Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Personal Development, Relationships

Give and you will always have –the joy of giving

When I was a young girl, around 12 or so, I met an old man whilst walking to 7th Street in Melville, a man whose lesson I would remember forever. After walking for over half an hour, first the thrilling downhill and then the burning uphill.

I was finally approaching the end of the uphill, almost at the Café made famous by the into on 7de Laan, a south African soapie, when I bumped into a friendly elderly man. The old man with grey hair, brown pants and a yellowish golf type shirt held a basket of fruit and vegetables in his hands.

As our eyes met, I said, “Afternoon Sir” and he responded with a warm “hello” and asked where I was going. I had explained that I was walking to the shop and then looked at the basket and said “Sir why are you carrying a basket of fruit and vegetables?” The old man uttered the words that I would never forget: “My girl, give and you will receive and always have”, I looked at him, wondering what on earth that had to do with the basket. He continued “I have fed people in need since I was a young man and I have never ever gone without”. I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained himself. He told me about him not being a wealthy man and not ever having a lot but what he had, he would give to the needy daily. He went on to tell me that some days there would be more hungry mouths to feed than food he had to give. He said that these were the days that he would wonder what he would be eating that night because he had given all of his food away. “Somehow, my girl, I have never gone to bed hungry for just when I have thought that it would happen, food would arrive for me.” Completely confused, I did not understand and shyly muttered: “I don’t understand, how does food just arrive?” He told me that it would arrive in different ways, sometimes his son would pop past and bring him food, unexpectedly or his neighbour would bring him over a plate of her delicious cottage pie. He said that it did not matter how the food arrived but that it always did. He said when you give, you will always receive. He said that he had never gone to bed hungry and that his heart was always happy.

 

The old man explained that he goes to bed happy every night in spite of losing his wife years before. He offered me an apple and I took it and went on my way. As I bit into the sour apple, I repeated what he said in my mind “give and you will always have”. I was rather baffled by how he food would just arrive; however his story has remained in my mind until today.

The bible says in Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

As a young child I was friendly and always wanting to meet new people. I would go to the neighbours and help them with their gardening and I even became wonderful friends with neighbours. My friend and I used to baby sit the two little girls across the road, we were spoilt rotten by their mother, Lizelle and adored the little girls, Amber and Amy-lee.

After school, I went to work with my aunt who worked at a special needs school and helped one of the teachers for the day. I would help my mom and of course still make sure to drive my sister up the wall.

In my adult years I have done everything from teaching Sunday school to volunteer for the SPCA, to feeding the hungry and assisting at orphanages. And of course, my biggest sacrifice, the gift of a second chance in life to my foster children. Through all the years, I have always remembered the old man’s words.

The old man’s words have come to me on many occasions, some days I would not know how my family and I would be eating that night and I would think about the lesson the old man had taught me. His lesson was one that proved true over and over in my life. When I thought that I would not make the next two days, suddenly I would receive. Once a friend paid me back money which I had forgotten about, once a tax reimbursement and sometimes just a friend coming over with something for dinner.

My life with two extra teenagers in my life has not been cheap and has not been easy but it has been incredibly fulfilling and I have never not had. I have given, and I have always had and never gone to bed hungry.

I smile as I remember the old man, his sun blotched, wrinkled face, blue eyes with thick framed glasses, his grey messy hair and his wide smile. The man had given since he was a young man and had lived an incredibly fulfilling life. Giving had given him joy, even after the passing of his beloved wife, and he had lived a life rich in blessing and gone to bed happy every night. I smile as I remember the lesson he taught me and how his lesson has followed me all these years. Thank you, Sir, for your lesson, changing my life and for remaining in my mind to this day, I will never forget your words or your joyful smile.

Friends, I now pass the incredible old man’s lesson on to you. GIVE AND YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE.

