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Tag: perspective (Page 1 of 2)


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves, starting in grade school. In fact, I would argue that words are the most powerful weapon we have access to, and we carry it with us at all times.
Words can be the fixer of all things and can also be the reason someone can’t seem to make it through life. Our words matter, they have meaning, they are impactful, and it is our responsibility to use them wisely.

I recently heard a speech given by Mohammed Qahtani where he stated, “Words have power. Words are power. Words could be your power. You can change a life, inspire a nation, make this world a beautiful place. Isn’t that what we all wanted? Your mouth can spit venom, or it can mend a broken soul.”

I rewatched that speech numerous times, reflecting on moments in my life where words truly changed my trajectory…Times when words broke me down, but also the times when words impacted me so greatly that they are a major reason for my happiness.

There is one memory that I immediately thought of when listening to Mohammed’s speech that changed my perspective on words, kindness, and how the two together can literally change someone’s life.
Several years ago, I would guess about 2018, I met with someone interested in the anti-human trafficking movement who requested a meeting with me. Let’s call her, Jane Doe (I know, I lose points in creativity here, but just stick with me!). When Jane and I met, I immediately recognized her from about 20 years earlier in middle school. When we introduced ourselves and sat down, I said to her, “hey, aren’t you Jane Doe?!” She looked at me, shocked and a little embarrassed/uncomfortable and responded with, “yeah, but how do you know me and know my last name? I haven’t used that last name in a very long time.” I explained to her that I knew her from middle school prior to her moving. She told me she was surprised I remembered her, and she went on to explain she felt unlikeable and that no one really saw her. She then talked about a basketball game she saw me at after she had moved…”Hey, are you the Melissa who looked at me, smiled and waved, and said Hi Jane at that basketball game?”…
After we reminisced on that moment from 20 years prior, we went on to talk about why she moved away and changed her last name, and some of the trauma in her life at that time.

The point of this short story is not to give myself a pat-on-the-back or any kudos. It’s to show the power of words, literally one word…hi. HI. Just simply acknowledging someone with one word made them feel seen, likeable, and a moment worth remembering. We talked about how that moment impacted her, which shocked me, because it did not feel like I did much.
She remembered that moment. We both remembered that moment. It was 20 years ago, and she remembered me, a middle schooler, just smiling and using the word hi. During that time in her life, she felt invisible, unimportant, and abused. She did not have friends or a healthy support system, and simply having someone display kindness towards her with a simple “hi” made such an impact on her life that 20 years later she still randomly remembered some girl named Melissa showing her kindness at a basketball game.

Our meeting, which was supposed to be about anti-trafficking work, impacted the both of us in ways we did not expect, and we were purposefully brought together again. It will always stick with me. We do not always get to know what impact our words have on people and I was grateful for the opportunity to see her again.

Long story short, do not underestimate the power of words. Not only do they convey meaning and purpose, but they are how we express ourselves to others and how we find connection. Each one of us can reflect on many times in which words hurt us, changed our lives, or made us the happiest we could have ever been. It’s important to remember those experiences and understand that it is each of our responsibilities to choose words wisely. Simply saying to someone you love them, are proud of them, care about them, believe in them, or see their potential can change their lives. And apparently, so can simply just smiling and saying hi.

Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts, and hearts move limbs. ~

-keep shining

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Sh*t You Can Stop Apologizing For

  • Standing up for yourself
  • The things you believe in
  • Changing your mind
  • How you feel
  • Not meeting someone’s expectations of you
  • Saying no
  • Eating or drinking how you want to
  • Disagreeing with someone’s opinion
  • Not having the answer
  • Needing help
  • Going with your gut
  • Boasting about yourself
  • Being assertive
  • Taking selfies
  • Sharing your ideas and your opinions
  • For your past
  • What you’re wearing
  • Things out of your control
  • Not immediately responding to a text or returning a call
  • Sending a straightforward email
  • Having doubts
  • Speaking honestly
  • Thinking outside of the norm
  • Setting boundaries
  • Not smiling all the time
  • Prioritizing yourself

-keep shining
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COVID-19, ever heard of it?

What a crazy time to be alive, huh? There are many unknowns, new experiences, unanswered questions, and societal shifts. Everything we are currently experiencing will have a substantial impact on society, and it clearly already has. We are stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. And isn’t it fascinating, and disturbing, how much people’s behavior changes when motivated by fear? The amount of chaos that is felt, uncertainty, and lack of control is enough to send anyone over the edge, and sometimes fear can come out in confusing and unfortunate ways.

