Keep Believing- 3 Day Quote Challenge (Day 3)

I would like to thank A Momma’s View for nominating me to participate in the 3 Day Quote Challenge.  I do not usually join in on many of the blogging challenges, but the theme of “Keep Believing” that A Momma’s View chose struck a chord with me.  At a time when I feel my motivation and creativity has been drained this challenge may provide a much needed spark.  As a believer in signs I will gladly accept this one!

Rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2) Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog. It can be your own or from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
3) Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.

Here is my quote for Day 3 of the challenge:

“No matter what happens, no matter how far you seem to be away from where you want to be, never stop believing that you will somehow make it.  Have an unrelenting belief that things will work out, that the long road has purpose, that the things that you desire may not happen today, but they will happen.  Continue to persist and persevere.” ~ Brad Gast


Here are the bloggers I’d like to nominate today (no obligation, folks):

An Armchair Perfectionist

Charles French Words Reading and Writing

Joeyfully Stated

Cheers!
Karen

Photo copyright @Karen B. Pearce

Keep Believing- 3 Day Quote Challenge (Day 2)

I would like to thank A Momma’s View for nominating me to participate in the 3 Day Quote Challenge.  I do not usually join in on many of the blogging challenges, but the theme of “Keep Believing” that A Momma’s View chose struck a chord with me.  At a time when I feel my motivation and creativity has been drained this challenge may provide a much needed spark.  As a believer in signs I will gladly accept this one!

Rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2) Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  It can be your own or from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
3) Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.

Here is my quote for Day 2 of the challenge:

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Here are the bloggers I’d like to nominate today (no obligation, folks):

A.PROMPTreply

fourth generation farmgirl

The Off Key of Life

Cheers!
Karen

Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com

Keep Believing- 3 Day Quote Challenge (Day 1)

I would like to thank A Momma’s View for nominating me to participate in the 3 Day Quote Challenge.  I do not usually join in on many of the blogging challenges, but the theme of “Keep Believing” that  A Momma’s View chose struck a chord with me.  At a time when I feel my motivation and creativity has been drained this challenge may provide a much needed spark. As a believer in signs I will gladly accept this one!

Rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge:
 1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2)  Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  It can be your own or from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
3)  Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.

Here is my quote for Day 1 of the challenge:

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one other thing.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Here are the bloggers I’d like to nominate today (no obligation, folks):

pensitivity101

Edwina’s Episodes

The MomHood

Cheers!
Karen

Fill Your Own Glass Just Turned One!

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It’s official!  Fill Your Own Glass is celebrating its first birthday today!

It has been a wonderful year full of growth, discovery, and revelations.  I look forward to continuing on this journey of change and self-improvement, and I am so happy to have you along for the ride.  Your encouragement and support drive me onward down the path that has been chosen for me.

I want to say a heartfelt “Thank you!” to all of you who have taken the time to visit this blog.  We are all given the same twenty-four hours each day, and the fact that you would choose to spend even a few moments of yours reading my words fills me with joy and a gratitude that I cannot adequately express.  Your friendship lifts me up, and your words teach me new lessons daily.

I cannot wait to see what the next year brings!

Cheers!
Karen

 

Graceful Exits (How to Walk Away)

In honor of my blog’s upcoming one year anniversary later this month I thought that I would share some of my most viewed posts from the past year, along with some of my personal favorites. This post is my ninth most viewed post, and it is one that I read on days like today when I need a reminder that I am doing the right thing in disengaging from an unhealthy, one-sided relationship. Thank you all for each and every visit you have made here!

Fill Your Own Glass

There are times when we need to walk away.  Different situations and relationships reach their inevitable conclusion, and we must determine the best way to extricate ourselves.  We need to keep in mind that how we choose to exit impacts both us and those we leave behind.

Make a graceful exit from the workplace.  Most of us will switch jobs at least once in our lifetime.  You may receive a better offer, you may find you can no longer tolerate the environment, or you may be seeking to find career alternatives.  No matter the reason, I advise you to proceed with caution in how you exit.  (Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking.)

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Flawed and Unfinished

 

We are not broken.  Yes, we may have a few dents and cracks on the surface.  We have been jostled and bumped, pushed around, and knocked down.  Yet we rise up, we pick ourselves up off of the ground, we brush the dirt off, and we carry on.  Our scars are our badges of courage, trophies awarded for playing the game of life and surviving to tell the tales.  They are the visual daily reminders of our perseverance and our strength.  No, we are not broken.  We are beautifully bruised, but we are not broken.

