How To Combat Jealousy

Have you ever encountered that little green monster? I don’t mean the creatures that are supposedly lurking underneath children’s beds.—I am talking about the very real experience of jealousy. Jealousy, as defined by me, is wanting something that someone else has so badly you want the person who has said thing to lose what they have. It could be a job or promotion that you wanted, or a fancy car that someone you know has (but that you can’t afford), and anything and everything else that you could want, but don’t have.

I admit, I sometimes get jealous of certain people who got the job or promotion I wanted. A few of them, I feel, aren’t even qualified for the position! In the past, I have even gotten jealous of my brother because I had felt he had it “easier” in life than I did (Nothing could be further from the truth, by the way.), while I struggled through school and through life. However, God has shown me (and is continuing to show me) these things to help me combat jealousy and conquer the green-eyed monster once and for all!:

  1. God showed me what I call The-Grass-Is-Always-Greener-on-the-Other-Side principle: One of the things that I learned this past year is that everyone has a story! In the above examples (the job story and the story about my brother), I have learned that a.) the people getting the job that I wanted do not have a very easy task! If they do something major wrong or make too many mistakes, they may even get demoted! And I never knew the more personal issues that they may hide from the world. My brother has had to work hard too, to get where he is right now. He has had different struggles than me, but struggles all the same. What I am saying is, the people who you envy so much, may not even have the ideal lives that you had imagined! In fact, they probably have similar or even more difficult challenges to face than we ourselves do!
  2. You are placed where you need to be, with the abilities and gifts you were given: Another principle I learned is that maybe I didn’t get what the other person had because it wasn’t the right timing or right according to what “fit” me to get said thing at the time. For instance, I really wanted to work mornings as a department manager for about a year now.  However, I believe God revealed to me that He had better plans for me.  First of all, if I worked mornings even to train for said position now, I would probably be getting significantly less hours than I do now, even as a full time associate, because many of the hours are now being allotted mid-shift, when I work now.  Moreover, I wouldn’t be able to minister and help as many people as I do now.  Also, as a theoretical example, if you couldn’t afford to buy the nice car your neighbor had, and had to walk to school and/or work, it may seem like a hassle. You may really want to have your neighbor’s car and even have resentment against your neighbor because she won’t even let you near her car.  However, what if by walking to work and/or school with others in your neighborhood you are more able to develop friendships and a sense of community with your other neighbors? Nothing happens by accident. You are placed where and when you are for a reason. Strive not to waste it!
  3. Everyone is valuable, regardless of rank or position.: I believe that, in general, society is being plagued by what I call the rank-value principle. The rank-value principle, in my definition, is the belief that certain people who rank higher or who have more worldly power are more valuable than lower-ranking, or less-powerful people. However, without the “regular” or “lower-ranking” workers, the CEO at a company wouldn’t be able to run the company very effectively or , at the very least, wouldn’t be able to expand his or her business very much. Sure, CEOs of companies or even your boss or manager, may have more power than you, but that doesn’t make you of less intrinsic value than him or her. This is why, I believe, James of the Bible says in James 2, “Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?,” in regards to this favoritism. What he is saying, is, in essence, that when you think that one person is more valuable than another based on a worldly-ranking system such as race, class, ranking in the company, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or other distinguishers, you are becoming judgmental and devaluing others. If we let each person know that they had infinite value because of how wonderfully they were created, he or she would not so passionately yearn or even desire what belongs to another.

These are some of the ways that God has shown me to combat jealousy. Sometimes I do struggle with jealousy, as much as anyone else. However, when I focus on these above things, any jealousy that I had, fades away. What are the things that you have learned that helped you combat jealousy personally? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

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My Shining Star

My Shining Stardedicated to all my friends; you know who you are…

1/24/2018

 

For all the times, good and bad

We have gone through

For all of everything you gave me

My friend you will always be

 

I never ever want to hurt you

Or make you sad

And I always strive to give you

My very best

 

When your radiating presence

Touched my soul

It awakened the light inside of me

And made me more whole

 

I will never, ever forget you

Or the impact you made on me

Only promise me

That you will shine as the star

You already are

On Improving Myself This Year

This is almost the end of January 2018, as I write this, and I realize that I still have a long way to go to becoming the person I want to be.  However, by God’s grace, I am not where I was in the past, or even a year ago. I have improved. However, I don’t want to be stalled in my spiritual or emotional growth as a person.  In order to keep myself accountable, and in order to inspire you to make your own changes as you see fit, these are just some of the things that I plan to do to become a better person emotionally and spiritually:

