Life

I felt deeply impressed to write this tonight. I know many people struggle with wanting to give up on life and I want to be a voice for them. And I want to give hope to those who have none.  Use your gift to help, bless, encourage others.  This ‘poem’ is called “Life”.

Don’t give up…on life
Hope…dried up like parched land
Pain…so deeply piercing vibrates through my soul
Patience…gone
Anger…rising and falling
Sobs…shaking my body uncontrollably
Numb
Glassy eyed
Should I end it? My life?
Would it ease the pain?
But…my family, my friends
I cannot leave them
Thoughts swirling
Pain hits me in waves
I hear my name
My thoughts interjected by Him
Calling my name
Again and again
Telling me not to give up
Telling me over and over
That I’m
Not alone
I’m not…alone.
But I’m tired.
“Carry me, Lord,” I say
I pray a quick prayer
The darkness begins to lift
But what can I do?
I will write
I will write and tell the story to others
So that they… don’t give up
If through my pain, I can help someone else
Then I have won.

© KD Corner 2012, “Life”

Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Reaching Beyond Ourselves

Recently I heard a story of a young girl (15 years old) who committed suicide because she felt trapped by her past mistakes.  It had to do with content she posted when she was a bit younger – in ignorance – that followed and plagued her no matter where she went.  To add on to her struggles, she also had an unfortunate interaction with a young man who preyed on her naïveté and low self-esteem.  The boy had a girlfriend who beat up this young lady.  The result was that the school at large turned against her, telling her she was worthless and that she should end her life, which eventually she did.  She apparently left behind a youtube video chronicling her struggles and asking for help.  My heart broke for this young lady.  Yes, she made some foolish decisions, but, who of us hasn’t? The difference is that maybe your blunders (mercifully) didn’t have such a large audience.  So, we shouldn’t throw stones.  Instead we should have compassion.  And if you cannot personally relate, then think of your kids, nephews, nieces, god-children, grandkids, neighbors, friends, etc. These kids matter and they are our future. 

I shared the story of this young lady with someone of that age group, who quickly informed me that there are many similar videos on the web, some of which I viewed.  There are so many young people who have been bullied, verbally abused and publicly or privately humiliated/berated on a consistent basis.  This hurts my heart.  I do not understand people (no matter what the age) who want to hurt other people.  How can people treat others so cruelly?  Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” obviously didn’t realize the falsehood of this statement.  Words CAN & DO hurt.  But what can be done?  I wanted to reach through the screen of each of those videos and tell each of those kids how special & important they are!  That they DO matter and they have lots to offer!

We don’t realize the power we have within our reach to positively influence someone else.  Maybe just a word from you makes the difference in someone’s life for the better.  Maybe if we start spreading more genuine kindness and care for our fellow-man, we can counteract all of the hate and poison that is spewed out by the negative people of this world.  I heard about a young man who uses his Twitter account to say nothing but positive and encouraging things and that he has tons of followers!  Sounds like there are a lot of people out there who need those words of hope … words that build up instead of tear down.

Maybe you don’t have a master plan or even a large platform from which you can effect change worldwide, but you don’t have to.  There are people all around you every day with whom you come in contact.  Start there.  No, not everyone may not appreciate your random acts of kindness, but, keep on sharing and caring.  It WILL make a positive difference in this and the next generation.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Listening…A Lost Art

 

How many times has a friend or loved one come to you with a problem, issue or life situation wanting to just vent, and the Dr. Phil in you rises up to “fix” them or their problem and give unwanted advice? Guilty.

I think by nature we want to fix things and put in our “2 cents” so that we can feel like we contributed or brought some relief to our friend in some way. In short, we want to help, but sometimes over-talking or interjecting advice where it’s not necessarily wanted can do more harm than good.  Sometimes a friend really just wants you to LISTEN. Not easy, especially if you have more of a “fixer” personality. But it’s possible to do.

