Where does this idea come from that we have to be motivated in order to do something? That something is not worth doing unless we feel motivated to do it?

Should we stop brushing our teeth because we don’t feel motivated to brush them?  Or changing the oil in our car?  How do we decide what it is important vs. not when it comes to motivationally motivated actions?

Where does this idea come from that we shouldn’t do things unless they make us happy in the moment?  Has anyone thought about how completely asinine that is?

What if there are things that are very important to do, for unseen reasons, that we will only accomplish through a combination of motivation and discipline?

Self discipline is one of the, if not the, hardest things we wrestle with – yet it is what truly gets things done.  It eliminates the possibility that we will start something and then simply let it fall by the wayside once we get tired of it.  It is something we must force ourselves to use as a tool to accomplish things.

It is not always easy.  It is not always fun!  Sometimes it is very, very boring – and very, very hard!  Sometimes we really don’t want to do it!  But guess what!  Amazing things were not built by laying down a few stones, and then getting bored and getting up and walking away because your back hurts.

Amazing things were built through hard work, discipline, getting up and doing the same thing over and over and over again in order to build!  And you won’t always be motivated!  In fact, some believe that there are things that actually try to intentionally stop you from using your gifts and talents to build, create, or have the discipline to keep important routines that make you spiritually and physically healthy because they don’t want you to succeed!  These things want you to be distracted, distraught, confused, or whatever it is so that you cannot fulfill the role that you were actually put here to fulfill.

So, if you don’t feel motivated to do the things you know you are supposed to be doing… Think about the word “discipline”… and the actions it takes (from you) to keep that alive! Consider your values and your goals, and whether or not a little bit of strained effort to maintain discipline in your actions might be worth it in the long run!


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Goals Are Dreams With Work Boots On.

How do you make things happen? How do you ACTUALLY bring a dream into reality? I was advised by someone wiser than me once, when lamenting that I just “didn’t know what to do”, and wasn’t “sure if what I was doing was the right thing” – that if I didn’t know what my goals were then I would never know if what I was doing were the right things to get me there!

In addition to that – often our goals or dreams for ourselves are not always the “right” goals or dreams. Why? Because they are based on our own limited perspective of the world from the bubble around our heads.

For example, when I was about 4 years old – I remember having 2 very specific dreams…one was to have a castle built entirely out of Cheetos, and the other was to own the perfect pair of life size hot pink high heels with a giant plastic rose atop each toe bed just like the ones my favorite Barbie doll had.  Clearly, my goals at the time, while they truly felt like next level achievements to me where I was at in that moment – in retrospect, were not exactly dreams that were truly worth committing ever valuable time and precious dedication to achieving. And so, I never did.

In contrast, a little later in life, when I was about 6 or 7 – I had a goal (not a dream) to start my own business and make some money. But instead of sitting there simply visualizing this and wafting in my own fantasy for a while, and then coming out of my lovely vision with a sigh, thinking, “Gosh….it sure would be neat to be able to do that.”, and then going on with my day – I instead got to work.

I sat down and thought, “Ok, what are the steps that I need to do in order to make this happen? First, I’m going to need some paper. [To make a list] Then, I’m going to need cleaning supplies [Mom]. Then, I’m going to need customers [Neighbors]. Then, I’m going to need employees [Sisters]. Then I’m going to need a list of prices and advertising [Paper in Mom’s desk and colored pencils].”

I sat at the kitchen table, and while I drafted my rainbow colored list of services – made a game plan to go door to door without cleaning supplies first, and tell all of my customers about my services, and show them the prices. Then I would make a list of people who wanted us to come clean. Then I would go back to my house and gather cleaning supplies for my cleaning appointments and bring my sisters with me to help execute the plan.

And THEN…key step: I actually did all of the things on my list of steps – we did a few minor cleaning jobs for our very kind neighbors who probably thought we were just too cute while removing all of their breakable items from reach before we came over to clean…we got paid – and there was the birth of the first business and the achievement of a goal.

