Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why I suck at saying "no"

First of all, yes, it is indeed 3am Utah time. And I am tired, I just can't sleep. Weird, huh?

Anyways, I used to be really, really prideful and I hated feeling like a fool. I mean, who doesn't right? But over the years, I've learned that it is less important to worry about how you look to other people. I mean, don't get me wrong, I certainly don't like feeling stupid or foolish, but I would rather that than something else. Well, a particular thing actually. I have this thing about me, where I like to make other people happy. Even though sometimes in the process of doing that, I'm not always happy. But nonetheless, the happiness of others is something that I highly value. This is why I often have such a hard time saying no, but that is beside the point. Anyway! I would rather allow someone else to make me feel foolish than make them unhappy. Please don't misinterpret this to think I'm a better person than I actually am. I just feel happy when those around me are happy. If they are unhappy, especially if it was something I did, I always feel terrible. Even if it was something little. It's important to me. In an effort to make those around me happy, I will almost always do what they want me to, even if I don't want to. I don't mean that I'd lower my standards, but I would definitely do things I didn't want to.

Does that make me a sell out?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Reason I could never be a Politician is the Same Reason I could never be an Author

When I was little, I had a goal of being the first female President. I have since completely changed this goal. I don't even have any desire to go into politics and here's why. I very much dislike the negativity that is so often associated with it. In fact, let me make this even more general. I would never ever want to be famous. I, like many people I'm sure, really don't like hearing negative things, especially about myself. I would not look forward to my every action being examined under a microscope to determine what the ulterior motive was. I'm sure I might be able to ignore the negativity for a little while if this were something I was truly passionate about, but knowing myself, it would be incredibly difficult not to let it get to me.
This is the same reason I don't think I could be an author. Aside from not being all that creative, I just don't think I take criticism very well. At least I didn't this past week in my creative writing class. Maybe I ought to try again and let this be something that I decide to work on.

But I just want to say, to those who take criticism well, my hat is off to you. It is so hard to sit there and not say anything while something you created or that is a part of you is attacked and destroyed. Even if it wasn't something you put your heart and soul into, it still sucks.

Today, I watched a clip where 25 people were asked whether or not people could change. Almost half said that people are the way they are and they cannot change. Well, I'd like to think that people can change. So this is me making an effort to change how I view criticism. And not only that, when it is necessary, take that criticism as advice and work on things that I need to work on. (But I should note that I still don't think I'd ever want to be a politician. I don't know that I could handle all of the negativity).

Sorry, this post was a little random, but it has just been on my mind for the past few days.

Mediocricy will never do.

A little while ago, I found an internet page of quotes by the late Latter-day Saint Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. After reading it, I decided that I would not just bookmark this page, but I would set it as a tab on my internet page, so that I would see it more often. Anyways, I was looking at my facebook page and looked at some of the quotes I had written on my "quotes wall" and I found this one that I had gotten off of this website. It reads,

"Mediocricy will never do. You are capable of something better."

Now, I'm sure every person reading my blog knows what the word mediocre means, but I'd just like to quickly examine it's definition. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, the definition of mediocre is "of only moderate quality; not very good."

Anyways, back to the quote. In this simple statement something very profound is offered. Each person, of course, has their agency and we can choose whatever we want. We can choose to mediocre if we so desire, but that's EXACTLY what it is! A choice! When we feel mediocre that's because we have not yet made the choice to be extraordinary. *Note: I said extraordinary, not perfect or flawless (I'll come back to this later)* I know that I sometimes feel like I'm not good at any one thing. Days when I let this get me especially down, I feel absolutely mediocre. But those are also the days where I decide to dwell on those things that I'm not particularly good at or when I compare my talents to those whose talents are greater than mine. Along with thinking ourselves mediocre is acting that way. Like I said, mediocricy is a choice. If we choose to do nothing or very little, we are allowing ourselves to attain nothing more than mediocricy. I want to emphasize here that being more than mediocre takes work. Of course there are people that are naturally good at things, but among those that are more seasoned and experienced, they won't be much more than mediocre because natural talent can only take you so far. I'll use myself as an example of this. I have a natural talent for singing. I certainly wouldn't say I'm the best singer, but I also know that I have definitely been blessed with a good voice. If I chose not to practice and make my voice better, it might sound good to some people, but other singers would know better.
Also, in President Hinckley's statement, he says that we are capable of doing better. This only reinforces the idea that becoming extraordinary is a choice we have to make. We all have the potential within us to be the person we were sent here to be.

