Your life is a mess, now what

Your life is a mess, now what

 

“It's okay. Even when it's not okay. You took the long road. You took a few wrong turns. But it's okay, you're on your way home."

 

The quote above is one of my favorites. It reminds me that no matter how many wrong choices I've made, how many horrible choices I've made, or how many times I've just completely screwed up that God is not done, nor will He ever be done with me. I'll confess, my life has been a complete mess at times, but if we are honest with ourselves all of lives are a mess in some kind of way. Sure we may appear to have it all together on the outside, but a lot of the time we are a complete mess on the inside.

 

My messes usually come when I have battles with depression. The days when it literally feels like my mind had giving up on me. Come to think of it though, everyone's mess comes when they have some battle with depression, anxiety, or simple fear. That's usually when we don't think clearly and when we don't think clearly it always leads to bad decisions, which in return makes a mess of our life. So as I've always said since I started Think2change, "we are at our weakest when our minds are at their weakest".

 

Think about all the stress, pressure, hurt, and garbage our minds take in on a weekly basis. Sometimes our minds are so tired that when we lay down at night we dread getting up the next day. So what we do is blame people or circumstances around us for our unhappiness when in reality it's because our life is a mess and we have allowed it to get that way. So what do I do when my life starts to become a mess?

 

 

1.    Calm down- it’s the first thing I do. I go somewhere that’s comfortable to me and take a deep breath. I go somewhere that will allow my mind to relax because you think well when your mind is relaxed. “Answers appear when we’re calm enough to receive them, not when we’re fighting a raging battle in our minds.”

2.    Make a list- this works if you just try it. Once your calm and thinking clearly sit down and make a list of all the things that are causing you to feel like your life is a mess. Make it detailed and be honest with yourself. Is it finical? Is it the stress of a relationship? Is it you feel like you’re disappointing someone? Ext…. Just be honest and clear when you make your list.

3.    Get to work- one of the problems in today’s time is that we all want someone else to clean up our messes. You will never get anywhere in life always depending on others to bail you out or fix your problems. We all want to make the choices we did to cause our life to become a mess, but we never want to accept the consequences. Look at you list and get to work on fixing the mess. Yes there may be some hard decisions to make, but you need to make them. Remember when you are working on your list that the goal isn’t temporary happiness, but long-term happiness.

4.    Accountability- The word we all seem to hate these days. If your life is a mess and you’ve made your list then it’ a must you get accountability partner to help make sure you don’t take shortcuts on the list. This person must be someone who is there for you through the good and bad. Someone you know who wants the best for you and will always tell the you truth even when it’s hard to hear.

 

Remember, When your life is a mess it’s ok to lean on someone. There isn’t a person alive that at sometime hasn’t had to have someone to help them cope. Always deal with your mess head on no matter how hard it may be. 

Sia, Miley Cyrus and why I was wrong

Sia and Miley Cyrus, and why I was wrong.

When I write a blog I usually try to come from a personal experience, especially when I am wrong about something. Usually the way it works is when I am wrong about something, God shows me, and corrects me. So I share this with you hoping my lesson will help you if you're ever wrong in the same way.

The way we judge people, if we would be honest enough, is pretty shallow. I learned this as I was watching the artist Sia one night on TV. I only watched about 30 seconds of her performance because of the way she looked. I thought why is this  woman wearing this ridiculous wig that was covering her whole face. I thought to myself "this woman is NUTS". Now keep in mind I didn't know one single thing about who Sia was. I didn't know her story past, or present. All I knew is she looked weird. One day I'm sitting on my couch and a story about Sia comes on tv so I decide to watch it because I wanted to find out what made her so dang weird. As I am watching I found myself feeling so stupid and realized how judgmental I have been. The one thing I hate more than anything (judging) I myself had been doing. 

