Is it Possible to Change yourself into a Better Person?

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Growing up, I was always told “Imagine the person you want to be, and eventually you’ll become that person.” The know-it-all who said that was only partially right. They forgot to tell me about innate talents and gifts, or about the years of effort (and money) it takes to develop a skill. They also didn’t mention that the image I had for myself may not have been in my best interests.

Namesake

“Namesake” 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas

When you’re young anything seems possible. You dream. You explore. You try on various personality types. Sometimes you allow your halo to slip thinking that character may not be so important after all. But experience and the things you were taught come bubbling to the surface, and you make adjustments.

Reality also plays a part. We may find that we don’t have the finances required to fulfill our aspirations. There may be other responsibilities that interfere with our best intentions. We may pursue one golden butterfly and discover a counterfeit; a false glimmer of hope that led to fool’s gold and broken promises.

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“Home at Last” 16 x 20 acrylic on panel 

 Your determination must fuel every thought and action. When you know what you want, a decision is made in your mind that ignites and propels you forward. At this point, nothing can stop you. If you let go of this momentum, you may never reach this level again. There is no turning back. It’s now or never.

Your Willingness to Ask for Help is Crucial. What if you feel yourself slipping back into old habits and comfortable ways? Don’t hesitate. Reach out for help.

We all need hand holding at times; a friend we can lean on, and someone we can trust. Your progress depends upon it. This may also be the time to reach out to your higher power. Others may give us that extra push that helps us break free. But God can give you the strength to continue.

Sometimes you have to adjust your vision. You must learn to be content with what you have. Better yet, turn your anxieties and frustrations into acceptance. What will you have gained? Peace of mind and the knowledge that you gave your internal struggle your all.

Gratitude for each moment of your life, the good and the bad, will help you weather adversity when it comes, and it will come again. None of us is exempt even you. Be grateful for the small steps and the large ones. As long as you’re making some progress, you haven’t given up.

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“With these Hands — Love” 24 x 18 Oil on canvas

A Toss of Fate or a Game of Choice?

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“A Joyful Heart” 11 x 14 pastel on Bristol; Matted and ready to frame.

I bragged the other day to a friend “I haven’t had a cold in years.” Then out of the blue, I got that scratchy throat that turned into a cough that turned into full-blown flu. And I had a flu shot!

In addition to tempting fate, I seem to be famous for making statements of denial that turn into fact. “I’ll never marry a German.” An opinion voiced after living next door to a German neighbor who was not only in-your-face opinionated, but overpowering. Then out of my best judgement, I ended up marrying one. What on earth was God or reason trying to tell me?

After that marriage, I became acquainted with a florist who was Norwegian. His lack of customer relation skills and his know-it-all attitude made me comment to a friend “I’ll never marry a Norwegian.” But guess what? I did. And this marriage has been great!

I think the lessons amount to this. Ethnicity doesn’t have as much to do with relationships as a person’s attitude, personality, and upbringing. An honest person with a sense of humor can overcome almost anything.

Reggae Night

“Reggae Night” mixed media on canvas

Forgiveness, give and take, and patience can do a lot more to smooth a marriage’s rough patches than the place of our parent’s birth or culture. Outside influences are far less important than internal ones. The basic principles that make up who we are cast a longer shadow of importance than where we come from.

Of course, I’m looking back with wisdom from hindsight. In the middle of my forest of choices, I couldn’t see the obvious right in front of my nose. I missed the red flags waving in the wind and had to learn from my own mistakes.

When I was interviewing for a job, I always told the interviewer I was a “quick study.” I learned quickly on the job and was never afraid to tackle tough stuff. Would that I could say the same thing about life.

Most of us learn from our mistakes. We can’t see the future and we can’t read the tea leaves that later become clear. We plod along and do the best we can. If we’re lucky, we have a good friend or a mentor we admire. Some of us have our faith in God to guide us in our walk of darkness where we “see through a glass darkly.”

I think back to the sage advice I received from my parents but rebelled against in my youth. Had I hearkened to some of it, I could have saved myself a “X?/X!! load” of grief.  But here’s the rub. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’ll keep repeating them over and over again.

When you reach the end of your life, do you want to leave with a list of regrets? Knowing that you did the best you could will provide a peaceful exit. And let’s face it. You were born with a time-dated stamp that eventually expires. Join the club!

Belly Dancer

“Belly Dancer” 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas