The Daily Quote: Hurt People Hurt People

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome…”  – Joel Osteen

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I had an acquaintance comment recently on how patient & kind I am. Another friend said she told someone that I am the most compassionate person she knows, & that I would help anyone. This week, one of my coworkers called me ‘spiritual’ and ‘understanding.’ Most people who spend any time around me nowadays would probably tell you that I wouldn’t hurt a fly; that I would never dare harm a soul. Some would shudder in disbelief at the thought of me angry & shouting, much less throwing things or in a physical altercation.

I am told that I am ‘Loving’ and ‘Sweet.’ I am told that I am ‘Patient’ and ‘Peaceful.’

While flattered, & pleased that people think positively of me, I can’t escape how incredibly uncomfortable it makes me feel; like a fraud.

I am no stranger to anger. I am no stranger to darkness. I come from a very painful past, full of fighting & hurt & anger & hopelessness. I used to be a person who hurt people.

Hurt people hurt people.

I have managed to hurt most, if not all of the people that I love.

Some people left for good. A few loved me even more fiercely because they could see through my anger, carelessness or coldness to the pain & the fear that I carried.

It is an endless cycle. If you knew the truth & the weight of the guilt I still sometimes carry, you would understand why I will probably never feel that I am a ‘good’ person. I live in spiritual & emotional debt, & there is no way that I, alone, can ever repay those I have grieved. The only thing that makes me ‘good’ is the mercy of Allah. The Almighty, the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, The Forgiving. He hides my sins & allows people to think good of me. He continues to heal the wounds of my heart & allow me to be a light, no matter how dim, to help others & be all of these things that I never, ever thought I could be: Loving. Patient. Kind. Compassionate. At Peace. His Mercy allows me to get up every day & try to be the beautiful person that He allows me to portray. I am still a work in progress. It takes effort & diligence. I want to please my Creator.

Healed people heal people.

I still carry the pain, but it is no longer in the form of heavy chains. It is much lighter now, just a tool; a lens through which I can see past the mask of people like me; people who are hurting. The Almighty has blessed me with a heart that is open to people’s stories, their hurts, their despair. My eyes can see through the smiles to the reality behind people’s eyes. Sometimes it’s challenging. People often don’t wish to be seen & vulnerable, but my lens can see through anger & tough exteriors, especially those of children – where there hides pain & fear & loss. I can spot it, because I have it, too. And I can meet it with the Love that He has filled the holes in my heart with.

To those I have hurt because of my own pain, I am truly & sincerely sorry. My apology doesn’t remove the hurt or the anger, the embarrassment or betrayal you felt. I have not forgotten the things I did. Seeing you keeps me humble & is a constant reminder of who I truly am – that I am not perfect. I am not the picture of humility & patience & love & grace that the Almighty allows some people to see. I am still a work in progress. I am still trying & I have not left behind the wrongs that I have committed.

Some people may never see me for the person that I now strive every day of my life to be. I have already painted a picture in living color for those I have hurt. Only the Almighty can change that if He wills.

This is my truth.

Peace & Blessings ❤

The Daily Quote: Killing

“Man should not glory in this, that he can Kill. Man should glory in this, that he can Love.” – Abdu’l – Baha

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For as long as humans have been alive, they have killed. We kill to eat. We kill to defend ourselves; to survive. We have further evolved into a species that regularly kills each other for little or no reason at all. We not only kill; we murder. It’s on the news every moment of every day. So why does man still find glory in the act of killing his enemy? Any species on this earth can kill. All animals & organisms were created with instincts & defense mechanisms to protect them from harm. This is true all the way down to single-celled organisms & bacteria.

Think about it. Humans are so proud of the fact that they can do something that even the lowliest single-celled organism has been doing since the dawn of time; killing. It’s nothing new. Millions of organisms are doing it at any given second, & without the celebration, chest-thumping, or declarations of victory.

Think about this: What we should be proud of is what sets us apart from these organisms & what makes us so unique; our capacity to Love. Can bacteria show compassion? Can they build & maintain lasting relationships? Can they choose love over hate? They don’t even have the capacity to hate, love, or feel anything for that matter. Humans do. Every day we should delve further into our ability to feel & exude positive energy & affect the other beings around us. We can care for people, plants, & animals. We can choose how to feel. Isn’t this, and not man’s ability to kill, that which should be glorified & marveled in?

 

The Daily Quote: Thoughts and Children

m“Every thought we think is creating our future.” – Louise Hay

To apply this quote to ourselves promotes positive thinking & positive growth.

To apply this quote to our children brings forth the profound realization that the thoughts & feelings we induce in them now, from the way we speak to them & look at them, to the attention we do or do not pay them, and the confidence or shame we instill in them, are laying the foundation for their future way of thinking. Ultimately, we are influencing what kind of future they make by the way we are training them to think. One of my favorite poems is by Author, Dorothy Law Nolte, Children Learn What They Live. 

