Shut Up & Listen!

shut up and listenI have been in highly competitive environments all of my adult life. I have been around people who are kind yet ambitious. People who have high confidence and never make others feel less than; and I have been around others who are highly educated and successful, but they don’t talk about what education they have nor boast about how successful they have been. These people are loud, quiet, jolly and reserved, but the one quality that impressed me the most was the emotional intelligence they demonstrated in how to genuinely and authentically connect. I call them selfless people.

Then there are others. They have to make sure you know how popular they are, what they have done, and just how successful they have been in doing whatever it is they have done. They compete too, but they compete with everybody they meet, even if the others are not consciously competing with them.  If they are quiet, it is only to think of how they can impress you with their accomplishments.

Princess DianaI watched a documentary about Princess Diana. I have always had a special place in my heart for her (don’t ask me why; I just do). One of the things that came up from the people who were interviewed for this documentary was how they felt being with her.  These people were not all royals are the “upper class.” They were people in hospitals, on the streets as homeless or those impacted by landmines in Bosnia, all spoke of how she connected with them.  Many of these people were touched by her even after she was no longer the Princess of Wales.  Clearly, she was famous and well-connected, yet, these people felt she cared about them and brought attention to their causes nor her own. She listened.

Then I think of Jesus. What do you think of when you think about Him?  Do you think of someone who was always talking? Probably not. Don’t you see Him as sitting and listening to others? Quietly asking questions and showing an interest in the person He was talking to? I do. I believe He met people where they were and cared about them.  He didn’t find them and rush in to condemn them.  He did not go around telling people who he was and just how vital he was, quite the contrary, he did the opposite. When He restored sight to the blind or healed a man of leprosy, many times we read that He told the person he restored not tell anyone.  He didn’t come for that. He came to do what His Father had sent Him to do.

I can’t help but think of some of the greats throughout history, their stories carry the same storyline, selfless acts rather than acts that pointed to them as an essential person. I also think of the following scripture found in Proverbs 27:2 that says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”

I have been in many meetings, conferences, and forums where I have met “important” people.  I usually sit and watch.  Most times I stay quiet because I think when I shut up and listen, I learn a lot about others.

Recently I was at a function with quite a few people present.  As one person began to share a personal struggle with our small group, I just sat and listened along with a couple of others. As the person described their excitement about a new process they were developing, another person in the group hijacked the conversation and begin to talk only about themselves and about all they had accomplished; promptly shutting down the accomplishments of the other person. Throughout the evening, various people had an opportunity to share a little about themselves and right away you could tell the ones who were outward focused and those who were inward focused. Ironically, the ones who said the least about themselves were probably the most successful. Guess what else? They were also the ones who listened to others.

Keep It To Yourself….

keep it to yourself.2Like others, I am bothered whenI hear things like “that person doesn’t like you” or “she has a problem with you.” Look, Whatever!  Yes, I will admit it, it bothers me. I have learned to push back when someone tells me that someone feel that way about me. I push back when I have felt the animosity from a person first hand also.

You see we all have someone who do not like us. Wow, you thought everyone you met like you? Well, they don’t. What a revelation, but it is true.  The most popular people have folks that find something wrong with them. The most unpopular do too.  What makes the world go round is to recognize early if you can that we are all different and we may not like the same things nor can stomach some of the people we have to interact with.  That’s just reality and it’s okay.  My problem is with my friends and pseudo-friends.  I love you but….let me tell you a couple of things. You probably think you are doing me a favor by making sure I know that someone does not like me.  I get it.  However, please do me a favor.  Keep it to yourself.

That’s right, keep it to yourself. You are not helping the situation at all and if it bothers me to hear, I can imagine how it might destroy someone who is not as confident as I am.