We are not satisfied.  We have work to do.  We have goals to reach.  We carry aspirations into each new day.  We have dreams that are yet to be turned into reality.  We have sights that are yet to be seen.  We each feel a yearning, a tug that is mild in some and more fervent in others, pulling us toward a destination we have not reached.  No, we are not satisfied.  We are heading in the right direction, but we are not satisfied.

We are not perfect.  We are flawed.  We make mistakes and missteps.  We engage in bad behavior, and we do things we later regret.  We treat people in a less than gentle manner when we are frustrated, hurt, or impatient.  We try to make amends.  We work to be better, to ourselves and to those we interact with.  We acknowledge our imperfections, and we realize that perfection would be too mundane for us.  We are “flawesome”, and we embrace it.  (No, that is not a real word, but it should be.)  No, we are not perfect.  We are growing and improving, but we are not perfect.

We are not finished.  There are chapters to be added to our stories.  There are lessons to be learned and lessons to be taught.  There is love to be given and love to be taken.  We have hurt and healing to feel, and we have forgiveness to ask for and forgiveness to grant.  We have failures, victories, and adventures still to come.  We prefer to be unfinished because the alternative leaves us with nowhere to go.  It means we are done, and we are not ready for that.  No, we are not finished.  We are more complete than we were yesterday, but we are not finished.

 

Photo credit:  www.pixabay.com

Oh, Don’t Grow Up! (Life Lessons From My Nephew)

One night late in the spring of 2009 I received a phone call from my brother. This in itself was unusual as he is not prone to social calls or idle chitchat. After a brief greeting he said, “If all goes well you’ll be an aunt around the end of the year.” I’m sure I performed the TV sitcom gesture of holding the phone away from my ear and looking at it in stunned disbelief. He then proceeded to assure me, several times, that no, he was not kidding.

Now I understand that this happens every day all over the world, but it does not happen in my family. My mom had long ago resigned herself to producing pictures of my cats to show off as her “grandchildren.” I had been married for over eleven years, but my husband and I had always known we didn’t want any children. My brother is four years older than me, and we had assumed that he and his wife had reached the same conclusion. Surprise!

As I hung up the phone I felt exhilarated and overwhelmed. I was going to be an aunt! And just like that I fell instantly, totally, and eternally in love. He (I didn’t know that he was, in fact, a he at that point) grabbed hold of my heart that night in a way that I never would have imagined possible, and he has not let go since. My nephew, Wes, finally arrived on December 29, 2009. I’m as biased as the next aunt, mom, dad, sister, etc. when I say that he came out beautiful and perfect.

Fast forward, and Wes is now a few months shy of his fifth birthday. What joy and inspiration he has brought to my life! As adults we instinctively take on the roles of teacher, mentor, protector, and caregiver. What I have discovered over the past few years is that at times these roles are indeed reversed. Through spending time with my nephew and watching him grow I’ve come to see that in some ways children are our teachers, too. There are things that they do naturally without our guidance or assistance. As someone with only limited previous interaction with kids this has been a delightful discovery for me. These inherent behaviors are the basic building blocks that we so often toss aside as we “grow up”. I’m learning from Wes, albeit slowly at times, to rediscover some of these basics. While they may seem simplistic in nature they are behaviors that I have suppressed and neglected over the years. Whether we are willing to admit to it or not, we tend to conform to expected structure and order in our lives. We go to school, work, raise children (or cats), buy homes and cars, pay bills, and plan for retirement. Sure, some of us find the time to take vacations, play sports, and participate in hobbies that we enjoy. But do we allow ourselves the freedom that we had as children? Do we let our guard down and let ourselves be real in our purest form? With the help of my nephew I am working on it. I am relearning a few of the essential behaviors of childhood, and it feels great!

1. Get Mad, Get Over It, Get Glad- In short, be emotional. I’m not suggesting that you throw an arms-and-legs-flailing, kicking, and screaming temper tantrum during the next staff meeting or holiday family dinner (much as the urge may strike us all). What I’m saying is that we should not bottle up our emotions. Kids don’t hesitate to let you know when they are unhappy with you, but they are also quick to forgive and forget. As adults we need to express ourselves and deal with our feelings as they occur rather than stewing on them to the point of contention. We also need to learn to accept an apology as easily as a child does, and to move on once it is given.

