

Graduation day revisited… it’s never too late for your dreams!

4 Jun

I graduated from mechanical  engineering many moons ago with the wide-eyed dreams of youth backed by a zest for the future and a century’s worth of wishful thinking.  For the next few years, life was a dream… jobs were plentiful,  I was a newlywed and new mother,  and even though finances were precarious (my husband went back to university to pursue a new career in a new city when my daughter was 4 months old) I had nothing but optimism for the future ahead.  What was woefully missing, and I never realized it, was a sense of self (as in self-acceptance, pride and self-love.)  While my business sense of self was intact, my personal worth and persona was based on the views of parents, husband and friends. As such, I found happiness only when others accepted me and I was making them happy.

Fast forward to today with grown children,  grandchildren, years of experience, age and financial uncertainty.  Jobs in my niche are scarce, ageism is rampant, savings are small and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire… hardly the image of success according to the “others” in my past, BUT, that’s all secondary to the fact that I’m truly happy.

Life has had many twists and turns, highs and lows, successes and failures, and I  finally realize that all of the external success and acceptance by others in my life was a red herring.  Happiness comes with self-acceptance and self-love, and without those, happiness is fleeting. Certainly love, parenting, friends, adventure, money and other things are important,  but not when it comes at the expense or with the exclusion of self.

Good things from others in my life are the icing on the cake, but the cake is a foundation of self-love and self-acceptance.

Today as I see so many celebratory posts about parents and graduates, I find that I am revisiting, with new eyes, the dreams and hopes of graduation.  The difference this time is that the hopes and dreams are based on being in love with myself first… and others second.

I’ve included below some of my favorite motivation/graduation style sayings. They resonate with me and I hope that a few will do so with you – no matter where you are in life and in love.  Celebrate who YOU are and reach for the stars!

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The Grand Illusion of online… Who are We?

12 Jun

Humanity has always struggled with the question:  Who am I and where do I fit in the world?

100 years ago, this was easily answered – identity was based on social status (rich or poor), infamy (Bonnie-and-Clyde), profession (you’re the town doctor/undertaker/barman), or  relationship (you’re so-and-so’s mother/father/sister/wife/brother/husband/friend/lover, etc.)

Today, with the “Grand illusion of online connectivity,”

it’s so much harder to figure out what the world thinks of us.  You might say, who cares?, but no one, outside of hermits living in complete isolation in the woods, can truly say that outside opinions don’t affect their well-being.

In our online, connected social/not-so-social, 24 x 7 world, we are infinitely judged by everyone for anything we post/blog/utter/comment online.  I say “infinitely” because once words are pressed into digital media (texts, posts, blogs, comments, emails, etc.) there is a permanent, accessible record.

And judged we are – 24 x 7 – no matter if we recant, remove, erase the words, our persona online becomes what others perceive us to be.  We are judged by people we may never meet, by people in other countries, by people who gain a snippet of our life as we allow them to see online, and our image of ourselves can be forever altered.

I’ve thought about this… Facebook reaches over a billion members worldwide.  People of every facet of global society are on Facebook and pass judgment based on the two-dimensional words, photos, friend lists, and associations we make (our likes, dislikes, comments, etc.):

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Online affects kids AND adults…

Who we are and how others view us is critical to both kids (who are finding their way in the world based on social media, YouTube videos, online comments, etc.) AND adults.  I see this as a looming crisis as we, the civilized 1st world, pretend doesn’t matter.  We comfort ourselves by saying that our kids are connected and safe and loved when we give technology gifts instead of spending our time and energy connecting with them one-on-one.

Our news media is filled with reports of cyber-bullying and intimidation with sometimes dire results (depression and even death, sadly.)  Yet, others profess that online friendships have rescued their lives (the infirm and home bound.)  Ultimately, time will tell what a generation of children raised mostly online will give us.  (Hopefully they will be able to talk and connect to each other as human beings!)

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I’m connected almost 24 x 7, but who am I?

I’ll be the first to admit that I spend  most of my waking hours “online.”  By that, I mean, essentially tethered by an electronic umbilical cord to my smart phone, my laptop (now), or my tablet and am constantly accessible to the world through Facebook, e-mail, text messaging, Facebook messaging, or Skype.