  1. I will eliminate distractions from my life.—Starting last Sunday (January 21, as of this writing), I began to eliminate distractions from my life that have stifled or stalled my emotional and spiritual growth. This has meant deleting songs that reminded me of painful past events and how people have hurt me, both intentionally and unintentionally, that had no hope of reconciliation and forgiveness in its lyrics. It has meant ripping out diatribes and vents that I had against people that hurt me in the past, that now I have forgiven. This means not following people who say bad things about others on Facebook and other social media, or who tempt me to do so, in any way.
  2. I will be more intentional about being thankful for what God has given me.—Beginning today, I will think of at least three things that I am thankful for the day. I will try to look at the positive things about a situation, not just the negatives.  I will strive to use bad situations as an opportunity to glorify God and to serve others, instead of just griping and complaining about it.  I will strive to remember all the good that God has done both in the past, and the good he is continuing to do in the present.
  3. I will not hold on to bitterness and resentment for someone for more than one day.—Yesterday, was a very stressful day at work. I felt that certain people were taking advantage of my friend and me, and we weren’t even getting any appreciation for the work we had done. I even slightly frustrated one of my managers, even though she wasn’t really involved in my frustration.  However, because I respect and care about her,  God put it in my heart to make sure there wasn’t any resentment and animosity building up between us , and so I apologized for frustrating her and affirmed the true value I saw in her as person and as a manager. This is what I strive to do more often when stress gets the best of me, and I either upset someone, or I am upset with someone.
  4. I will slow down and enjoy life more.—This is what I learned in a blog I follow, yesterday. To see this wonderful post, see this link!  I will intentionally strive to enjoy each moment God gives me because I don’t know when there may not be any more to enjoy! I will hold each person I encounter as gifts from God. I will strive not to succumb to the daily grind and hum-drum of always working without having joy and peace  in what I’m doing.
  5. I will intentionally strive to learn other people’s stories before judging them.—When someone frustrates me or is frustrated with me, instead of getting upset or raging at them, I will strive to ask them, “What’s wrong?” or “How can I help you?” I will strive to get to know the people around me better instead of making snap judgments about them.  I will live to serve others before myself.

These are the things that I strive to do to better myself. Yes, I anticipate, there will be times that I will fail at these goals. However, when that happens, I will strive to pick myself up, and try again.  What are  some of the things you will do to improve yourself? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

My Top Seven Rules of Life

Question idea from Todd Brison, in Quora, all other ideas are mine.

Almost everyone has a set of rules they follow for how they live their lives. Some of these may be unspoken or not even really thought about much. Others are more purposeful about making sure they follow their own rules for their lives.  Here are the rules that I strive to follow for my life and why I believe that they are important for success in life.

Rule # 1) Work as diligently as you can.

One of my pet peeves is seeing people who are not doing their very best in their day job or career, or in life.  They are just doing x activity just because they “have” to, or a loved one, forcing them to do that thing.  They overburden others and are just in it for themselves and their own selfish desires.  Another one of my pet peeves is feeling bored.  These are just two of the reasons why I strive to always work as diligently as I can. Even though my day job isn’t glamorous, I still strive to do it to glorify God and with all my heart, soul, and strength. When I see another person work diligently at something, I admire their drive and passion. I also have more of a desire to imitate them!  So, when you work as diligently as possible, as a general rule, in life at whatever life throws at you, you not only will live a more successful life, but you will also inspire others to do the same.

Rule #2) Don’t waste your life.

You were given a life–Don’t waste it on things that are not important or that you will later regret.  For instance, when I was younger, I was preoccupied with a.) myself and b.) was in “survival” mode. I did not think much about the connection to what I did then, and what would be in the future.  Now, I aim to be less preoccupied with myself and things that I feel don’t matter to me as much, and focus more on what does matter, such as God and eternity, and the quality of my relationships that I cultivate in this life.  Make your life count! You can do this by a.) Thinking about and writing down a life purpose (which I recommend to be about a sentence or two), and think about how you’re living now fits in with it.  b) If there are parts of how you’re living life that don’t fit into your life’s purpose, make the necessary changes so it does fit!