Goals change, as people change, and life changes – but I think one for sure key to figuring out whether you are on the correct path or not, and to truly making things happen – is first of all getting counsel from those who you trust the most in order to evaluate whether your goals are correct and worthwhile – and secondly…put work boots on your dreams by forcing yourself to look at what the ACTUAL steps are to achieving your goals. Are your current actions in line with achieving those goals? Or are you procrastinating, sitting around waiting for them to become reality? Contrary to popular belief, it takes much more than creative visualization to bring an idea to life. Action is required, as is honesty with yourself.

Also, its ok for your goals to change. As our perception of reality and our values shift, so do our goals. I think a lot of people feel confused about where to look for the right perception, or the right ‘values’ in order to be sure they are on track with the right life goals… kudos to those who are at least asking those questions – for they are that much closer to the truth.

So, don’t give up your daydream – but make sure your daydream has a nice, good, strong pair of work boots ready for it to wear when its time to get to work (i.e., become a goal)!



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Stronger, Easier, Stronger

What if life never gets easier?

What if life stays hard? Like…really hard? What if the bunch of roses we were sold when we were younger,

“It’ll get easier, don’t worry. It’ll get better, don’t worry”, is in fact, 100% complete and total lip service?

REALLY?? Its not going to get easier? Oh man, I don’t know if I can do this… Another 20, 30, 40, 50 years of this level of 24-7 rock climbing? Ummmmm…yyeahhhhhh, if I could just switch on over to Planet NotEarth within a couple of hours here, that’d be greeeeaaaatt…thanks.

But wait! There’s more!

What if…life never gets easier. Life stays hard.
It doesn’t really matter whether or not it gets easier – because what happens when hard things occur in life? Or in everyday life?

What happens when you are in the gym, and you lift a size weight that is heavy enough that you struggle with it? Its uncomfortable, it can be painful, the more reps you do and the more you push yourself to do just one more rep. You repeat this process several times over the course of a month or so, and then you add more weights and start the process all over again.

One day you decide to go light for a day just for kicks and you skip back down to the size weights you started with when you first began lifting. And what happens?

They are SO FEATHER LIGHT that You have to CAREFUL not to lift them too swiftly, lest you accidentally shot put them across the gym and knock someone in the head!!

Holy crap! These were SO HEAVY the first time – it sucked! It was painful, and you didn’t know if you could even lift them! It was terrible! You thought, “Why am I even here?? Working out is hard!” But…

You built strength.

The weights didn’t get lighter. They weigh just as much as they did the first time you sweated and struggled underneath them. But over time, you built up the strength and endurance to not only reconcile with them – but in fact, your capacity moved beyond their ability to condition you any further. You graduated. With more muscle! Better blood flow! Greater strength!

It is the same with life.


Will continue to be hard. Always. But if you are willing to persevere, and press ahead, you will become stronger. And those situations that used to feel impossible, will become eventually much more kindergarten level. You may even enjoy them, eventually!

DISCLAIMER: This does *not* mean stay in an abusive, unhealthy or toxic situation… Know the difference between a functioning situation and a non-functioning one. Do not confuse the value of perseverance with the wrong belief that you should persevere in ANY situation…because that is not true – and that will indeed keep you stuck.

However, when it comes to life in general – use this analogy to remember that it is STRENGTH, cultivated strength, miraculous strength, or any other kind of strength that will make life feel “easier”. Not life itself.

…Sometimes it is really the contrast or the opposite of something that will show you the true answer.

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Let Yourself Be Wrong.

You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when someone calls you out on something you’re doing or have done… that really uncomfortable and kind of slightly claustrophobic feeling like you almost want to jump out of your skin? Its hard to keep looking at them while they’re talking because your fear instantly grows that their critical words might keep being right?

This is very different from times where someone is criticizing you and you genuinely disagree and believe them to be missing the mark – or when someone is using their criticisms to be controlling or manipulative in a calculated way (i.e. people who constantly “blame” or “guilt” you). What I’m talking about are the times where you can feel an uncomfortable spotlight shined onto you and you kind of have an inkling that they might be right. It is a very fine line, actually, and important to know the difference between manipulation and truth – but I think that we often can by the feeling in our body.