My professional work is home-based and on-the-road based (I teach project management and speak at conferences worldwide) – and when I work from home, I have the luxury (and the bane) of not ever having to step outside my front door, yet I find that my true identity is when I go out and interact face-to-face with other people.

I am confident and secure with who I am, yet I hear of other adults (and youngsters) who struggle to find their place in the outside world – mostly based on their online interactions. One poll stated that over 2/3 of Facebook users BLATANTLY LIE with their  posts – yet the posts are legal and have the power to be used for/against people in court!  (It goes against who I am to lie online… just saying.)

On behalf of friends (and myself), I’ve agreed to conduct a short experiment (that I’ll publish the results of) to gauge if who you think I am matches in any way who I truly am… will you take part (please?)

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Who do YOU think I am (an online experiment…)

Here’s the challenge:  give me a three word description (no profanity please!) based on what you’ve read on this blog or on my other blogs or on Facebook that you think best describes me (I know I’m opening myself up by leaving it free format here.)

To make it easy, here’s a template:

 

Regardless of the Grand Illusion – Go Offline to really connect and stay true

I created a National Offline Day (it’s a Facebook event) as a global way to for people to reconnect with real people in your real life.

Won’t you join in?

I’m committed to reconnecting with the people in my life and my neighborhood for 12 hours – for the sake of my real-life sanity.  Let’s get back to who we really know we are… for real and in-person without the grand illusion of online personas.  🙂

Have a great week!

Everyone can use a little “pruning”…

13 Jan

By the title above and the fact that I live in Florida, you might be led to think this post is about regularity… thankfully (at least from my viewpoint) it’s not!  It’s about making room in your life for new growth, new experiences, new insights – no matter how old you are!  In fact, today is the youngest you’ll ever be again in your life, and if you’re reading this post, it is so much better than the alternative…

It’s probably obvious to you that we’re all born into the world completely pure, unadulterated, fresh, … we are like an oak seedling just sprouted. We are ready for nourishment, sunlight and warmth (love), and ready to take on the world. For most of us at this point, life is good.

By mid-life, we’ve weathered seasons and storms and our branches bear witness to years of events.  Our heads are filled to the brim with memories of experiences, hurts, biases, judgments, opinions of right and wrong, conditions, critiques and rules — so much so that there is barely room for anything or anyone new.

oakWe find that we are now solid oak trees, each of us bearing a customized pattern of branches forged through a unique set of events, circumstances and relationships. These branches bear witness to our life experience and often form a mismatch of uneven projections shooting out in myriad directions. During warm summers (the good times in our life), these imperfections stay hidden, obscured by bountiful leaves and we can fully bask in our beauty.  When winter sets in (the less than perfect times of our life), as it invariably does, our branches and scars are exposed bare leaving us feeling vulnerable and bare.  Over the years, our “branches” build up layers of  moss and hide skeletons of dead wood – emotional baggage – that can impede our natural growth. Sometimes this buildup happens overnight (such as a lightning strike or other stressful event), but more typically it accrues over time, seemingly unnoticeable as we go about our daily routines.  That is, until something jolts us to observe that dead wood and moss impedes our  future growth.

A colleague once told me (after a tumultuous time in my life):  “You really need to prune your life – get rid of the dead branches (the toxic relationships and ways of thinking that no longer serve you) to make room for new growth.”

The analogy was “bang on” (as we say in Canada) and her advice came flooding back to me today as I read the following:

1003924_560500844040225_309166825_nIt hit me – to accomplish ANY of these things means getting rid of dead wood in our heads… taking out the rote programmed reactions and ways of thinking.  Replacing the emotional baggage and dead end thinking with considerate, thoughtful, intentional responses to life.  One at a time…

“Learn to love without condition.”  Wow, this means I need to be conscious of and lower the biases (and judgments) that lead me to love others with conditions.  (The conditions are like a wall intended to protect me from future hurt – but ultimately it limits potentially great relationships!)  I need to consciously CHOOSE to accept and simply love people as they are, without conditions, (just as I would like to have happen to me.)  This sounds like a good habit to adopt.