Rule #3) Care about others.

When I was a child, I did not know how to care about others as much as I do now, and yes, I am still learning even more about how to best care for others.  I was a very selfish person. As a consequence, I feel that I wasted most of my life then. I failed to speak up for others suffering from injustice in my school because I was too absorbed in my own problems to notice or care.  I regret this to this day.  However, I slowly learned about the blessing of caring for others, especially in the past five years.  I learned that we should not care for others only so we can get something, but also for the benefit of the person we are caring about.  We should aim to make a positive difference in others’ lives not only to feel good about ourselves (though it is certainly not wrong to feel good when we do something nice for someone else!), but also to put a smile on someone else’s face and to improve the quality of their lives. Everyone has gone or is going through something tough.  If we can lift off some of their burdens, the people we are helping will be better equipped to cope with life.

Rule #4) Hate evil.

Hate all forms of evil. This may be as minor as hating strife and slander, or as major as hating murder and rape.  This does not necessarily mean hating the people who do it, though that is most people’s natural response, but more so the sin or sins that they committed.  I strive to hate evil because it is against God and everything I believe.  When we accept or acquiesce to evil, we not only compromise our morals, we slowly become monsters inside. I would hate to succumb to any of the evils that I was rescued out from. Never go back to the bad, from which you were saved.

Rule # 5) Learn as much as possible about other people and about the world around us.

In order to truly love and understand others, we need to know about them.  Even three years ago, I admit that I did not really follow this rule by heart! When I joined a blogging community online and had to read other people’s blogs, I learned much more about the world around me and about other people’s life stories.  When you have a thirst for learning, you not only benefit others because you are trying to understand them and their world, but you also benefit yourself by growing in knowledge and wisdom.  Learning not only takes place in scholastic institutions, it takes place at work (if you are employed), at home, and even at a grocery store, to name just a few.

Rule #6) Love others, even if it sometimes breaks your heart to do so.

This is a tough one to follow, even for me.  There are several people, with who I have worked and in other parts of my life, that I had a difficult time loving as God would.  However, I learned that loving others, even when it is tough to do so, often helps strengthen the relationship.  Every time I had wanted to give up on loving someone, I believe God worked things out so that I would persevere instead.  This lead to me eventually forgiving these people and letting go of the bad times we had together, and cultivating some good times instead.  When I intentionally love someone, even if I don’t initially “feel” like loving them, I realized that, oftentimes, that person that is tough to love: a. ) begins to open up to me emotionally and b) gives hope to the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation in the relationship. When we persevere in loving someone who breaks your heart, we show the durability and authenticity of our love.  Love, even when it is difficult to do so.

Rule #7) Forgive others for their mistakes and sins.

Along with Rule #6, which says to “Love others, even when it sometimes breaks your heart to do so,” forgive others for their mistakes and sins.  This is especially true when someone hurts us unintentionally. For instance, if someone we know at work does not acknowledge or greet us because they are busy, do not hold it against them. This is probably not because they didn’t “care” about you, but because they were too absorbed into what they were doing to notice what is around them.  Also, even if someone is upset at you, and, thus, does not want to talk to or acknowledge us, also try not to take it as an affront. When I am upset at someone, I don’t want to talk to them either, not because I want to “punish” them with my silence, but because if I did talk to them, I would most likely say something I would live to regret. This may be true for others as well.  Also, instead of seething in anger at their apparent indifference, you should ask them with compassion, “What is wrong?” or apologize if you know you have upset them.  Even forgiving others for more serious sins, such as if your significant other was cheating on you, or if someone who abused you,  has a freeing effect for you, not just  for the offender.  When I truly forgive another, I feel like a burden has been lifted off me. Reconciliation may not be possible or even wise if a person sinned seriously enough against you, but you still can let go of the anger and bitterness towards them.

 

These are the seven rules that I try to abide by in my life.  If we strive to abide by these rules, I believe we will have true success in life because we will not only be able to cope with whatever life throws at us better, but we will also have a more enriching and purposeful life. What are the seven rules for your life which you strive to live by? Are these rules difficult to apply to your life sometimes? Please feel free to discuss in the comments.

How to Support People With Invisible Disabilities

DISCLAIMER: No disparaging comments about anyone allowed, or your comment will be deleted!