That uncomfortable feeling when someone brings up something that we KNOW we have done before and that perhaps many other people before this one, whom we trust, have brought up and shown us this thing before. We’ve already gone over this with other people, and we know that there is a possibility that maybe, just maybe – this person might be right.

Its hard to let go and take responsibility for ourselves – and to change the things that we do that simply are not good.

But in these situations, if we can just let ourselves be wrong, and try to listen to what this person might be telling us – especially if this is someone we love and trust – its a really great segway into really changing some of those character flaws.

The hardest ones, the deepest habits, take a huge willingness to hear criticism, and, if we can identify it as coming from a genuine, concerned and caring place…we should probably listen.

And let those considerations crack us open, stun gun our egos…and really look at ourselves.

We are always improving…but in order to do so, we have to humble up and listen.


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Words Can Be Weapons

Words can be weapons.  Words can be wise.  Words wielded unvetted can compromise…

…your relationships.  Your job.  Your integrity.  Your self, and your life.


It has been said that words were used to create the world.  To create the entire universe…


If this is true – perhaps each word that we speak is incredibly powerful.  Or can be…

Even thoughts are words…and audible words are thoughts being spoken.


Words can kill someone’s spirit.  Words can be used to tarnish someone’s reputation…sometimes forever.  Words can be used to uplift, to energize, to express love. And words can be used to twist, to create chaos, and confusion.


Many people use words for ill purposes consciously…and these people cannot truly feel.  For if they could, they would not be able to handle the gut-wrenching sadness that comes from knowing that you hurt someone with something that you said.  The pain of watching how one hurtful phrase could completely transform someone’s entire view of *themselves* …  into one of shame, self-doubt, sadness, and worthlessness.  All it takes is one thoughtless sentence.  One self-centered slip of the tongue.  And that person you shot out at, while they may try to hide it to save some pride – is struck with a sick, black arrow, dripping with bane that has sunk itself into their heart and their perception of themselves.

You may not have meant to – because perhaps you weren’t really thinking about it – but your words can crush.  It is a terrible realization for those of us who easily feel other people’s feelings…but even for your average, everyday “feeler” – it can be crippling to realize how negative words affect another person.

While others may use this knowledge to their advantage – knowing exactly the right words to use, or not use (silence) to manipulate, groom, orchestrate or control the situation or another person to their liking…and indeed it truly can be used for intent to emotionally conquer another…those of us who have seen this happen, or have had it happen to us, I think have an even more comprehensive understanding of how this all affects us and others.  And perhaps we are even more keen to a hyper-awareness when we, ourselves show any inkling of having a negative impact on another person in the same way.

To crush another person’s soul (which may sound dramatic, but that really is what is happening!) with our words because *we* are too careless or *we* are too impatient to stop thinking just of ourselves for five minutes… is absolutely tragic.  The impact of your words may linger for days, for weeks for months, or for years.  Your words might have an impact on that persons entire perception of themselves, of their life, of their reality, etc.


Choose your words wisely, my friends.  You have the power to hurt or to heal with them. If you are feeling impatient – just stop.  Don’t say anything.  Its not worth it.


You can’t take your words back.


You can apologize. But the damage is already done.

Be careful.  Use your words to heal, to uplift, to encourage, and to instill kindness.  I think it takes more discipline than the greatest kung fu master there ever was…

to stop yourself, regardless of your hurry, your situation, your feelings, your frustration…….and think about what you’re going to say before you say it.

It is important to speak the truth as well – but it is about how you say it.  If you are going to deliver a message by cutting another person down, then your message is worthless.  And their feelings become a thousand times more valuable than your tactless delivery.


Be wise – slow down – and think before you speak…it will always be worth it.



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Not my plans

When your plans for yourself are not what has been planned for you…you must surrender.  You must surrender to the fact that you are not in control!  We really think we know what is best.  What is best for ourselves, what is best for others, what is best for the world, etc, etc, etc.  But the reality is that there is (clearly) something far greater that has a much larger hand and influence of arrangement over some of these circumstances.