“Talk without bad intention.”  Sometimes I reassure myself that I already do this, but if I am brutally honest, sometimes the good intentions are skewed when I am talking to someone with whom I have an imperfect past.  If there has been some mal-intention on the part of the other (even perceived) some mal-intention back could occur.  To talk without bad intention requires me to clear my head of judgment, before I speak, so that the words come out pure and the tone is positive.  This gives the other party the chance to simply be and respond without their defenses being up.  Sounds like another good habit to practice.

“Give without any reason.”  If you’ve grown up with a scarcity mentality like I did (there’s never enough money, food, jobs, time, energy to go around), giving can end up being biased and giving ends up with some sort of expectation.  Giving without reason means letting go of the need to get anything back in return (today or any day!)  Giving without any reason, just because I can – this is another habit that will enrich my life!

And “Care for people without any expectation.”  For me, this one hinges on my childhood learning of the “Golden Rule (do unto others as you’d like them <expect them> to do unto you.)”  This learning always set me up for failure because it implied that there would be reciprocity – that kindness begets kindness, generosity begets generosity, and so on.  The reality is that when I expect (not hope) something of others, I am imposing on them MY rules/code of behavior, my background, my need to  control – and that is simply not fair.  Letting go of the dead wood that expectations bring allows me to care for others as I can, while first taking care of my own needs (first.)

Pruning the dead wood in my  life takes concentration and work to properly trim (not chop) so that I remain whole and healthy.  Too much pruning at once or in the wrong season can be worse than not.  Figuring out new habits, such as those above, is a journey to remove the old (negative) habits of judgment, bias, reaction, and reliving old hurts, and replace them with new (positive) habits of acceptance, love, response and openness.

While old habits die-hard – I realize that this old dog can learn new tricks and the added bonus is that my new life is enriched, full, and thriving!

Wishing you a great week!

Carol

 

Happy Mother’s Day – be a Mother to Yourself!

13 May
Mother's Day card

Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It might sound a bit circular to you to suggest that you be a mother to yourself – but I believe that most mothers (no matter how wonderful) fall short of being the nurturing, caring, unconditionally caring mother we all need to get us through life.

Through this blog and in everyday interactions, I hear stories that range from mothers who are exceptionally giving and accepting to downright bitches on steroids who poison every person they meet.  We cannot choose our mothers, but we can choose how they affect our adult life (or at least we can try!)

Just as I believe in the Type Y management theory (most people will do the best job they can given the knowledge and education at hand) versus the Type X (people innately need to be micro-managed or they will cheat and do the least) – I believe that most mothers (and fathers) do the best job they can given their knowledge and education about parenting. (Of course there are exceptions – we read about them in the daily press or see them on Reality TV!)

Because today is Mother’s Day in North America, I’d like to focus on mothers (and the same wisdom can apply to being a father to yourself!)

What We Need from Mothers

Childhood memories might not be as distant to you as they are to me, but no doubt the good, bad, and the ugly of childhood sticks with us all.  We all bear the wonders (and the baggage) of growing up and I venture to guess that no matter where or when you grew up, it was not all honey and roses (if it was, then I applaud you for an ideal childhood or a selective memory!)

What would the ideal mother give? Here is my “laundry list”:

  • safety (from the physical and emotional affronts we face in the outside world);
  • security (with basic food, shelter and clothing taken care of);
  • acceptance (to know that we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are);
  • love (unconditional if that is even possible);
  • truth (that life isn’t fair, that there are good and bad people, that we deserve love, and that no matter what we can make it.)

Moreover, the perfect mother would remind us that we are good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, deserve love, and can make it no matter what or who life throws at us.  But, like a Barbie doll – such an ideal is only a fantasy.

My mother did her best to raise five children (only seven years apart) and offer a nurturing environment – given her knowledge and parenting skills, and I am truly grateful.  I always had a home where I knew someone would know my name and I could fall asleep without fear of violence or hunger – I am grateful, especially when I know that not everyone had this luxury.

Lifelong Mothering can only come from Within

Regardless of what your mother was like, I believe that EVERY mother falls short of being the ideal mother we need(ed).  The good news is that no matter who was/is your mother, we all have the opportunity, starting today, to be the ideal mother to ourselves.  We can give ourselves the inner pride, security, safety, unconditional love, acceptance, and truth to become the best we can be!