Now I want to make an important distinction here. Being extraordinary does not mean that we need to be the best at something. One can be average and extraordinary at the same time. This probably sounds a little confusing, so allow me to elaborate. You can be an average person in many ways, whether it's having an average 9-5 job, an average haircut, an average salary, average clothes. You may just be an average runner, an average singer, an average whatever, no matter what you're average at, you have the opportunity to be extraordinary as well. It could be the influence you've had on others, maybe while serving a mission, sharing a thought about something you find important, or sharing your talents. Whatever it is, you have to recognize that you can be better than mediocre, you just have to try.

I'd just like to re-state that quote one more time.

"Mediocricy will never do. You are capable of something better."

I don't think I can state it simpler than that. It just will never do and each person is capable of being better than that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Broken: On Relationships

Although I have several topics that I plan on blogging about, I would just like to take a moment to address this issue. Dating is fun. Generally, it is not all that hard. Especially not for me. I don't say that because I think I'm 'so good' at getting dates. I just have an easier time befriending guys. Consequently, I get asked out on lots of dates. Certainly enough to keep me busy. I think this is mostly because not only am I comfortable around guys (more so than I am around girls), I have no concrete interests, so I'm interested in just about anything. That leaves a lot of room for diversity. And trust me, there is diversity. But as I said before, dating is pretty easy. There is almost no commitment there. You go on a date, get to know each other, and at the end, you go home and that's it. Relationships on the other hand are terrifying. How are you supposed to put all of your trust in someone? Especially someone that you might possibly love. Someone that could potentially cause you deep sorrow and pain. When you go on dates with people, how much do you tell them that involves their trust? Not much. But when you're in a relationship, how long can you make it without trust? Not long.

Now don't get me wrong, I would love to be in a relationship with someone. I want to have that feeling of absolute trust with someone that I love. But right now, I don't know if that is something I can do. I'm still a little broken from a past relationship. Sadly, that brokenness is affecting my ability to be in relationships now.

Today I talked with a guy that I had dated for a couple of months and then broken up with. Surprisingly, talking to him was very comfortable. Just like it was when we were dating. It made me question my decision in our breaking up. Before he left, we talked about why it was hard for him to be friends with me. He said that since we weren't really close friends while we were dating, that it was hard for him to feel close to me now. And that is completely fair for him to say because, truthfully, I didn't tell him a whole lot that was going on with me because I was afraid to trust him. I think this may be something I've always had a hard time with. Being in a relationship leads to broken hearts, painful memories, and hurt feelings. If you have a bad date, then you just don't go on another with that person, and the bad date is soon forgotten or no longer as bad as it was at that moment. I know that for me, it will be hard to be in another relationship, and despite all the bad things in could lead to, there are many wonderful things a relationship can provide. Among them is having someone that you can trust, someone you can love that loves you back. Someone that will just make you feel happy.

Broken things can be fixed....right?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Be True to Yourself

President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Be true to yourselves, and your respect for yourself will increase. Know that yours is a divine birthright. Cultivate a good opinion of yourselves." Notice no where in that quote is the idea of selfishness, conceit, or vanity. Rather we are counseled to have a good opinion of ourselves. Now what does this mean exactly if not vanity or conceit? I believe that we should think highly of ourselves and give ourselves credit when need be. I'll be the first to admit that thinking highly of myself is not one of my greatest traits, however, something that is crucial for our understanding as human beings in this life is to realize our worth. Every person is a son or daughter of God. As children of our Heavenly Father, we are blessed with divine traits and talents. The Lord did not give us talents so that we could hide them away. He gave us these talents and traits so that, as individuals, we would be given the chance to shine. What would could any one offer to humanity if no one was blessed with any talents? Humanity would not exist if that were so. I think it is very important that we not only recognize our talents, but also work to develop them in every way we can. By doing this, we will be able to accept ourselves for who we are and learn to "cultivate a good opinion" of ourselves.

