Don’t Wait (K.Blais)

Sometimes it’s easier to put off today what you can do tomorrow, right? 

We all procrastinate to some extent. Some of us are better at procrastinating than others. I, personally, can be a self proclaimed expert at it. 

There are times when I am very good at getting ‘stuff’ done right away, and, in fact, I’ve gotten better at procrastinating less about many  things. With some fairly recent lifestyle changes, my energy levels have increased and I’ve been much more productive in many areas of my life. But… there are still moments when I can’t seem to push myself to get to doing things. (Hence the lapse of time between this blog post and my last one, right?)

I think it’s ok to take breaks and to give yourself time to tackle things. I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason and that taking a reprieve from things (even when you don’t intend to) is good. When the time is right we often find ourselves getting back at “it” (whatever “it” is) with renewed vigour and enthusiam. 

We often place too many expectations on ourselves. This doesn’t help then when the world weighs us down with expectations as well. Sometimes it’s hard to force ourselves to clean out that closet or to get to the bank to pay the bills on time when the world is constantly screaming at us what we should be doing anyway. 

But we must remember this also: life is too short to put off doing the really important things. In a blink of an eye life can change completely. 

There are some things that we should never procrastinate in doing; the things that should be on everyone’s “Don’t Wait” list. 

Don’t wait 

To tell someone how much you care, whether that is to say I love you or to air out your differences. Life is too short to live with words left unsaid.

To show someone how much you care, whether that is with actions or deeds. Life is too short to live with acts left undone. 

To appreciate the little things in life, whether it is a sunrise or a sunset, a beautiful view or warm crackling fire. Life is too short to let the “busy-ness” keep us from enjoying the simple things.

To smile and laugh, whether it is at your own silliness or with great company. Life is too short to not laugh every day. 

To enjoy what you have, whether it is little or much, whether it is how you dreamed life to be or something completely different. Life is too short to always worry that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. 

Maybe instead of procrastinating it is better to do what you must today and what can wait until tomorrow should be left to wait. 

Life is too short to not enjoy each moment and to waste time beating ourselves up for procrastinating, isn’t it? 

The View From Down Here (K. Blais)

I wrote a love letter to a boy once. In it I told him about the things I liked, one of which was lying under the Christmas tree and looking up at the branches. 

  

I remembered this “love letter” the other night. The idea had struck me in the quiet of the late hours that I should revisit my childhood and lie down beneath the lit Christmas tree. Truth be told I could only get my head and shoulders under it, but as I gazed up at the branches the love letter popped into my head. 

It wasn’t the love letter that inspired me to write this post however, but as I thought about the letter and I wondered if the boy I wrote it to even remembered it, I thought about the secrets we keep. 

I never told anyone about the letter. In all actuality that very same boy is married to a friend now. I’m sure we would all probably laugh and joke about the letter if it ever got brought up, but it seems content to keep its own secret for now. 

As I lay under the Christmas tree and gazed up at its branches I also thought about how different it looked  on the underside and how my perspective of my tree was entirely changed. The angle in which I could see the ornaments was completely different and while the tree was still pretty, it definitely looked less glamorous from underneath. 

I wonder if we only let people see one side of us, the glamorous side, will they ever truly understand us or what goes on under our branches? 

I told a dear friend recently that it’s ok to be weak in front of others that care about us and that it is completely acceptable to show that we have feelings that can be hurt. I truly believe that there is nothing wrong in letting others know that they have caused hurt. It really doesn’t make us weak, or less, or give others any power over us. In fact, it reminds everyone, including us, that we are human and that we feel. It is no secret that if you prick us, we will all bleed. 

But yet so many of us tend to keep so much of ourselves hidden, even the wonderful things that make us who we are. Some of us may feel that people will like us more if they only see certain sides of us. Some feel that they don’t want to be seen as ‘soft’ or ‘sensitive’ or even ‘too emotional’. We keep a lot of our “mushy” stuff hidden for fear that we may scare others away. 

Life is too short for regrets though. Perhaps we should all start baring a bit more of our undersides to others. Maybe if we started to share more of ourselves, the world would become a less complicated place. While filters are good (and we should definitely think before we speak and say something hurtful), maybe we need to filter a bit less and love a bit more. 

What if we all focused this Christmas season on telling others how much we care about them? What if we spread peace, love, and joy by sharing more of ourselves? 

Maybe we don’t have to keep so much of ourselves a secret. Even those things that we perceive as flaws can be intriguing and captivating to others. 

Perhaps we should be more like the Christmas tree – shining bright, beautiful in our own way for all to see, from no matter what angle. 

Calm Amidst Chaos (K.Blais)

Many of us find ourselves racing from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we lay our heads down again at night. We rush to get up, to get breakfast and lunches made, and then we rush out the door to get to work or wherever the day may need us. We rush around at work trying to get things done, to achieve our own goals, and live up to our employer’s expectations. We rush home to our families to get supper on the table, to get to extra curricular activities, and then to get home again to get the kids and, eventually ourselves, to bed. Our day is filled with chaos, however organized it may be, and seldom do we feel or find any moments of calm.