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Children, Family, Happiness, Inspiration, Kids, Life, Love, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

The joy as two perfect soul mates unite and an extraordinary, a little crazy family reunite



My baby cousin (not so much of a baby anymore, but the baby of the cousins nevertheless) had decided to get hitched in Cape Town. My cousin, Kerry-Jane was to marry her bae, Graham. I flew to Cape Town a couple of days early to fit some work in and catch up with a few friends. Cape Town is an exquisite place. Its beauty captivates me from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave. Cape Town is a very special place and of course Table Mountain is one of the 7 wonders of the world in the Nature category. When I am in Cape Town and driving around, I can always see Table Mountain. I have never looked around in Cape Town and not been able to see Table Mountain. I am truly proud of this beautiful part of my country. When I arrived, I went to my friend’s place on a farm near Paarl.

I spent a lovely evening with him and his wife chatting and catching up. I was off to training the next morning and then went to a friend and his son, who is a very close friend of my son and has spent large amounts of time in my house over the years. I had a wonderful evening catching up and chatting to them, and we shared lots of laughs and many a random and even strange story. On Saturday, my Aunt and one of my God Mothers, Aunty Barbara came to collect me to take me to the Bed and Breakfast where I was to spend my night after the wedding. I chose to stay in the same B&B as my aunt so that we could spend some time together. We spent the day being rather lazy and then got ready for the big wedding. After deciding on the purple dress instead of the red dress, I was ready and on my way with my aunt to the venue.

 

The wedding venue was the divine Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Constantia Heights, Cape Town. On arrival, I quickly recognized the groom, Graham from social media and myself and my aunt introduced ourselves. Graham is a lovely, attractive gentleman who looked quite nervous, but he was friendly, well-mannered and accommodating. As we were directed to the greeting area, I was filled with a sudden feeling of excitement and delight. The realization that I would be seeing family members for the first time in years, was almost overwhelming in a good way. We walked towards a table, jugs of water and glasses and a few people were standing around. It was a lovely afternoon; the sky was blue and the sun shining. The venue was charming and the staff welcoming and friendly. I looked around to see if I could see my mom and dad or any of my family but no one I knew had arrived yet. My uncle and the proud father of the bride walked towards us to greet us, and he looked incredibly nervous. He is a quiet man and not normally very talkative, but he was so quiet, I could almost feel his nerves. Eventually I said: “Uncle Ernest, you seem more nervous than the groom”. He answered quietly: “I probably am”. My Aunty Barbara responded: “He is the one giving her away, the groom is gaining her”. Shortly after that the rest of the family started arriving. Uncle Seth and Aunty Shirley first, then Uncle Alan who had driven my mom and dad there.

Aunty Daphne and my cousin Robyn were obviously with the bride getting ready. I had waited for my cousin, Christine to arrive with her mom and my Aunt,

Aunty Mary, who is my other God mother. Christine and I are close, we have an affectionate friendship. I am the God mother to her beautiful youngest daughter and self-proclaimed God mother to her oldest daughter since my brother and his wife (her God parents) left for Canada. My family and I walked across the green grass and down the stairs to the rows of simple yet elegant white chairs at the exquisite arch that was apparently hand crafted by Graham and Kerry-Jane that stood in front of white chairs set out in the divine garden and the sun kissing my face as we went to find our seats. I still couldn’t see Christine, so I messaged her to say I was in front and had kept seats for her and her mom. Christine and Mary arrived, and we waited in anticipation for the beautiful bride. I had not seen either Robyn or Kerry-Jane for years and could not wait to catch a glimpse. Robyn and Carey (Kerry-Jane’s bestie and Robyn’s fellow bridesmaid) came down the aisle first, sparking the excitement. When I saw uncle Ernest and Kerry-Jane behind us at the back end of the aisle, I was literally breathless. Kerry-Jane is absolutely captivating and Uncle Ernest looking very anxious, about to give his baby girl away. The service was heartfelt and touching and the nervous bride and groom giggled at one point which seemed to calm Graham’s nerves slightly. Although he claimed to Kerry-Jane that he had not been nervous, he was shaking at one point so of course I made mention of that to her because it was very sweet. After

the I do’s the couple and witnesses went inside to sign the register and Christine and I filled our hands with rose petals, eagerly awaiting the couple’s return outside and down the stairs.