You may think that you are just saying something either to help me (or to be mean to me pretending to help) but don’t. My life is full, filled with happiness and joy and on a positive trajectory. I am winning.  I don’t want to be brought into a negative space.  Honestly, I don’t believe that is your intention at all; at least I hope not. But that’s what happens when hurtful words are used even when those words are no intended to be used as such.

keep it to yourselfLook, even the best people who are positive and optimistic can be brought down, albeit for a little while, with those comments or opinions you are passing on.  Now let me ask you something. Do you feel good about yourself when you pass on that “stuff?” I bet not.

Okay, so maybe you didn’t know this. Soooooo now you know. Also know this, “Haters gonna hate.” That’s just a fact of life. I have always believed and stated when a person is focused on me, they probably want to be just like me. Of course the hater will say that’s not true. But to all my haters, yes it is.  I can’t say that I blame you though.  If I were you, I would want to be just like me too!

Haters Gonna Hate!

haters gonna hateThe first time I heard the term “Haters gonna hate” I laughed out loud.  I had to think about what the phrase really meant.  You know what I mean? Sometimes we hear these catchy phrases and begin repeating them without really knowing what they mean.

“Haters gonna hate” does not mean that they truly hate others. On the contrary, what the phrase means is people who are jealous or insecure, will always have something critical to say or imply about someone else. The term really only means that if one is a negative person, all they do is find fault, be critical or just plain and simple, have nothing good to offer. I chalk it up to them having low self-esteem. They will never admit it, but I bet they are always comparing themselves to others. Just think about it.  A “hater” has deep insecurity. They put on pretenses that they are confident and strong, when in fact, they are not.  Many times what’s lurking right under the surface is the question “Am I good enough?”  They may be really good at many things, but they seem to zone in on what someone else is good at or what someone else is getting credit for, and it bothers them. Just watch someone who you think may fit these descriptions: They brag to show what they have. They evaluate their clothing, hair, car, home, my goodness, anything to someone they are secretly competing with. The person may not even know that they are in a competition, but the hater knows. Actually, it takes too much energy for me to deal with haters, so I choose not to do so. Why? I can’t change them and neither can you. So, you should not waste your time trying. In fact, you should not give your haters a second thought. I am not joking with you!

karmaLook, haters want you off your game! The truth is they want to be just like you but they will never admit it. They want to look like you, be popular like you, be your size, do the things you do and be good at it like you are.  They may smile in your face and say all the right things to seemingly show support, but all the while, in the back of their minds, they resent you for some reason.  No worries though. I am going to tell you how to deal with them. Because if you would recognize who you are dealing with up front, you can head off your shock when they finally reveal their true colors to you. Here is my advice:

  1. Don’t watch for them, they will show up.
  2. When they show up, don’t be in shock. Tell yourself, LaSharnda said they exist.
  3. Do not waste your time with them. Be kind, professional, and aware, but do not hang out with them. Don’t be fooled into a sense of security with them. They only want something from you because they are not your friend.
  4. Always speak well of them. Even when they are not speaking well of you.
  5. When they do something to undermine you, don’t get even. Laugh.  I am serious. Laugh at the situation.  If you get bogged down thinking about what they did, they win.  You are now distracted, unfocused and vulnerable. You are not winning!  The reason they secretly resent you is because they see you as a winner.

vengenance is mineMy grandmother always said “what’s done in the dark, will come to light.” I couldn’t stand it when she said that. However, she was right.  Whatever it is that someone succeeds at doing to you or even if they try to do something to you, just remember, you don’t have to worry. If you are a Believer, the Bible says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”(Romans 12:19)..

If you are a non-believer, (I wish you were a Believer), but this is for you, Karma is a B—- and remember, “What goes around, comes around.”

 

 

Have You Tuned Out?

I don’t know about Encourage-One-Another1you, but if I don’t watch it, I can easily find myself criticizing everything.

How about you? Can you get on a roll if you don’t like something? Me too.  I  have listened to myself get on a roll if something irritated me.  To think of it,   when I start, I can just keep going and going and going. I think that’s why the word, “whiner” came about.  We just keep whining and whining until no one wants to listen. In fact, I know that’s why kids, spouses and others close to us learn to tune us out.