Not only that – but if *we* were in charge of everything that happened to us…where do you think we would be?  Would we make all of the right choices for ourselves?  How would we know what lessons need to be learned?  And would we create circumstances to teach ourselves those lessons?  I think not.  Most of us would likely create a reality based on our perfect image.  Keyword – our perfect image…not necessarily the image that is perfect for us.

What would that look like?  For a lot of people, it would look like nice clothes, the fanciest bag, the sleekest car, the nicest house, the best of friends, the perfect job where we get to exercise all of our greatest skills and talents (although, what would be the point of that if everyone else is living their perfect life too and have no use for our innovation or creativity?), and whatever else you can think of to create a life of glorious content.

Think about this.  This goes down a rabbit hole rarely explored.  And one that should be looked at if we, for a moment, think that we are in charge here…

I can recall a time in my life where I flat out refused to listen to the voice tugging at me, saying, “This is wrong…No…go the other way,” for years, in fact!  I was so convinced that I *needed* to make the choices I was making and was so fearful of the unknown abyss that awaited me on the other side if I were to listen to that nudging voice, that I forced myself to stay in and try to nurture situations that were absolutely wrong for me.

I must have believed to a far enough extent that *I* knew better…that my choices for myself at the time, instead of stopping…asking…listening…and in a sense, surrendering to trust that I would be shown the next step if I only went in the direction I was really being guided (a direction I did NOT want to go in because I was terrified of what might happen to me if I left my comfort zone, which was ironically incredibly uncomfortable!) were the choices I should make.

Welp, here’s where it gets really fun.  Regardless what *we* think is right for us – we will ultimately be ushered into the place we are supposed to be, whether that is with our enthusiasm or against our will.  And that place we are ushered to…will be more right for us than anything we could have ever dreamt up or planned ourselves.  Doors will open.  We will meet people we never thought we would meet.  Miracles will happen.  Circumstances will arrange themselves in a way that only a true artist of creation could facilitate.  Beyond magic.

Of course thats usually after the natural disasters happen that completely reshape our landscape…but I think once we go through a nice enough volcano explosion of reality-reshaping – the lava covering all and hardening to form a crust that eventually grows beautiful lush, tropical foliage… after pulling what we thought we knew from our fingertips…we learn to listen.  We learn to listen, and we learn to trust.  We learn that we are not in charge.

There are always subtle knowing messages of guidance that come often in the form of a very small, muted voice…or a feeling in our body…or just a general “sense” of something. But when we’re fearful, those cues usually are not enough to sway us.  We hang on for dear life to the swinging vines above that lava…instead of heeding the rumblings of the mountain ahead of time.  And we will always be given a second chance.  Life is regeneratively forgiving, and wants us to thrive and be successful…but we can help this along, and in the end, be more available for others and to truly serve our higher purpose if we will allow ourselves to be guided.  If we will try to listen, know that we don’t always know best…to ask for those answers and to be shown the right way…it will always open up.

I didn’t choose my path.  I finally surrendered, and allowed myself to be guided.  This time, by the right thing.

I don’t have time for you.

Too many, too many times have I spoken harshly or been impatient with others because *I* am stressed out, or *I* don’t have the time to slow down, or *I* am just so focused on myself that other people seem like foreign obstacles dotting the tunnel vision of my busyness.

Too many times do I feel my heart break as I respond a little too coldly to another person’s kind or innocent question. Times when I feel overwhelmed or overburdened, or worried, or the like…that I speak unkindly out of fear that I’m not going to get to where I’m trying to go, or that things aren’t going to get done, or that things might not turn out the way I wish that they would, or if someone does something that bothers me.

It is these times when I know that I am too focused on myself, and not focused enough on trusting, being patient, and asking myself how I can make someone else’s day a little bit brighter? Making the effort to respond with kindness and enthusiasm when you aren’t feeling 100% up to speed is not easy. Many times, it feels impossible. But think about how the following 2 scenarios affect our own day:

Scenario #1:

You’re a cashier at a gas station, and the patron at the counter is buying a soda. You’re in a pretty good mood, and you decide to smile and ask the patron,

“Hows your day goin? Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?”

They respond quickly and sharply without even looking up.

“No – Not really – I’m moving.” Their tone cuts your inquiry into a a few large shards that fall quickly into a heap on the floor. Your mood instantly plummets and you feel hit with their negative energy, a little stunned, and as they walk away, you feel a wave of sadness and wonder why you even put yourself out on a limb to ask a stranger a question about their day in the first place.

The patron was in a hurry, feeling rushed with many worries on their mind…which of course you didn’t know, and only felt the aftereffects of their self-centered carelessness.

Scenario #2:

You’re walking down the street through a section of town saturated with young, homeless vagrants. They’re dirty, dressed in shades of gray and all sitting in collective pairs or heaps on the corresponding street corners. As you walk by, you hear one of them call out,

“Hey! You’re beautiful!“.

Their words, because you are feeling drained and tired – instead of hitting you like a kind compliment – hit you like an energy suck. A hungry arrow that has struck you from a person who wants your attention and has disguised their ploy for it in the form of calling out something flattering to you.

As you keep walking, wrapped up in yourself, your thoughts, and how this is affecting *you*, decide to turn around and explain to the young man that his compliment is not appreciated. His eyes light up as you approach him, until you open your mouth…

“Hi.” You say, “I just wanted you to know that when you yell stuff like that out – it doesn’t feel good. It feels like you’re trying to pull at me, and I’m just trying to walk down the street…” You expect him to understand, or ask a question, or learn something from this and hopefully not impart the same terrible fate upon another victim “just trying to walk down the street”.


Instead, a wave of shame comes over his eyes… and a strain of sadness that he attempts to hide, but you don’t think you’ve ever seen before…


“I’m sorry..” He says, quietly, and looks down – while his friend sitting close by is half smiling like a panting dog – trying not to laugh.


Your work is done there, and so you straighten up, and walk on – thinking “they’ll thank me later”.

But the further you get down the street…the more a red wave of that sadness you felt in the boy washes over you. And suddenly you feel his pain and are filled with the realization that you’ve made a grave mistake.

He wasn’t trying to pull at you. He was a homeless kid sitting on the corner, who saw a beautiful girl walk by, and thought that maybe if he could shout out and remind her of how beautiful she was – that he would make her day better.

But you assumed the worst, just because you were tired, or in a bad mood. You crushed him. And his attempt from his lowly position at the foot of a stop sign to make your day better. Because of your self-centered attitude, you successfully ruined someone else’s day and put a tiny dagger in their heart.


These are the thing we don’t often think about. When we cut someone off on the road, when we speak in a harsh tone to people we love, when we act impatiently in any way towards others…When we allow our self-centered reality to be what dictates how we treat other people…

It really is cause to hang our heads and ask ourselves why? And how? Are we going to change this… What are we going to do to condition ourselves to be graceful…kind…patient…loving…selfless…and true to what is right. We aren’t perfect and it isn’t always easy – but we can try. We create new habits by changing our old ones and conditioning ourselves to behave better.

But first we have to want to.   And we have to be willing to try – to turn our train on its rusty tracks sometimes over and over again until success – even when its painful or our fragile egos writhe with resistance…

to ever be the way we are really meant to be.

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The Prodigal Daughter.

Why is it that we are so affected by the actions of our parents? Why are so many of our choices, actions and perspectives shaped by the actions of our Moms and Dads? Many parents want to believe that their children won’t be affected by the things that they see, or experience growing up. That any fights, breakups, financial worries, or personal turmoil will fly over the child’s head invisibly – instead of penetrate them deeply.

The hard fact is that parents are just like us. They make mistakes. They are human. They try their best, and their best isn’t always good enough. And our later decisions can truly be shaped by the experiences we have with them.

The one tool I have found to combat any sadness, tragedy, or disappointment is a little thing I like to call – forgiveness. Forgiveness with a dash of compassion. How else should we – also imperfect creatures ourselves – remedy the occasional resentment of the imperfect nature of those who raised us?