 

The crisp blue sky started warming into a slightly more grey-blueas dusk was slowly setting in. Aunty Daphne and Uncle Ernest walked through the doorway and down the stairs, smiles so broad, showing off their absolute joy, delight and pride. As the couple and wedding party disappeared for photographs, Christine and I headed to the champagne table for a glass of champagne. While we stood taking photos, chatting and giggling, the sun started going down on the horizon. The euphoric Cape Town sky captured my eye as the exquisite orange and purple boasted the beauty of a true African sunset. We were directed into the hall where the reception would be held. The tables beautifully decorated and the place-name cards hand-made by Kerry-Jane. I sat next to a lovely couple from Bloemfontein, now living in Cape Town and Christine on the other side. Surrounded by my parents, Aunty Mary, Uncle Alan, Uncle Seth and Aunty Shirley. I think I ate most of the bread in a basket on the table, I was quite hungry by that stage (although I am always hungry). The starters and mains were served quite quickly. The lamb, which both Christine and I chose as our main, was succulent and tender, simply but elegantly presented. Speeches were delivered after mains and each speech special and personal. My favourite was the gorgeous Carey’s speech. “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” The first dance was Uncle Ernest, Dad and his beautiful daughter. My heart sang with delight as I watched the two dances. Then the groom joined his brand-new wife on the dance floor and my face lit up with a wide smile, I felt absolutely blessed to have been part of this incredible, joyous occasion. Getting to know my aunts, uncles and cousin again as an adult was an extraordinary experience. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend quality time with my family that I don’t get to see often. We had lunch at Marina

Whalf on Sunday for Mom’s birthday and again, I felt elated as I got to spend more quality time with my extended family. I walked down to meet “Pietie” the tame seal, I was absolutely terrified as his owner encouraged me to sit next to him and touch him. I did eventually touch him, and it was really an amazing experience and I escaped with all my fingers and in one piece after all the reluctance, as if I expected to lose my nose. The Sunday afternoon and evening were exceptionally special as I spent it with Uncle Alan. We shared lots of chatting and a few giggles and some red wine. We went for a walk on the beach with his two Scottish terriers. I took my shoes off to feel the soft sand under my feet, far different to the sand in Durban, which is much more course and a lot darker. The sand was almost white with a hint of grey, the sea was calm and turquoise in as the waves slowly stroked the sand. The sky started turning purple as a few thin white clouds came in, moving quickly across the sky. I love the smell of the sea and the salty breeze hitting my skin. The Scotties squeaky barks at huge dogs, I joked as I said that they thought their little squeaky bark was intimidating to the massive dogs running past. When he dropped me at the airport he thanked me and said that he had never really had the opportunity to spend quality time with me as an adult. As I landed in the hustle and bustle that is Joburg, I felt so incredibly blessed to have been part of the union of these two beautiful souls and part of the reunion of an incredible, diverse family. Each person in my family is a completely different person and together we are a phenomenal family, all unique but all special and most of all, all tremendously blessed.

 

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Taking back my life

Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.

As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?

I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.

I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.

As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.

Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.

Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.

I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.

Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.

I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.

I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.

In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Bush Rejuvenation for the soul

There is something about being in the bush that grounds me, gives me a zest for life and reminds me of the beauty and awe of the world we live in.

Our trip started off with a swim and lying at the pool sipping on champagne. I was with two beautiful ladies who I am so lucky to call my friends. We were on a girl’s weekend and of course the best way to start a girl’s weekend is with some champagne by the pool.

