We all have disappointments in life-whether it’s in a job or an experience or a person…or even in ourselves. But how we handle those disappointments really determines the outcome.
Bitterness brings on a ton of unhealthy emotions and feelings that are hard to let go of, especially after a lot of time has passed. What if we took that same energy and applied to being BETTER instead of BITTER!?
I’m not perfect… never have been and never will be. So don’t misunderstand. I’ve been known to hold grudges sometimes or fail to overlook or even refuse to forgive. But when I focus on being better instead of being bitter, there are so many reasons to celebrate.
Here are my Top 3 favorite ways to be better rather than bitter…
1-Service Above Self: yes, it’s the well-known mantra of Rotary International, of which I am proud to be part of, but it’s also much like a phrase you’ve most likely heard your entire life… the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Remember the popular definition of character? Doing the right thing even when no one is looking?
That’s what Service Above Self means to me. Like getting up on a rainy Saturday to serve lunch at the local Rescue Mission or volunteering in the hot sun for a Special Needs Baseball game. No matter how depressed or exhausted or angry I felt when I walked in, I felt so much better about life when I walked out.
2-Choose Your Relationships Wisely: The people you associate with on a daily basis speak volumes about your character as a person. Remember your parents telling you nothing good ever happens if you’re out and about at 3am? Or maybe your mom was like mine – “if your friends jumped off a bridge does that mean you would too?” It’s still true today. If you’re seen having lunch every day with those who gossip about your friends or co-workers, you’ll be associated with them and people will assume you’re gossiping too. Maybe that’s a lame example, but you know what I mean…
3-Smile It Off: As in…that Taylor Swift song “shake it off,” except just SMILE it off! A nice, relaxing, pleasant smile can go a long way in diffusing a situation or putting someone at ease. (And to be honest, it can help you “bite your tongue” when you need to also!) For me, it also helps me to “think before I speak” sometimes-and that is a huge help in trying to be better rather than bitter.
What about you? What advice do you have to be better each day and let go of bitterness and resentment?
Like many of you, the week of July 4th was vacation time for us, some “down time” to relax and recharge. Maybe some of you are doing that this week. Take advantage of the opportunity when you get it. I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard for me to slow down. And even on vacation, I worked every single day. But I can do that from my laptop and hey, I still gotta pay the mortgage so….
But when the post office opened on July 6th, I had more than 40 items ready to ship out from my Ebay store that sold while I was on “vacation.”
Vacations are important for a lot of reasons – a chance to spend time with family and friends, visit historical sites, catch up on a book or tv series, or just simply, to rest! And while I always make time to work while I’m away, I also make time to rest. According to many professional sources, relaxation, rest and sleep (I’m still working on that one) are vital factors to not only your physical health, but also your mental health.
I know many of you are a lot like me – you go, go, go, go…. until you just can’t go anymore! Then it takes a few days to recover once you give out. I’m trying to do better.
If you’ve ever heard me speak (or seen ANY of my posts on social media), you obviously know my history as a contestant in the Miss America Organization. I affectionately use the term #HasBeenBeautyQueen to describe myself, and honestly, I don’t use it lightly.
This past week there were more than a dozen state pageants around the country to select contestants for the 100th anniversary of the Miss America Pageant which will be held later this year. I loved watching the updates online, and we even tuned in Saturday night to watch the Miss SC finals online. Pageants, like everything I guess, have changed a lot over the years. But I’m grateful for the opportunities I received from that experience.
Where else could a young woman learn the value of competition (both winning AND losing), earn scholarships to pay for her college education, learn how to nail a job interview AND develop enough poise to jump up immediately after being knocked over by a football player on the sidelines during a live television broadcast? That’s right… nowhere else other than growing up as a “pageant girl.” Additionally, I met friends who are still part of my life today – THIRTY years later! (Wait – how is THAT possible??)
Some may criticize pageant competition, and I’ll be the first to admit all pageants are not created equal. But isn’t that also the case about most any activity, group, business or person we interact with on a daily basis? So why do we criticize something (or someone) who has different interests than us? The same reason we are critical of people themselves who are different than us. Usually because it makes us uncomfortable or because we simply don’t understand it.
This week, will you join me in researching some activity, group, person or organization that you aren’t already familiar with and see what you can learn. Maybe it will reinforce what you already know. But maybe you’ll be surprised by what you learn. Select a religion, a club, a person, a group of people, a sport, an organization – just something that may be already in the news but you aren’t involved in.
I’ve seen lots of posts & articles criticizing folks for their sentiments today – things like “Happy Memorial Day” or “Enjoy your long weekend!” Obviously we need to be more thoughtful and respectful of today’s holiday. It isn’t just a “day off” or even just the “unofficial kickoff to summer” as so many of us celebrate.
Most of us do actually know this is a day to honor and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country – those fallen soldiers who served in the US military, either at home or abroad. Yes, we know it. But yes, we fail to honor it as much as we should. At least most of us do.
So today I’m asking you to do something simple, yet so important…REMEMBER those who have given us these freedoms and liberties that we take advantage of all so often as citizens of the United States. REMEMBER those who laid down life and limb on behalf of people they aren’t related to and never even met.
After that, it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy the time you get to spend with your family and friends. To RELAX with those you still have in your circle and REJUVENATE so you can go out and spread happiness or make your mark on the world. If all we do is shoot fireworks and grill hotdogs, are we really honoring and REMEMBERing these important servicemen and servicewomen?
In Rotary, we are #PeopleOfAction who want to create lasting change around the globe and here at home. Isn’t that an ideal way to REMEMBER these heroes, by continuing their legacy of making the world a better place to live and work?
I’m not from a military family (y’all know… I’m a preacher’s kid!) so I don’t always know the appropriate things to say or do. But here’s what I do know… how to say REMEMBER the countless soldiers who have given their lives on behalf of our country, how to say “thank you” in a prayer of thanksgiving in their memory, and most importantly, how to pray on behalf of those still serving our nation that their families will not be REMEMBERing them next Memorial Day.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” What are you doing today, this weekend, or next week to change your future? I have a long list…
One of the things on my “to do” list (aka my “daily agenda” for those who have been following me for a while!) was to start a podcast surrounding my (not-so) famous line “Find your passion, and make it your purpose.” I finally got around to doing it as part of my #50for50 in honor of turning 50, but I decided to make it a “vlogcast” instead so you could see my conversations with all these amazing folks!
In this new series, I look forward to introducing you to people who are changing the world through their beliefs, actions, careers, volunteerism, families and more…
My first episode features HALF of my conversation with my friend Tara McClary Reeves. Yes… HALF of our conversation. What can I say? We are both talkers!
I’m so grateful to Tara for spending time with me recently to share so many wonderful stories – you may recognize her father, Lt. Clebe McClary – and if you haven’t yet seen her lovely children’s book about growing up with Clebe as her father, I hope you’ll purchase your very own copy!