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Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism,

He learns to condemn

If a child lives with hostility,

He learns to fight

If a child lives with ridicule,

He learns to be shy

If a child lives with shame,

He learns to feel guilty

If a child lives with tolerance,

He learns to be patient

If a child lives with encouragement,

He learns confidence

If a child lives with praise,

He learns to appreciate

If a child lives with fairness,

He learns justice

If a child lives with security,

He learns to have faith

If a child lives with approval,

He learns to like himself

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

He learns to find love in the world

What a beautiful, empowering thought, as Parents, as teachers, as neighbors, as adults in this world, that we can with merely a glance, a smile, a word, a response…in the tiniest of gestures, have such a significant influence on shaping the thoughts & the future of a child. I can still remember instances when, as a child, something an adult did or said, unbeknownst to them, affected the way I would go on to view myself. Some were good, & others were bad. There are little moments that I still can’t shake, where I was ridiculed or snapped at by a stressed out, busy caregiver, & it affected my self confidence. I can still remember looks that adults gave me that made me feel insecure & stupid. Now, as a Mother, an Aunt, a neighbor, & a school nurse, I am very aware of the affect my actions, expressions, & words have on children, whether I intend to or not. Here is what I have taken from the lessons I have learned:

  1. Always smile at children. In the store, in traffic, coming & going, no matter how busy or stressed you are, smile & admire the fresh, new, beautiful, impressionable creations that God has put in your path. You wouldn’t scowl or roll your eyes at a patch of beautiful flowers, a lovely sunset, or a rainbow. Remember, children are a brand new creation, & any time you encounter them, you are imprinting on them an impression of their own self worth, & the nature of people in their world.
  2. Children are to be seen and heard. Allow them to elaborate. Children are SPONGES! They soak up so much information & ideas, & in order to process all that they are being told & taught, seeing, hearing, & feeling, they need to speak! Think about it. If you went to school & never ever were allowed to speak about what you were learning, & your teacher didn’t talk to you or ask you questions, & you were just expected to absorb everything & then be quiet…there is no way you would have learned! Children need to feel that what they are thinking & what they have to say matters. When they have a thought & we listen, it not only provides validation, it provides reassurance – yes, someone is listening to me. It feels good when you have something to say & you can look over & speak to someone & they listen, nod, and join you in conversation. This also teaches children how to navigate conversation, & with practice they learn the social skills; the give & take of conversation. They can only learn this through Practice.
  3. Children need more Questions than Answers. The conversations are so unbalanced between adults & children. We tell them, we instruct them, we remind them, we teach them. How often do we ask them? And what do we ask them? In middle school, a great source of anxiety (besides the usual adolescent chaos) was the “open-ended” question. This was a question that prompted the student to elaborate on an idea; to explain his/her personal reasoning behind an answer. Growing up in a household where the phrase “children are to be seen & not heard” was said on a near daily basis, I had not been allowed to practice the skills necessary to develop my thoughts & opinions & the ability to express them in an open-ended question or essay. My thoughts & answers were not valued in my home, & therefore, I hadn’t had the opportunity to clearly define what I thought about anything, much less write about it. We need to make it a point to deliberately allow the flow of conversation with children to go in the opposite direction. Ask them questions that allow them to speak their independent opinions & feelings. Ask them what they think of things, how they think something works, & why. This is how they begin to naturally hypothesize about the world around them; to develop ideas, logic & reasoning. And when they have elaborate explanations, listen. Don’t be too busy to spend time listening to a child. Foster confidence in their own ideas & thoughts. That is how they become excellent students, artists, leaders, speakers, & anything else they imagine they can be.

The Daily Quote: I Think You Left Someone Out

I Love You

When I saw this picture, it gave me all those warm, fuzzy feelings inside. I pictured my children, swaddled up as newborn babies, fresh & full of potential. I pictured my Husband, on our wedding day, all of the memories we had yet to make, & the dreams we had yet to chase together.

And then, those warm, fuzzy feelings went away. Darkness.
I didn’t believe anyone had ever felt that way about me. Neither of my parents had wanted me. I was a burden; an inconvenience. Everyone who had ever taken care of me as a child had told me more than once what they’d had to go through because of me.

I removed the picture from my screen & closed my laptop.
I resumed the usual feelings of self-loathing.
Logic & reason & faith told me that none of this mattered, because the Almighty, Allah created me – not my parents, not any of those caregivers. Allah valued me & saw my worth, even when no one else did.
But those feelings of worthlessness always crept in, separate & apart from my sense of faith & what I tried & tried to tell myself.

“I love you
For all that you are
All that you have been
And all you’ve yet to be.”

Finally, it hit me. The problem was not that “nobody” felt this way about me, or “nobody” had showed me enough love as a child.
The true problem was that I couldn’t say I felt this way about myself.
As a grown woman, if I didn’t like the way I felt & I didn’t feel valued, it was my responsibility to do something about that. I had to choose to love myself. For all that I am, all that I have been, & all that I’ve yet to become.
If I could look at someone else & say & feel this beautiful affirmation of love, then WHY didn’t I give myself the same gift?
Because I have to look in the mirror at ME everyday. I have to LIVE inside my experiences, including who I have been in the past, & who I am yet to be.
If I held myself at all responsible for the happiness & well-being of my children & my Husband, then WHY did I not hold myself just as responsible for validating & loving myself?

This was a profound lesson.
I always tell my children, “You are my favorite girl in the whole world,” and “You are my favorite boy in the whole world.” I hold their little cheeks in my hands, look into their eyes, & kiss their foreheads. I want them to feel so special & so loved.
And then I walk away feeling empty inside. Inside, I’m still the child who didn’t have that. Who was in the way. Who was neglected. Abused.
I realized, I love them so much, just trying to feel loved, myself.
“I think you left someone out,” I told myself.

I walk to the mirror, & I speak words of love & acceptance to the child inside,
“I love you
For all that you are
All that you have been
And all you’ve yet to be.”

I imagine holding those little chubby cheeks of the little girl me in my hands. I look into her eyes & I kiss her forehead. I am there to love her when she feels unloved. I want her to feel so special, so important to me.