Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Wizard was Wrong

I love the Wizard of Oz. When I was young I wanted to be Dorothy. She was brave and adventurous- mostly because she had three guys doting over here. (Yes, I know- a scarecrow, tin man, and a lion aren't marriage material- but they loved her so.)

As much I love the story, I have one beef with the wizard. When the tin man wanted a heart, the wizard said, "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."

Even as a young girl, this ideology didn't sit well with me. I loved a lot of people. I simply loved love. But I wasn't loved by a large number of people.  So I doubted the worth and condition of my heart. And that led me to doubt myself.

Now that I am older, I am beginning to understand that a heart shouldn't be measured so much by how others feel about or perceive you. That is a classic case of misplaced power.  I believe that our heart can, and will, be measured by how, and how much, we love others.

To be loved by many isn't so much an indicator of the condition of your heart, but a bi-product of a good-hearted person who happens to have a large circle of influence.  Does that mean the heart of a good person who lives in a small circle of influence is any less loving and good? Of we delve deeper, we could probably point out a few very undesirable, even down-right bad people who seemed to be loved by the masses.  To be loved deeply by just a few is a great and noble thing, but that does not guarantee I am a good person, or that I have a good heart--just that I am surrounding myself with loving people.

We are told in the Bible that out of all things, including faith and hope, charity--which is pure love as Jesus Christ loves--is the greatest. We are commanded to love, not commanded to be loved.

I think I love more people than love me. I love my family (who love me back.) I love my neighbors, my friends, some acquaintances, and even some strangers. I even try to love my enemies (whom I know for sure don't love me.)

I'm pretty sure I do love more people than love me. Will my heart by judged negatively because of that? I don't think so.  My goal is to become like my Savior. He loved everyone. Still does. He wasn't loved by everyone. Still isn't. Some despised Him enough to kill Him.

He was not loved by all- but He loves all, perfectly.

That is how I want my heart to be. I don't want to focus on being loved. I want to be able to love fully.

Do I want to be loved? Of course! Don't we all. But, we cannot control how others feel about us. We can only control how choose to love.

Love is a choice. And it is that choice to love that our hearts will be judged by.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Make it Happen

I just got back from a Ladies Night Out at a local LDS church book store. It's an evening of food, music, and great vendors and discounts. I went to promote my upcoming book. You know. The one about insecurity.

So what did I do for the first forty minutes? I stood alone, in my corner, next to my little sign, while every single woman passed me by. 

After I while I decided to walk around for a bit, wondering if perhaps that would inspire someone to come up and exclaim, "Hey, you're that new up and coming author!" Nothing. Though, I did get an, "Excuse me, you're blocking the way," from one lovely soul. So, I returned to my corner of the store. Alone. 

Talk about a reason to feel insecure. Oh, the irony!

I looked at my little pile of promotional cards I had made, still untouched, next to my lovely little display, and tried to hide my bummness. I say bummness, because I wasn't sad. I was bummed. Really bummed. (Okay, maybe I was a little sad.) My first author event so wasn't going at all like I had envisioned. I felt like a total nerd.

Then I remembered a very simple principle. Successful people don't wait for things to happen. They make them happen. And I knew what I had to do. I took a deep breath, grabbed the stack of cards and introduced myself to the first woman in my path. "Hi. My name's Michelle. I am an author." And I am so glad I did! 

Speaking those words breathed life into me. The bummness left, and so did my alone time. From that time on I was walking and talking, laughing and sharing. It turned out to be a wonderful evening. I met funny women, strong women, quiet women, and so one. But, one thing they all had in common: as we chatted, they all confessed they had issues with insecurity. I wondered if there was every a woman that hadn't. I know I still struggle with some feelings of self-doubt--even after writing a book about it.

In fact, after I finished writing this book, I allowed a few seeds of doubt to grow too big, and I cried to my husband one day. "I feel so under-qualified to be an author--especially one that writes a book about confidence!" My good husband simply said, "It's your insecurity that qualifies you to write about it."

I had to laugh! There's a term in the writing world, "Write what you know."  Well, I have known all my life what it is like to feel insecure. Some days more than others. As I've grown in my testimony, those days of debilitating insecurity are gone, but there are some situations, like tonight, where I allowed a touch of insecurity to creep back in.

Self-doubt is a battle that most of us fight on a regular basis. The key word in that sentence is fight. Notice how it didn't say confident people don't wait for things to happen? I didn't wait for a burst of confidence to come before I gave out my first card. It was only after I made the move and said those words that the confidence settled in again. 

Confidence comes from many sources, one of them being the simple willingness to put yourself out there and try.

As you read this, there might be something you want to do, you hope to do, or are even in the middle of doing, but things are going like you planned. You might be doubting yourself, feel insecure. I wrote this post for you.

I not only hope you remember that phrase--Successful people don't wait for things to happen. They make them happen.-- but I hope it helps to do what you know you need to do. Get out of your corner. Make a move. Be bold. Own what you want and who you are. You'll find that when you do, a measure of confidence will follow. You will be glad you did.


Oh- on a total awesome high-note, I was asked for my first autograph tonight. What?!?!  I know!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You Are What You Think

I'm sure you've heard the term, "You are what you eat." Well, if that's true, than I am a ginormous piece of chocolate. Though, I hope I wouldn't look this matronly. Not yet, at least.....

Anyway -  there is a michelleism I want you to consider:  "You are what you think."

I love to think (even more than I love to each chocolate!) My mind is constantly swirling with thoughts and ideas about the world around me and the heavens above. There is so much to think about, so much to consider. Why we are here, what is my role in life, what's the purpose, where am I going? What is the best route/way, what direction should I take? How can I improve myself, be a better person/wife/mother/friend?  And on and on.
The apostle Paul loved to think, too. But, it wasn't just the act of thinking, but what we spent our time thinking about that was important to him. 

He said,  "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).

Why is so important what we keep on minds on?

The answer can be found in Proverbs 23:7 :"For as he thinketh in his hearth, so is he."

There is a term I love that says, "What you feed grows." If we turn our minds and attention towards the good and positive things, towards light and truth, towards things of a heavenly nature, that our heart will be turned that way, too. Our thoughts are the seeds of our character and actions. They are who we become.

Most, dare I say, all that we are and do stems from what we think. When I say think, I am including our thoughts, opinions, questions, doubts, and beliefs. We are who and what we think about.

If a man chooses to think only on the negative, he will become a negative person. If he, in turn, thinks and ponders on the positive, a change will come over him, and he will become a positive person. 

There is great power in what and how we choose to think. And the great news is that power has been given to us. We can decide what and how we think, and in turn, who we become.  No one can make us think badly of ourselves, we choose to. No one can make us believe in a higher power. We choose to what we think, and that determines who we are.

So, next time you sit down to think, think carefully about what you think about. Think about who are you. Are you who you want to be? If not, consider changing your thoughts, and you just might see a change in you. Because you really are what you think.

What do you think about that?