Be Kind

I am sure that most people have seen Disney’s live action version of Cinderella.  I have been thinking about Cinderella’s mantra from that movie, “Have courage and be kind.” It doesn’t seem like much but have you ever really thought about that?

The past couple of weeks I have been struggling.  It is hard to describe, but my whole life I have struggled with low self esteem and non-existent self confidence.  Well, it came back in full force, but this mantra kept coming back.  I have been working at my home yoga practice to get through the funk and taking slow days for meditation to pinpoint how to overcome and conquer this once and for all.  And the mantra came back…it isn’t what I expected.  Many times when I have thought about being kind and having courage it is always an outward expression and action to “be a helper” to those around me. I needed to have courage and be kind to myself.  For real…do you know how hard it is to be kind to yourself, to stop the negative self talk that has rambled in your head for most of your life and to actually BELIEVE that it is NOT true? It is a process for sure.

Something that helped me over the bridge of self doubt was Christ.  It was when I was typing a text to my cute husband after he asked how the day was going (our lunch time check in :)) and I could finally put it into words.  I have a belief in Christ and His power to heal, uplift, and strengthen each person but I realized that although I believed in Christ, I didn’t BELIEVE Christ could do that for me.  I was too broken, to unworthy, to bad of a person, to unlovable, to receive that gift from Christ.  As I was typing it I thought of the little lesson I was able to teach on Sunday.  In my church I get to teach children aged from age 3-11 and my topic was the Atonement of Christ.  Studying the material and searching my scriptures was a needed blessing.  The lesson material talked about a gift and how we can accept or reject a gift when it is given, but it was still a gift for you.  No matter if you take the gift of the Atonement of Christ or not, it is always on the table, and Christ has atoned for each individual regardless of the individuals acceptance.

What a blessing for each of us to have that gift on the table and to not be forced to accept it but come and take it.  I had that gift, but I was understanding that I needed to physically take it, open it, and make it part of me.  As all these things were rolling around in my head, along with the tender love and compassion from my husband, I knew the next step for me was to ponder and pray.  One of the best places I know to do this and to be away from the distractions of every day life is in the temple.  I went on a Tuesday night and it was just what a needed.  In a place of peace and a place where I can tangibly feel my Saviors love, my soul was filled.

My answers to my prayers are not the easy answers that I thought they should be.  They are answers that require work, that require time, and that require me to act on my faith to truly understand.  Truly “kindness begins with me” and it takes courage to be kind.  I am trying to treat myself as I would treat others, which sounds backward but many times we are the meanest to our self and our family members.  I am also moving forward with a great reminder from a man I look up to a lot;

“I believe in His perfection, and I know we are His spiritual sons and daughters with divine potential to become as He is. I also know that, as children of God, we should not demean or vilify ourselves, as if beating up on ourselves is somehow going to make us the person God wants us to become. No! With a willingness to repent and a desire for increased righteousness always in our hearts, I would hope we could pursue personal improvement in a way that doesn’t include getting ulcers or anorexia, feeling depressed or demolishing our self-esteem. That is not what the Lord wants for Primary children or anyone else who honestly sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.”… “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him … ,” Moroni pleads. “Love God with all your might, mind and strength, then … by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.” Our only hope for true perfection is in receiving it as a gift from heaven—we can’t “earn” it. Thus, the grace of Christ offers us not only salvation from sorrow and sin and death but also salvation from our own persistent self-criticism. ” Jeffrey R. Holland

And words from a woman I am trying to be more like,

“Let me point out the need to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. They are not the same. Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth. “God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever.” On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact. As President Brigham Young taught: “The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth … is worth worlds.”No matter what, we always have worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. Despite this marvelous truth, how many of us struggle, from time to time, with negative thoughts or feelings about ourselves? I do. It’s an easy trap. Satan is the father of all lies, especially when it comes to misrepresentations about our own divine nature and purpose. Thinking small about ourselves does not serve us well. Instead it holds us back. As we’ve often been taught, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”We can stop comparing our worst to someone else’s best. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Joy D. Jones

We are all a work in progress and although I don’t know why this has always been my struggle, it has made me into me and I am learning more and more about what God sees in me and what I can truly be with Him.