I put my parents up on a pedestal, growing up. And the times they have fallen, my disappointment was great. The weight of their mistakes weighed on me with a heavy complexity whose purpose took a long time to understand. I didn’t realize at the time the greater purpose that would cross generations and cause me to make certain choices that would in turn affect the world around myself.

After all, it was never up to me. All I had were the tools that I was raised with. My family instilled into me tools, values, and certain character of which I often wonder if would have come naturally or not. And when the sky fell in my family, those tools and qualities remained steadfast – built into my core, I guess. Yet, slowly I edged a little further and further away from anything that resembled how I saw my parents… Was it because their mistakes had caused what they taught me to lose its meaning? Was it because I thought that perhaps if they were wrong, and I did the opposite of what they told me was right – *I* would be in the right place? I’m not really sure. But I definitely began to lose touch.

If you’ve ever seen Back to the Future, where Marty’s brother and sister slowly begin to disappear from the family photo as Marty’s time travel into the past begins to affect whether his parents would meet or not – and in turn be able to have those children in the first place… I think the same thing happened in a different way to me as I tried to shape my future actions around being the opposite of what my parents taught me as a child. Only this time – I was the one disappearing.

My sense of self, instead of being shaped around the values I was raised with – such as honesty, loyalty, honor, goodness, kindness, patience, love, and the like – I began looking to other things to give me a new set of values. And where did I look to find these? Well, out in the world of course! Values galore, a Disneyland of values where anything goes and everything goes, any shape size or pattern you might want, you can find ‘values’ that suit your fancy any which way. Any and all being perfectly acceptable, too – nevermind whether or not they are good for you or the rest of humanity.

It felt liberating to have “control” over my own life, and to be able to “choose” what *I* wanted to do or not do…after all – *I* knew better what was right for me than anyone else…right?

I mean, whats more freeing and righteous than being without boundaries, judgement, rules, a set path, etc.? Shouldn’t we all be able to explore for ourselves and go “find out” what is really “right” for us? .

Its funny how when you tell a kid they can eat whatever they want for dinner, they choose ice cream every time. He ends up a lump on the couch with sticky brown all over his face, clutching his stomach!

But wait! He was “free to choose”! He enjoyed every moment of it! It was his dream come true! This child should be allowed to choose to eat whatever he wants for dinner EVERY night! Right…?


Are we at all the same way?

Why was I taught to eat vegetables and protein at dinner? Granted, not all children are taught healthy eating habits and some may even be taught to eat the ice cream… But for those of us who did have good or moderate instruction – we were not just being taught by people who had nothing better to do than try to impose their self-attained knowledge onto us for the sake of validating their own egos. We were taught these things based off of years of our own parents going through trials and tribulations that shaped their worldview and cemented treacherous life lessons into cliffnotes gold.

Unfortunately, this gold often sounded like stern lecturing.

In reality though, we were being given a gift that we may not have valued at the time…and that we may not have even valued recently – still stuck in the mindset that we know better, or that they just don’t understand. And perhaps with some things those are partly true – but the overarching truth is that the values, character traits and lessons that we were given precious time to glean in our early years under the guidance of our elders (if we were so lucky to receive these things as many are not) were given to us as tools to keep as we moved forward out of the protective shelter of home and out into the world.

I feel like I’ve “left home” many times, and each time I set out to find out for myself what the mystery was all about. Or whether I could carve out a path for myself based on what I thought was right. And some of the most shocking moments of my life have been, and likely will continue to be – finding out that what I thought was right based off of the worldly experiences that I had – were completely wrong, and in fact leading me down a road that was more than just bumpy…it was going the wrong way. There’s a reason that when we ask for advice, we turn to our most trusted advisors – the wisest, most experienced souls we can find. And we must then combine their counsel with the underlying, knowing feeling in our gut…whatever that may be.