If you think about it, when we whine, our emotions are not “good feeling” emotions. They are stressful emotions.. They come in the form of irritation, anger, frustration, fatigue, being unforgiving, intolerable or just down right —I want to be nasty today.   I used to tell myself if people would hear how they sound, they would stop, but I am not so sure anymore. I am convinced there are those who love experiencing negativity; they just like to complain or condemn and discourage.

I block out complainers and I make it a point to try to hear myself when I get on that train.  I wantuned-out-2t to catch myself and stop to right away. I don’t want to be a person who becomes the crier of bad news and the person who is the Debbie Downer in every
situation. I don’t want family or friends to think of me as the one who is always negative. I pray to be a positive person and to be a person who can help bring joy to others.

People have a lot to deal with in life and most times, they know when they haven’t made the right decisions. They know when they could have done better but chose to do otherwise. I don’t think they need me pointing that out. I learned this from having a son.  I want to uplift him and help him. I want him to always feel that he can recover from anything; from any failure. Heck, I have.  I don’t want anyone in my sphere of influence to ever feel totally defeated, I don’t care what they have done.
You know, Jesus encouraged others. He didn’t tear them down. He didn’t look at those who was already beating themselves up for their mistakes and beat them down more.  Rather, Jesus strengthened and encouraged.  That’s what we are supposed to do too according to Romans 15:1 “We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak in order to build them up in the faith.”

If you know you have a habit of becoming negative, stop yourself. If you have tuned out and can’t hear yourself speaking negative, get a true friend who can gently point it out in you and bring you back.  If your words would change and become more positive, I bet your entire life will reflect that too.

 

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Come-a-long-wayHave you ever looked back on your life and thought to yourself, “Wow, I have come a long way?” Ever sat around collecting your thoughts and considering the life that’s right before you now and thought to yourself, “What a blessed life?” or “What a crummy life?” Have you ever been so mesmerized with the status of your life that you just could not believe you made it to where you are now or are you terrified by the choices you have made and regret every moment of everyday of being you?

Whether you are living the life that you have always dreamed of or if it is just a mess, I believe that you have come a long way.  Everything that we experience in life has been designed to bring us to where we are right now. All of the choices we have selected and the decisions we have made along the way, have all been a part of the process that makes up who we are right now. Good or bad; it is what it is.

It is always good to evaluate where you are. Even if it’s hard to face. By doing so, you have an opportunity to either continue down the path of success or you can now course-correct; you can make adjustments that can alter that path you are on. Maybe you have made many mistakes or bad choices, but I don’t believe it is ever too late to make your life count.

The totality of who you are and what you want to be all fall into one camp; the decisions you  make.  You want to get on the road of success?  Whether that success is in your personal life, professional life or spiritual life, think differently and act differently.  Start to move into the direction of what you deem as success. Don’t sit around and continue to accept mediocrity, or accept excuses or place blame, just do something and make it productive and positive. Make it something that will move you towards your goal of succeeding.

you've come a long way3You have come a long way baby whether you think you have or not.  You have come a long way whether you have succeeded in attaining your goals or whether you have fallen short. If you are where you want to be, great. If you are not there yet, you still have time to get there. However, you must act. You must make changes and do things differently than you have in the past. You see it is easy to accept the status quo and easier to remain complacent. It’s easy because it is comfortable. Doing the same things the same way won’t get you to where you want to be. Be daring, be a risk taker, use your past experiences to your advantage. What have you learned from them? If you re-evaluate them, you will find you have learned a lot.

Whatever you want, won’t just happen, however. It will happen when you begin to do. So get up and get started. You may not have as far to go as you think!

 

Embrace Joy!

joyThere is so much sadness in the world today.  The lost of some very popular celebrities are in the news. People are experiencing pain with relationships and there seems to be an overall sadness in the air.  Some people who I have talked with recently are really struggling with being joyful.

It occurred to me that if I am not careful, I could find myself beginning to feel and act as sad and down as others.

