Worry About Yourself!

Little Girl photoRecently a short video was being shared over social media that caught my attention and that of many others. It featured a little girl who couldn’t have been more than two years old trying to buckle herself into her car seat. Her father, who was recording her, asked patiently if he could help her and in reply she told him very sternly, “Worry about yourself!” Their exchange went on for a bit with her continuing to refuse help and repeating her admonition.

The video was cute and gave me a laugh, and reminded me of another very strong-willed little girl that I know, and I continued to think about it for a while after I watched it. I couldn’t help but think that she was giving some very telling advice. Worry about yourself!

How often do we find that we are concerning ourselves with what others are doing rather than focusing on ourselves? Maybe we’re gossiping about the latest antics of the Kardashian family or one or more of the housewives of whatever city. Maybe we’re speculating about the financial or marital problems of a friend or acquaintance. Maybe we’re trolling the internet or social media and spouting our opinions about news, politics, parenting, or any other subject that we consider ourselves some sort of subject matter expert. Meanwhile, we’re neglecting our own families, or own finances, our own relationships, and even our own health and well-being. We try to make ourselves feel better by relishing in the misfortunes of others, trying to live vicariously through our children, and wasting our time and energy where it doesn’t belong.

Let’s take a few moments and give our own life the consideration that it is due. Are we doing all we can to live a fulfilling life? Do we handle our business and make sure that all is as it should be within our own household and family? What could we be doing today to improve? What kind of an example are we being to others? Today, let’s make the effort for ourselves instead of giving our energy away to others who have no real effect on our lives and in the words of one very wise little girl…..”worry about yourself!”

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No News is Good News

MH900414035The other day a friend of mine asked me if I had seen a news story on the local channel and then caught himself and said, “Oh that’s right….you don’t watch the news.”  We laughed about it because it’s been a topic of conversation several times before.  While many people like to keep up with what’s going on, I prefer to stay in the dark.  Why?  Because I find so many of the news stories sad and disturbing.  While I understand that the stories are basically informational and telling me what is happening in my area, in most cases I prefer not to know.  Yes, I know that being informed that there has been an increase in home invasions in the area would be good for me to know because I can be more vigilant about my personal safety.  Most of the stories, however, merely make me feel sad or upset–stories about pedophiles who have been convicted, parents who abused a baby and are facing their day in court, a young man who was shot in the street.  Knowing about these stories doesn’t enrich my life.  Instead, that knowledge brings a lot of negative energy in.

Perhaps I should be more aware of the news of my community and particularly the rest of the world.  I feel, however, that most of what is being reported is of no significance to my current reality.  My priorities in life are contained to a very small sphere and my day-to-day concern is to ensure the safety and happiness of myself and those around me that I love and care about.  Besides, I have grown to believe that we are given too much information on any given day.

What do we do with all of the information that is presented to us every day?  In many cases, we worry.  We see what is happening in the community, country, and the world, and we worry.  We think that the world is falling apart and humans in general are doomed.  Are we right?  I don’t think so.  News stories are broadcast 24/7 that incite fear in us about one thing or another.  I have always found it interesting when people say that “in this day and age”…..you can’t let your kids out of your sight, you can’t leave your doors unlocked, you can’t trust anyone…..take your pick.  I have a newsflash for those folks.  It has nothing to do with the times that we live in.  Human beings have always been guilty of perpetrating crimes and unsavory acts against one another.  We as a people have an extremely violent history.  In fact, the day and age we are living in could possibly be the least violent in human history when you study our past and understand the atrocities that have taken place over the centuries.

So what is different now?  Why do so many of us feel that this is a new problem?  Because we hear about it now on a global level every single day.  News used to be more local.  If something happened in another part of the country, people were unlikely to hear about it.  As national news grew, more stories were reported but only within a narrow scope because the evening news only had thirty or sixty minutes to fill.  Now we have countless news outlets that have to fill 24 hours of every single day with news and information.  We are on information overload and most of it is not good.  So while we may feel that the world is becoming a worse place, the fact is that we are just hearing about more of the bad things that are going on.  We hear about all the child abductions and sexual abuse cases and we think that this is a new and growing problem.  It is not.

I wonder what it would be like to have a news outlet that reported nothing but good news?  How would we feel then?  Maybe inspired, empowered, and have a sense of hope that there is still some goodness in the world.  When the bombing occurred at the Boston marathon, while the main story focused on the perpetrators, many found inspiration in the stories of the victims who showed so much bravery in the face of serious and life-changing wounds.  I believe that we long for those stories in our lives.  We need them.  They remind us that while there are some people in the world who do bad things, the good far outweighs the bad.

As for me, I think I’ll just keep avoiding the news…..

Fear of Committment

engaged couple holding on hands - view from backside

What is it about us today that makes us so afraid to commit?  You may think I’m talking about relationships and marriage….and that’s part of it….but beyond our romantic relationships, we seem to have a genuine lack of commitment to one another these days.

Have you tried to make plans with some friends lately and got an answer something like “I’ll try to make it”, or “I’m not sure what I have going on”?  Have you sent an invitation for an event with an RSVP lately?  Good luck with that!  Like me, you may find this incredibly frustrating, but it seems to be the norm anymore.  What ever happened to saying “I’ll be there”, and then actually showing up?

I find it interesting that we will commit to our jobs every day and we will commit to our kids’ and their activities, but we will not commit to each other.  Why?  Have we stopped valuing our relationships?  Have we lost respect for each others’ time?  Are we so self-absorbed in our own lives that we are unable to be there for one another?

Maybe the real culprit is that we are always looking for something better to come along.  If I commit to a relationship with this man or this woman, what happens if I see something I like better?  What if I tell my buddy who has been down on his luck lately that I’ll hang out with him Saturday night, and then I find out that some friends are going to the local hot spot for a fun evening?  We somehow feel that we’ve missed out rather than being satisfied with the decision we made and committed to.

I’ve always been a big believer that people do what they WANT to do.  If something is important to someone, they will make time for it…make it work…do what it takes.  Period.  I once knew a man who stood me up multiple times for dates, yet he would never keep a client waiting.  That told me all I needed to know about his character and what truly mattered to him.  I think we can apply that thinking to all of our relationships, whether they are romantic, friendships, or professional contacts.

As Dr. Phil has been known to say (and no, I don’t normally quote Dr. Phil, but this is a good one), “We teach people how to treat us”.  Lets start demanding more from one another, and lets start giving the people that we care about the respect that they deserve.  If we can’t do that for one another, perhaps we need different friends and lovers.  And if we have someone in our lives that we know we can always count on no matter what, lets let them know how much we appreciate and value that trait because it truly is becoming a thing of the past.