Many books attempt to teach us how to nurture ourselves and overcome our childhood – including  as the Inner Child, I’m Ok- You’re Ok, There is Nothing Wrong with You, Co-dependent No More, The Four Agreements,  etc.; but few teach how to be the mother you need(ed) for yourself.

Being able to rely on unconditional love and undying support of the ideal mother can only come from within. We owe it to our inner child to give him/her the nurturing in the way we need, from someone who knows us better than anyone possibly can.

Starting today – evict the Inner Critic

The first step to being a mother to yourself is to evict the harsh inner critic who takes up valuable real estate in your mind.  Replace this critical voice (you’re too xxx, you’ll never be yyy, don’t even try to do zzz!) with that of the ideal mother (you are perfect the way you are, you can become yyy, don’t just try but do zzz!, you can do it!)

Tell yourself what an ideal mother would say:

...you are extraodinary…you are beautiful…and you are loved.

In The Four Agreements, author don Miguel Ruiz says that Agreement #1 is Always live with integrity.  In other words, never tell yourself anything that you would not tell a best friend.  Be supportive, loving, accepting, proud, nurturing, and giving to yourself!

The second step is to write down the characteristics an ideal mother (or father) would have (or could have) provided in your life, and then start doing them for yourself!

Does this make Mother’s Day sense?

What do you think? Is this simply airy-fairy, psycho-babble?  I can tell you that the Royal We (me, myself and I) plus my inner Mother is a formidable team (newly formed!)

Does this ring true for you (or anyone you might know)… please comment!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Carol

Seeing the world through broken glass… waking up to 20/20 vision

10 May

Do you ever feel like you’ve wasted heartbeats living your life based on what others tell you is true (using guilt, conditional love, coercion, religion, shame, and downright lies) instead of creating the life you want?

I don’t know about your story, but I am slowly realizing that the “fill in the blank” projections of what others told me I need to be (you should be more – fill in the blank; you are way too – fill in the blank; what will other people think of you because of – fill in the blank) are so distorted as to be laughable.  And none of them are true!

My parochial, strict upbringing followed by a quarter century of “love” with a bonafide narcissist, can only be compared to practitioners testing your eyes, prescribing corrective glasses, smashing the lenses, and then forcing you to wear them (with physical and emotional threats) so that you can “see the world properly.”  (Translation: see the world as they do.) 

I must be a slow learner, but only recently did I wake up to see that people from my past would build themselves up by putting me down.   My psyche suffered years of anguish and guilt because I believed the distortions I saw through broken glass.  The perps got to feel superior, earned big financial wins, and were largely successful in squelching my spirit.

After a lifetime of words and insistence that I will never be good enough (for the world), I realize that this is simply not true.  Moreover, I am discovering that I never needed “glasses” to see the world properly in the first place – my perceptive vision is (and was) 20/20.

While my realizations are mostly an inside job, they were bolstered recently by several acquaintances whose words rang true.  Maybe they spoke out because they weren’t looking for personal gain, I don’t know, but I am grateful for what they told me (positive words.)

20/20 vision in comparison…

What makes these words different from the past? They resonate with what my soul knows to be true:  I am a loveable, kind, generous (to a fault), attractive, intelligent, passionate, sensitive, empathetic, and exciting person who has much to give.  (If you already know this about yourself, I congratulate you for discovering it earlier than I!)

My heart sees (and feels) that the positive words are true, but hearing positive words (with insistence) is so rare that I had to have them repeat them.  Even now, it takes an effort to overcome the negative reflections from the past and accept that the love I’ve known was conditional to me being someone I am not.

I now know that my eyesight about the world (and myself) started out fine, but got derailed through emotional attachment to people whose love hinged on me being someone else.  Wearing the broken glasses to please them ended up distorting my vision of the world, of myself, of where I fit in the world.  At times when I glimpsed an uncorrected vision (and liked it!) – chiding would remind me that they knew me better than I knew myself. I believed that love was conditional on me seeing the world as they did. (I still believe that is true, but now I no longer care!)