It occurred to me today while chatting with a dear friend, that our lives are indeed chaotic and at some point there does seem to be a need to change that. In fact, my dear friend was the one who expressed this very need! Her statement got me to thinking: Where can we find calm amidst the chaos of our everyday lives?

For some of us, myself included, we rarely take time out for ourselves. We are so busy being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a (insert job title here), that we forget that before we were all of these things, we were a person first. Interesting how we can lose ourselves in being everything else to everyone else.

Now please don’t misunderstand, I am by no means implying that being those things to others makes us any less of a person, but when our responsibilities towards everyone else take priority to taking care of ourselves, even when we need it the most, that is where we can run into problems.

So, back to the question, where can one find calm when the world around us is chaos?

Surrounding yourself with positive people is a great place to start. Your closest friends should be your confidantes, your cheerleaders, the ones who go to bat for you when you can’t bat for yourself. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you to avoid the trap of “falling into the negative” (a quote from my dear friend). And it’s ok to do fall from time to time; that’s where those positive people will help lift you up and get you righted on the waves of life again.

Calm may also mean finding something to do for you, whether it is to find a healthier lifestyle in regards to diet and exercise, or to find a hobby or pastime that you are passionate about. Decide that calm will be something that you do only for you. Think “Me Time”.

Don’t be afraid to take a break. Take some time away from your loved ones, even for a few moments, to take some deep breaths and to refocus yourself. Squirrel yourself away to read, to soak in a warm bath, or to just sit quietly to pray or meditate on life. Unplug from technology for a bit and try to remove yourself from the negativity society tries to ram down our throats. Instead, focus on the good, the uplifting, and the positive. These things can bring calm into your world in the simplest and smallest ways.

Our world will continue to be chaotic from time to time and not much may change that short of winning the lottery and moving to a deserted island. In reality, things may slow down a bit here and there, but the important thing to remember is that amidst the chaos calm can be found if you simply know where to look for it.

I’m Not Perfect (K.Blais)

sky2

snow

I took some time the other day to become more aware of the world around me. I went for a walk and I was struck by nature’s perfection: the sparkle of the snow on the smooth surface of an (almost) untouched path, the azure blue of a sky unmarred by any clouds, and the quiet, calm, and still beauty of the forest surrounding me. (photo credits by me!)

As I marveled over the serenity and the peace that it brought me, nature’s perfection also reminded me of my own imperfection and my own struggles to be good enough.

It’s a daily battle, isn’t it? We strive to be the best at our jobs, the best parent to our children, the best friend to our acquaintances, and the best family to our loved ones. (Please note: by best I do not mean ‘better than others’, by best I mean our personal best – the best us that we can be.) But what is our best? Is it even achievable?

Personally, I know that many times when I have felt that I have done or am doing “my best” someone or something reminds me that I haven’t. Being pointed out your own imperfections by others or by the world itself is often a hard pill to swallow. I am reminded on a daily basis that I will never be “perfect”, and perhaps that keeps me humble, but more often it is a brutal and unforgiving reality check.

Perfection will never be attained by me, or anyone else for that matter, because I believe that we will never live up to our own and each others’ expectations. That’s sounds really discouraging, doesn’t it? And I suppose that it is in a sense, if you consider only that. But my own faith leads me to believe that only God is perfect. We have been created and brought into a world of imperfection – we will strive to do our best and to live our lives as loving people, but we will never completely succeed at being without flaw or blemish. (The Good News is that we have forgiveness for our imperfection!)

So why is it that we often expect perfection from ourselves and from others? I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I expect others to understand and to behave in certain ways, probably in ways that no one could ever live up to. I also expect it of myself. I know perfection will never be attainable, so why do I keep allowing myself to be disappointed?

I believe that it is because we often set too high of standards and outrageous expectations for our own and others’ behaviour. When we fall short of those standards and cannot fulfill those expectations we feel as if we have failed. Where we have actually failed is in seeing how well we have done – maybe not completely as well as the standards we have set, but how far we have come and what we have accomplished is what is really to be acknowledged and applauded.

Why are we so hard on ourselves and on others? Why are we so quick to blame others for their imperfections and the consequences that derive from them? Once again I am just as guilty of this as anyone else.

A dear friend once told me that she admired me because she said I could see the good in others and because I always try to look for the best in them. This was high praise and I didn’t believe that I was completely deserving of it, but it did make me more aware of the fact that this is the way I should always try to be. Instead of becoming upset and faulting others for disappointing me, I should look to understand them more. I know it won’t be easy, especially when I’m being criticized myself, but it is a goal which I will strive toward in 2015.

I also realize that I need to stop being so hard on myself. I will fail and time and time again I will fall. I may even be knocked down and put in my place by others, but the person who will always be hardest on me is me. I need to give myself permission to make mistakes and to learn from them.

I know that I’ll never be perfect. I believe though, that over time, I’ll learn to be ok with that.

