Overcoming Struggles

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a map that could tell us the outcome of our decisions?  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we see what hardship is coming our way so we could brace ourselves for it?  In some way, I think it would be nice to have that gift of foresight, and yet perhaps not.

If we looked back at all that we’ve been through to get to where we are today, we’d see moments that make our chests swell with pride and moments that may inspire shame or guilt.  If we had that gift of foresight, we surely would have avoided some hardships.  Let’s face it, many of our hardships turned out to be moments of pride that wouldn’t have come to be if we had avoided them.

For those of you who struggle through some hardship, though you may not understand why you’re struggling or how you’re supposed to resolve the issue, fight on.  This could be one of those hardships that you will one day look back to with pride.  Learn from the past, live in the present, and work towards a brighter future.

Be a light to your world today!

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Changing the World

We’ve all had thoughts or dreams of changing the world.  Perhaps we see ourselves giving this life-changing speech.  Perhaps we imagine ourselves negotiating peace treaties between hostile nations or writing books where we explain life lessons in ways people never thought.  It can feel like people are waiting to hear the right thing and if we could just figure out what, we’d be the one to make that difference.

The truth is that we can dream of making big changes all we want, but it all starts in our day-to-day life.  If I want to make this world we live in a better place, I need to start with that small fraction of the world that’s part of my day-to-day life.

It doesn’t have to be complicated: friendly smile to people I meet throughout the day, quality time with my spouse and children, uttering words of consolation or encouragement to someone in need, giving a meal to homeless person, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

In the grand scheme of things, it can seem insignificant.  However, if everyone tried to brighten the day of those they meet in their day-to-day life, this world could almost become a true paradise.  If we start living this Gospel charity in our own lives, our example can inspire others to do the same.  A simple act of kindness can go a long way.

Imagine how many mental health issues would disappear if we learned to treat others with their God-given dignity.

Be a light to your world today!

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Reminiscing

Many of us enjoy reminiscing on past events and certain periods of life.  Lately, I’ve found myself reminiscing a lot more.  Places I’ve been and people I’ve been with.  Wondering how differently things would have turned out if I had made better decisions or invested more in some friendships.

It’s crazy to think of where we’ve been and where we are now.  Reconnecting with old friends/classmates makes that contrast even more impressive.  Although I am not proud of every decision I’ve made in life, I do consider myself very blessed with the life I have today.  I am blessed with a beautiful wife and beautiful daughters, I am building a successful career, writing books that I hope to publish (sooner or later), enjoying the support of amazing family and friends, etc.

Can I say that this is all due to my decisions in life?  No way.  I’ve made decisions that drove me further from my goals.  What I am learning from all this is that no matter the nature or number of our mistakes/sins, God’s Goodness can never be outdone.

Any time you feel regret, shame, or guilt, simply admit it to yourself.  Then count your blessings.  Literally.  Look at all the great people you’ve been blessed with during those difficult times, all the great turns of events that helped you along.  See all the good that could not have come about otherwise.  It doesn’t justify our bad decisions, but it shows that we’re being looked after by someone or Someone.  Life isn’t as lonely as we may think it is.

Next time you see someone in a difficult situation, be there.  You may not be able to fix the situation, but you can be present to help that person pull through the current challenges.

Be a light to your world today!

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Be What You Should Be

“If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze” – Catherine of Siena

This line penned by Catherine of Siena is breathtaking.  The possibilities seem endless.  It’s a promise that nothing in this world should come between us and making this world a better place.

We have to ask ourselves, then, what it is we should be.  In the words of speaker and author, Matthew Kelly, it is to be the best version of ourselves.  We don’t need to deny our identity, we just need to become the best version of it.  If we could unleash our full potential, who knows what we’d be capable of doing.  And with God on our side, we’re be capable of doing anything.

Unfortunately, we all too easily get side-tracked by our fears, insecurities, and confusion.  Perhaps the issues are deeply rooted in childhood experiences or incidents.  Perhaps we put too much stock in what others say.  Whatever the sources of these, they are probably what’s keeping you from being the best version of yourself.

God’s given you every gift and talent you need to be an amazing person.  Take a moment to identify all those God-given qualities.  Courageously tap into your full potential and move forward hand-in-hand with God.  Then get ready to start seeing some change.  Some will respond positively to the change, some won’t.  That’s secondary and out of your control.  What matters is the good you’re bringing.

Be a light that sets your world ablaze!

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The Simple Truth

There are many things that I love about the work that I do as a mental health counselor.  I feel honored and privileged that my clients are able to confide very personal (sometimes embarrassing) information about themselves.  I love those “ah-ha” moments when the big picture finally comes into focus.  Most of all, I love seeing clients turn a simple dialogue into a life-changing event.

I’ve been humbled many times by clients who took a simple discussion and turned it into a life-changing event or decision.  I say humbled because it is often the simple truth that seemed almost unnecessary to utter that is responsible for great change.  Sometimes we need to be reminded of the simple truth.  I find that our present-day society values and seeks to be impressed by complexity, while the answers we are looking for are often simple.

Next time you or someone you know is looking for an answer, don’t shy away from the simple truth.  It could be exactly what that person needs to hear.  Even in all its simplicity, truth remains a burning sun that casts away all darkness.

Be a light to your world today!

 

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Removing Road Blocks

In some previous posts, I’ve addressed the topics of dreaming big and fighting for our dreams.  Recently, I’ve become aware that my pursuit of dreams was hindered by roadblocks.  I have goals, but it seems doubtful that I’ll make it.  Perhaps the reason is that I won’t reach them if nothing changes.

Whether your own goals are to achieve financial or professional success, or to recover from depression or other mental health difficulty, or whatever they may be, you are likely hindered by a road block.  These road blocks, unfortunately, are usually not so evident.  They can seem harmless: the types of books you read, to company you surround yourself with, a comfortable under-stimulating lifestyle, etc.

My recommendation is to start by making small, concrete changes that will give you a nudge towards your goal.  If you want to achieve your goals, seek advice or read literature by those who’ve achieved similar goals before you.  If you feel there’s a part of your daily routine that doesn’t help you grow personally or draw closer to your goal, then perhaps a small change is in order.

You don’t have to revamp your life, just be open to change.  If the change is uncomfortable, keep in mind that it’s helping you move forward.  If you feel like you’re losing something, keep in mind that something greater is coming your way.

Be a light to your world today!

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World Autism Awareness Day

Seven years ago, my wife and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Elizabeth.  Being first-time parents, we were learning everything about parenting through books and advice (solicited or not), and especially the hard way.

This little girl brought so much joy, cuteness, and laughter in our life and, like any child, some hair-pulling and head-scratching moments.  She still does.  She loves to laugh and play, she loves to have one-on-one time with daddy to play board games (with a mug of hot chocolate), she gets silly, loves everything to do with animals.  She loves books, loves numbers, loves school and her friends, loves people.

This beautiful, fun-loving little girl has autism.  Sometimes she has difficulty communicating what she’s feeling.  Anything out of routine can throw her off, which then manifests itself in her behaviour.  There are moments where we, as parents, are at a loss.  How do we help her?  How do we know what she needs?  Those are questions that often come back to us as parents.  Then I remind myself that her autism is also a great challenge to her.  Some tasks that we take for granted require effort from her.

Still, to me, she’s perfect just the way she is.  She’ll always be my fun-loving beautiful daughter, and there’s nothing that I’d change about who she is.

Be a light to your world today!