Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rewarding One's Self in Keeping With Your Effort....

All positive efforts deserve a positive payback which validates the original effort. For instance, in growing a vegetable garden or fruit trees, your reward would be the healthy literal "fruits" of your labor. The freshly sliced tomato, the ripe peaches, or even the glass of wine.

We could take this theory in another direction by citing the rewards benefited from losing the weight you needed to and then going out and purchasing beautiful new clothes for your beautiful new body (then bump it up a notch and get a few accessories!). In yet another direction, you could use the example of the personal rewards received when after working very hard and diligently to be a good parent for many years and then seeing the glorious outcome of a well adjusted and loving individual that you can now present to the world on their own. They, in turn, becoming even better parents/people than you.

All these labors come into fruition with the final results you had hoped and worked hard for, in it being a gift in itself. But be careful: you should always be mindful of your rewards as to not to undermine your original effort and in doing so start an unhealthy cycle.

Let me refer to the weight loss example first. You should never reward yourself with the object (or habit) that got you into trouble in the first place, like going out to gorge on a large meal to "celebrate" the new you. All this does is place the unhealthy importance on food that you have been trying to psychologically ween yourself off of while taking the weight off. If you want to go out to dinner and feast, pick another reason. Otherwise, you are just undermining your original efforts and will eventually fall right back to day one when you looked into the mirror and decided that you had to make some changes and that a long road lies ahead.

As a parent, you may think you are doing a great job by making up for your inadequate or dysfunctional childhood to one extent or another but too many times I have seen this parental behavior/style backfire in the form of overcompensating and spoiling, resulting in a child who becomes one who feels entitled and unsympathetic to the world around them. This is not good on a generational level.

I find it most fulfilling when your rewards come full circle. These experiences will be more whole and complete. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment while being grateful at the same time. In these accomplishments you will be able to share your wisdom and nurture others in their own personal journeys. Another circle. Another connection. Another smile shared in deep satisfaction and self fulfilling love.

Note: All photos on this post are some of the Rewards from my gardening!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Unconditional Love for Your Family Does NOT Give Them a Free Pass to "RIGHT"

I was fortunate enough to be raised by a family where being honest with one another and speaking our minds was natural and encouraged. This in no way means that being so made us disrespectful of one another, it was actually quite the opposite. It has brought us to a point where we are all very close. We are not afraid of calling each other out on any subject. Talking things through, we all feel very comfortable and at ease with each other. There are no secrets or skeletons, and our deep love and affection for each other is quite evident. We know that we are all unconditionally loved by each other. We feel safe.

We also know that this affection does not give anyone of us a free pass for being right. We never make excuses for one another because we are related. We don't put up with any kind of disrespect nor would anyone of us even think to do anything to each other without the best intentions in mind. If anything, we expect more from each other because of our close relationships.

I share this with you, dear reader, because of all the pain, anguish, resentment, and excuses I have encountered with others' family issues. It is always unsettling to me when I see someone putting up with some form of major dysfunction, in one way or another, because they are "family".  Making excuses for their bad behavior because they are "family". Biting their tongues because they are "family". Accepting their abuse because they are "family". Enabling them in one way or another because they are "family".

Our family members have in them the greatest capacity for the love that surrounds and nurtures us. They also, in turn, have the greatest capacity to hurt and destroy our spirit. We expect more of them because they are family for they also have the power over us cause feelings of great disappointment and sadness.

If you have no other choice but to be in the presence of family members that are hurtful and/or disrespectful, you must approach them in a way that is true and honest to yourself. If confronting them on an issue is the answer, please do so. If totally avoiding them is possible, please do so. If worse come to worse and cutting then out of your life entirely is the only healthy way for you, then please do so. I do not mean to seem callus. This is not my intention. My intention is for you to not allow anyone to make you feel badly about yourself or the ones you love, even it they are family. Like I said before, you should expect more of them and no less. If you come to the realization that they are not capable of showing the love and respect that you deserve, then you can no longer find yourself capable of accepting their warped sense family. This madness stops with you.

Free yourself from these unrealistic bonds. Be true to yourself and set a positive and empowered example for your children, other family members, and friends. You deserve to be loved unconditionally in the right way!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Today's Gift 6/5/11: The Cherry Tree

Oh the Cherry Tree! Besides it's beauty, it is there to replenish my thirst as I drive my mower underneath on a hot Summer's day. The sweet yet sour taste is a welcome refuge from the heat on a sultry afternoon here in Northern Virginia. I will be forever grateful for this glorious masterpiece given to me by mother nature.