I have reflected on some of the most recent conversations I have been a part of.  What came to mind as I thought of some of the recent losses was how to pray for those who are experiencing pain. I have prayed over and over again. What struck me hard one morning as I was praying was this thought, “Watch it or you will find yourself sad too.”  That was the Holy Spirit.

watchyourthoughts“Watch it” is important to remember. You see the scriptures tell us to “guard” our hearts in Proverbs 4:23. I believe we are told that because if we are not careful, instead of embracing “joy” in our attitudes, we can end up on a downward spiral of sadness that so consumes us that we no longer look like joyful, happy and powerful people of God. We look like people who’ve been defeated!

In Philippians 4:4, we are told to “rejoice in the Lord, ALWAYS.”

Already, I can hear some say, “You can’t always be happy.” Well, maybe not, but that does not negate what the Word of God tells us to do. I totally understand that heartaches and disappointments can get the best of any of us, but as one person put it recently: “I think that sometimes our attitudes can cause certain things to come to us.” My response to her? “You know I agree with that statement 100%.” I do believe that we can attract negativity, which includes sadness, depression, anxiety and other anti-joy stealers or we can attract positivity, happiness, peace, love, patience, and other joy-creators.

We all face “stuff.” We just do. However, we can have joy in the midst of our struggles and pain. That’s what the Word of God says.

                                          “When anxiety was great within me,
                                          your consolation brought me joy.'”

Psalm 94:19  

Living Happy Everyday

live happyFor years I hosted a radio show titled” Living Happy Everyday with Dr. LaSharnda.” My first published book was titled “When You Are Happy With You.” and my monthly contribution to a magazine is titled “Positive Faith.”  I think you can sense how I tend to live my life and how I think I can help others do the same.I simply prefer looking at my life with an attitude of the glass “half-full” rather than “half-empty.  It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would refuse to do the same.

Have you ever met someone who point out everything that is wrong with others? The see everything that is wrong with the state of the nation and with the world. Yet, they can’t see anything wrong with themselves. As the Bible says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5.

I have listened with an ear of cynicism to some who argue that God did not intend for us to be happy.  Really? I have heard some say that God only cares about us preaching the gospel and making sure we are out in the world ministering and saving souls. Although, I agree that is very important and is the Great Commission, I still believe that God cares about every single thing that affects who we are both collectively and individually. The Bible says that we don’t have to worry about “stuff” because if He cares about the sparrows of the field, how much more do you think He cares about us; His children? Matthew 6:26. Sure He cares about our happiness. To me, there is no doubt in my mine regarding that.

I do want to say this though. It’s our responsibility to try and live happy and not just sit around waiting for Jesus to cause us to be happy.  In Him is complete truth, so we should be happy about that.  However, to live a happy life everyday takes intention. We have to be intentional in our thinking. In fact, we have to take control of our imaginations and emotions especially as we think and feel about people and situations. If we don’t, we will automatically find ourselves in a deeply negative and discouraging frame of mind.

Let’s face it, it is easy to complain. It is easy to see fault and it is easy to participate in gossip. It is easy you-dont-become-happy-by-pursuing-happiness-you-become-happy-by-living-a-life-that-means-something-quote-1to mumble and whine. It is easy to get disgusted, discouraged and down-right angry.  It takes little to no effort for any of these emotions to happen. What takes effort is to not complain, not gossip, not mumble or whine. Think about it! It takes a considerable amount of effort to resist being discouraged, disgusted and angry. In fact, I have to tell myself when I find myself going down that rabbit-hole to stop it.  Sometimes I have to be firm with myself and say it out loud—-STOP IT.  It’s called taking your thoughts captive.

Did you know that the Bible reminds us to do just that? “We demolish arguments and every pretension that set itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ .2 Corinthians 10:5. See?

Listen, do you live a happy life? Do you want to? Does God care if you live happy? I say that He does care.   In Ecclesiastes 3:12, it says this: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

I couldn’t agree more!