Today, I love myself (I know that I am loveable) and that is all that matters. I see the world as I see it and the Royal We (me, myself and I) are happy.

Burying the past…except for the Zombies

What distortions came about with the corrected vision?  I heard over and over (by more than one person) that I was too sensitive, too abrasive, took things personally, was not talented enough, unattractive (and reminded that vanity is the work of the devil!), boring, assertive, unlikeable, a bad communicator, a poor mother, had broken intuition and I was downright unlovable.  (The latter point made it easy to convince me that I would never find anyone who could ever truly love me and I was lucky to have found said person!  No wonder I’ve been a people pleaser!)

One would think that it should be easy to bury the broken glasses today.  Unfortunately, people from my past try to prevent me from doing so.  Family members insist that I am doomed to eternal damnation because I don’t adhere to their religious edicts (not my truth).  The narcissist continues to contacts my friends to be his friend (and they call me to say “WTF is his problem!”)  Others continue to try to get me back (to benefit them) years after I stopped the relationships.  I guess that’s the nature of controlling, broken glass relationships – a controller needs someone to control.

20/20 vision is incredible!

Living in integrity (treating myself the way that I treat my best friends) is my truth.  My intuition celebrates that I trust that my perceptions are true (undistorted) and believe that I deserve love.   I am at peace with who I am (and who my friends know).  This makes for a satisfying life of self-love, mutual friendship, and trust in oneself.  It’s finally nice to know that my vision was 20/20 all along.

Have a great week!

Carol

Never too Late…

30 Apr

I find it amazing that we measure what we do in life in time blocks – justifying our inaction by how much time the action might take.  “I can’t go to school – it will take four years,” is a popular lament amongst high school graduates eager to make their fortune.  Parents, however, lament how a year off before entering college is folly that will keep their kid from ever returning to full time study.

The truth is that no matter what we do (or do not do) in life, time ticks on…. four years will go by no matter if the student goes to college or works.

The fact that time marches on regardless of and in spite of our plans, hesitations, and need to “get ready” for the right time to act ‘should be’ impetus enough to get us moving.  There will never be a better time (for anything) than the present because it is the only guarantee in life. We cannot change the past (it’s gone) or the future (we have no control over what WILL happen), but we do have the present!

It is never too late to do anything as long as you start whatever it is you want to do, now!  It is never too late to return to school, to renew contact with old friends, to contact a lost love, to get a new job, to make amends, to act!  While certain physical dreams (such as being an Olympic figure skater at age 50) may be physically impossible, it is never too late to scale back a dream and make headway (i.e., take up figure skating now.) More typically we invent the artificial obstacles to prevent our own success and keep ourselves from trying something new (which can be scary!)

What better time than today to consider taking a small step towards a big dream – even if the dream started decades ago?

What do you have in your dream chest that deserves to be started today?  What’s stopping you?  Remember if it is something that might take you 5 years – the time will go by regardless so why not move in the direction of your dreams?  If you do not, in five years you will be in exactly the same place as you are today – just five years behind on your dream.

It truly is never too late if you just take one small step – today. What do YOU want to start while it is never too late – today?

Carol

Celebrities among us…

23 Apr

This past weekend I attended a “wrap party” for a local film festival where a smattering of celebrities graced the event and gained local entourage and special treatment.  It must be life as normal for the celebrities who hailed from Hollywood, New York and elsewhere, but for local Florida residents, it was a chance to rub shoulders with some more rich and famous.

I came to be at this event by assisting with coordination and on site logistics and I greeted guests as they arrived at the event.  I am not one to fawn over celebrities (or even recognize less famous ones) so it was interesting to watch others who did. I believe that everyone, no matter their rank or whether they are  peers, strangers, or celebrities, deserve the same level of respect and courtesy (unless they violate that right).  But, this is not a universal stance.

I found it interesting to watch as various actors arrived with large entourage (who walked dutifully behind them) and who expected (and received) special treatment.  It seemed a bit excessive to see “herds” of ten or more being led into the event. (Sheep came to mind…)

At one point, a group of four drunken baseball fans showed up without passes and expected to waltz off the street and be admitted  as if the party was theirs. Without credentials or passes, they grudgingly left.  Two returned later after befriending an actor smoking on the sidewalk, and felt justified in waltzing in as his new best friends.