Practice listening. Many times our friends or family members really just want a sounding board. And if they DO want advice or your opinion, they’ll usually come right out and ask you. But, even if they do, tread carefully…unless they tell you to “bring it”, at which point you can let loose and go into your unprofessional diagnosis of their problem.  Still…be careful. Think how you’d want someone to “bring it” to you.  Make sure it’s seasoned with “love”. 🙂

I’ve become fairly good listener. But, I’m continuously working at it. Sometimes people just need your compassion or your presence.  You know how when someone’s talking to you, you’re having a second conversation in your head simultaneously?  All of your unfiltered opinions and reactions are unbridled in this “head” conversation.  RESIST the urge to blab out your opinion. Instead, really listen to the person who’s talking. Try to empathize. When judgemental thoughts arise, push them back down, and just listen. If you’re hearing something that you know is particularly bad or harmful for that person, still just listen. Let them get it all out. Remember to engage the person while they’re talking to you.  Look into their eyes, or give the occasional heart-felt “yeah” or “uh huh” or “really?”  Give a nod of the head and let your facial expression show that you care.  Be genuinely interested.  If talking on the phone, they cannot see your face, but give verbal affirmations that you’re listening to let them know you’re there and engaged in what they’re saying. Nine times out of ten, once the person has vented, they’ll want some kind of input. Begin gently with your input and try to gauge how much feedback the person wants, needs or can handle. Sometimes you’ll know instantaneously how much feedback is desired. Sometimes the person may shut down or block you out if you’re saying something they’re not ready to hear. If that happens, back off. Maybe at a later time the environment will be more conducive for more in-depth conversation.

One last thing.  If you have a friend who can talk to you for hours and hours on end and wear you down to a puddle of mush by the time they’re done talking, protect yourself. Lol.  You want to be there for that friend, but, you also know that if you let them, bless their hearts, they would keep you in the conversation (on the phone or in person) for hours and hours rehashing the same details over and over.  Yet, you care for them and desire to “be there” for them.  Set a time parameter.  Tell them you have “x” number of minutes to talk, up front.  When that time comes around, interject with kindness in your voice and let them know you have to go, but would be available later or perhaps you can talk to them via Instant Messenger or text or on a particular day that YOU specify.  Sometimes “listening” via IM is an option.  It gives the person a chance to write out the problem (which can sometimes help on both ends – the talker’s and the listener’s).  And with writing you have to take a bit more care and be more thoughtful as typed words don’t share the emotion behind them.  Stick to the point.  If your friend’s main gripe is that they have an issue with a coworker, but, they keep wandering into other topics, as you’re listening, keep that main topic in mind.  If/when they ask for your input, OR when your time limit has come and you have to end the conversation, focus on the main issue.  Be warm, yet succinct.  Get right to the root of the issue with your input (with compassion).  Hopefully this will prevent further wandering from the main topic at hand.  And if you’re chatty friend wants to discuss ‘war and peace’, gently yet firmly remind them that you have to go, but suggest that perhaps you’d could further your conversation on the next topic of choice on another occasion.  Hope these hints are helpful.

Have a great day!
Toodles ♥

Dealing With Grief

We all experience loss in life.  It can range from experiencing the death of a loved one, to the death of a relationship/friendship, or ‘death’ of a certain season in life (ex. job loss, a child growing up and leaving, etc.). And because of experiencing loss, whether the loss is expected or unexpected, we go through stages of grief.  It’s completely normal.  While experiencing the grief process, you may sometimes feel as though you’ve gone “loopy”.  But if you become knowledgeable (or remind yourself) of the stages of the grief cycle, then it tends to be easier to recognize which stage you’re in and helps you to realize that what you’re going through is okay. 

Sometimes when loss happens, well-meaning family or friends will tell you to “get over it” or “get on with life” or “you shouldn’t still feel that”.  They really do mean well.  They just want you to “snap out of it” and get back to your “normal” self.  The trouble is, when loss happens, you don’t go back to how you were before the incident.  But, you create a “new normal” that takes into account your experience of loss.  Yes, there are extremes on both sides. People can “stuff” grief down inside and decide to never fully deal with it.  Or sometimes people can stay stuck in a lifetime of misery, never allowing themselves to fully go through their cycle of grief and come out on the other side of it. 

Let’s briefly go through the stages of grief here:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

The important thing to know is that it does NOT always happen in linear order.  You may not go through certain stages. Or you may experiences some stages simultaneously.  Or you may even circle back around to certain stages you already have been through. But, let yourself go through the stages at your own pace.  Also, if you need to, reach out to certain family or friends who will be supportive as you go through this process, and not try to rush you through it.  You may also choose to seek out a professional counselor. That is nothing to be ashamed of.  Take your time to find the right counselor for you.  You may also try talking about things with your family doctor.

Please visit this link which goes through each stage of grief in-depth.  Take the time to really read through and understand each stage.  Link:  http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/ .