2. The GO! Theory (or Cannonballs for All)- Be bold, be brave, and have fun. When we grow up we learn to think about things before we act. We learn what is deemed to be acceptable and appropriate behavior. In the process we sometimes forget to have fun. We tend to “think” our way out of things rather than into them. This can be wise, of course, but it can also be a bit of a downer. I recall watching Wes as a toddler, how he approached each new adventure with equal parts trepidation and anticipation. He employed what I refer to as the “Go” method, whereby he would say, “1…2…3…Go!” and then go he would- down the slide, through the plastic play tunnels, jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves or wherever he was bound. This past summer I witnessed the “Go” theory in action as he enjoyed playing in the pool and showing off his new cannonballing skills. It’s a magical thing to watch, almost as if the countdown and the “Go!” give him the courage to try anything. When was the last time you did a cannonball? Or jumped into a pile of leaves? We should approach each day as if it is a playground that we get to explore rather than a minefield we must navigate. We need to remember the simple pleasures of…well, simple pleasures.

3. Love Wide Open- Give love freely and accept it in return. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the pure love of a child. I remember going to visit Wes when he was about a year and a half old. Each morning as I emerged from the guest bedroom he would spot me, his whole face would light up in a huge grin, and he would run into my arms for a hug. I know it won’t last forever, and as he gets older and turns into a rough and tumble boy those hugs will be few and far between, so I soak them up for all they are worth now. I can’t adequately describe how it feels when he says, “I love you.” You see, kids don’t know about personal space, and they don’t care about carefully crafted boundaries. This is by far the hardest lesson for me to relearn, that of letting others in. Thanks to my nephew I’m working on knocking down the barriers and inviting people into my once restricted air space. It’s been a surprising and rewarding experience. I encourage you all to love wide open.

To my nephew I say, “Thank you, Wes, for teaching Aunt Kay Kay to embrace her inner child. I can’t wait to spend more time learning and loving with you.” To you, my friends, I say, “Teach your children well, and allow them to teach you well.” Cheers! Karen

Please Accept This (Nonexistent) Apology

You are waiting for an apology. At some point you were wronged by someone. You were spoken to harshly. You were treated poorly. You were stood up, yelled at, knocked down, ignored, forgotten or otherwise mistreated. It could be any number of reasons. The fact is that you are certain that you deserve an apology, and chances are you have been waiting on it for a while now. The reality is that it is not coming.

Not what you wanted to hear, right? I did not want to hear it either, but it is what I finally had to admit to myself. I was forced to accept it in order to move on, to forgive, and to heal.

In my case it was a close friend, or at least I had believed her to be a close friend. She stopped speaking to me due to an edict issued by someone at my former place of employment which was where we met. I was not to be made aware of the pending sale of the business (a sale that had no impact on me or the company as I had resigned and was already employed elsewhere), and no employees were to tell me anything concerning said sale. And so she simply stopped speaking to me. After I learned about the reason why I understood. It became clear why for a time several former co-workers cut off communication with me, although a brave few had the decency to tell me the backstory. What I could not understand was why I never heard anything from her. After years of friendship, dinners out, listening to guy drama, and being there when she needed me this was how I was repaid. I would have accepted an email or a text saying something along the lines of, “can’t talk for a while, will explain later”. It was the nothingness that was a hard blow to take. I tried to reach out to her numerous times to no avail. My husband and other friends helped to absorb the hurt that I felt, but the lack of closure was an open wound. It wasn’t until nearly two years later that she extended a dinner invitation. While she seemed genuinely glad to see me the apology never came. When I addressed my feelings her response was that she “hadn’t hurt me intentionally.” Bam. That was it, that was all I was going to get. While we remain civil the friendship was never truly repaired. For a long time after that dinner I continued to feel like I deserved an apology, and a sincere one at that. I eventually had to make peace with the fact that it wasn’t coming. I have to let go of the need for the “I’m sorry” in order to let go of her and the friendship that never really was.

The reasons you may not receive the apology you are seeking may vary. The person might not even be aware that you are think you are owed one. He may not believe that he has anything to apologize for. And in the worst case scenario trifecta, he may not care. You can only control one of these things. You need to consider just how important it is to you to hear those little words of repentance. If you believe that it is possible the offender does not know how you feel then tell him, but only if you are prepared for the possibility that he may neither feel the need to apologize nor care that you think he should.