I am a huge fan of songwriters. I don't care who the artist is I automatically have respect for someone who writes their own songs. So I was a little blown away to find out Sia not only writes her own songs but has written many for other artist. That is not all that made me realize how wrong I had been. I then find out that she lost her boyfriend in a car accident. This of course devastated her and she turned to drugs and alcohol for comfort. That battle lasted 6 years until she overcame it. So why does she wear the wigs that made me initially judge her? Well in her own words Sia said  "I don't wear this unless there are cameras around. I only wear this to try and maintain a modicum of privacy,". 

So the reason I realized I was wrong is simple. I was judging a woman purely on a WIG. I was judging a woman who went through heartache and pain the same as I did. Let me repeat why I judged this woman, because of a WIG! I knew nothing about her battles, her losses, her true talent, her soul, or anything else except she looked weird wearing a wig so that must mean she's just a weird person. Digging deeper I found out that Sia is probably one of the most generous and loving people you would ever meet. I have done this before and admit now that I see the problem, I don't like it. I did it with Miley Cyrus when she changed her appearance from the all American girl to a little bit of everything.  Even though Miley done some things maybe I didn't agree with, I still had no right judging her as if I was better. We do it daily, well if we are honest with ourselves. We judge someone based on looks along. We don't try to understand someone's true heart and soul. We aren't interested in their backstory or struggles they may have in the present. We simply just act that in someway our lives are much better. 

Truth is we are all messed up in some way. We all either have had, or have or issues we try to work through. Think back to when you were battling struggles in your like, would you want someone judging you behind your back. We all process pin different. Sia's way was wearing a wig. The wig doesn't make her who she is, her heart does. So next time you judge someone because of the clothes they wear, or there choice of music, or any other external thing ask yourself if you really know anything about them. Always remember when you judge someone you're not defining them, you're defying yourself. 

Drops of Jupiter and stubbing your toe

I don't know about you, but anytime I hear the song "Drops of Jupiter" I sing it as loud as I can. It's just one of those feel good songs that always put you in a good mood, least that's how it is for me. Could you imagine though if a guy came up to you and sit beside you and smelled you hair and said "gosh baby, your hair smells like Drops of Jupiter"? I'm guessing you would probably look at him like he's high on something, but you would least probably laugh at how corny it was. 

Sadly dating these days isn't even that quirky or corny. Gone are the days of picking a girl up, opening the car door, and going to a dinner and a movie. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that there aren't couples who still do that, what I'm saying is for the majority today's dating scene is like stubbing your toe, it's painful. 

I get so many emails about broken relationships, and see on Facebook couples lashing out at one another in hurt because of a breakup. I literally had a teenage boy tell me one time "man I know it's probably wrong but I'm just seeing how many girls I can be with before I graduate". He now has 2 kids from two different girls and hasn't even graduated high school. Sadly in today's times there's a terrible misconception of what love really is. Today love is being defined through Hollywood, Pornography, Lust, Social Media, Sexting, and the list goes on. Gone are the days of making corny mix tapes for a lady, and is replace with asking for nudes. 

There is pattern we can get in that actually makes stubbing your toe less painful than dating. Example, a young lady can find herself in a horrible relationship. I mean one that is full of hurt, deceit, manipulation, lying, forms of abuse, and lies. She continues in it because she thinks that he really loves her and she can somehow change him. One day though her heart gives out and she finally breaks the power he has over her and gets the courage to leave. Eventually as time passes she gets into another relationship. Since her last relationship was so horrible she can't recognize the relationship she is in now is just as bad, just on another level. She may be being used for sexual activity or controlled in someway and she doesn't even know it because of how bad her previous relationship was. So it starts the pattern of her not knowing her true worth. 

