My Top 5 Favorite Quotes and Why

Words. They are building blocks of our social life and communication with others. They can build up and tear down. I’d personally rather communicate words that build up instead of tear down. Here are some words that were spoken by some famous (and not-so-famous) people that have inspired and/or encouraged me, and not left me with a feeling of disgust, and why they inspire me.

DISCLAIMER: There will be religious content. ūüôā

1) “I choose to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love this quote because it is actually one of my (unmentioned) life credos! I strive to love every day, precisely because I think hating someone is too great a burden to bear. The energy that I have spent even being close to hating some people has been, regretfully, time wasted. For instance, I have found that instead of spending time being upset at people that hurt me and going into a self-pitying mode, that the time was better spent intentionally doing and thinking nice things about them, for that is the best “revenge” for someone who has hurt you. This is a biblical principle called, “heaping burning coals upon their heads,” because if you overwhelm an undeserving person with kindness, they will probably a.) feel guilty for saying or doing these mean things to you. b.) stop the behavior because they would see it would be insufficient to get you “riled up” or upset. c.) get in trouble for it, as other people around them would start to realize that he or she is unfairly repaying you evil for good.

2)¬†“If love depends on how the other person loves us, we have a business deal, not love.”-Paul E. Miller (Love Walked Among Us p. 143).

I love this quote because it teaches me how to love more sacrificially and less selfishly. Most of us fall into the trap at one point or another in our relationships of loving someone just because they love us back, or not loving someone at all because of how badly they have treated us, either currently or in the past. ¬†However, the author of this quote is right: If our love is entirely dependent on how the other loves us, we have a business deal,¬†not¬†love. ¬†Love does not keep a record of how well the other loves us. ¬†I am trying to love someone I know better by not acting angry or hateful towards this person just because they are the same to me sometimes. In my faith, I am called to love others even if they don’t love me back, or even if they don’t like me. ¬†I know loving others who don’t do the same back may seem futile and difficult to do, but hating others and becoming upset is just going to make things worse, as I can personally attest.

3) “People are neighbors to be loved, not commodities to be used.”-Jefferson Bethke

When I saw this quote on Twitter, I¬†immediately retweeted it! This quote accurately reflects my belief that all people regardless of belief, gender, sexual orientation, income, race, ethnicity or any other human category we make to separate or distinguish each other, deserve to be loved and not treated as less than human in any way. This is because I believe that we all bear the sacred image of God, and are a unique and special creation. If you look at how complex and unique the human body is, not even counting the personality of the person inhabiting the body, we can see how wonderful and awesome our bodies are! Also, when interacting with different personalities and people, we can always learn something from them and thus grow and mature as individuals. ¬†When we manipulate someone to our own ends, we not only insult the Creator of that person, we also insult the person’s inherent worth as an individual. ¬†Also, it is very selfish to do that to another person, because in doing that, one is saying that they don’t care about the effect their manipulation is having on that other person, otherwise they wouldn’t do it in the first place!

 

4)“They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”-anonymous (regarding evangelism/teaching others)

I don’t know who wrote or said this quote, but this is a marvelous saying that means a lot to me. Whenever I share God’s love and/or the gospel of Jesus Christ, I want to be caring for that person, not just my own personal need to “save” them, which I can’t do anyway, no matter how hard I try. ¬†If I don’t really care about them as a person, I will not only push them away from anything to do with my faith and any religious matters but also discredit the genuineness of my faith. ¬†Also, whenever I teach someone how to do something, (Let’s say I teach a new co-worker how to straighten an aisle at work.), I want to do it not only with passion and knowledge but also with care for their abilities and where they are at in life. ¬†If I don’t teach or share God’s love with love and care, then no one will listen to the message I am conveying. They will not only think I am a crock but may also question the veracity of the message itself, even if it is 100% true!

5)”God‚Äôs grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior.‚ÄĚ – Tim Keller in The Reason for God, 19

I like this quote because it emphasizes the need for humility in this world. ¬†Some people, even Christians, think that if you morally outperform someone then you will experience God’s grace and blessings more. That’s not necessarily true. One will experience more joy, blessings, grace (which is getting good things you don’t deserve) and mercy (not getting the bad things you¬†do deserve) from God when one is humble and know that any blessing they get is undeserved! ¬†This, I believe, is the catalyst for gratitude because it erases any sense of entitlement and arrogance on the recipient’s part. It erases the entitlement and arrogance because of their self-awareness that they don’t deserve anything good and are fortunate to not experience all the bad things that they do deserve in this life for their sins or moral failures.

These are my top 5 favorite quotes because they illustrate my credos in life so nicely.  The lessons in these quotes are things I want to carry with me and apply to my own life. Of course, I may fail from time to time in learning these lessons, but I will always strive to do my best to follow what I believe.  What are your favorite quotes? Why? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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Five Women That Have Impacted My Life Most and Why

DISCLAIMER: I will be using pseudonyms or initials for all these people for privacy reasons, except my mom, who will bear the name “my mom”.