I recently talked to a friend of mine and asked him what were some qualities that he really valued and looked for in potential girls. One of the traits he listed was that she should have self-confidence. Now I wouldn't say that I'm all that self-confident, although I have gotten better. But I never really thought that it would be unattractive to other people to not be self-confident, but thinking about it, it kind of is. When people put themselves down, it makes me feel sad for them that they don't realize their worth, and it is also not very attractive. I guess my message with this whole rant is don't forget who you really are. Don't forget your divine birthright. Remember that no one can make you feel bad but you. And always remember that "mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better." (Gordon B. Hinckley)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Live and Learn, The Creation, & Uncle Kirt

Okay, so as I was trying to sign into my blog, I had put in my email and what I thought was the password, but I was then directed to a page informing me that I had not entered the correct password and that I needed to try again. I put in several different passwords, but to no avail. I then sent an email to myself to remind me of my password. I waited and waited, but nothing came. Confused, I returned to the sign in page and tried again. Nothing still. At this point I was extremely confused. So then, I tried a different email, and alas! That was the correct email! Whodathunk! Not me obviously because it took me about 20 minutes to figure this all out. Live and Learn I guess.

I had wanted to share this today, but I couldn't find the right opportunity, so I'll share it here before I forget. A little over a year ago, my Uncle Kirt passed away from a heart attack. He was not old. In fact, he had just gotten remarried. What made it even worse is that his wife literally watched him die. It was not over time, he did not deteriorate. It was extremely sudden and without warning. I remember the day I got the call from my dad telling me that his brother had died. I was standing in the kitchen of my dorm my freshman year of college. I didn't believe him at first, but I also knew my dad wouldn't make a joke about something like that. When I went to the funeral, my Grandma gave a talk about the Creation. At first, I was really confused as to why she would talk about something that seemed so irrelevant. However, as she continued with her talk, and as I saw today, I learned that it was not irrelevant at all. Before coming to this life, our Heavenly Father presented a plan to us. This plan involved coming to Earth, living as mortal beings, and then hopefully returning to our Heavenly Father. My grandma then talked about the wonderful creation of the earth, the solar system, and the universe. She talked about how infinite the universe is and of how great God's creations are. She then continued by explaining that God not only created this vast thing, but also created each little thing, like the fish and the plants and the insects of the earth. He paid attention to every last detail. He finished with his greatest creation. Man. God made man in His image, and his plan was that we would all someday become gods like unto himself.

You know what, I kind of lost my train of thought on this. I started this blog a few hours ago, but this is the gist of what I want to say. The Lord created man in his image. To me, this means that He WANTS us to be like him in every way. Even in the way we look. He wants us to live up to our fullest potential. He wants us to become gods in the next life. My uncle was not perfect. No one is. But he was a good person. He may not have lived up to his fullest potential in this life, but I know he will in the next. Sorry, this wasn't as good a post as I would've liked, but I just all of a sudden got really distracted

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Charity, Forgiveness, and Loving Others

Elder Marvin J. Ashton once said,

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply five each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resiting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.

How often do we find ourselves judging others without knowing them or their circumstance? I know that I myself have done it on many occasions, often without even realizing it. Charity is not expecting others around us to fit our needs, rather it is about accepting each person as they are and being willing to forgive. Being charitable is no easy task, especially when it is SO easy to be judgmental and unforgiving sometimes. Life is more than being right in an argument, it's more than living the ideal life, it's more than me and you. Charity is more than merely helping others. Charity is helping others reach their true potential; it's helping others realize they are sons and daughters of a divine Heavenly Father; it's being willing to forgive even when what they've done has really hurt us.
I recently read a story about a woman who had suffered in a bad relationship. She had thought that she had married the wrong man. He had no interest in the Church and had treated her very unkindly for several years. When she prayed to ask the Lord if He would approve of a divorce, she had a unique experience. Instead of being told that she ought to follow through with a divorce, she was counseled by the Spirit to recognize her own imperfections, instead of focusing solely on her husbands'. After that experience, she strove to become more compassionate, loving, and understanding. As she changed, so did her husband, and within a few years, their problems had been resolved, and they were able to be sealed in the temple.
In this story, instead of focusing on her husband's problems, she turned to fix her own. By doing so, she was not only able to reconnect with her husband and save her marriage, she was also able to grow spiritually and help him do the same.