The next day we took the golf carts around the golf course. Capturing the beautiful surroundings at every turn. This was a lot of fun, the lack of driving skills kept us in stitches most of the way and we laughed until our stomachs hurt. A handsome sable sat watching us and we stopped to take a picture. He sat there as if he was enjoying the attention and giving us a pose, making sure to show us the beautiful white markings on his face. The zebra on the golf course were not quite as accommodating, they thought us a threat and bolted as we can near, not surprising with the crazy driving going on.

We were given strict instructions to be at the golf course on the other side of the restaurant at 3:15pm sharp. All feeling the excitement of the surprise we were told we had coming our way, we were there extra early. When we got there, Sean, a manager at the resort told us that we would be going on a helicopter ride. With this news, we couldn’t contain ourselves and were jumping up and down and screaming like teenage girls. As the helicopter landed my skirt was blowing up but I was so excited and had to have a photo of the helicopter, I wasn’t bothered by my skirt at that point. We got onto the helicopter and the excitement was not in vain in any way. The helicopter ride was one for the bucket list, we were smiling for the rest of the day, we could not stop blabbering about it, it was the most incredible experience and we took in every second! We left there pumped with adrenaline and feeling absolutely blessed and spoilt. There are no words that do this experience justice at all, it was just WOW!

On Sunday evening, sitting on the Toyota game vehicle, right on the end, completely exposed to the big 5 which of course we had hoped to see, exposed but not at all scared and feeling safe. The excitement takes over, my face is lit up with a massive smile. The kind of smile that just takes over, it almost has a mind of its own.

The thing about game drives, as in life, is that you never really know what you are going to get. I find that taking in every animal and each and every scene, as if painted especially for me is what makes the experience. Of course, I have never seen a leopard in the wild and so I always hope to see one, when I eventually do, I know it will be every bit worth the wait.

As we got on our way we saw steenbok, these have not really featured much on my previous game drives. The excitement starts bubbling within with the very first sighting. Shortly after that the warthogs were spotted. My gorgeous friend, bless her, asks why Timon isn’t with Pumbaa, we giggle as we explain that they actually aren’t friends in the wild, like in ‘The Lion King’. We all grew up watching ‘The Lion King’, I remember the absolute excitement when it first came out, I must have watched it at least 15 times! In our hearts and minds as children obviously Timon and Pumbaa must be friends in the wild, but I know that they aren’t, having been blessed to go on a number of game drives before. This was her first drive and the innocence in her question was priceless.

We had barely stopped giggling over the Timon comment when we saw wildebeest (the clowns of the bush). I really like wildebeest, I have been lucky enough to catch them being silly and to capture first hand why they are called the clowns of the bush. They love to play and mess around. There were so many wildebeest, I have never seen so many at one place. They aren’t the most attractive of animals, they have a rather odd look to them but what they lack in looks, they make up in personality, that is for sure. This drive was the first time I had ever heard the noise the wildebeest makes, that was very special indeed.

Very close to the wildebeest, we spotted the zebra. Zebra and wildebeest are often together. The wildebeest doesn’t have the best eye sight so they rely on their buddies, the zebra to help them out there. In return, the wildebeest eat the top of the grass, leaving the part which the zebra want just for them. It is a great friendship and both parties benefit. The age-old argument always rears its head when zebra are spotted. Are they white with black stripes or black with white stripes? I am going to go with the black with white stripes but feel free to decide for yourself. The stripes not only camouflage the animal but they keep them cooler, as the black attracts the heat and the white reflects it.

We saw a few game ranger vehicles together so of course we had to go and investigate what all the fuss was about. As we got there we saw a young lioness, her majesty sat in the long grass, completely unintimidated by us. She was absolutely beautiful, and a little lazy. Imagine how thrilled we were when we got to the other side and spotted a massive male lion and a mother lioness with 3 cubs. The naughty cubs were hassling the mother and walked straight over their dad, as if he was there as a jungle gym for their personal entertainment. They are reminiscent of toddlers, and full of beans. This sighting was very special, because although I have seen plenty of lions, I have never actually seen them in the wild. I was ecstatic!