One more thing on kindness.  I know that I need to be kind to myself but I also need to turn that kindness outward, especially with all that is happening in our world right now.  What is that song, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.” Love and kindness.  Kindness is love that is tangible!  I end with a quote by Mr. Rogers one of my very favorite people in the world,

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.” Mr. Rogers

I want to be courageous! I want to be kind! I want to be a helper!

I am courageous! I am kind! I am a helper!

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Two for One Time

Okay, I wrote this post in early December and I totally forgot to post it.  So I am going to post it (pretend it is still December) and then tack on my next post.  It is going to be a little long, but I hope you will stick around til the end! So two for one, aren’t you excited!

#1-Winter is Here

Fall is usually my favorite time of year.  I love how the trees magically change color and how everything looks at us from a different eye.  I love the mountain dashed with brilliant colors and the weather changing to cool down. But this year has felt different. This year I just feel like everything is dying and I don’t like the barren trees.  It makes me feel exposed I guess and I am really not looking forward to driving in the snow. I haven’t been looking forward to the change of the leaves, I have dreaded the chill of winter coming and have missed the green grass and flowers in delicate colors.  A Sarah McLachlan song keeps rolling through my head;

“The winter here is cold and bitter
It’s chilled us to the bone
I haven’t seen the sun for weeks
Too long, too far from home.”

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I guess I have just not been ready to be freezing all the time and never be able to get warm.  I also had a hard time sending my kids off to school this fall.  I love my kiddos and it is hard to not spend more time with them and to hear their laughter and see them all play together.  Now, the nights are full of homework, piano practice and reading minutes.  My kids complain about not having time to “just play” and I am totally with them.  So, I am not ready for this year to be gone.  Where did the year go anyway?  I feel like it was just April, but it is December.  Seriously, time does go faster when you are older.  I just want time to slow down a little.  I want to continue to enjoy snuggles with all of my kids before they don’t hug me or they are bigger than me.

So now I am trying to get into the Christmas spirit but I keep dragging my feet, pretending that it is Spring.

One thing for sure is that I realize I like all the seasons for different reasons.  I don’t really have a favorite anymore, but I am sure looking forward to spring!

#2 Shine On

I play the piano, I don’t claim to be the best piano player but I can mostly hold my own when I have some time to practice.  A couple of weeks ago I played the piano for a musical number at church.  I was pretty excited they asked me to, because it was all the men in a family I think the world of.  So, the music was brought over and I was like..yep, lots of practice time for this one! It has always been a challenge to get all the practice time I need with my kids.  It was hard though to get through all 11 pages of the piece in one sitting without one child needing help, or someone screaming, or you know just life here!  It was a beautiful song though and it was a fun challenge to up my game for this quartet, because they are all amazingly good singers.

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When I accompany anyone or any group my goal is to go unnoticed and have the singer(s) be center stage.  Basically I am letting them shine!  When I was preparing this last time it just reminded me that accompanying people is a lot like life.  There are many people behind the scenes helping us shine and look good.  Do we thank those people enough?  Do you think about those people?  Do you thank them for their “practice” time.  It is a lot like being a parent!  But my mind also turned to my Savior.  He is always there behind the scenes for me.  He has put in a lot of work for me, and continues to always uplift, inspire and strengthen me.  What a blessing to have just had the Christmas Season upon us.

Our Christmas was simple and relaxed and we did a lot to help focus not just ourselves, but our children toward Christ.  Did you remember Christ at Christmas?  I hope you thought about how that little baby born long ago is not a baby anymore, but is your brother and friend and is doing His best to make you shine.  Look for those people that help you and allow you to shine, thank them.  Then, look for people that you can help and let them shine!