  1. my mom–Besides the fact that she gave birth to me, she taught me how to be more unselfish and sacrifice for others. She does everything for the good of our family, and not just herself. ¬†Growing up, she even sacrificed some pleasurable things for herself so that my sibling and I could have them. ¬†From this, I have learned (and am still learning) how to be more willing to sacrifice things for the good of others, and not just think about me, myself, and I all the time. Before I became a Christian, I was VERY selfish. Now, I am NOT saying that all people who aren’t Christians are selfish. On the contrary, some of the people in my life who aren’t Christians are some of the least selfish people I know! However, for¬†me personally, after I became a Christian, my mom’s lessons and sacrifices became more apparent to me and I started to apply them more to my life. ¬†For example, in the past several years, I have started to care more about hurting people in my life and online. I credit this partly to my mom’s example she gave to me of unselfish sacrifice over the years.
  2. J—She is my mentor and friend. ¬†She has impacted my life in that she changed my future by believing that I could get a job and drive a car when I felt no one else did. ¬†She also helped me go through the process of finding the job that I have now. ¬†Her perseverance and her spirit of never giving up on me when everyone else seemed to, helped me through these past five years have hope and courage to recreate my dreams and even gave me the courage to write this blog! ¬†Despite all the stresses in her life, she, like my mom, always puts others before herself.
  3. Erica* (*=NOT her real name)–She has been my friend for almost 11 years! ¬†She has accepted and loved me even when I was being difficult or demanding. ¬†She has a true heart for other cultures and wants to share the love of Christ with everyone around her. ¬†She is one of the most genuine Christians I have ever met. Yes, like all of us, she does occasionally sin. However, she is honest and upfront about her struggles and most everything. She is also pretty level-headed and doesn’t lose her temper easily, if at all. ¬†I also want to strive to be more like her in these ways. I, too, want to strive to be honest and genuine in all my dealings with people. ¬†I strive to be loving and accepting of others, as she is.
  4. Kelly * (*=not her real name)–I’ve been her friend for about five, if not more, years. ¬†Like Erica, she is also honest about her struggles and triumphs. ¬†She takes the time to care about people in ways they may or may not normally expect. For instance, even though she is busy with school and work, she took the time to make a beautiful bracelet for my birthday, not to mention paying the shipping costs to get it from the place where she lives (not too close by) to my home. ¬†She also tries her very best to listen to other people’s concerns. When someone tells her that they were hurt by her, she tries to resolve the issue where the other person got hurt by her. She doesn’t let things slide, or offer obligatory excuses. ¬†I strive to go the extra mile like Kelly to make sure people around me, whether, at home, work, or church feel cared about by me. ¬†For instance, at work today, one of my managers was having a stressful day. ¬†He totally did not expect this, but one of my guy friends and one of my gal friends got together and decided to let him know that yes, we do care about him and hope he feels better. ¬†We did this by buying him his favorite snack and by getting him a card encouraging him through this tough time. I don’t do this to brag on myself or even my good friends, but to let people know how much Kelly’s care for me has inspired me to “pay it forward,” so to speak.
  5. Veronica* (*=not her real name)–I’ve been friends with her for a couple years, but her joy and enthusiasm for God and people has changed my life. Also, she was there for me when I got very upset at a situation at work, and in my life in general, ¬†and broke down in tears. I was really depressed and angry at that time. However, her joy and encouragement to me to seek God and that I had a good purpose in life was what I needed to get back up on my feet again, so to speak. ¬† Her joy and enthusiasm for life, even when things get tough, is what I want to cultivate for myself in my life. Because of her, and because of my experience three years ago where I almost died, I strive to find joy in life everyday. Sometimes, I do fail, but people like her keep me going even when I feel like giving up.

These five women have impacted my life the most not only because of their love and kindness but also because of their unselfish and caring attitudes toward me and others. What five women have most impacted your life? Why? Please feel free to comment.

A Letter to My 15-Year Old Self

DISCLAIMER: No negative comments about me allowed! This was mostly written three years ago, with some obvious recent edits. This is a very raw post for me, so please be sensitive in your comments. Thank you.  Also, this post deals with issues of depression, Eating Disorders and verbal abuse, so if that triggers you, please feel free to skip and read another post.

 

To my 15-year-old self:

 

Dear me,

I know you feel depressed and lonely. I know you feel that there is no hope for your life anymore. I know the bad memories of four years ago when you almost destroyed yourself by half-starving yourself and when you had no friends still dog your mind and soul.¬† I know that guy that told you recently that you would never drive, never amount to anything at all etch in your very soul.¬† I know you don‚Äôt have many people that you would consider a ‚Äúfriend.‚ÄĚ ¬†You see your immediate family (your dad, mom, and sibling) seemingly joyous and glad. But you wonder where ‚Äúthat zest, that greatness life is supposed to hold‚ÄĚ is for you.

