Tag Archives: present

Gratitude

Gratitude is something that has been on my mind of late. In the past few weeks it has come up in conversation with a good friend and most recently with my family. So it’s only fitting that my blog post be about gratitude.

For the last few months I have been taking time out each morning to write down in my journal what I am grateful for in my life. The following are the most prevalent;

~ my children
~ my health
~ a roof over my head
~ food on the table
~ having my parents here with me
~ being loved
~ gift of life
~having genuine people/relationships in my life

I feel like in this day and age we forget how lucky we are to have what we have. Life is busy in general. I understand that. Add into that mix media, social media and consumerism and we begin to stop to appreciate and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with.

One thing I have been trying to work on is teaching my son gratitude. I know I want to nurture him in a way to appreciate what he has and to learn that life is not all about receiving but also about giving. This week I happened to have found a plastic bag in the mail from a charity foundation asking for books, toys and clothes. Together with my son, we chose some toys and books he no longer plays with and some clothes he had outgrown. We placed them in the bag and I explained to him that there are children who are not as lucky as he is and that passing his toys, books and clothes onto them will make them very happy. I think if we want generations to come to be grateful we need to start now. What will you do or what do you do already that reminds you and/or your family about being grateful?

Prior to making a decision to write down what I am grateful for in life, I would often look at experiences in my life and either feel sorry for myself or I would think that I was being punished by God for something wrong I had done in my life. I now realise that life is a blessing and our experiences whether good or bad make us stronger in some way. We all have some struggle we are going through in life but we need to focus on the positives and look at what good has or will come out of it.

Things that I am trying to master nowadays to live are life filled with gratitude are as follows:

~ Try to focus on what I do have not what I wish I had
~ Instead of asking for things, I thank God for what he has already given me
~ Surround myself with people who appreciate me as I not only believe in giving but also in receiving
~ Focus on the good in my life, not my struggles
~ Continue writing in my journal and to also get my husband and son on board

What I would like to ask of you all is that each day remind yourself of the basics you have been blessed with. We have all been blessed with the air that we breathe. We have all been given the gift of life and that in itself is the biggest blessing. Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and be grateful for having your eyes to see the world you live in, the ears you have to hear with, the mouth you have to eat and taste with, the arms you can touch with and the legs you have been given to walk with. Be grateful.

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‘When you know better, you do better’ – Maya Angelou

For some reason, this week has been a week for reflection. In particular one damaging relationship I had when I was 19. I had met this guy who was 27 and who was a close friend of my cousin. We met at party and it just so happened that the cafe he owned was across the road from where I was working while attending university.

On the night of the party, he asked me to come into his cafe on my lunch break and so I did.  From that day I felt that we had a connection and I felt that I was attracted to him. My visits became regular and we started seeing each other more often. Since I was 10 years of age, my parents always told me to be honest and forthcoming with them, especially when it came to boys. So the time came to tell my parents that I was in a relationship with this person.

Mum and dad didn’t respond well at all. They had heard of his bad boy reputation and they made it very clear that they did not want me involved with him at all. But of course I thought I was in love and I pretty much begged my parents to let him come over and rather then make a judgement based on other peoples opinions, I wanted them to make a judgement for themselves.

The first time he came over my parents were impressed by his mannerism, the respect he showed and how easy he was to talk to. My younger brother was far from impressed and told Me immediately.  I was blinded by love and I felt protected, safe and loved. What more could I ask for?

Three months into our relationship things began to change. First it would be comments like ‘why are you wearing a short skirt? Only prostitutes wear those’. So my skirts became longer. ‘Why are you wearing such bright colours?, That is not classy at all’. So I began to wear black only. ‘Your too skinny, you need to eat more’. So I began to eat whatever he asked me to. Then came ‘You don’t need your friends, you have me’. So I began to ignore my friends and eventually I was not even allowed to answer their calls without his consent. I interacted less with my family and I became so distant from everyone and I would barely utter a word.

This relationship went on for a year and a half and for a year and a half I was drowning in self hate, fear and embarrassment. On the outside my life looked like a picture of bliss. Everybody thought I was happy, in love and had an amazing life with an amazing guy. Little did anybody know that I was screaming for help and I had never felt so depressed and lost in my entire life. I had lost all support around me. I no longer had friends and I couldn’t go to family as I thought they would say ‘I told you so’. I had fainted several times at work and when the ambulance would be called, I was told it was stress and anxiety. I no longer recognised myself when I looked in the mirror.

Then came a day where he had asked me to call him at 9:15pm. I was laying in bed after a shower and just happened to dose off. I woke up suddenly and looked at the time frantically….it was 9:16pm. I called him and he could sense the fear in my voice. He called me hurtful names and was adamant that because I didn’t call at 9:15pm as asked I didn’t care about him or our relationship. He hung up on me and would not pick up his phone despite my numerous efforts to speak to him and ‘fix’ what I had done.

Mum entered my room. She looked at me as I sat there crying and she cried with me. She turned to me and said you have to leave him. Look at you. I don’t even know you anymore. You are not the daughter I know and love. I looked at her said ‘you are right. I know what I have to do. I’m going to leave him’. Mum gazed at me with some hope, hugged me and walked out of my room.