When most people hear of the word “disability” they think of someone in a wheelchair, or at least someone with some type of physical impairment.  But did you know that up to 10% of all people with disabilities suffer from what is called an “invisible disability?”  An invisible disability is a condition that one has that impairs, or makes it more difficult for someone to function successfully in everyday life, but that is not readily visible to the human eye.  They may have problems getting up from bed, may be tired a lot of the time, may have trouble interacting with others, or may have trouble taking care of themselves without help, to name a few symptoms.  These symptoms are, of course, not all inclusive or even applicable to some of the invisible disabilities that there are, but they do apply to some of them.

What to say and do and what not to say or do to people with invisible disabilities:

What to say/do:

  1. Do offer to help and support them if they ask and are in need of that.—If they ask for help or are in obvious need of support, do whatever you can to help them. Validate them and be a caring friend to them. Help them also get the accommodations they need, or at least help them find some.
  2. Do acknowledge their disability and take them seriously.—There is nothing more frustrating than people who don’t take our disability seriously just because they don’t “see” anything wrong with us! If someone tells you they have a disability or some medical issue, believe them!  Just because you can’t readily “see” it, does not mean that they aren’t suffering from anything! Everyone has issues in their lives, but some can’t be “seen.” This doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that the person is “faking” it.  For instance, as a hypothetical example, what if you told a friend of yours when you confided in them that you just had cancer, but they just said something like, “It’s all in your mind,” or “Don’t worry. Everyone else has issues, too.” You would be furious, right?  This is why it is important to acknowledge the struggles and disability as valid and try to help them through it.
  3. Do emphasize their value as a person, not just their disability.—Another frustrating thing that people tell those suffering from an invisible disability, is something like, “Oh, I didn’t know you could drive? Most people with [insert disability] here can’t do that. You are amazing!” Even though this seems like a compliment, it really is patronizing and insulting because it assumes that just because someone has x disability, they can’t do or be anything of value to this society. This is also why upon learning their child will have developmental problems, the doctors sometimes will recommend abortion to the parents, although a lot of the time, parents that have children with these disabilities are blessed by their child(ren)’s joy and what the child(ren) can teach them about what really counts in life.
  4. Speak out against discrimination and educate people about the nature of invisible disabilities.—If you really want to help your family, friends, and other loved ones who you know suffer from invisible disabilities, speak out against the blatant discrimination that exists against them and advocate on their behalf.

    Ways to do this include:

a.)Educating yourself about invisible disabilities and what people who struggle with them go through on a daily basis.

b.)Speak out when you hear a misconception or discriminatory comment against those with any type of invisible disability.

c)Listen carefully and thoughtfully to the people in your life with an invisible disability and offer to help and understand them better (and, of course, follow through on that promise).

d) Be an advocate for getting us that suffer from an invisible disability more resources and research to help others understand us better and help us navigate through life more successfully.

 

What not to say/do:

  1. Tell someone with an invisible disability that they don’t really have one or that they are just “faking” it or “being lazy.”—This is very invalidating and borders on being verbally abusive! Just because you don’t “see” anything wrong with the person, doesn’t mean the person is fine inside! If the invisible disability involves mental or neurological conditions, do not tell them it’s all in their head or that they are “being lazy” or somehow not trying hard enough to overcome their disability. First of all, unless you are also suffering from that disability or know what’s going on in the person’s mind (i.e are God), don’t assume to know how they are feeling or coping! More often than not, they are already trying the best they can and your invalidation can bring about feelings of self-hatred for themselves, causing resentment and anger against you.
  2. Value the person only in terms of their disability—(See number #3, in what to say/do.)
  3. Exclude or treat the person differently because you found out about their disability. Never, ever exclude or treat the person with the disability differently or exclude them from certain activities just because they have a disability (unless the person asks you to). We should treat everyone, especially those with invisible disabilities, with kindness, respect, and dignity! This means not treating them as if they were aliens or someone to be avoided or excluded. Treat them with the dignity you would your non-disabled family and friends.
  4. Make fun of /or ridicule them for their disability.—Along with the above, you should never ridicule someone for their disability, invisible or not! If you ever encounter another person mocking or ridiculing a person with a disability (invisible or visible), speak up and stand up for the person struggling with the disability. Silence basically signifies agreement with the action. Do not stay silent!