Who (and what) makes a Celebrity?

In the field of acting or sports – normal human beings are raised to icon-status with outrageous salaries and fame.  From relative obscurity they are catapulted into fame and fortune – with often more luck than stellar ability, and their meteoric rise often falls equally fast. Yet, their claim to fame (for however long) lies with what our society values and holds in high esteem entertainment as a chosen career, over and above professions or occupations that make a difference to others.   We seldom see doctors, health care workers or teachers (whose impact can be far greater than entertainment value) elevated to any sort of “special” status.

Everyday celebrities…

If one stopped to view life as a series of adventures and survival experiences, more of us and the people in our lives would become celebrities, and that might be good.  In my books, everyone who succeeds through life (through the good, the bad, and the ugly) deserves the same respect, honorable treatment, courtesy, love, and decency that award to celebrity.  We ought to be celebrating (and “celebritizing”) everyone when they succeed in life.

Celebrities are all around us – take a look at all the parents, caregivers, workers, friends and colleagues who choose to make a difference, yet whose lives are normal, everyday, and without fanfare.  Would it not make sense to spread the celebrity status around (and maybe gratitude?)

What do you think?  Can you think of someone you know who might deserve a bit of celebrity status today?

Have a good week.

Carol

Sticks and Stones are Secondary

30 Mar

Did you grow up in the era of  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”

Childhood memories can be brutal – especially if you were ever accosted by a bully.  It didn’t happen more than a couple of times to me, but I remember yelling these words hoping the bullies chasing me would somehow get tripped up by some magical force that the words conjured up! They never threw punches, but the unkind words they flung could be far more damaging.

“Ugly duckling!”  “You look like a boy!”  “Pigeon toes!”  Words thrown in haste that decades later, for most of us, can still sting.

Names and words can be powerful weapons that can inflict pain, rejection or verbal “spanking” of others.  I believe that words can turn into W.O.M. – weapons of mass destruction, and cause widespread damage to whole societies.  (Hitler used words to effectively control a nation and alienate the world.)

I recall the story of a bully whose father caught him taunting the neighborhood kids. As punishment, he made his son put nails into a fence for each name he had yelled.  The fence was covered with nails by the time he was finished, and the father talked to his son about the damage he was causing.  The son recognized the bad behavior and promised to stop bullying.  When a day that passed without name calling, the father allowed the son to remove some nails from the fence, until it was finally clear of nails.  The lingering message came on the last day when the father showed the son the holes that remained in the fence.  The son then realized the lingering damage of careless words.

Today, many parents refrain from corporal punishment (physical spanking), but fail to recognize the harm they inflict by the verbal spankings they unleash with their words.  (It is oft quoted that children hear the word “no” around 67,000 times by the time they reach the age of two, and the word “yes” far less!)

What is worse – physical or verbal abuse? 

If you believe the opening line of this post (sticks and stones…), you may not agree that words and tone can cause damage.  But I would bet that unless you have the most confidence and the most wonderful parents in the world, you probably still cringe when you recall harsh words of grownups from your past.  Why do we convict those who use physical abuse as their weapon and not those who use words to the same effect?

This week, a new documentary called “Bully” opened in select theatres across the country.  The filmmakers chronicled the life of a teenage victim, in the hopes of raising awareness and curtailing bullying in schools. I agree that it is time we take action to stop school yard bullies so that all children can concentrate on learning (a good strategic move for our nation!)

Next steps…

Maybe the next step after that will be to face the less obvious, but sometimes worse, cyber bullying and verbal abuse.  But, first, we as adults, need to stop and recognize the power of words to cause harm.  Guilt, shame, rejection, and embarrassment… these are but a few of the emotions we can stir up with pointy words.  We would never poke someone’s eye out with a stick, but we don’t think twice about stabbing them with words.

(Sidenote:  sometimes parents even use these tactics on their grown children to coerce or manipulate them into submission.  I’ve seen plenty of examples of this from friends whose parents don’t realize they are no longer children.)   

Perhaps the first step towards healing our societies is to reword the childhood adage… to maybe “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will ever hurt me.”

Just food for thought…

Carol

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