But please don‚Äôt despair. Don‚Äôt give up! I know you only have a handful of people that even want to talk to you at school at length and that you consider your buddies, if that. But you want a friend, a real friend. A friend that will give more than just an obligatory card or present on your birthday or on Christmas! A friend that will invite you to things and make you feel included. A friend that will not leave you even if you tell him or her all the sordid details of your past, even if you‚Äôre being selfish or just not being a good friend to them in general. ¬†But, you know that teacher that is sometimes saying ‚Äúhi‚ÄĚ to you in the hallway and has a reputation for being nice? Well, she will become one of your good friends in the future.¬† Also, you will meet a better friend than even her in the future. His name? Jesus Christ. He will not only be your friend—He will be your Lord and Savior! He will never leave you. He will always be with you. He will forgive you for even your worst mistakes and moral failures. Because of your relationship with Jesus, you will have a loving and supportive church family (friends, if you prefer) and even many other people of all ages that will want to get to know you. The REAL you.

And your driving? You will be able to drive on your own to and from work with your car (which by the way won’t be your dream job and it will be rather far away from where you’re living now, but you will be content even in that job). You will be able to drive with confidence!  So, don’t listen to or take to heart what that guy that told you that you would never amount to anything and that you wouldn’t be able to drive. He’s not god and he’s not your future! Please don’t give up on your dream that one day you will be able to drive alone, and be joyful and fulfilled in life. Because though it seems out of reach, miracles can and will happen!

More importantly, because of Jesus, you will have purpose and meaning in your life that you never had before! You will love and serve Him! So, I urge you to keep searching for ‚Äúthat zest, that greatness that life is supposed to hold.‚Ä̬† Because you will find it!

Love,

Me (at 34)

 

Afterword: (to the readers): Please call 1-800-273-8255 ¬†(Suicide hotline) if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts. It can save a life. ¬†Also, if you are feeling depressed or don’t know where your life is headed, please know that there is always hope as long as you are alive and you try your best. I hope my story will inspire you to not give up when things get tough because your pain will not last forever (even though it may seem that way) and joy and hope will once again permeate your life if you persevere.

The Beauty of Imperfection

I admit it. I am a perfectionist. I want everything to be right, and everything to be in its right place. So, yesterday when a manager told me that I had done my job wrong, I felt really bad about myself. Granted, it wasn’t that manager’s fault, and they were really nice about it, but it was that I was so focused on making everything just right, I had almost missed learning from my mistakes and looking at the positive aspects of being human. ¬†Yes, I believe there is a time for utopia, but not in this life! Yes, I believe we should always try our best, and strive for excellence. However, even so, we¬†will¬†make mistakes! I believe there is still beauty in that. Here’s why:

1.) Mistakes give us motivation to constantly learn about things and improve ourselves.–This is why we go to school and/or strive to have jobs. ¬†This is also why even if we aren’t in school or have a job, we can still learn things by reading books and communicating with others. If we were already perfect, we wouldn’t need to learn¬†anything! ¬†Also, if we already knew everything, why should we want to learn anything more or grow? ¬†However, since we¬†do make mistakes constantly, we can have the motivation we need to do better because it is human nature to want to correct that which isn’t right in our lives, whether morally or pragmatically. For instance, if I made a mistake in straightening items at work, which I sometimes do, I could make sure the items are straightened in the right places next time and really neater than before. ¬†If I never made any mistakes, I wouldn’t have much motivation to improve at my job. ¬†I would probably just do my job mechanically, like a machine, and wouldn’t find much joy in that. ¬†Morally, if I sinned (i.e. made a moral mistake) by slandering someone I don’t like (just an example, I rarely if ever do this to people), and this person found out, got really upset, and severed ties with me, this would give me the motivation and the wake-up call I need to be kinder in the way I approach people and in what I say to and about others.

2.)Making mistakes give us a glimpse of God’s and other people’s grace and mercy towards us.–When we make an honest mistake, we are usually met with some grace and mercy. For instance, when I had done my job badly yesterday, although I was really harsh and unforgiving towards myself, the manager that confronted me treated me with patience, grace, and compassion. ¬†If I had never made the mistakes I did at my job yesterday, I would never have seen my manager’s grace and patience towards me. Also, when I sin against people and against God, as long as I admit that I made a mistake, am willing to own up to it, and make the proper amends, God and people are 95% of the time very gracious and forgiving towards me. ¬†If I never sinned and if I was perfect in every way, never making a single mistake, I would probably never see either God’s or other people’s mercy extended towards me for my wrongdoings. ¬†In seeing grace and/or mercy extended towards ourselves, we are probably more likely to extend it towards others as well. ¬†We can thus relate better to our fellow humans better.