As we drove we saw a mommy rhino with her calf. I have seen plenty rhino in the wild but what made this so special is that they were half a meter away from us. It made me really sad to watch them completely relaxed and almost trusting of us. To think that they get poached when they are so trusting, it really makes me angry and sad. These beautiful animals have as much right to the earth as we do, so poachers, get a life!

Driving slowing, we saw a lonely, lazy crocodile. She just lay there on the sand. We could see some feathers in her mouth so she had just had a snack. Her story, too made me sad. She is alone, she doesn’t have a mate or a friend. She lays her eggs and protects them, waiting for them to hatch but they never will. I expressed my dismay to the game ranger, stating that I thought she needed a mate and that it was an absolute tragedy that she was waiting for lifeless eggs to hatch. I hope she gets a mate soon, I am sure he will be the perfect prince since she has waited so long.

The hippos were next, though they chose to be shy and only stuck their heads out here and there. Hippos have very sensitive skin so in the heat of the day, they spend most of their time in the water where their skin is protected. They normally come out to eat grass and reeds at night. They were approaching the edge when we were on our way back, we could see 4 of them. Hippos look so sweet but don’t take them on, because these friendly looking fellows kill the most humans in Africa of all the animals.

Then we took a drive up a slope in search of elephant, which we had heard were up that way. A family of giraffe caught our eye first. There was even a baby giraffe. One baby and 3 adults. I think giraffe are so beautiful, they can reach all the way to the top of the trees with their long necks. Did you know that they collect the leaves and keep them in their mouth and eat while walking afterwards?

The sun was starting to set by now, and I might be bias but I think the South African sun sets are the most beautiful in the world. They are even better out in the bush. Blue, pink, purple and orange fill the sky and I am reminded of the absolute beauty of the world. I am also reminded how small I am in the scheme of things. But in my own way I too am beautiful.

As we were heading for our drink spot we saw kudu males, 4 of them. Kudu is one of my favourite buck, I love the males, they are so majestic. The females are a boring, poor girl. The only time I didn’t like a kudu was in jock of the bush felt, I cried and cried when the kudu kicked Jock and he permanently lost his hearing. And of course, the tragic ending followed. I have to say, despite crying my eyes out, I watched it a few times. It captured the South African bush which I loved and the story was very sweet.

Time to stop for a drink and we are thirsty. I gulped down the entire bottle of water. The we stood in the middle of the game farm chatting here and there and just admiring the beauty around us. The talking was actually kept to a minimum as we stood taking everything in. This is a very rare occurrence, us girls hardly keep talking to the minimum but this was absolutely breathtaking. I truly count myself lucky to have access to the bush as often as I do.

As our weekend came to an end, we were filled with joy, happiness and gratitude. We had gone there expecting an incredible weekend but it exceeded all of our expectations.

There is something about the South African bush that brings me to the perfect place within me, I am at peace, filled with happiness and a complete calmness. There is something about the South African bush that gives me a zest for life, that I thought I had lost. It gives me hope for the future, love for our country and an absolute appreciation and honor for God, our father and creator.

Rejuvenated and ready to live, love and learn. Let me not take one day for granted because each day that I wake up is a gift to me, not to waste but to enjoy and live to the fullest.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships, Uncategorized

I have been knocked down but I cannot let this break my spirit

I was offered a job last year in the hospitality industry, which was all new to me.  Absolutely everything other than the accounts side was all new.  I had never worked on a POS system, I had never been a responsible for a restaurant, bar or venue and now I was responsible for all 3.  The first day, I was put on a massive, high profile wedding and had to quickly work out the POS system for myself (it had been installed that same day and no one else knew how to work it.

There really is nothing like a big challenge to get me going, I love it! I had some staff under me, helping with drink orders.  I had to host the wedding as well as manage the staff and of course keep the clients happy.