Attitude Is Everything! (K. Blais)

Let’s face it. Some days our attitudes may leave a lot to be desired.

Reality: Some days are better than others and some days (months?) it’s not so easy to see the positive and to respond positively (revisit last week’s blog post I Am Who I Am and you’ll see what I mean!). Sometimes it’s all too easy to fall into the negativity trap, especially when the world is delivering some pretty hard knocks.

We all may know and have heard the saying that someone was “born with a bad attitude”. But, I mean really, how many newborn babies can you honestly say have done something to really offend you? (Ok, other than maybe peeing on you when you change their diaper and that’s cute, really, but only if it’s a baby.)

So, where in the world does a negative inclination come from? Should we attribute negativity to the teenage years when hormones begin to rage, personalities shift from childhood into emerging adulthood, and dispositions become less sweet? But what happens when the negative attitude continues into adulthood? What then? How do we respond to negativity while some days we are blindly searching for positivity ourselves?

Martha Washington said, “I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy in whatever situation I may be, for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.”

We surely all don’t live according to Martha’s words, although some of us may strive to. So, what can we do to portray a positive attitude and be determined and happy in whatever situation we may find ourselves in?

I think the first step in having a positive attitude is realizing that we, as well as everyone else in the world, are NOT perfect. We are human and, therefore, we are bound to make mistakes. Accepting our own flaws is one thing, accepting another person’s is another. We set high expectations for ourselves, and sometimes even higher ones for those around us. Once we acknowledge that others will make mistakes and will need our understanding about them, we may be more graceful with our reactions and attitudes towards them.

We need to cultivate a forgiving heart. People are going to make mistakes whether it is out of ignorance, negligence, insecurity, or laziness. Mistakes will happen even with the best of intentions. Having an antagonistic attitude towards others will not help most situations. Yes, life is unfair and can deal some pretty big blows, but those are circumstances. Circumstances we cannot always change, but we can control how we react to them.

Striving to look for the positive, not simply dwelling on the negative, will help as well. When we look for the positives out of a negative situation, we are able to see the efforts that have been made and possibly understand where things have gone wrong. Sure, mistakes may have occurred, and things may have turned out completely different from the way we expected them to, but if we can acknowledge the efforts instead of the results, we may realize that it can’t be all bad. Our attitude does not need to be adverse when dealing with strife and conflict: when life gives you lemons – make lemonade! Remember, after the rain the sun will shine, and you may even find a rainbow.

Offer suggestions, if possible and applicable, and if not, then say only what is needed and move on. Fixation on an issue, especially if we feel negative about it, will not help our attitude towards the given situation. Moving on and moving forward will allow us to maintain a positive outlook and focus on something else in order to avoid cynicism.

In dealing with others who show us undesirable attitudes (you may know some Negative Nellies), let’s try to remember that their demeanor may not have much, if anything, to do with us to begin with. Some individuals are unhappy for reasons within themselves and may be having a difficult time dealing with issues which are deeply rooted personally. Remember: It’s not all about you – and I mean that in a good way! It took me a long time to realize (and I’m still working on it!) that someone else’s attitude is not a reflection of, nor does it necessarily need to affect, me.

True story:

There once was a girl, (she was a lovely sort of girl), who loved to write. She wrote and she wrote and she wrote. She wrote so that her home was filled with the delightful sound of clicking keys and moments of “Aha! That’s a great idea!” as she delved into her inner self to bring her thoughts to life. The girl believed her ideas were clever, she wasn’t sure that others would agree, but still she wrote.

As time wore on, life continued to toss the lovely girl around on its sea of “perpetuality”: perpetual demands, responsibilities, expectations, letdowns, and even betrayals. The girl was troubled. She began to feel unenthusiastic, pessimistic, and even cynical about her life, her dream, and her goals. She tried to stay positive, but it grew increasingly difficult. She began to question herself and she let doubt creep in. She worried and she worried and she worried. She began (read: continued) to compare herself to others. She placed her value on what others said or thought.

One day, something happened to the girl. It wasn’t a huge something but it was big enough to make her think. Something clicked in her mind and she realized that she had been letting her attitude dictate her responses to a lot of things. It wasn’t that the world was continually trying to knock her down – it was that she was ALLOWING her attitude to be affected by them. She decided then and there that she would set forth to alter her outlook. She knew that it wouldn’t be easy. She would strive to respond with kindness and positivity when she felt like an emotional punching bag for others. She would stand up for herself and her loved ones the best way she knew how to: with love. She would let her positive attitude permeate throughout her life. She would, in a sense, kill the negative naysayers with kindness.

AND, she would keep writing and pursuing her dream because that was EXACTLY who she was and what she needed to do.

To be continued… ❤

(Dear Readers – a continued thank you for your support! May you find your positive perspective and hold it close! Please like our facebook page, Writing For The Love of It, and come follow me on Twitter @kim_blais. I’d love to hear from you! Love and positivity, ~ K ~)