These are the ways you can support people with invisible disabilities, and the things you should never do.  If more people knew about what we go through on a daily basis, there would be more understanding and less prejudice against those who struggle  I struggle with an invisible disability, and on behalf of all my family and friends who likewise struggle, know that we appreciate you taking time to learn about our condition and understand us better.

I will

I will    written on 1/13/2018

(to all my family and  friends, near and far…)

I will be there for you when you call

I will be there for you when you fall

I will treasure you as a sacred soul

A fellow image-bearer of the Lord

 

I will sacrifice myself for you

I will strive to be always true to you

I will aim to always show you God’s love

The kind from up above

 

I will forgive you for your faults

I will help you through your doubts

I will protect you from your enemies

I will stand with you until life’s  end

 

Open Letters On Forgiveness

Written on    1/12-13/2018

Dear Anyone Who Has Hurt or Offended Me,

For some of you, I have held on to my anger and bitterness towards you for a long time. God convicted me today and told me to let it go. And I intend to do just that. If you had offended me, what you did was probably not right and I am absolutely not excusing your behavior. However, my response to you was not right either, and for that I am sorry. I am sorry that lashing out in kind and wishing evil on some of you. I am sorry that I hadn’t reached out to you in reconciliation and mercy earlier mainly because of my stupidity and pride that got in the way. I understand if you never are able to forgive me for this or don’t want to reconcile. However, if you would like to, I want both of us to strive not to hurt one another deeply again, and I want you to know that I have your back now and wish only the best for you.

Sincerely,

Patricia

 

Dear Anyone Who Has Been Hurt By Me or Others,

 

Hurt by others: If you have been hurt by another person (other than me), I am sorry. If you were ever abused by someone who was supposed to love and/or protect you (such as a family member), I am deeply sorry, and please take as much time as you need to process everything and heal.

 

However, for those hurt by someone who has not severely scarred you (though at times it may feel like it, I know.)I have these three words for you: Let. It. Go. Don’t try to let it go for their sake, but for yours!

 

What criteria I personally use now to determine if another’s hurt is worth holding on to or addressing in any major way:

1)            Are they hurting God—meaning are they blasphemous or against directives that He laid out in the Bible?

2)            Are they hurting my family or other loved ones?

3)            Are the issues/offenses at hand morally and/or eternally significant for their sake (i.e Are they committing a serious sin)?

 

If two to three questions’ answers are “Yes,” then it is worth getting concerned about, but if not, I just try to let it go. Even if the answers to these three questions are “Yeses,” I still try to speak the truth to them in a loving, but firm manner.

For instance, though, some people hold a grudge against another simply because someone did not say “Hello” in return to them. Yes, it can be upsetting if we are not acknowledged and it is rude for them not to acknowledge you, but is this worth remembering or getting so upset about? Also, someone not saying “Hello” to you or ignoring you, assuming it’s not family, will not hurt your loved ones! Also, no one will go to jail or get kicked out of anything simply for not acknowledging you, or at least it would be absurd if they did!

Let it go.

I understand why someone would hold a grudge against someone else though. I confess that I once was a grudge-holder, and then wondered why it was so difficult for me to grow spiritually and emotionally! I realized I held grudges for so long because I thought that by holding on to the hurt and anger and giving the offender or offenders the harsh, silent treatment, I was, in essence, “punishing” them for the hurt they caused me.  However, what often occurred was that the offender either didn’t care about the incident or the hurt they had caused me, or they didn’t even know how much they had hurt me! In essence, God gave me this epiphany one day that by holding on to these grudges, I was only hurting myself and the loved ones that hadn’t hurt me at all!

When I finally let go of my hurt and anger that some others had caused me, it was like a burden was lifted off me.  I no longer had to exert angry and hate-filled energy for that people and anyone associated with them and the incident anymore.  Most of all, I felt peace. I was open to reconciliation, and I was free of the bind of emotional pain that the offender or offenders had over me.

Let it go.

For your sake and for those that love you.

For those I hurt:

I do apologize and am so sorry that I hurt you. I don’t ask for forgiveness only for my sake, but also for yours. I want you to be free of the anger and hurt that I caused and that comes from bitterness and resentment. I will do anything in my power to repair the damage that I caused, and I will strive never to repeat the offense again.  Know you are valued and loved by God and by me. I only want the best for you. And I know that is what God wants for you as well.

Sincerely,

Patricia