3.) Mistakes teach us how to humble ourselves.–When we make a mistake, we have basically two choices when we are confronted with them by someone else. a.) Be defensive, deny wrongdoing, and/or make excuses for our mistakes. OR b.) admit our mistakes and correct and better them the next time. ¬†I hope I choose b) more often than not, because admitting and learning from our mistakes, is the pathway to humility. Humility is very important for many reasons I won’t get deep into right now since I already had discussed that in a previous post. However, one reason humility is important is that it teaches you to be genuine–to be who you really are inside, warts and all. ¬†Mistakes confront you with the choice to be genuine by exposing a part of you that makes you human–being flawed! ¬†You can try to hide it (be fake) or be open and honest about it (being genuine). ¬†I believe mistakes–moral and otherwise–are tools that are used in your lives to teach us not to be too arrogant or closed-minded towards people or things.

This is why mistakes can be very beneficial in our lives. Since I am a perfectionist, in this post, I am also writing to myself, as much as I am to you, the readers. ¬†Mistakes, besides being a part of learning, also helps us experience mercy and grace, and teaches us how to humble ourselves. So, don’t worry if you make an honest mistake. Just try to learn from it, and do better next time. You may find that is the beauty of imperfection!

What have mistakes taught you?  Please feel free to comment.

3 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dad

As I write this, it is Father’s Day. Some of you, like me, have a great relationship with your dad, and for you and I, I am immensely grateful. For others, you don’t have to have as great a relationship with your earthly father, and for that I am sorry. I hope you know that I believe that your Heavenly Father loves you where your earthly father didn’t. ¬†Anyway, here are just three lessons that my dad has taught me by how he lives his life, and these are lessons from which anyone could benefit:

1.) Work hard–My dad’s job requires him to work nine (sometimes even more) hour days, at least five days a week. Sometimes, he even works weekends! In fact, he worked today! Granted, it was for fewer hours than the usual nine, but the fact that he even bothered to work on this special day (i.e Father’s Day) is a testament to both his work ethic and care for his family, including me. After working a long day, sometimes he even helps my mom around the house! What’s even more amazing is that he can retire fully, but he is still willing to work full time! He never wants to settle for anything less than his very best. My dad’s work ethic inspires me to also work diligently at my job as a sales associate. I strive to imitate him by striving for excellence. He also tells me that he doesn’t care as much about the results, as much as the effort that I put into my work. ¬†For instance, if I try my best, but I only work producing average results, it would be OK for him because I already did the best I could. However, if I got good results, but slacked off, he would get a bit upset at me because I was lazy and could have done even better than I did.

2.) Help others–My dad is always willing to help others before he helps himself. When he sees my mom struggling with a task, he is always willing to help her out. For instance, if my mom needs help with the cooking process, and she feels overwhelmed by the many tasks she had to accomplish earlier in the day, he helps the best he can by, for example, cutting the food into bite-sized pieces, and later stirring the ingredients in the pot. At work, he is also willing to help others. For example, he is willing to cover his other co-workers’ shifts where and when he can, not just so they will do the same for him when he needs help, but because he sees a need and loves to genuinely help out.

In the same way, I love to help other people too. When I see a need among my co-workers or managers at work, or when a customer needs help, I try to help them the best I can. For instance, when a customer needs something from the top shelf, I try to help them get it. Obviously, with my short height, I cannot reach it by myself. So, I carry a ladder and help the customer get the item. I ¬†help them not only because it’s good customer service, but because it is the right thing to do. I, also, by imitating my dad’s example with family, colleagues, and others love to help, not just family out, but anyone I can.

3.) Do your best to get along with everyone.–Even with people he does not like or care for, he tries his very best to get along with them and treat them the best way he can. I am striving to do this myself, especially at work, where teamwork is essential. For instance, some people he serves at his job can be difficult and have many problems that need to be fixed or solved. ¬†However, he tries his best to rectify the situation and be at peace with them. He does not have many, if any, enemies, because of his peaceful attitude. It is something that I want to imitate as well. I don’t want any enemies (except the devil), and I never want to have a hateful attitude or behavior towards everyone. I think hating someone is a colossal waste of time and energy. ¬†Besides, I don’t think my dad genuinely hates anyone either.

These are the three major lessons that my dad has taught me by the way he lives his life. I am lucky and blessed to have an earthly father exemplifying these great qualities because having these three qualities will get one very far in life. What has your earthly father taught you? Feel free to share in the comments.

