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.

 

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  

Stop Second -Guessing Yourself

confidently2Have you ever made a decision only to go back to it over and over again wondering whether you made the right one or not? I have.

Like you, I have made so many life decisions. Especially when it comes to my professional life. I have always been driven to succeed. To me, I take a no hole bars approach to my life. I take an attitude of “the sky is the limit” approach.

Earlier in life, I would just make a decision without thinking of the consequences and go for it; many times it worked out. I think God knew I was young and silly, so He sent angels to watch out for me (at least that’s what I have told myself throughout the years). Later in life I learned the importance of praying before I made a decision. I had heard others say that people do things and pray about it afterwards, asking God to bless it, when they should have prayed about it ahead of time to see if it was God’s will.  That made sense to me so that has been my practice ever since hearing it. On the big important things, it was especially critical for me to stop and pray first before moving forward.

Once I have prayed about it and waited to hear from God, I feel good about moving forward. Here’s the problem though. Suppose you prayed and felt that you heard from God, so you moved forward believing it was Him only to find yourself going back and forth re-thinking or even regretting your decision?  What if you made the wrong decision? What if you didn’t hear from God as you thought you did? What if?

Let me help you with this issue.  I went through this just recently. I made a life-changing decision that would affect not only me, but my family. I prayed and prayed and made my decision only to question whether I had made the right one.  Early one morning during prayer as I talked to God about my insecurities, what came to me was this:  “Stop second-guessing yourself.”

Hmmm. It think it came to me from the Holy Spirit because I was saying to God that I had prayed and prayed and felt I had His answer and now I don’t know.  When I looked at other elements of my decision, I thought to myself well this change puts a dent in my 5 year plan, yet, I wanted to go with the decision I had made. I needed  to make sure God had blessed it.  As I sat in my “prayer chair” again, the words resonated in my mind, “stop second-guessing yourself.”  I smiled because I accepted what I was hearing.

The word TRUST carved into a stone wall. 3D render with HDRI lighting and raytraced textures.
The word TRUST carved into a stone wall. 3D render with HDRI lighting and raytraced textures.

Many times you will make the best possible decisions you can with the information you have. You do your best to do what’s right. What happens is people who don’t want you to do something or maybe they want you to themselves, will speak things into your life that make you second-guess yourself. On the other hand, your mind will play tricks on you and have you question your decision and if you are not careful, fear will consume you. When that happens, tell yourself what is written in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” If you have to say it over and over again, do that.

Anxiety is natural when you are making major life-changing decisions.  The question becomes, do you want to live a life that is full and purposeful or will you allow fear to stop you from fulfilling your destiny? When you make decisions, always pray about them first, wait to hear from God and when you believe you have and He says it’s okay, then move.  If he says no, then stay.  If He says okay and you are fearful to move, ask yourself, “Am I telling God that you don’t trust Him?”  I am sure you don’t want to say that, but your actions are.

Stop second-guessing yourself. Trust God and trust yourself.

 

Value or Disrespect

 

sassysayings56I don’t mind giving advice, but one area that I hate to give advice is in the area of dealing with abusive people, especially mentally abusive bosses. Some of the stories I hear infuriate me and the boss can be so terrible that I find myself wanting to punch them! But I would never do that and that would not be my advice to you either.

I don’t want to ever advise anyone to give up on anything, yet, I struggle telling anyone to stay with anyone who treats them like crap.  I want to fight for what is right and I like working hard for what I get. I get a kick out of the struggle. In fact I have a saying that reads “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it”.  I believe in tenacity, diligence, dedication and hard work. If you want something out of life, you got to do your part. One of my mottos could be that  diligence pays off. Yet, I want to tell the person who feels inadequate because of the actions of another person to leave.

It is easy to sit in a chair and write pretty advice.  It is easy to say what you should do once I have crossed over my own challenge of having to deal with a nasty boss.  So I won’t write the pretty advice but I will be straight up with you.  If you have a boss who is mentally abusive, who depresses you, dishonors you, disrespect you and you don’t think that person will ever change, leave.

That’s my advice. Leave.  Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”, and I agree with her. That lady was one wise woman.

You see I have had wonderful bosses who were positive, supportive and saw to it that I was developed and given opportunities. I have also experienced cunning and unethical bosses too. I have never, ever had a boss yell at me, cuss at me, talk to me as if I were stupid or talk down to me. I think God made sure that I didn’t because I don’t know how I would have handled them in my early years.

I have told you on many occasions how destructive words can be.  When you stay with a person, whether that person is a spouse, friend or boss, who has little interest in uplifting you or in making your life better, why are you staying with them? You don’t rely on others to make you happy; that’s not what I am saying, that’s your responsibility.  What I am saying is that disinterest or detachment from you is one thing, but disrespect is quite another.

We stay with spouses and friends longer in bad relationships, because we have vested relationships with them. We do not have that same investment with an abusive boss. I get that it is hard to walk away from a job when you need the money, but it is even harder to walk away from a marriage when one depends on the support of a spouse, but people do it everyday and find support.

I am not saying to just quit your job when you have an abusive or narcissistic boss. That’s a decision that only you can make. I just want to remind you that you are valuable and you are important. It doesn’t matter if you are the janitor or the CEO. And just so you know, even if you are dependent on a person for a job, that does not give them the right to disrespect you.

I can’t tell you what is enough, I can only tell you that you are enough. “For we (you) are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that (you) we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.