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How to Learn to Let your Light Shine

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” — Alain D. Button

 Swiss-born/British writer, philosopher, television presenter and entrepreneur, Alain D. Button was truly onto something we he said the above quote. If we are constantly developing and learning as human beings, when we look back at all we did not know in the past year, we will be struck by how ignorant we were. Conversely we should be proud of all we have learned in the past year, how we have developed and grown. As long are we are learning, we are growing. When we stop learning, or being open to learning new things about ourselves, others, the world world around us, then we become stagnant.

One of the thing I am most embarrassed about , is that I dimmed my light to encourage another to shine. This has taught me a valuable lesson.

As a human, I want to encourage others. I want to help others see their potential, raise self esteem and help build them up. And it’s not completely altruistic either, it makes me feel good as well. But what I started doing with my last ex boyfriend, was to dim my own light so that he felt better about himself.  This, in retrospect did not help either one of us.

For example, we went hiking at a local spot called Amicolola Falls and had a bet – whoever could hike the longest would win. He was 51, 12 years younger than I. We hiked up and down the stairs 3 times, and while both of us were tired, I knew I could go several more times. I was a healthy 39 year-old and a runner, so I was good. But his ego was very fragile, he had a big ego and I thought he might have trouble dealing with a girl who could beat him so badly. He was a very sore loser.

So when he suggested we race downhill, and the first one to the finish line would win I agreed. He was 5’11”, had long longs and a long stride that I knew would better handle the very steep down hill slope while running, than my short 5’2″ frame. He started off fill speed, while I lightly jogged down, letting him win. I knew it was important to him, so I pretended to be slower.

The result was pretty disastrous. It was not a great evening that I had after loosing the bet, and he was not kind. The whole time bragging how he beat me. He needed a weaker woman in order to feel more like a man. I never told him I let him win, and I should have. actually, I should not have let him win in the first place.

He was a math major in school, and prided himself on his mathematical prowess. I do math in my head, very quickly. But I found myself pretending not to know the answers in order to let him feel like he was superior to me. I pretended to be a lot dumber than I actually was, so as not too offend him. When I did correct him, he would get offended. I should never have dumbed myself down.

Why? Because what I have learned since is that if you have to pretend to be weaker, or not as smart, or less that you are for someone to like you, you should not be around them. Regardless if you are a man or a woman, regardless if the other party is a man of a woman, the people who care about you should celebrate your strengths, not be threatened by them.

It is not my ex’s fault, it is mine in that instance. I should never have pretended to be less than I was to boost his self esteem. While I do believe it is our responsibility to be kind. compassionate and build each other up, you should not do so at your own expense. Shine as bright as you can. Those who love you, will be proud of you, they will love you even more for how smart and capable you are. Don’t worry about those who don’t.

What happened to the ex? One of the many reasons he is an ex is because he could not handle a strong woman. He needed someone he could dominate, and indeed there are plenty of women out there who want or need to be dominated. I, however am not one of them. So he went off to find a more suitable partner, as did I.

But when I think back to that relationship, I am embarrassed about how dumb and weak I was willing to pretend to be. No wonder we did not work – I was not honest with him about who I was, and that wasted time for both of us. I was so busy trying to be his “ideal partner” that I forgot part of who I was – a smart capable strong women. And when I could not fit that mold any more, the real me came out, the relationship came to an abrupt halt, because he did not know who he was in the relationship with. He had the impression that I was a person he could walk all over.

So moving forward, I know that I am a very strong woman, and I need a very strong and secure man who can deal with me.

Lean from my mistakes, and never dim your light so another can outshine you. The result is neither one of you truly shine to your potential.

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How to Respect Yourself in a Relationship

Madonna sang about it and made it famous. Respect Yourself. Go for what you want and need in a relationship and don’t settle. Pop songs can rarely be applied to real life, but maybe the singer was onto something. When you are in a relationship, how do you respect yourself enough to not loose yourself? How do you know where that line is that should not be crossed?

Aside from the obvious – no physical abuse, no criminal activity – sometimes defining just how to do this can be a bit tricky, even for a feisty red-head like me. And when you really care about someone, it can be easier said than done. But basically it comes down to this: Respect yourself.

If you don;t respect yourself, then why would anyone else. No one will respect you any more than you respect yourself. Have standards. Love should not hurt and someone who loves you will not do anything to hurt you intentionally. Have pride in yourself and walk away from anyone who tears you down, makes you feel bad for wanting to be treated well, or makes you think that you do not deserve to be respected. A person who loves you will not disrespect you.

If you are in a relationship, you are going to hurt each other at some point, that is par for the course and part of the deal. Respecting yourself though is not about the occasional spat or even cross word. It is not about who left whose dirty socks on the floor or squeezed the toothpaste tube in the middle. It has to do with being treated at a certain level – as a human being. Girls, if the man you are with lies about something (like when his divorce is final), he will lie to you about other things.Respect yourself enough to not allow him to lie to you this way. Hold him accountable for not only his actions but his words, and walk.  

Forget about second and third, and 100th chances. and ut’s not your job to try to understand them or why they are mistreating you. It’s not your place to make excuses for them. You are not the jerk whisperer. Nor would you ever want to be.

If he says he loves you, then you find out that he is seeing other women, he doesn’t love you. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better. Don’t settle. Walk out the door and know that nice people, normal people, do not treat others in such a cruel and damaging way. If he balks at the fact that you have called him out on his bad behavior, if he doesn’t like you knocking on the door when you catch him cheating when another car is in his driveway or you find messages on his phone or such, then walk. You deserve better and there are too many wonderful, kind and amazing men out there to settle for someone who is so uncaring that he would let others suffer.