How to Forgive

As we go on through life, we will meet many people, some of who will hurt us sooner or later, both intentionally and unintentionally. However, I believe in order to live a joyful and successful life, one of the lessons we must learn is how to forgive others. ¬†There are a few people, sadly, who never learn this lesson and carry their bitterness, not only to their other relationships, but more seriously…to their graves. ¬†Here are some ways that I have personally learned about on how to forgive others, genuinely and/or completely:

  1. Deal with the pain and the hurt the other person or people caused.—Some people, in an attempt to “forgive” or excuse the person that hurt them, try to sweep their feelings under a rug, so to speak, and try to willingly “forget” about the pain the person had caused. I have three words for this method of coping. Does. NOT. work! I have found that the more I try to forget about something, the more my mind conjures up the very thing I’m trying to forget! A more effective way of coping is to deal with the pain and hurt the other person or people caused. Healthy ways of doing this include writing a letter to the offender (that you will¬†not¬†send) chronicling all your angry and hurt feelings towards him or her and then burning it or tearing it up afterwards for release, crying, writing angry poetry about the situation, ¬†talking to a trusted friend not involved in the hurtful situation, talking to a counselor or therapist, ¬†exercising your anger and hurt out, praying for them (if you are religious or spiritual).
  2. Pray and/or think good things about the person who offended you.–This is very difficult sometimes, especially if the person who hurt you is an abuser or hurt you in another very grievous way. ¬†However, in order to forgive, we must make an effort to think about at least one thing good about that person. If you are spiritual, I would recommend praying blessings for that person. ¬†For instance, when someone had hurt me emotionally, I tried to pray to God for them to be blessed in their job and in their general life. I also thanked God for their good qualities I had observed in them in getting to know them. Whether you are spiritual or not, I would try to think about several positive qualities you have personally observed in that individual or those individuals that hurt you.
  3. Don’t wait until you “feel” like forgiving to forgive someone. –Some people wait until the “time is just right” to forgive someone. The problem is that the time is never “just right.” Also, forgiveness is an act of the will. You just have to do it! ¬†Yes, one may not have forgiving feelings towards someone, but resolve to do it¬†anyway. ¬†The feeling of freedom and renewed joy will come in time.
  4. Forgive for you, not for the other person.–This may seem selfish, but if you try to forgive someone for them alone, it will be harder to forgive because we are hardwired to think that if someone does something wrong, they should suffer the consequences for it. ¬†Forgiveness always goes to those who¬†don’t deserve it. When that fact and our quest for justice clash, ¬†we may find it nigh impossible to forgive. However, when we forgive to free¬†ourselves¬†of the pain and hurt that that person caused, it becomes more motivating for us to forgive.
  5. Intentionally try to do good for the person who hurt you.–DISCLAIMER: If the person in question is abusive or extremely manipulative, or if they are deceased, this does¬†not apply! ¬†For all other situations, you should strive to act against the feelings of resentment and anger you have towards that other person and intentionally do good for that person. ¬†For instance, if the person said something hurtful to you and you were angry, try to intentionally say something kind about them to their face. ¬†Don’t say something “fake” nice or that you don’t really mean; people can tell the difference. Say something genuinely kind about them.

These are some ways you can forgive someone who has hurt you, effectively and genuinely. If the offender in question is not sorry for their hurtful actions, you don’t have to excuse their actions, but still treat them with kindness and grace. However, be careful not to give your trust to them until they repent and make amends for their hurtful actions. However, we should strive to forgive and treat everyone with grace, not because they deserve it, but because our world will be a much better place.

What I Learned From the Movie, Miracles From Heaven

DISCLAIMER: Contains movie spoilers!, sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles_from_Heaven_(film)

Last Sunday night, my mom offered to watch a movie with me that she thought I’d like. It was called “Miracles From Heaven.” Wanting to spend a little quality time with her, I agreed. It turned out to be one of the best movie decisions I’ve ever made in my life! I learned so much from this movie about how to live life, and here are some of the main lessons I learned from that movie:

  1. Sometimes you have to go through the storms (i.e: pain) in order to see the sunshine (i.e the miracle or blessing). –10 year old Annabel (Anna) Beam started experiencing vomiting, intense stomach pains, and almost died, before being miraculously cured of her illness after falling into a hollow tree hole. ¬†In the movie, Anna is depicted at one point as wanting to die because her pain is so intense. She no longer cared about life and became very depressed. However, after she was saved, life had a new purpose. However, if Anna had never gotten sick, she wouldn’t have seen God’s grace intervening in her desperate situation.
  2. Live life as if everything is a miracle.–Near the end of the movie, Christy Beam (played by Jennifer Garner), Anna’s mother, begins before telling about Anna’s miraculous recovery by saying, “Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, ‘You have two choices as to how to live your life. Live as if nothing is a miracle, OR live as if everything is a miracle.’ ” Because Christy’s daughter’s life was saved, Christy began to see everything as a miracle and as precious, because she almost lost her beloved daughter and almost lost her faith in the process! ¬†I can relate to this too, as I almost lost my life three years ago when the doctors found out that I had an enlarged gallbladder (She said it was twice the normal size! ) and that I had gallstones. If that gallbladder had burst, and I had waited longer to go to the ER, I would have most likely not be here writing in this blog today! More on this story, go here. ¬†God suddenly reminded me of this event after I watched this movie and remembered the quote about living as if everything were a miracle. ¬†Today, I remembered that quote as I was going about my work at my job and felt really joyful because I had remembered and realized just how blessed I am to be here and to be able to meet all the wonderful people at my job. Truly, everyone I have met, especially those that I have known for less than three years or had helped me through my illness is a testament to my miraculous life!
  3. Be grateful for all those people in your life that helped you succeed or get you through life .—In the movie, Christy pays tribute to all those who helped her and her daughter Anna through her (Anna’s) illness. She thanks Angela, the waitress who befriends Christy and Anna and walks them through the ordeal so they would not have to suffer alone. She thanks Dr. Nurko who treats Anna, and the receptionist who barters for a last-minute opening for her (Anna) despite her mother not having an appointment for her. ¬†She thanks a guy friend at Anna’s school who temporarily abandons his other friends to befriend Anna so she does not feel alone in her illness. ¬†She thanks the guy at the ticket counter who lets Anna’s father and her siblings go on the plane free, so they can see her at the hospital. ¬†Christy does this not to gain attention, and not because she is some holy-roller, but because she realizes that she and Anna couldn’t have made it alone. ¬†I can certainly relate too. For instance, if it had not been for the many doctors, nurses, and the surgeon who operated on me in 2014, I would not be here today. Also, I want to give a shout out to my parents, sibling, and my friend K who came to see me a few days after surgery so I wouldn’t feel alone. ¬†Without all these people and more in my life, I wouldn’t be where or who I am today. So, thank you everyone. And I especially want to thank God, who I firmly believe made this all possible!

This is just some of what I learned in the movie, “Miracles From Heaven.” It’s a great movie; I highly recommend it. ¬†(If you would like to purchase this movie, please go to the links in my “recommendations” section. ) It may be slow in parts, and it may not be for everyone, but if you want to live your life with more passion or purpose, this movie is a great supplement to get you thinking about life more deeply.

Why We Should Strive Not To Hate People

Disclaimer: No negative or hateful comments or your comment will be deleted! ¬†Also, “hate” here means bitter animosity or unforgiveness towards someone. It does¬†not¬† mean you’re just angry or hurt by someone or someone’s actions, as in an abusive situation. Also, one¬†can¬†hate someone’s actions, but still not hate¬†the person. This is a very important distinction!

What images or pictures do your mind conjure when you see or hear the word “hate”? Is it a vegetable that you despise, such as Brussel sprouts (for some people)? Does it conjure up images of the devil? A particular thing or place? Or a person that hurt you recently or in the past? If one of the images that comes up in your mind when you think of the word “hate” is ¬†of a person or persons, I would recommend you examine yourself and/or the situation more closely. ¬†I’m not saying that the person who you may be thinking of doesn’t deserve your hatred, but that it may be a bad idea for¬†you to harbor hatred towards him or her. Here’s why I think it’s a bad idea to harbor hatred towards any person in your life:

  1. It hampers your relationship with other people.–I found that when people, including me, harbor hatred or deep-seated unforgiveness towards someone, every other relationship you have is seen through that hateful lens. Not only are you more likely to be less trusting of the person you hate, but also at everyone else in your life as well, even if they are not even on their side or don’t know that person that you hate! One of the most damaging things hate can do is hamper your ability to open up and be vulnerable to other people, because of the lack of trust that develops as a result of your hatred towards a particular person or persons, and the thinking that inevitably creeps up that others¬†may be taking your enemy’s side.
  2. It isolates you.–When you hate someone, it closes you off from not only the person in question, but also from potential friends–both from their and your circles of influence. For instance, a prejudiced person who hates a certain race or ethnicity will close themselves off from ever getting to know or forming a lasting, solid friendship with a person from that race or ethnicity, or anyone who supports such a friendship. When you isolate from people, you are more susceptible to depression and loneliness.
  3. It doesn’t allow you to deal with and heal from your pain.–When you choose to harbor hatred or unforgiveness towards someone, it hampers your ability to understand the situation or person you now hate. When you hate someone, there is a natural impulse to want to just react and/or hurt them back. What we fail to realize when we take vengeance is that it isn’t really solving the problem that created the hateful and spiteful feelings in the first place. It is just exacerbating them! What one should do instead is to deal with the angry or hateful feelings in a healthier way. One way to do that is to write a letter that you won’t send to the person you hate or with whom you are angry. You can spew out all the stuff that you have stored inside your heart in this letter. It can be as short or as long as you want. Then, when you are done, allow yourself to feel the pain and the hurt for a determined length of time (not too short, not too extensive either). ¬†Then, after all that, you decide and tell yourself and/or God or another neutral party that you are going to forgive this person! (More on how to forgive in another post). This is not because this person “deserves” it, but so you can be free of the hateful and hurtful influence that this person has had on you, and you can move on with your life!
  4. It stunts your growth as a person.–When you choose to hate someone, what in essence you are saying to him or her, besides that you hate him or her, is that you refuse to learn from that person. ¬†When we refuse to learn from others, we are stunting our own growth and development as a person. ¬†For instance, if I hated a particular boss at work (Just for your information, I don’t hate any of my bosses at work.), ¬†I would not only try to avoid them, but refuse to listen to anything they’re saying to me or try to learn anything from them, even if it were useful for me. ¬†This is because when one is consumed with hatred, he or she is not open to counsel or any other positive contribution that the hated person may have potentially provided for him or her had he/she not hated this person. However, if we strive to love and get to know others, even the ones that are sometimes rude or unkind to us, we can still learn from them. ¬†This does not mean that we cannot avoid people that are a real threat to our health or safety. We probably should avoid those people! However, if we distinguish between hating the person and the behavior and only hate their behavior, it will make it easier on us to be able to learn, at the very least, what¬†not¬†to do than if we are consumed with utter hatred. Consistently learning and growing as people by developing our character is what sets us up to be truly successful as people. ¬†If we hate others, we severely limit that growth.