Having charity means that we must be able to forgive. Without forgiveness, charity could not exist. The worst thing we can do for ourselves and our relationships with others is not forgiving them. The Savior told us in Matthew 5:7 that faultfinding in others does not work. This is not to say that this is the easiest thing in the world to do. In fact, quite the contrary. It can be really hard sometimes to say "I am truly sorry." Especially when the offense has hit so close to home and cuts deep.

No one is perfect, but we all ought to strive towards perfection. We can all do this through charity, forgiveness, and a genuine love and concern for others.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My day was....fantastic!

Whenever I ask a friend of mine how his day was, he always says something like "fantastic" or "awesome." At first, I always thought to myself, how can your days ALWAYS be fantastic?? You must have a bad day once in a while, or even an okay day. When I finally asked him why, he simply stated that he didn't often have bad or mediocre days. Being slightly cynical, I didn't really believe him until I thought to myself, what really makes a day bad or mediocre? Our attitude of course! So by merely changing our attitude, our day can change from good to awful, mediocre to great, or bad to whatever.

So I've decided to try to for this New Year. Last week was the first week of classes. I was overloaded with homework (mostly because of my accelerated Spanish class), I had to change my schedule a few times, and I didn't get into a few classes that I really wanted to take, but you know what, it was a fantastic week! I made several new friends, had a wonderful time in the classes I did get to take, once I even got a fantastic parking spot! On Monday, I had left my house 25 minutes before my first class in order to get a parking spot south of campus. I drove around for 15 minutes before giving and going to the North parking lots (which were on the opposite side of where my 9am class was), and walked 10 minutes to get to my class, making me late. Along the way, I not only slipped, I actually fell on the ground. And then by the end of the day, I had blisters on my feet because of my high heeled boots. However, that was a great day! I had an awesome time in my dance 180 class, I got to spend time with my (quite attractive) co-worker, finished knitting a scarf for my friend, attended FHE, and gave two of my friends Christmas gifts.

Nothing that happened that day was really amazing or really awful, but it could have been either a great day or an awful day. Had I chosen to stay upset about being late to class, getting blisters, and falling and looking silly, it would have been a pretty awful. Instead, the key is to look at all the good things that happened that day. If you really can't think of something big, start with something little. For example, randomly seeing a friend of yours, doing something right at work, heck even smiling at something or listening to music you really like.

"There are days you stumble and you fall
And sometimes through it all
You think you'll never stand again.
There are times,
when choices weigh you down
And bend you the ground
That's a place that we've all been.
But you can change,
You can turn your heart around
A brand new star, it can be found."
-"You Can Change" EFY 2009

I love this song because it emphasizes that we don't have to let our circumstances control our attitude. I can only hope that I have the wisdom that this young man has, and always let my days be fantastic.

This is what I love (copied from my FB post)

I wish there was something that I was super passionate about. Because that is what I LOVE. I love when people are passionate about something, and they are willing to share their passion with me. Even when it's something that I am not particularly interested in, if someone else loves it, I want to hear about it. It makes me so excited for them and what they are capable of accomplishing with their passions. I wish I could express in words just how excited I am feeling right now just thinking about friends that I have that are passionate about something. Everything from dancing to photography, music to science, and even accounting!

