Likeable

Growing-up, I never thought I assessed my worth by outside affirmations, until my ninth grade English class. Assigned a seat next to the new boy in school, I wanted to make a good impression. No girls, it’s not because I thought he was cute. My parents had drilled the idea of always using good manners.  Yet, from day one, this kid despised me.

After he called me a “know-it-all” under his breath for answering a teacher’s question, I never spoke again unless the teacher called on me. When he complained that I smelled, I brought extra deodorant to school and ran into the bathroom to re-apply before English class every day. When he wrinkled his nose and said my frizzy hair was getting all over his stuff, I began pulling my “frizzy” hair back into a ponytail before class. It didn’t matter what I did or said, nothing made this boy like me—or at least lower the level of disdain I saw whenever his eyes met mine.

One day, when I’d had enough. I caught him after class and asked, “What did I do to you?  Why don’t you like me?”

He shook me off and said, “Look in the mirror—you’ll figure it out.”

I did figure it out—allowing this boy’s judgments to dictate to my actions was stupid. I can’t change who I am. This realization liberated me from the many snide remarks I heard from him in the years that followed.

Unfortunately, in this life, not everyone will like you. Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh. But the only person who really counts, is the one staring back to you in the mirror.  When you choose to accept and love yourself as you are, nothing and no one can drag you down.

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Recruit for the battle of life

It’s not wrong to desire and work at strengthening your inner self. No one can answer that ever burning question of what makes up you—but you. However, we are not meant to live this life as solitary creatures, nor is it weakness to lean on others from time to time. Trust me, those who know me will tell you I’m a pretty strong and opinionated woman, but even I can’t do this whole living thing alone. Really, I have no desire to do it alone. By letting others into your life, their support can become like bracers for your own. For those days when you just don’t know what to choose, others might be able to offer you a different point of view, which might lead to greater clarity. When it comes to making choices, greater clarity is never a bad thing. Yes, there are those that might not have your best interest at heart, but that is still not a good reason to push everyone away. It takes time to weed out the bad and create solid friendships around you, so start now. You want those friendships forged before the crisis comes.

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Wishing will never be useful

Nothing you want in life happens by accident. The singer you revere on the radio, the movie star you love to watch, that incredible athlete everyone talks about, those people didn’t get there by accident. Success, however you want to define yours, will never be achieved by hoping for it. A sacrifice is always required, whether it be physical or emotional, those who reach their goals gave up something. So when you’re setting all those New Year’s resolutions, go beyond the wishful thoughts of things you want to happen in your life. Take a moment to consider what you are willing to give up to achieve said goal. The more you are willing to “bleed” for your desires, the better your chances. The path of least resistance is littered with mediocracy. You’ll find the harder path far more satisfying in the end.

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A gift worth striving for

This Christmas give yourself a gift beyond measure. Forgive those who have wronged you. Not just for the day, but forever. Let it go, the anger, the hurt you’ve been lugging around. It’s expending far too much of your focus and energy. The “let it go” part is the most crucial. Burying it only until “next time” isn’t forgiveness at all. And you won’t experience the freeing power that comes from truly moving on. If what I ask seems too unfair for what has happened to you, remember you are not perfect. We all have hurt others, whether by omission or on purpose, being forgiven is the only way to ease the guilt of our actions. But we can’t control others, only ourselves. So start from within, and I promise the power will spread throughout.

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If you are wise, frenemies need not apply.


Being a young adult is a glorious time that fades far too quickly, a time when most experience some of their greatest joys and sorrows. Some choices made during that time will affect you not just for tomorrow, but for years to come. For me the best thing I ever did was surround myself with friends stronger than myself. These kids knew who they were, what they wanted out of life, and weren’t willing to sacrifice those desires for anything or anybody. Their strength and motivation not only cocooned me from the turmoil of poor decisions made by other youth, it drove me to want more from my own life.

Be careful of the friends you chose. They are far more powerful than you might realize.

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Our desire to make everything fair brings psychotic consequences

I fear this post might be seen as offensive, but there’s a truth behind it that has weighed heavy on my mind for days.

Many in society believe that to be fair everyone should be winners, especially children. We would be monsters if we allowed them to experience the heartache of rejection, right? After watching a dress rehearsal this week for a talent show in my son’s elementary school, I can no longer go along with that narrative.

The tryouts they held were pointless. Only twenty acts were supposed to make the cut, but, in the end, no one was. The show now had almost more than double the planned acts.

I did my best to keep a neutral expression throughout the dress rehearsal debacle, but a few of the acts were truly horrendous.

Other adults in the room praised the fairness of the situation. “Isn’t it great?”

Are they insane? It’s all I could think.

Why in the world would you allow a kid to go up on the stage, knowing they were completely tone deaf or had zero rhythm? For the sake of this blasted fairness these kids would be showing a major lack of talent in the area they had chosen to perform for the entire school. How could they not see the ridicule coming?

It wouldn’t be coming from me or other adults. We’ve learned to clap and smile, trying our best to help our kids find confidence in the dreams they wish to pursue. But most kids haven’t gained that filter yet. There’s a good chance the awful ones will get laughed off the stage. And how can we blame those kids in the audience for doing it? It’s an honest response to what they will witness. If the adults in charge had just stuck to the original twenty acts stated before the tryouts they could have saved these few kids from embarrassing themselves. Sure, other decent acts would have gotten cut too, but that’s okay. In real life, sometimes you’re not going to make the cut, even when you do your best.

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Unbelievable!

Well, it’s wrestling season and my youngest is crazy, so I have to share another sport/mom moment. Let me just preface this by saying it’s really hard for me to watch my children wrestle. There’s always an anxiousness that grips my muscles every time they go out on the mat. I often feel like I’ve been in a car accident when I slip into bed after a tournament. Always stuck in the bleachers, I can’t help but yell the few moves I do know. I’m the mom—I want to help them succeed. And this is really the only thing I can do for them. Well, my ungrateful little redhead didn’t see it that way this last weekend.

He tore through the tournament, beating the first three opponents he faced off against with ease. Then we come to number four. This one’s fairly matched in technic and strength with my son. It’s a tight match, so my yelling increases. It’s not like a make a conscious choice—it’s a gut reaction to the building stress inside me.

My son, in the middle of a move looks up at me and yells, “Be quiet.”

“Don’t talk to your mother like that,” says Dad, who is coaching mat side.

This back and forth between my son and husband goes on for most of the third period. At one point my son gets rolled and yet he keeps talking to my husband about how I’m distracting. I’m distracting? How in the world are you wrestling and talking at the same time?

That little booger ends up winning by points anyway. His antics left everyone in the crowd around me laughing. I was not amused. So much for karma showing my son how powerful a cheering mom is.

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