Whether you are a spiritual person or not – anyone can see that moving about in this world puts all of us in the firing line for all kinds of things that may not be good for us. And we may indulge in those things, whatever our weaknesses may be, time and time again – be fooled time and time again. But if we are willing to even entertain the possibility that perhaps…we don’t always know best? And perhaps… some of those things that we were taught held more merit than we have at certain times been willing to see… It might actually save us from stepping into a deeper hole set more invisibly in front of us than we’ve anticipated.

When you come all the way back around, sometimes in a manner that mimics brushing death down the path you thought was the right way – full circle – where you’ve seen all you need to see to realize the strength in family, love, tradition, and in the things that you left in search of a “better” life – you have a gratitude and a thankfulness to be alive that cannot be expressed in words.

Our parents, elders, and cherished mentors are not perfect – but humility and forgiveness allow the values and lessons that they’ve attempted to impart upon us – to help our own paths be straighter and be remembered when we are making decisions in life. As much as we may want to look at our parents as “knowing” less because they’ve made mistakes in life…it doesn’t make the message behind the values they’ve tried to impart any less real. And it is that, that we can look to for guidance – into a place far more knowing than all of us put together.

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It’s an interesting thing, this “me” business. Has anyone noticed an overwhelming trend lately of “self love” exercises, mantras, self help books, seminars, step by step guides, sayings, classes, songs, rituals, proclamations, life coaches, and more? Has anyone else noticed a trend of people telling other people things like this:

“I love myself!”

“You should love yourself!”

“Don’t you love yourself?”

“Learn to love yourself!”

Or speaking about someone in a negative context by saying things like,

“He doesn’t love himself…”

or, “She just does not know how to love herself…” to explain things like depression, sadness, or self-destructive behavior?


To go out on a limb here – I am going to ask a question. Why does everyone accept these things without analysis or scrutiny? Because it sounds good to say “love yourself”.

Whats wrong with love, right?? Who on earth could be against love? Love is the greatest thing ever created! Love is the most revered thing in the world!

Well… here’s a question. What if, things that we call “love” are not really love?

When someone says, “love yourself” – what do they MEAN by that? Do they mean take care of your body? Brush your teeth at night? Buy yourself nice things? Hang around with nice people who treat you with kindness?

It seems to me that many people seem to believe that they are at a deficit of some kind – and that unless they do very very specific things – that it means they don’t “love” themselves. People stand in front of the mirror doing exercises where they look at themselves and say over and over and over for 5 minutes – “I love you.” As a way to condition their own minds? Or to hopefully slowly rebuild something that they are missing? Wait a minute…

No, seriously – just wait a minute…

Why is this valued and held as such gospel? Is it really that bad to not think incredibly highly of yourself? Honestly! Because the last time I checked – that was called HUMILITY. I’m not talking about self hate here. I’m talking about humility. A state where you start at a kindergarten level by acknowledging that *you* are not the center of the universe (I know, a radical thought this day in age…). That YOU have many many flaws and likely always will! Why is this important? Because it is the opposite of narcissism.

Narcissists refuse to see their character flaws. They may pretend to see them…but they never actually want to change. If they could live their entire lives being the center of the universe where everyone around them caters to their personality, desires, and demands…or even better, where people worship them – they would! Now, how does this relate to us? Oh, yeah, the whole self-love thing…

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with loving. If that means we love ourselves, great. But when we start spending all of our time OBSESSING over “loving” ourselves, thinking that learning how to do this is the entire purpose of life, paying a life coach hundreds of dollars for their E-Book, and figuring out all of the ways in which we can put ourselves first (?), do everything for ourselves first, set aside time every day to repeat mantras to neurolinguistically program ourselves into a state of “self love”…

Is that edging closer to the slide that goes down into the public pool of narcissism, so to speak? Is that time we could be spending doing something nice or helpful for OTHER people? And if we chose to do the latter, how would that affect the overall state of things?

Similarly to how, when you say you love yourself – it doesn’t really matter what you say, if you aren’t DOING things that reflect that statement… When we say we love other people – if we aren’t DOING things to reflect that, are we really being true to how we say we feel? Is that love?