I also love that I have so many wonderful friends. I don't know what I would do in my life without them. Whether they realize it or not, each of them is incredibly important to me in some way or another. If I'm having a bad day, there is always someone that I can turn to, and often they don't even know that they are cheering me up. I don't think I've ever felt more accepted and welcome in my life. My friends pretty much define who I am. Without them, I would be lost. So, thanks you guys for being a part of my life.

Call me cheesy or lame or whatever you will, but I LOVE anything that makes me happy. Most especially kids movies and EFY music. I don't care if those aren't the most popular things ever, I absolutely LOVE them. I love just singing my lungs out and dancing while listening to crazy music in my car. I love messing around with my friends. I love running my frustrations out. I love just being happy. It's just an incredible feeling. I love being Mormon, and I love being in Utah and meeting so many other Mormons.

I find it so incredible that I live such a blessed life. Sometimes, I can't even imagine how much different my life would be if I were someone else. And you know what? I wouldn't trade a thing to be someone else. I like who I am. Not to say that I'm perfect or even close by any stretch of the imagination, but I know my trials are made for me, and heck yeah they're hard sometimes, but I know I can always make it through. I love being a member of this Church. I love the Prophet and the Apostles.

I love my family. I love that feeling of being where you belong. I love home. Where ever it may be. And sometimes, it can be found in the most unusual places. There are so many places where I have felt at home, and I know I have my family and my friends to thank for that. I am so excited for when I finally get to have my own family. I'm so excited to watch my children grow up and learn things for themselves. I can't wait to be in love with someone for all eternity. I'm so excited to make new memories with a new family.

Finally, I love helping other people feel happy and welcome. For those of you who haven't know me very long, you probably don't know that I get INCREDIBLY nervous meeting new people. Heck, sometimes I get nervous with people I've already met. However, I know that I'm much happier when others are welcoming and kind to me, so I strive to do the same. Even when I'm the new person.

One final thing I just want to mention. In this time, people have become very hesitant to speak strongly about their feelings or passions or whatever because they are afraid to step on someones toes, hurt someones feelings, or don't want to be made fun of for their passion. That's kind of how I am. So this is me, sharing some of my feelings, beliefs, and passions, if you will. For those of you who have made it this far, thanks for reading. I don't know interesting this was, but now you have a little more insight into my mind :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Worth vs. Worthiness

This semester I am taking SFL 100, which is "Strengthening Home and Family" and the main focus in the class is "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." Can I just say that I absolutely love this class? I love the teacher, I love the Spirit, and I love the readings. One thing we read for last class was our worth verses our worthiness. As beloved children of our Heavenly Father, we each have a divine nature. It has taken a long time to figure out what this actually meant to me, but I think I have an idea. In the Young Women Program, we would repeat a declaration stating that "we are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us." Our divine nature is that we are loved completely by our Father in Heaven, and being children of God, we have an inherent godliness within us. Along with having this divine nature, we also have an absolute worth. This means that no matter what we do, no matter how badly we screw up, whatever we do, we are still worth 100% to the Lord. He still loves us completely. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change our worth in the Lord's eyes.

Sadly, our worthiness and our self-esteem and the way others view us can change. Just because our worth doesn't change doesn't mean our worthiness doesn't. When we disobey, we lose the worthiness we would have otherwise had to receive blessings and participate in sacred activities, such as attend the temple. When our worthiness changes for the worse, often our self-esteem plummets with it as well. Many people tend to think that because they were disobedient, they aren't worth much. Or, if others think that we are worthless, we soon adopt this attitude ourselves. I know that I have most certainly felt worthless because of mistakes I've made, people that have put me down, and even from negative criticism of myself.

Until I read this, I didn't really understand the difference. I didn't realize that no matter what I do my worth can never change. For that knowledge, I am completely indebted to my teacher, this class, and the Lord. I wish there was some way that I could share this revelation with everyone in the world and help them to understand how amazing it is! I wish I could shout it from this hilltops because it truly is such a blessing to know. Just because I've messed up, doesn't mean that I am failure at life. Just because I've hurt people doesn't mean that I can never be loved again. I know that if I put my faith and trust in the Lord that I be worthy of the blessings that the Lord has to offer me.