And some people think that if you care about or love someone, that that gives them the right to mistreat you. No it does not. No matter how much I love someone, I will not let them mistreat me. Period. And if they try to mistreat me, they will quickly see this little red-headed girl put down the law in a matter of seconds.

So chin up, and respect yourself to know that you deserve someone who treats you with kindness and caring, someone who means it when they say I love you, someone who doesn’t cherishes you and makes you feel like you are the only girl in the room. And know that, just like Calvin says, normal people do not destroy other human beings.

So what does Madonna have in common with Calvin and Hobbs? Now you know.

Unconditional Love

There is such a thing as unconditional love. And when you love someone, I have always believed that a part of them will always be in your heart. For this reason, I have always tried to end relationships on a nice note and with a hug. The fact that these two people walked the Wall of China, to meet in the middle and give each other one last hug before never seeing each other again, is beautiful. What an amazing, loving and respectful way to handle when a relationship comes to an end. Relationships never have to end in an ugly or dramatic way…but of course it takes both to make that happen.

This is such a beautiful vidoe and it will make your day.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

After Your Dreams Come True

We work hard, all of our lives to reach our goals. We set them, we have dreams, we do what we can to make them come true. And certainly that is the case with me. I have worked, so hard, sacrificed, fought tooth and nail, set goals, burned both candles at the end, struggled and tired, failed and succeeded. And here I am, standing at the red rimmed edge of my dreams. They are right here, right before, right within reach, I can see them, feel them, smell them.  I have accomplished my dreams.

But now, as I look around, I wonder…now what? What do you do when you accomplish what you set out to do? What do you do when you have attained your dreams? It is truly magnificent, and I am happy. Life is wonderful and good, and I have to pinch myself evetry day to make sure I am not dreaming. I have accomplished it. Finally!

Now what?

Well, for certain I shall enjoy all the fruits of my labor, years long. And there is still work to be done, but the hard stuff is over. all that is left is to enjoy all the seeds I have sewn. But yet I cannot help but wonder what shall I do next?

OFr some of us, we never stop learning, never stop reaching, never stop growing and discovering. I want to always be doing something, always have a goal. So next is to set new goals, new heights which to soar. I am my family to keep settled, as right now they need me. And I will be there for them. Nothing bad will come to them, not on my watch. But beyond that, what do I want?

That is one of the keys in life – define what you want and go after it. And asI look around I have all that I want except one thing: Love. That four letter word that has illuded me all these years. That is what I want.  And I have so much of it already, in my family, in my friends, in everyone around me. But I want that best love, that last love of my life. I want someone with which to share this wonderful life I have been blessed enough to have. Someone who will be my best friend and confedant, and I theirs.

I want someone who needs me, and someone who will be OK with me needing them. It is a unuversal need, to be needed. To know that what we have to offer is beneficial to those we love.

And so it is, that I start my wonderful, magical journey to find that love. I am seeing a wonderufl man already…will he be it? I dom’t know, but I sure intend to find out. Wish me luck!

Dreams

I have long said that I beleived that if you work hard, have faith and beleive, that your dreams will come true. Hard work and perseverance truly do pay off. And Now, during this time of my life, it is truly paying off.

I have struggled, I have been so very poor, I have worked all night and all day, I have cired so many tears, a river of tears, an entire ocean. I have known the pain of being too tender, had broken hearts, felt each piece break one heartbeat at a time, I have liad down next to love and woke up with lies. I have beleived the wrong men, men who knew too much, men who knew too little and man who didn’t know at all. Men who were late, early and men who never came at all.

I have tried with all of my heart and soul. I have stayed awake at night, unable to sleep or watching over those I love. I have krept out inthe morning, stayed too long, beleived when I knew it was wrong, taken calcualted risks that worked and some that didn’t. I have failed, so very hard. And I have fallen, so very hard, for him. And I have wondered, at night when the stars are quiet.

And I have known his footsteps as he nears the room, his smell, his looks, his everything. And I have known all of them, too well, too little and closed my eyes when I did not want to know. I have been a friend, a lover, a sister, a girlfriend, a fighter, a believer, a worker, an liar, a truther. And I have held my own heart, wounded, bleeding, beating. And I have put it back together. I have taped, banaged and bandaided my faith and belief in others.

And I have tried, so very hard.

And here I am. Finally. My dreams are coming true, both professionally and personally. Thank you to all who believed, to all those who faollowed, all those who cheered and rooted. Thank you to alal those who booed and hurt me too. For you too motivated me and made me better, though I may have not known it at the time.

And now, as I sit at the top of this huge, trechurous mountain, I see that the view is wonderful, beautifu. The air is clear and clean. And as I have have sweated, my heartache comin goout of my pours, dripping down onto the Earth, I know that every minute was worth it. I have Peace, and I have Love.

It’s all worth it, in the end. Every minute, every second, every moment.

My Best Valentine

I really don’t usually celebrate or make a big deal out of Valenetine’s Day, even when dating someone. And this year was no different. Please let’s not go out, let’s just stay in, watch a movie and order pizza. And so we did. And it was wonderful.

But when I went to answe the door, he had a big teddy bear that said “Hug me”, a box of choclates and a an amzizng box of chocolate covered strawberries from Sherries Berries. YUM!!!

And so it was, we ate the decadent chocolate covered strawberries, drank wine, watched a great movie, ordered pizza, and snuggled on the couch. Low key, warm, fun and wonderful.

And that is how you do Valanetines, Mari style.