This is why hating people is so harmful to us, not just to our enemies. ¬†We should always hate morally wrong behaviors, especially if they hurt others in the process, but we should strive never to hate another human being! No, we don’t have to¬†like everyone and be buddy-buddy with them, but we do ¬†have to strive to¬†love¬†everyone. That is, we don’t have to enjoy being with everyone, and because we are human there will be some people who rub us the wrong way, but we do have to strive to treat each person with dignity and respect that comes with being a created being.

3 Gifts I Want to Give the World

When people think of getting gifts, people usually think of things that can be bought in stores. While they can be nice and/or very exciting to get (I know I get excited for just¬†this reason on either my birthday or Christmas!), their novelty usually doesn’t last long and sometimes you even get tired of the gift, and it either gets donated or (sadly) gets thrown away. ¬†However, these 3 gifts that I want to give the world¬†cannot be bought in stores anywhere! In fact, if anyone tried to buy these things with money for me, I would be¬†highly offended! ¬†Also, unlike gifts that can be bought in stores, if given in a genuine way, these gifts’ novelties¬†never¬†get old! Here they are:

1.) God’s love—There are so many people in this world that are so hungry for love, any kind at all. I see love-starved children begging for any type of love from their parents, even causing trouble to get it, and some of them only get abuse and insults in return. ¬†I see love-starved adults either acting out or trying to do “good works” just so that someone will notice and care for them. What I strive to do everyday, even though at times I stumble and fail, is to show and thus, give God’s love to everyone I encounter.

In 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, it says, ”¬†Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant¬†or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;¬†it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (ESV) ¬†

God’s love is how it is described in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7, and I want to mirror His love to others so they will feel the same joy and love I felt when God gave me His love (and still does every single day!). I’m still working on the “patient” part, as I admit I am not a patient person, but I do strive to be kind to others every day. I never ever want to reject someone who wants my love, because I know all too well how rejection feels like. I always want to be able to believe in people, unless they show me they are not to be believed or trusted so that they know that not only I but also God feels the same way about them. I have found that when someone loves me SO much that no matter what I do or say to them, they have the general attitude of “I will never give up on you,” I am more motivated to give my very best to them. That is how I want to be to others. ¬†I also want to rejoice with those who have found God’s love in me and others and help cultivate the same love in themselves, so they, in turn, can love others in that way and “pay it forward,” so to speak.

2.) Affirmation–Many people in this world are so invalidated, they feel like they have nothing left to give to this world. To invalidate someone basically means to render what one has to say or do as “unimportant” or even “worthless.” I have experienced invalidation one too many times. Even when I was at my darkest, instead of affirming and comforting me, some people in my life invalidated me. I now know that many of them didn’t do this on purpose, and I forgive them, but we as a society need to do a better job of affirming people. ¬†One way you can affirm people is by starting to notice what they do well, and telling them that. Be specific in your praise. Another way to affirm someone is when they are going through something tough to tell them that they are already doing the best they can (if they are, which is often the case) and to encourage them to not only persevere through it, but promise that you will be there for them. Never make that an empty promise, but actually commit to invest in them, especially in their time of need. ¬†I never want to make someone feel worthless or unloved by the words I say. Oh, yes, sometimes I do fail miserably at this, but when I remember the affirmations that I have received from God and other people around me, I pick myself back up and aim to better affirm them next time.

