Jun 16, 2011

"Mind" your manners

Today I listened to Joyce Meyer's sermon about "Making a Life Change." I don't know what compelled me to listen to that one over the rest of the ones in my iTunes queue, but I did. And I'm so glad.

Lately, I've been begging God to renew my mind. Like, literally begging. "Dear God, please remove all my anxieties and help me to be restored in you." I've been going to church, I've been praying a lot more, and I've been listening to the word (both online and in books), but at the end of the day, I wasn't "feeling" any restoration. I would maybe feel it for the brief period at and after church, or after I prayed, but it wasn't a longwithstanding. Even right now it isn't.

As I was listening to Joyce, she reiterated that our thinking is just that -- ours. Nobody can change our own mind as well as we can. It reminded me of a few years back, I had dated someone on and off for awhile and I was absolutely miserable with our relationship. It was a continuous cycle of ups and downs, and for whatever reason, I felt like that needed to be in my life. I was willing to go through the drama just to "have" somebody, and more importantly, so nobody else would "have" him. What kind of ridiculous, 17-year-old logic is that? I mean, really, Kirbie? Anyway, it was a real eye opener for me, and one day, out of nowhere, I was just done with the whole ordeal. Over it. Didn't want to be around him, didn't want to see him, didn't want to talk. It was like a switch flipped overnight. He was not a necessary component of my life, and I didn't care if other people found him attractive or hit on him or wanted to date him.

I didn't care anymore. My mind was made up and I was sticking to it.

The same thing happened to me in a job. God gave me more than enough red flags to compell me to quit, but I was always wondering if that was the rational decision. Then, one day, poof! I was done. I turned in my two weeks, worked them, then retreated home for the holidays to job hunt and start anew. I didn't have another job waiting for me, but it was better than going through the misery of the job. Luckily I got out before things got worse -- they company ended up folding a few months later.

I don't know what spurred these immediate changes in my thinking. But what I do recognize is that the reason that kept me in those situations was my concern about what other people would think. For instance, "what will people think if I'm single? Am I less desirable or less attractive because I'm alone?" (again, such a logical teenager I was)  or "what will not having a job say about me?"

And that's what I'm still dealing with now. What will they think if I move? What will they think if I tell them how I really feel? What do they think of me regarding this situation?

Another major factor? My pride. Yes, admittedly, I absolutely cannot stand to be taken for a fool. Don't get me wrong, I don't think anybody enjoys this, but for me, it can be crippling. This is something I am working on consistently, but it's hard for my mind, lately, not to wonder without limits -- and worry that people are saying one thing and doing another, or vice versa. I don't want to be like Joey, the last to know about everything. (This is the competitor/researcher in me... I've self-diagnosed myself.)

So, what the heck? Why do I go through these emotions? And why do I go through them right when I'm hitting my stride and feel like I'm on top of the world? It's because, what I've learned thus far, is there is always going to be something that is going to try to make you feel inferior, less than, incapable ... unpretty, unworthy ... whatever. But the point of life is to overcome those things and know that you are deserving, you are worthy, you are more than capable.

When we were younger, we'd watch TV shows to teach us about the alphabet, counting, crossing the street correctly, sharing, etc. Consider this Sesame Street for our so-called 20-something lives.

Today's lesson: Minding your manners. No, I'm not talking about covering your mouth when you cough or not to curse in public (both, however, are advisable), I'm talking about thinking with standards.

Manners are defined as: unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the main informal "punishment" being social disapproval.

I'm going to keep my mind on point with my own standards. I wouldn't want anyone treating me with disprect, so why would I disrespect myself by thinking negatively? When I look for a guy to date, I want them to be confident, strong, comforting and enjoyable to be around. Why would I let my mind be insecure, weak, unpeaceful and frankly a terrible place to be? After all, my relationship with myself lasts forever. When I don't think positively, confidently and peacefully, I'm hurting myself -- the worst form of punishment. I won't allow outside, social influences to alter my mindset.

Someone who minds her manners every day is my colleague, Shauna -- somebody I absolutley adore. She was in the bathroom with me (we were primping and I let her borrow some makeup) and commented that she felt frumpy. Then, without missing a beat, she looked at herself in the mirror and goes, "Who cares. I'm Shauna." And walked out the door.

I promise on my life, God himself wanted me to hear her say that one statement. "I'm Shauna." Like, who gives a crap about what other people think, do and say? I'm me, I'm fabulous, and most people love it. Those who don't, don't know what they're missing out on.

I feel like every woman needs to say that to themselves once a day. It's so incredibly easy to compare, compare, compare, especially during a time where we're all trying to figure our lives out, let alone ourselves.

Take some time to meditate with God. Do you worry at all? Then you know how to meditate. Worrying is meditating on the negative. Don't do that!

What you think is imperative to haow you progress throughout life. I'm learning (still) that you control your emotions and thoughts, and what you think is so much more important than the rest of the world.

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