You Are Valued

Words or phrases like self-worth, value, confidence, or “knowing thy self” all kind of relate in a similar way. These words or phrases are the cornerstone of our being and drive us to become what we become in life. They take us to higher planes of emotional aptitude and give us a light that others recognize and value.

But what if you have lost your way and feel you have no value?

What if a boss is terrorizing you and chopping you down every chance they get? Or a boyfriend or girlfriend that doesn’t see your value in the relationship and they begin to treat you like dirt? Or you’ve become “dead weight” to your family because of broken promises or instabilities that got the best of you?

Well I’m here to tell you none of that really matters. None whatsoever and it should not keep you from sleeping at night.

In the words of NWA – F* them muthaf*ers!

Value is found everywhere on God’s green Earth. Value can be found from the sands of Lake Michigan to the shores of the Ivory Coast. A mosquito buzzing through a Louisiana swamp has value. A grain of grass deep in the Everglades of Florida has value. A cloud floating overhead on a warm summer day has value. And all people have value. Life is worth living.

It may not feel like your life has some value during difficult times – we’ve all been there. But it does and it usually takes a life-shaking moment to wake some of us up again in believing we are worthy. I truly hate hearing someone declare another that they are worthless. And I, too, have been on this side of the equation – not feeling someone had any worth to me. Unfortunately anger and resentment can cause us to feel a certain way and needlessly or uncharacteristically lash out at others. The recent Baltimore riots are indicative of this devaluing of self. And we need to stop!

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Most often a value of an object is merely man deciding the object has value, thereby raising the object to a level of subjectivity based on the popularity of the object. But I declare the object had value before man came along to provide his stamp of approval. The trick to recognizing our value in life is to cut out the noise of the haters and know that our self-worth is not based on how many Facebook or Instagram “likes” we receive.

So many relationships lose value because the individuals have decided there is no value. A decision that can damage the psyche of one or both parties involved in the split. Unfortunately, it may take some time to repair the psyche from a broken relationship; however, I say again, neither person lost any value for which they have. Their decision to claim the relationship no longer had any meaning was an affront to stop trying.

Next time you are walking down the street and eye that homeless person remember they too have value. Or if you spy that angry kid that is always getting in trouble take a moment to help him or her see the value in themselves. Also, know that your dick of a boss might be going through something because they are not feeling valued. Let them know they are valued.

If we all felt valued every day think what kind of world we would build. We could build a utopian society indeed.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Greatness Abounds in All of Us

Derek Jeter’s recent act towards retirement ended in his game winning walk-off homerun. This was an amazing act almost to the script of his career. He will go down as one of the best shortstops in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB). All the while I thought to myself – that’s nice, but each of us has some greatness or great moment within us. Yes we do!

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Whether you had your great moment when you were a teen or you are 80 greatness must be available for everyone. God wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can’t imagine there is no one on this Earth that presumes they don’t have it in them. I would challenge each and every one of us whether this to be true.

I don’t write this just to instill positivity in your day, which is easy to do when you are pumping up individuals concerning greatness, but it is the truth. I want my kids to understand their ability to be great. I want my nieces and nephews to know that they are great. I want my cousins and friends to realize the greatness in them.

Greatness is not reserved just for the likes of Derek Jeter. It is available and recognized for all.

And when you build on that great moment as Jeter has his entire career you come away with greatness beyond measure. A beautiful thing when you are paving your own road of life. But you don’t stop at one moment of greatness, although it is nice to reflect, but you catapult yourself to the next. Then to the next moment, and so on and so on until you look back and you smile at all of the great things you have accomplished. There is nothing wrong with admiring the road you traveled. It was YOUR road and YOU deserve to reflect on how you made. Some might even say, “Glory to God!” for the path they took.

Do not sell yourself short of your greatness. Do not boast about your ability to be great. Do not expect greatness to just appear in your life. You…just do it. (Sorry Nike, the phrase fit well.)

Greatness will follow the hard work you put in. It will show up at your doorsteps when you least expect it. It will follow you in life if you dedicate yourself to doing what is right.

And now, as I prepare my kids for school and life I am reminded of their opportunities for greatness. I am only here to clear the paths and allow them to be. They have already done some great things at their young ages, thus, we can all look back and tie these moments together creating a collective string of greatness. In the end they will appreciate their accomplishments and will hopefully continue to build on them.

Therefore, take this as encouragement for yourself – even if you don’t need it – but go out and be great.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Don’t Rain on my Parade

I admit I’m not the most positive guy in the world, yet I’m not the most cynical, either. However, I recently had a moment of clarity that hit me like a bolt of lightening. It took me by surprise. The conversation started out innocently enough but took a turn for the worse. It didn’t reach a level of animosity or tension just an uncomfortable inward acknowledgement (to myself) that I no longer wanted to be in the conversation. And what was unfolding before my very ears was negative rain on an innocent accomplishment by precious kids – the Little League World Series US team – Jackie Robinson West All-Stars.

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For those of you out of the loop – Chicago’s own JRW team won the right to represent the US in the title game against South Korea. JRW lost in the title game but the story spread for a couple of weeks as the team made an impact on the city of Chicago and presumably across the nation. It was uplifting to see these innocent 13 year olds compete. The city needed a feel-good story given all of the violence surrounding it and the JRW team was comprised of some kids from the same neighborhoods experiencing the violence. There were other positive stories that surfaced in the aftermath and kept the city buzzing. (JRW T-Shirt Sales by Dick’s Sporting Goods) Thus, the jubilation and attention given the story.

However, there were individuals that were not so excited to hear the story. Other individuals just grew tired of the attention. Whatever the case there were people out there that became annoyed with the limelight these kids were experiencing.

And this is when I thought, “Really? We can’t celebrate this great accomplishment from these kids and put a positive meaning behind it?” 

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world – the truly magnificent accomplishments get lost because of the commercialization process that takes place. And other not-so-magnificent stories rise to the top because of the sensationalism attached to them. It might be time to right the wrongs.

I for one was pretty happy to see the accomplishment – even as it took off to unprecedented levels here in my fair city. It was refreshing to hear news of this feat and how the kids became temporary celebrities. The smiles on their faces was priceless and the air across the city was captivating.

We should all have moments where we can latch onto the good. Take a look around and observe your surroundings. Eye a good story and cherish it. Focus on those positive situations and relish in their aura. Many of us don’t take the time to do this as much as we should. Some of us will even accentuate the negative before pointing out the positive. If you are one of those type of people do us all a favor and keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Let the rest of us enjoy our parades.