Truth is many are afraid to stand on there own. Being single these days is like having a deadly disease. Not knowing your worth leads to doing things just to get another persons attention. You lose who you really are, and you settle for whatever comes along. I always tell teenagers if you are dating someone, honestly ask yourself if you could wake up to that person the rest of your life. If the answer is no, then you are waisting valuable days in your life that you can't get back. If you are dating someone and all your friends don't like them then that's a huge clue. If you're dating someone and they control everything you do and tries to manipulate you into what they want you to be then run away as far as you can. So next time you're in your car and Drops of Jupiter comes on think about how much your worth. Sing out loud and realize you don't have to settle. Next time you stub your toe let it remind you that you don't have to get into a pattern of bad relationships. You wait as long as you need to until the one you can picture spending your life with comes along. Until then enjoy your freedom and work on you. 

Think2change

Are you strong enough to stand on your own

Are you strong enough to stand on your own? Honestly ask yourself that question, then honesty answer that question. Trust me, you want to be able to say YES! 

I Remember a few months ago I was speaking at a school and I asked the students to stand if they know of anyone being bullied, going through a hard time, or struggling with something. I ask this at every school, but this particular time one of my volunteers was recording the response. Later on that day we were watching it back and noticed a young man who started to stand and seen that none of his friends stood so he sit back down. Little does that young man know, but the fear of standing on his on will follow him the rest of his life. I receive emails from males and females who have been through break-ups and will tell me "I don't know what I'm gonna do, they were my world. I don't know how I'm gonna live without them". My hope for teens is that they will not put themselves on life support for anyone, instead that they would learn to stand on their own. Never do you want to give someone that kind of power over your life. 

My hope is for teens to do things for themselves and learn to stand on their own two feet. People you rely on won’t be around forever, and you don’t want to have to use others as a crutch to get anywhere in life. To get to where I'm at in life I had to learn to stand on my own. I didn't want to keep blaming my past or letting it control everything I did. I also didn't want to rely on people feeling sorry for me. Was it hard to get to a place of standing on my own? Of course it was. I had to do some soul searching, surround myself with solid and dependable friends, get some counseling, and admit my weaknesses. Have I lost friends along the way? Goodness yes, but guess what, there are tons of amazing people in the world, not just a few. Every person I've lost it has made me stronger. It also lead me to other friends who haven't left, and who stick by me even when my special kind of crazy reveals itself. That's part of standing on your own is having those fiends you aren't afraid to call on when you can't figure out how to do things on your own, and they aren't afraid to help you. 

Point is, yes people leave, break-ups happen, people hurt us, but life truly does go on. Nothing or no one should have enough power over you to make you afraid or weak enough to stand on your own. Find the courage to take control of your like and stand on your own I promise you won't regret it. 

 

 

When Parents Leave Part 2

I wanted to write a part two of "When parents leave" to talk about the effects of growing up without a parent, and some things we can do to cope. It's proven that most girls who grow up without fathers often struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and unworthiness. Same for guys who grow up without mothers. 

 

Let me first address how it affects daughters who grow up without a father. I get so many emails from teenage girls who can't seem to find a guy to treat them right. First question I ask is "how is the relationship between you and your father". Reason is because the father is basically the first relationship a girl has in her life. A father basically teaches the daughter how a man is supposed to treat a woman. When a father leaves it leaves a hole in the daughter’s heart that she will continually try to fill in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways I see in how it effects the daughter is her willingness to settle. I have so many teens who just accept being treated badly, cheated on, abused, and put down. A girl may go through many relationships chasing the love that she didn't get from her father. They already feel worthless because they think it's their fault in someway that their father left. 

 

Same for sons who grow up without mothers. My whole life I have had trust issues with women. In the back of my mind I never felt good enough for any woman in my life. I always felt like I had to perform a certain way or do a certain amount of good or the woman would leave. Usually this would lead me to being rebellious to drive the woman away especially if it was a motherly figure. My mind was always scrambled trying to figure out how to make someone stay in my life and if I couldn't figure it out then I would just leave before someone could leave me. 

 

So how can we stop ourselves from falling into these traps of feeling worthless because we grew up without a parent who didn't want anything to do with us. Here are some way that's has helped me over time. I hope they can be of value to you as well.

 

1. Break the pattern. When a parent leaves you can usually trace it back to their parent left them, and the pattern can either keep going or you can choose to stop it. I decided I was going to be a good father and give my daughter the love that I didn't receive. I make sure daily she knows she's loved. I wanted to be better than those who left me. Make that your mission as well. 

2. Just show up. If you're a parent raising a child on your own just love them with all you got. Show up for everything in their life. Also make sure they're first in all your decisions. Will it make up for the loss of the other parent being gone? Not completely, but love is a powerful thing. It can help feel the void more than you know. 

3. Know that you're NOT worthless. Realize that you are not the one with a flaw. The reason your father or mother left has nothing to do with you. It's not you who has the flaw it's them. Always remember you're not your parent’s choices. Your parent might have walked out of your life but that doesn't mean you have to bare the burden of that choice. Strive to be better than the decision they made. Don't choose to have low self esteem or feel worthless because of a choice the parent made. You were created to be great and to do great things. I finally realized that I am not defined by my mother who walked out of my life. I decided I will not settle for average and I will not do things to screw up my life and then blame it on my mother waking out. 

4. Tell the truth. If you're hurting then tell someone. Talk to someone you trust and who can help you with the pain. It may be your parent who stayed, a close friend, Counselor, or anyone that your heart fully trusts. 

 

I hope in some way these two articles have helped in a small way. If you have any questions feel free to email me. Brianearley25@yahoo.com

When Parents leave

While on vacation with my family we were watching a movie called “My all American”. There was a scene where the son just received some tragic news and the father hugs him and tells him he loves him. To most that is just a scene in a movie, but for me it triggered hurt that I have felt my whole life. The hurt of not having a father to hug me and tell me things are going to be ok.  You would think at the age of 42 that I would be ok with not having a father or mother, but I’ve realized the deep hurt from not having parents doesn’t go away because of an age. My father passed away when I was 14 and my mother walked out of my life when I was a child. The pain of trying to figure out why I wasn't good enough for my mother to stay is a scar that’s buried deep in my soul. I am healing slowly from the abuse I endured through my faith and helping teenagers through Think2change, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to completely heal from the pain of not having parents.

I have been doing Think2change going on 5 years and the most emails I receive from teens are about divorce, a parent leaving, or a parent never being a parent in the first place. When I read these emails my heart breaks because I know exactly the pain they are feeling. Their words just jump off the page and I see the ways they are trying to cope. Things like cutting, drugs, alcohol, thoughts of suicide, rebellion and the list goes on. They think since they are teenagers that people will just tell them to accept it and learn to live with it. They then become angry, hurt, and full of fear and confusion. A teenager emailed me a few weeks ago and told me that her parents were recently divorced and she cries every night because she doesn’t even know where to unpack her clothes. Another teen emailed me telling me she doesn’t understand why her father won’t have anything to do with her. She spends her nights trying to figure out what is wrong with her and how she can become good enough for her father to come back. She felt worthless. She needed someone who knows that type of hurt, someone to tell her she isn’t worthless and help her understand it wasn’t anything she did but rather it was her father who had the flaw.

I hope though Think2change that we can help teenagers have a voice. I hope they know that their pain is real and it doesn’t matter how old you are, pain is pain. I’ve learned that cutting, drugs, alcohol, rebellion or anything that is temporary relief will not bring healing, it only masks the hurt. I’ve learned that talking is the first step to healing. Tomorrow night I will write a part 2 discussing way’s to heal from the hurt of not having parents or a parent. Thank you for reading and please share, someone may need to hear.

What do true friends look like

The old saying is "you can't choose your family". While that is absolutely true, you indeed can choose your friends. I consider my friends my chosen family. Problem is many of us spend more time scanning Netflix than we do our friends. We aren't careful who we call "friend". A wise man told me long ago "Brian you'll come to find out that you can count your friends on one hand". At the time I thought that was absurd cause I had like 20 friends at the time, or so I thought. Ends up that wise man was right. 

I heard a message one time that really made me think about friendship. When I was young I used to think friends were the people I had fun with, created mischief with, went to church with, or played sports with. No doubt some of those out of those groups are my friends, but very few. The message I heard said we have three kind of friends in our life. Here they are:

1) CONFIDANTES: "You have very few of them. They are for you. They are in for the long haul. You will never inherit your kingdom until you have a confidant. They will confront you. If you have two or three of these relationships in your life you are a blessed person."
2) CONSTITUENTS: "They are for what you are for. As long as you are for what they are for they will walk and labor with you … but they are not for you … but what you are for. You could mistake your constituents for your confidants."
3) COMRADES: "They are against what you are against. They will team up with you to help fight a greater enemy. They will only be with you until the victory is accomplished."

Now as you can see "CONFIDANTES" are the type of friends we want in our life. These are the friends who are always for us, but they also challenge us, get in our business when they see us off course, are brutally honest with us, encourage us, and stand with us through not only the celebrations in our lives, but also the toughest of times. When I had my toughest battle with depression is when I found out who my Confidantes were. Guess what, I could count them on my one hand. It took me a long time to realize I needed the type of friends who would challenge me to be my absolute best, and when I'm not they will call me on it. Growing up I lost myself a few times trying to make friends. I made a lot of "CONSTITUENTS" and "COMRADES" and none of them exist in my life today. Challenge yourself and ask how many "CONFIDANTES" you have in your life. Also ask if you are a "CONFIDANTE" to those who call you friend. 

Brian Earley
Think2change.org
 

The biggest bully you will ever face

“The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts.” Bryant McGill


This is something I've learned over the years. Our mind bullies us more than we will ever know. Our mind will tell us things like: we aren't good enough, we are fat, worthless, unloved, alone, and the list goes on. At times our thoughts consume us, and very well control us plus they make us believe things about ourselves that simply aren't true. 

We believe our thoughts to the point they start to change us into someone we aren't. We can become angry inside, jealous, unfaithful, liars, violent, depressed, and the list goes on. We drown out those around us who can help us and we give in to the biggest bully we will ever face, our thoughts. This is how I almost lost my life to suicide. My thoughts convinced me I was not loved, that I was always going to be alone, and I wasn't good enough for this world. My thoughts even convinced me that no one cared if lived or died.

So how do we protect ourselves from our thoughts bullying us?

1. Pay attention - pay attention to what you say to yourself. If you speak negativity into your life then trust me things are going to be negative. You will always have negative thoughts. So do whatever it takes to keep positivity in your life. Some of the things I do are: listen to music that keeps me upbeat, read a book or my bible, talk to the friends that I have who are always positive, watch a movie, and shoot basketball. Those things keep my thoughts positive. So make a list of things that bring out positivity in your life. 
2. Change a life - With the abuse I suffered in my life I have battled at times with my thoughts. One thing that has helped me is helping others. Before I started helping others my thoughts truly were my biggest bully. When my life started to change is when God showed me I had a purpose and the purpose was to help others with similar scars as mine. Helping others help me stand up to my negative thoughts that were telling me I don't matter, or that no one cares if I'm here or not. So just try helping someone else, it may be helping a friend or helping your parents with things around the house. Trust me, it will help.
3. Clean house - Don't worry this doesn't mean physically clean the house you live in. What I mean by "clean house" is do away with the things that cause your thoughts to always be negative. I learned that I always ran to the things or people who would add to my negative thoughts. Sit down and make a list of things that cause you to have negative thoughts and have the courage to do away with those things or people. Always surround yourself with things and people who make you a better person. 

I hope this helps you stand up to the thoughts you have that bully you. Think2change the way you think about yourself and stand up to the bully called your thoughts. As always I am available to help in anyway just email me brianearley25@yahoo.com. If this blog helped you then please share it with others.