I have to say; my biggest asset is my people skills.  I love people, I love interacting with people and I just have an amazing way with people.  My current boss says that I have a certain way with people, that is unmatched and that I could probably sell poo to a sewerage plant! This is a man I have worked with for a long time and knows me very well.  I have a certain ability to put out fires when customers are unhappy and it really comes in handy as you can imagine.

Here I was, completely new to all of this and I nailed it!  The guests at the wedding, one of them being the sister of the bride even followed me to another function on the premises to party with me there.  What an incredible experience it was.  First off, I was witness to an incredible traditional black wedding, guests were in traditional clothing and they looked incredible.  What I loved was the mix of traditions.  Some in Zulu attire with and some in Souto and Xhosa attire, vibrant in colour.  What a sight it was.  The traditional dancing began as they walked in and everyone joined in.  I have so much respect for this incredible country.  The culture and the traditions, all vastly different but all respected by one another.  This for me was a celebration of how incredible my country actually is.

What really was incredibly special for me on that first night was when these beautifully dressed young black ladies walked into a very Afrikaans party at the other side of the property.  At first the black beauties were not sure how to handle the situation, I am quite sure that they had never ever heard the Afrikaans music which was playing.  Something very special happened just then in the mist of the awkwardness.  The DJ put on a traditional black song and the ladies started dancing.  The Afrikaans ladies (in SA we call them “Tannies”) ran to meet me and the ladies on the dance floor and asked them to show them how to dance like them.  This was the most awesome experience, if I have to pick one occasion that made 2017 extra special, this was it!

I danced with them, smiling and laughing and bursting with pride as a South African.  We obviously couldn’t stay long as we had to return to the wedding but the short time at that party was more than enough to take in the incredible experience.  What a first day it was! Absolutely incredible, breath taking and just left me with warmth and fulfillment. Suddenly I found myself with a new-found energy, revitalized and rejuvenated.  Life has never been easy for me, since my 20’s but I have always been very blessed.  I had had a very difficult year and this was exactly what I needed to give me the drive to become more.  So, I was immediately hired on a permanent basis, not knowing the politics which was running wild in the place.  I was incredibly proud of myself for how quickly I learnt, and just did everything that had to be done.  I fitted in so well and I grew immensely in this time.  My self-confidence was at an all-time high and I was feeling great.  I was growing daily, and I was loving working with customers all day.

I was working sometimes 14 hour days but was completely satisfied with my work.  The reality is that I was doing a really good job and the customers took to me immediately.  I truly felt like I had found my place.  Unfortunately, it was to come to an abrupt end when I began to get treated very badly and basically pushed out.  My knowledge had apparently made the wrong person look bad.  Suddenly I was being made the target of a blaming game.  I was being blamed for all sorts and none of the facts were being taken into account.

I walked out and I had my head up high, I did my best, I mastered a completely new industry to me and I learned so much.  I did so well! I cannot allow the way I was treated to break my spirit.  I know how well I did and I know that I will be missed by many.  As I said goodbye, the staff were devastated and the customers that were there were visibly upset.  I made my mark, I made a difference and I left my mark!  I took an incredible amount of value out of the experience and I made myself proud.  I made friends and I made memories.  I feel great, I am confident and I will not allow nastiness to break my spirit.  On to bigger and better things!

The truth is I am sure of who I am, I am proud of what I accomplished and I am steadfast in my values and grounding.

I will not let this break my spirit because I know my achievements and I know myself, I am so grateful for the lessons and the knowledge that I gained and I am ready to tackle life’s next chapter.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships

Screwed over by a “friend”

I am a really good friend to all of my friends, I am always there and I don’t ask for much but I am sick of getting screwed over by people who are supposed to stand by me.