One last thing…IF you are experiencing grief and feel at all suicidal please DO NOT end your life!  You are meant to be here.  You are beautiful and special and precious & God loves you!!!  You matter to me!  Please call the suicide hotline so that you can talk to someone to help you through this.  They have resources that will help you with your individual situation.  
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255.  

Sidebar: I even heard on the radio the other day that for soldiers suffering from PTSD and battle depression and/or suicidal thoughts consistently, there are breakthrough procedures and medications available.  But you don’t have to be suffering from PTSD.  You can any person who suffers from depression.  Depression is a very real thing that people go through and you don’t have to feel ashamed. For help, encouragement, information & suggestions please listen to this radio show. Here’s the link to the radio show: http://www.moodyradio.org/radioplayer.aspx?episode=91779&hour=2  (the show is a Christian show, but, even if you’re not a Christian don’t let that deter you from listening.)  There is LOTS of good information shared that will help you with depression and bipolar disorder and other areas.  Also if you would like to visit the radio guest’s website, it is here:  http://drlindamintle.com/?s=depression .

God bless you! ♥

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quiet in the Midst of the Storm

Ever felt closed in on all sides? One problem on top of another, slowly building into a crooked Jenga tower (ever played that game?).  At some point you know it’s all going to come crashing down, and when it does…a mess of Jenga blocks (problems) everywhere.  What do you do?  How do you handle?  Do you confide in a friend?  Meditate? Go have a drink? Cry your eyes out?  Maybe you sit in the corner of the room and rock yourself till you feel better?  Do you exercise or read a book?

Perhaps you have tried praying and feel like God is far away?  I have felt that way sometimes. But something in me knows he’s there.  At some point after you pray, have you ever had a friend text or call you at random about some miscellaneous topic…and then you end up talking to them about your problems …and it helps you feel better?  Have you perhaps picked up the Bible or a favorite book and something speaks to you to encourage you to hang in there for one more minute/hour/day? Or maybe you turned the TV on at precisely the right time or flipped to the right channel to hear/see something that gave you a boost?

When you pray to God in the midst of your storm, he does hear you.  He may not answer you audibly (it’s rare), but, he does answer…in any of the above mentioned ways and more.  God can use people, books, billboards, songs, TV shows, articles, prayer, the Bible, nature or any other creative way to answer you and give you peace…and quiet…in the midst of your storm, to help you each time. Be encouraged today.

PS- Here’s an inspirational song that might strengthen you today called “Everything Falls” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk4A5647xHw

Get back on the horse!

 

I’ve been watching a few reality shows lately, most of which feature a handful of contestants who have overcome great odds to audition or compete on their show of choice.  One contestant overcame homelessness to become a youth pastor and inspire others. Another overcame the death of a parent and was competing on the show with hopes to win and make life better for the siblings he now cares for. And another person overcame a life of gangs and drugs to adopt a life of physical fitness and trains others in his particular area of expertise. This made me think of life and how sometimes in life we’re knocked off of our horse, so to speak, either through difficult external situations that are thrust upon us or, because of difficult circumstances that we have brought upon ourselves through bad decisions. BUT, the overwhelming message from these people’s lives is this – when you get knocked off of your horse, GET BACK UP and keep riding!  They didn’t stay in their negative situations. They made the decision to stand up, dust themselves off and try again – whether that involved taking steps to come out of homelessness; or taking their talents and using them to make life better for their family; or making a conscious decision to come out of a destructive lifestyle, get the proper help and choose something that would improve their quality of life and benefit others.

Maybe you’ve made some mistakes or some bad decisions lately. Or maybe, through no fault of your own, you’re just going through a tough season of life right now. You are not alone. And whatever predicament you may find yourself in, this predicament does not have the last say. You do. Just like the people I mentioned above, you can get up, dust yourself off, hop back on your horse and keep on riding!  God gives us the strength, the inner fortitude to rise above even the most trying of circumstances.  And even if you are where you are because of the decisions you have made… if you’re still on this earth (alive and kickin’), you still have the chance to change things for the better.  I just read a quote online that said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston Churchill.  How many times have I been guilty of seeing only problems instead of possibilities?  One thing I love about God is that He’s a loving God that helps us and gives us the wisdom and resources to change our lives and to continue to move forward. And if we mess up, He truly forgives us for all of our mistakes and helps us to heal and grow, if we let him. So, I encourage you today… Get back your horse! Keep on riding! Better days are yet to come!