It’s an interesting shift for us all right now in many of the same ways, as well as having our own variety of differences…New perspective on our lives, raw and deep conversations, different ways of planning and viewing the world and our priorities. And regardless all of this chaos and uncertainty, I keep coming back to one primary thought and focus; how beautiful this experience is. Literally, an entire world going through the same hardship together. What I have encountered with this pandemic is another level of vulnerability that’s being discovered between us that I have never felt before. It’s created more open and honest conversations with ourselves and those around us. It’s created the ability to witness our communities coming together in powerful and impactful ways. It has taught us to learn technology in new ways and review outdated work policies to create a healthier work environment. And it’s provided for time on our hands we didn’t know could exist.

Of course, we want to be aware of the suffering, confusion, and fear this brings into many people’s lives. And also be aware that not everyone has the ability to work from home, still have an income, or afford the financial burden and additional life barriers this creates. Yet we can also embrace the unique positives this has to offer. COVID-19 has simplified our lives for a moment, it has provided an opportunity to appreciate life, and has renewed our love for the communities we live in…As we have to endure this pandemic no matter our feelings and experiences with the situation, how can we use it to our benefit? COVID-19 is clearly out of our control, for the most part, so what can we do to find the beauty in the experience? We might as well view the positive side too and change our mindset, as we have no choice but to endure this until it subsides.

Personally, one thing I’ve come to realize through this is how little peace I have in my life. I am constantly on the go and distracted with intensity seeping into every inch of my life. I distract myself constantly with my daily routine, not allowing time for quiet or self reflection, or not giving time to things that truly matter in my life. As a human race, this pandemic has forced us to be alone, or constantly be with family, or not work at all or work from home…These situations can all be incredible opportunities if we choose to use them.

What house projects have you had to put off because of work, or quality time you’ve wanted to spend with your family that never seemed to take priority, or hobbies you have been meaning to start or pick back up? What tedious work tasks can you take time to focus on? What are ways you can give back to your community in a time of need? Hint: NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT ALL.
Even though I’m still working from home full time, not having those additional tasks at work, not running around for my daily errands, and not attending social events, there is this extra quiet time during my day that I am taking advantage of…This is simplifying pieces of my life. I even forced myself to binge Netflix the other day without feeling guilty about it, and I’ve never done that before! (Damn you, Tiger King). I also picked up a book I stopped reading, I workout in silence, I spend more time FaceTiming friends and family and discovered I listen better. I’m more calm and go with the flow as everything around us seems to be out of our control, and I see the world a little differently now. I have rediscovered my love for cooking and baking. And as much as I hate running, I’ve been jogging outside and spending more time in nature than I ever had ‘time’ for. I have also seen more teenagers outdoors than usual, and it’s incredible to see the creativity that has been produced through this. Whether projects at home with the family, unique ways to work out, or ideas for continuing to ‘see’ our friends and family, the amount of love, creativity, humor, and community togetherness I have felt is something I do not think we could experience outside of this pandemic. And it is the only time in our lives (hopefully) that something of this nature will occur. There are pieces of this that are pretty incredible, and a rare opportunity to take advantage of…

Think of all the seemingly small things we take for granted and how it is all being put into perspective; running to the store and choosing items from stocked shelves, grabbing a beer with friends, seeing coworkers every day and having a stable job, going to the gym, just breathing without assuming you’re sick, and ultimately living life the way we know it to be. I’m hopeful that all of this helps us become who we always strived to be, whether that’s being more family oriented, or crafty, or facing our deepest fears and insecurities, or calling loved ones more often. Seeing the typically small things for big things right now because it brings us joy, whereas before these small things were overlooked with the busyness of our lives. The beauty of it all is what we can take away from this, if we choose. We can choose to face our fears and potential realities, we will heal and grieve together, we may dream bigger or live simpler after this, and we will move forward and be okay. And someday, this can be a time we choose to reminisce about and think, “what a fascinating and beautiful time it was to be alive”. 

What does this experience create an opportunity for? That is the ultimate gift. 

We are all in this together ~

-keep shining
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Happy Things Thursday

  1. When the sun stays out past 7 pm
  2. The smell of your favorite coffee shop
  3. Waking up without an alarm
  4. Perusing through old photo albums
  5. Reading a book in bed
  6. Leaving a hefty tip for a good waiter/waitress
  7. Sleeping on clean sheets
  8. Long lunch breaks
  9. Discovering a new hobby
  10. Afternoon naps

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