A new friend shocked by the behavior of a longtime friend sent me a message saying: “Have you ever been too nice and ended up in a situation that could’ve been avoided if you just would’ve been an asshole?”  YES! I have, time and time again.  I tried to become an asshole and I didn’t enjoy it much.  I like to be nice, I like to be liked and I was told by my psychologist once that I am a “people pleaser”.  Apparently being a people pleaser is not a good thing.  It wears you down and yes, you do finish last.  Being nice makes me feel great until I get used and abused which is actually inevitable for MRS Nice.  I do too much, I give too much and I allow it.  Right, this is what I have to do:  SET BOUNDARIES!

Believe it or not setting boundaries isn’t that hard, sticking to them is the real trick!  I can’t change my personality, I cannot change the fact that I am nice and enjoy treating people really well, but I can change the fact that I allow them to take advantage and then end up being screwed over! Someone once said to me that I should not try and understand why a person behaves in a certain manner because I am not them and therefor will not understand why they behave or think or what they do. The truth is that I will never understand why some people do some things and why some people act in certain ways but I have to say that people disappoint me!

I always tell my staff that when they mess up then they should come and tell me and I will help them to fix the mess.  Nothing drives me crazier than someone not owning up to making the mess in the first place.  I cannot help my staff if they hide the mess or don’t admit to it.  Then the mess gets bigger and the little mess becomes a big problem.  There is always a way to clean a mess but the quicker the mess is cleaned the smaller it will be and the least affect it will have on anything else.  I mess up…a lot!  And I apologize, a lot too.  But if I make a mistake I will ask for help or fix it and admit to it.

Now frankly my friend made a mistake and I pointed it out and explained the way the situation actually works.  Unfortunately, my mistake was explaining his mistake in front of the wrong person.  The person took it out on him and he took it out on me.  Something that was not in any way my fault at all.  I didn’t realize that things had to be kept secret or away from other parties although I had been caught in the middle of an ugly situation and I had only explained the facts.  I learnt a valuable lesson here, clearly there was a chain of command in place that I had failed to see.  Whilst I admit fault in this regard, I am unsure how I should have dealt with the situation since I was the only one who could explain the system and I was being asked to do so, which is exactly what I did.  This is definitely something I need to think about and decide how I could have better handled it.  However, this really is not my mess and I was merely giving the reasons but it became my mess when it was taken the wrong way and a man who I thought of as a friend had his ego hurt and decided to screw me over.

Firstly, I am hurt but almost not surprised but secondly, I have lost so much respect for this person as he took no responsibility for what he did and passed the buck onto someone else.  He made himself the hero to me and pretended that he had nothing to do with any of it when in reality it was all him.  My mind boggles at how someone can stand in front of someone else whom they are supposed to love and respect and lie to their face!  Clearly, I need to evaluate some friendships and decide if I need some so called “friends” in my life.  The answer on this particular friend is that I don’t need him in my life at all.

I am a firm believer in getting what you give and I for one give a lot and get a lot and have a smile on my face and in my heart, most of the time.  He is unhappy and can’t seem to find his place in the world or happiness in anything he does.  He thinks that happiness lies in the bottom of a bottle which makes him smile for a while but never for long and then comes the hangover, the beating himself up, the feeling ill and the absolute sadness.  It is actually a really sad situation, I obviously one upped him on the only thing he has – his little golden egg – and he had to take it back, even though I was an asset to him and his golden egg.  I had made the golden egg grow and shine!  He should appreciate the growth and admire it, instead he snatched it and hid it in the dark.

Now for me to set boundaries, keep them and still be the nice person I am without being taken advantage of.  I smile, not because I have less crap than everyone else, in fact, I probably have more than most, but I smile because I am happy.  I lead a stressful life but a life of the utmost fulfillment.  I am a great person, a person who has changed lives and given so much and I am truly blessed with what I get.  I will keep being the nice person and I will just have to make better decisions on the people I keep around.  Only people who deserve my love should be getting it!

Smile, because your smile can change someone’s day!

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Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Taking back my life

Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.

As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?

I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.

I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.

As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.

Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.

Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.

I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.

Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.

I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.

I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.

In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.