I gave myself a great gift the day I accepted the nonexistent apology. I acknowledged that I was doing damage only to myself by holding on to the anger and the hurt. I made peace with my friend without her ever knowing it, but more importantly I made peace with me. Subsequently I have been able to accept a few more of the “sorries” that I never received, and I cannot stress to you enough how liberating it is. If you are waiting on an apology I urge you to get one, not from the person you think owes it to you, but rather from you. Give yourself the apology you imagine you would someday get from the one you are seeking it from. Accept it as you would if it came from the source and allow yourself the freedom to forgive and move on.

So You Think You Can Change

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. A leopard can’t change its spots.  Blah blah bull—- blah.  Now I can’t speak on animal behavior, but I do know that we as humans are capable of changing our own behaviors.  It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight.  Yet the fact remains that you truly can change your outlook with patience and determination, with two steps forward one step back, and with naysayers un-cheering you on the whole way.  I know because I’ve done it.  This is my story.

A little over four years ago I had an awakening, an epiphany if you will, and I accepted the truth that I was at times a less than positive person.  (I pause here to give some of you who know me personally the chance to say “all of the time”, and I say “bite me” because while I’m positive I’m still human so picture me saying it with a super perky grin).  Truth be told I was firmly entrenched in and fully contributing to a hostile work environment.  it was a situation where gossiping, backstabbing, and undermining of co-workers was not only tolerated but at times appeared to be encouraged.  While talented enough in my profession I was not a good co-worker or a good employee for my management team in that I was openly critical, negative, short-tempered and even shorter on patience.  I recall a new hire who barely spoke to me for months before divulging that she’d heard that I made people cry.  And I admit that at the time I wore that badge with a now wholly embarrassing sense of accomplishment.  Over time I began to realize that the environment I was in was not only making me into a person I most definitely did not wish to be, it was also taking a toll on my health and all aspects of my life.  I had allowed outside influences to take over and shape the person I had become, and I found that I didn’t like her much at all.  So it was that I made the decision to leave that workplace.  I can clearly remember my husband taking me out to lunch on my last day to celebrate, and I told him then, “I am making a promise to myself today that I will never be that person again. I will never be that type of co-worker again. I will never be that type of employee again. I will never be the person that treats people that way again.”

Fast forward four years, and I am happy to say that I have kept that promise. It’s been a long road, and there is still a whole lot of work to be done, but it’s been a fantastic journey.  One of the best moments I had was during my first six-month evaluation at a subsequent job when my manager praised me on how well I interacted with my co-workers and on my diplomacy.  (I can assure you that at that exact moment at least thirty of my former co-workers fell out of their chairs).  I will go into greater detail in future posts on ways I changed my behaviors and mindset- today I just want to provide my backstory.  Mainly I began every day reminding myself of the promise, and telling myself that it was going to be a good day.  I developed a habit of sorts, or a morning ritual, of discovering my feelings upon awakening and, if required, shifting them in a positive direction.  The wonderful thing is that as I began to experience more and more “good” days- happy days, less stressed days, mentally and physically healthy days- the easier it became, and the less often I needed those morning adjustments.

As I mentioned at the beginning, there will be people around you who are unwilling to accept or believe in your change.  And you know what?  That is on them, not on you!  The best thing to do is to keep on keeping on with the being of who you are today instead of allowing others to pigeonhole you back into being who you were yesterday.  In a surprising turn of events I actually went back to work at the place I initially discussed, albeit under new ownership and with a mostly new staff.  The co-workers who had not met me yet judged me for who I was in that moment, and I was able to work and relate to them in a wonderful manner.  Some of the former co-workers noticed and acknowledged my change in behavior, and a few even complimented me on my positive outlook.  Of course a few of the former co-workers held strongly to their views of the person I was the first time we worked together.  This was perfectly understandable, and I accepted that it would take time and effort on my part to change their viewpoints.  Unfortunately it didn’t work with everyone, but it was not for my lack of trying.  Rather at some point you just have to accept that not everyone is ready to travel the same path as you.  And again, that is okay and is not a reflection on you.

I am in all aspects still very much a work in progress.  I can tell you this, though… I find my happiness and satisfaction these days in building others up instead of knocking them down.  I surround myself with like-minded people, and the results are truly awesome.  Hopefully as I continue on this personal journey I can bring inspiration, motivation, and encouragement to as many people as I can reach.  Thanks for listening to my story!