3.) Hope–Some people in my life, either online or in real life, have been so bogged down by problems and issues in their personal life, that they often feel hopeless or despondent. Sometimes, I admit I feel the same way, not because I don’t know God or His great love, but because I forget about Him because I only can see my problems, not what He’s doing through them. ¬†I want to help others to always know that there is still hope for them, as long as they are alive! By giving the first two gifts to all those around me, I hope they will release the third gift–hope. I hope (no pun intended) that I can give people the hope that there is still good left in this world, and not just people out to stab each other in the back, so to speak, or not just those who hurt others on purpose. ¬†I hope I can give people the resolve and the courage they need to continue persevering in their lives, but this time with purpose and joy.

These are the three gifts that I want to give the world. As you can see, you can’t buy it in stores like JcPenney or Walmart, or in any other stores. You must manufacture these in your own hearts. Which three gifts do¬†you¬†want to give to the world? Why? Please feel free to discuss this in the comments.

How to Be Successful at Work

Some people act amazed at those of us who are able to succeed in the workplace. No, it’s not easy either. Sometimes, even successful people fail too! And, no, I’m not successful¬†all the time, or maybe even half the time. Ha, ha! However, just by observing people and how they work (or don’t work), I have found that almost every successful associate or manager has these traits in common:

  1. They work with a purpose.–Usually the people that work the hardest and are most successful have some type of motivation to work hard! I found that for myself at least, that when I keep both my professional and personal goals in the back of my mind while I’m working, the more motivated I am to do my best. However, if I get tired and am not thinking about these goals, I tend to do sloppy or half-hearted work. However, I think that this is true for anyone. You need to be motivated to work in order to be able to do your very best.
  2. This one is a¬†duh, of course, trait, but they work hard!—Usually it is the people that go above and beyond the requirements of the job that do the best. I strive to do this everyday. ¬†For instance, when we have to straighten the store, I try to not only go as fast as possible, but also as neatly and accurate as possible. Believe me, it’s not easy. For example, yesterday, while my straightening was very neat, I felt like I did not go fast enough for my standards. ¬†The manager I mentioned in the previous post (in “Things I Learned From My Manager”) was able to move up in our company I think because of his hard work and tireless hours he has spent perfecting his skills. They are not usually lazy and don’t take shortcuts to succeed.
  3. They are able to endure a lot of suffering and/or abuse.—Working full time or beyond is certainly not for anyone, and that’s OK. However, if you can work, even part-time, I have found that the most successful workers are able to put up with a lot of bad stuff. I have shared in a previous post (this¬†post) how I went two weeks working with sharp pains in my back and side, before I had to call off (because I started vomiting blood!), and how I almost died because my gall bladder almost burst! ¬†Now, this job also involved some heavy lifting. ¬†Also, many of my managers, in addition to getting yelled at for often trivial reasons, and sometimes working tired or sick, still manage to get a lot of work done!
  4. They strive to get along with everyone.–The most successful managers and associates strive to be kind and fair to everyone. The ones that don’t and have problems with many people are often the same people who get nothing done or distract others from getting their work done. ¬†This includes in addition to being able to be unified with managers and co-workers, also getting along with customers or clients. They have a positive general rapport with people. Of course, everyone has their bad days, and there are times when even the best of us can’t be at peace with everyone, but we do our best. ¬†They don’t cause people to fight each other, and they generally have a positive view of people and/or of the company in which they work.
  5. They make a serious investment in the people of the company, whether it be external or internal clients or customers.—External customers are people who you typically think of when you think of “customer”–those outside the company who you serve with your services. According to Wikipedia and a lot of other sources, “an internal customer is a customer who is directly connected to an organization, and is usually (but not necessarily) internal to the organization. Internal customers are usually stakeholders, employees, or shareholders, but the definition also encompasses creditors and external regulators.” (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer) This trait is the one that I always strive to do better and better. ¬†For instance, when we don’t have an item a customer is looking for, I try to give them other options, even shopping at other stores or online, not because I want my company to lose business, but so that the customer remembers how important I take their satisfaction and will shop at my store again because of the service they received. ¬†Also, a friend and co-worker of mine also goes above and beyond the normal repertoire of an associate and often says, “Thank you for shopping at [name of our store]!” to make them feel appreciated and tries to even make small talk with them sometimes to make them feel like a person and not just a customer. I serve internal customers by helping them with their tasks when they need it and making them feel encouraged and appreciated by telling them as much. For instance, if my favorite manager Tom* (NOT his real name) is doing a good job, I make sure to tell him so and also to thank him for appreciating his workers, including me.
  6. They rarely call in.—The managers and associates who are the most successful almost always show up to work when they are supposed to. ¬†If they call in, it is only because of family emergencies or when they are really sick. ¬†The most successful managers at my company rarely call in and almost always are motivated to show up on time. Sometimes, they will even work¬†extra¬†hours to make sure all their work gets done.
  7. They are good at what they do.–This is why we should strive to find jobs that suit our abilities and skills! The most successful people at my job are almost always skilled at what they do, whether it is straightening, organization, customer service, getting things done fast and efficiently or all or some of the above.