The next day, he came to pick me up to talk about the incident that happened the night before. I told my parents that I was going to break up with him and not to worry about me. I jumped in his car and off we drove. I turned to him and said ‘I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t be with you anymore’. I couldn’t believe I had the courage to say those words. In an instant he turned into a monster. He began yelling at me and making me feel guilty for giving up and not fighting for our relationship. He then went from angry to outraged. He began to threaten me and when I tried to get out of the car he put me back in and locked the car. As I screamed for help he covered my mouth with his hand. I kept crying and begging for him to take me home and he wouldn’t.

After and hour of begging and crying and screaming for help he drove me home. No one was home and I didn’t have the key to the house. So we sat there waiting and waiting for my parents or brother to come home. Forty five minutes passed and that entire time he was begging me to give him another chance. After hearing the begging for that long something inside me was thinking maybe I should give him another chance. He has never been so sorry and forthcoming before. Maybe I do mean something to him. Maybe I was making a rash decision. As I was thinking this I hear the words come out of my mouth… ‘Ok, I will give you….’

Knock, knock….knock, knock. That is what I hear on the car window. I turn and my brother who happened to be driving past home with his mate had see our car parked and wanted to see if we were ok. I looked at my brother and said ‘I’m ok’. He says ‘cool, I’ll be home soon, I’ll see you later’. I look at my boyfriend and he says to me ‘what were you going to say?’ I said ‘nothing…we are over. I can’t do this anymore’.

God was definitely looking out for me that night and gave me a second chance that second my brother knocked on my window. Shortly after my parents arrived home. We both got out of the car and I told my parents our relationship was over. I broke down, ran inside and left my parents standing outside with my ex-boyfriend.

Mum and dad walked in the house and saw me sobbing hysterically on the couch. My dad got down on his knees, kissed my hand and said ‘thank god I have my daughter back’.

I spent years after ending this relationship blaming myself and calling myself stupid for allowing someone who I thought loved me treat me like this. It wasn’t until I heard the saying ‘when you know better, you do better’ that I was able to let go of the blame I was putting on myself, the guilt I felt towards my family and friends and the regret I had for entering this relationship in the beginning.

I now see what happened to me as a second chance at life. I knew if I had stayed in that relationship, I would’ve ended up dead. The things I have learnt from this experience is;

– I won’t hold myself hostage to my past

– I was foolish, but I was given a second chance

– it’s never too late to change and repair the damage that has been caused

– when I blocked out my family and friends, it was a result of the pain I was going through not a reflection of who I really was

– my life is my responsibility and mine only

– what matters to me is now, the present

– I have accepted what happened, I have forgiven, I am at peace and I have let go

– I look at this relationship as an experience, not a regret

– I am a better person, more focused and stronger because of this relationship

If you have anything in your life that you have been through and you continuously punish yourself for it or have kept it a secret you need to stop. Stop and remember that you can’t change the past. You did what you did because that’s what you knew then. You are not the same person today because you have grown and you now know better. Let go, be free and live in the moment.

We all have a purpose in life

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I am sure this is a question we were all asked from a young age.  In  primary school I wanted to be a hairdresser.  In high school I wanted to be a lawyer and by university I wanted to become a criminal psychologist. While completing my university degree in social science I started working in retail. Five years later I was still in that same retail position.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I definitely didn’t want to be a criminal psychologist anymore and I didn’t want to be in retail long term either.  Later on when I commenced work at Bang & Olufsen I created some wonderful relationships with clients.  I would visit their homes as part of the customer service provided by Bang & Olufsen and we would eat and drink together and discuss everyday life issues together.  The long hours became difficult but I knew I wanted to stay in the customer service area so I found a job that dealt with clients but not face to face.

After four years in my new job I fell pregnant with my son.  I became a full time mum and three years after having my son, I fell pregnant with my daughter.  During this time I met many new mothers and made many new friends.  The entire time I was often told ‘you are a great listener’, ‘I feel so much better after seeing you’, ‘You are so positive to be around’, ‘I love you, I am so glad to have met you’ and so much more.  After four years of being on maternity leave I decided that I would not, could not go back to my 9-5 job. I made a decision that I was going to continue to be a good listener and I was going to help people in some way.  That’s why I loved being in retail and customer service positions.  I loved listening to peoples needs and I loved helping them meet their needs.  I have always had an immense passion for health and fitness (mental and physical) so I have made it my mission to further study physical and mental health.  I know listening and helping others is my calling in life.  It’s my purpose in life.  I truly believe we all have one.  We might not know it instantly but at some stage in life you will know it, you will feel it and you will be drawn towards to it.  You just need to be present, be alive in the moment and the universe will deliver.

 

‘I believe there’s a calling for all of us.  I know that every human has value and purpose.  The real work of our lives is to become aware.  And awakened.  To answer the call’.  – Oprah Winfrey


Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-Oprah-Winfrey-Found-Her-Purpose#ixzz2sX8Id0Gm