These are all just questions…

Mostly meant to encourage us all to really take a look at what we are spending our time on. What we are spending our focus on. What our goals are for our activities… Are they all self-serving? Or are they positioned to serve…?

Is one of these better than the other…?

Thats a question you’ll have to ask yourself…and then pay attention to the feeling in your gut that happens immediately following your answer.

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Clean Your Windshield.

I liken driving (especially a long distance) with a dirty windshield to what its like to live a life under an unhealthy influence of alcohol.

Yeah, you can “see” out of your windshield. But during the day your view is through rounded streaks of dirt, smeared bugs, and fogged dust collected that just gets spread around when you try to spray your windshield cleaner. At night, lights bounce off of the streaks, creating a glow that won’t allow you to see clearly down a dark road. Ironically, at night – when your windshield is dirty – the more lights that pass by you or are around you – the less you can see!

How is this like problematic alcohol use? If the two were genetically related, they’d be fraternal twins. When you use alcohol to numb your feelings, to cure boredom, to qualm emotions, to feed cravings, to adapt socially, to escape – you are creating a shield over your eyes. It is a very subtle shield, and you can see through it – but it filters and skews your vision. Most people don’t realize this when they are in its grip, whether they be chained to it with heavy industrial steel links – or simply tied to it by a feather light, sterling silver jewelry chain – alcohol’s trophy wife or husband. This chain is deceptively binding, though it will convince you over time that not only is it easily breakable – but that you’re not even wearing it at all.

While under the spell of this “chain” – your eyes see things not as they are. Your perception views things through the lens of alcohol – even when you’re sober! This is a very hard thing to describe, and may be hard to believe – but once you’ve been back and forth on either side enough times, you begin to see. Your windshield is not clean. Why? Because you’re driving and you’ve collected gunk? No… Its because your wiper blades need to be replaced. (Ok, you can laugh at this last sentence, but it is true!).

Even borderline problematic alcohol use degrades your wiper blades, cuts them, depreciating them instantly so that no matter how many times you try to wipe – they simply will not clean the windshield. They swipe back and forth, creating further streaks and lack of visibility. But by that time, the alcohol has made you too lazy to get up, drive to the auto parts store – and buy a new, fresh pair. You’ve been stung – lightly paralyzed, complete with background audio telling you – “Oh no, its fine. You can see ok! Its dirty but…I don’t want to get up. I can’t get up. Its so far to the store. I’d rather sit here and use my old wiper blades.”

And so you stay. You stay where you are – too paralyzed to move, too anxiety filled or tired or whatever the alcohol has convinced you that you are to prevent you from getting up and changing the record. Its got you. And it doesn’t take much.

How are your decisions affected by this? Well, for one – in many cases you think that you want completely different things than you would if you did not drink alcohol. These can range from small life decisions, to relationship and friendship choices, to the activities you choose to fill your time with, to what you spend your money on, to making larger more big picture life goals take on a much more faraway, vague and less thought out version of themselves. Secondly, you are willing to put up with many stagnant and/or unhealthy things, behaviors, patterns and people than you would if there was no drinking. But the most dangerous one, in my opinion, are situations that we completely convince ourselves are ok over long periods of time through the numbing of our true gut feelings over and over with either small or large amounts of alcohol to the point where we actually start to believe the lies that we tell ourselves because we are scared.

I think that any situation eventually will untie itself that is not meant to be, no matter what we do to try and hold it together – but regardless of this – there is still all of that time that we wasted in that situation. Again – its all a lesson, and it can all absolutely be turned into good… But what if we could just take that giant leap and make the right choice? It will likely feel no less terrifying than solo base-jumping off of a cliff for the first time (with a parachute!) – the difference being our jump off of this mountain built by lies, self-medication and delusion will be by far less risky. In fact, it may be the thing that saves our life.

Stop. Get up. Be afraid. Stand up. Take that risk. Make that decision. Step off that cliff. Get in your car. Drive to the auto parts store. And buy yourself a new pair of wiper blades. And clean your windshield.

Ohh life is so much more authentic with a clear view. Imagine what you could do if you could really see! And how much differently you will enjoy the ride.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.