Deciding to Love

Did you know that you can just decide to love something?  You don’t even have to have “the feeling” to like it.  You can just change your mind and decide that you are going to feel something different.  I tried this recently in a couple of different areas and it’s opened my eyes to the possibilities of where else I can decide to love.

I had a Fitbit Charge 2 and I loved it. I have spent the vast majority of my adult life not wearing any sort of watch.  There are multiple reasons for this but the primary reason has been a sensitivity to  certain metals.  I am not sure if I am allergic or if it is just an extreme sensitivity, but my body does not like most metals.  My Fitbit never bothered me and I loved seeing how many steps I was taking each day and it encouraged me simply move more and see the number grow.  Additionally, I loved the community of seeing my other friends with Fitbits and knowing how many steps they were taking each day.  That just increased my own motivation and provided additional encouragement along the way.  I could list out many other reasons why I loved my Fitbit but I think you get the point.  Enter stage left… the Apple watch.

In February, during a trip to the AT&T store to add another phone line onto our account for my son’s birthday, I upgraded my own iPhone so my son could benefit from the domino effect of the iPhone hand me down.  It just so happened that with my brand-new iPhone 7+, I could get an amazing deal on an Apple watch.  My other option was a free ipad mini, which my husband talked me out of and I decided to go with the Apple watch (which wasn’t free… just discounted).   I had wanted an Apple watch but truth be told, I didn’t know much about them.  I just liked the idea of it.  Apple’s marketing is amazing, isn’t it?

It was a couple of months before I even opened the box.  I had loved my Fitbit and I knew the Apple Watch was going to take some time to set up (bad excuse but I clung to it).  Once I finally did open it and get it set it up, I found myself excited and enjoyed the moment.  The moment, however, wasn’t much more than that… at most, it was about a day.  I quickly discovered that the watch didn’t measure how many flights of stairs I went up each day like my Fitbit.  (Note to self and to others…. Comparison is the thief of joy.  Don’t fall prey to it).  It also didn’t feel the same on my wrist and on hot days the plastic would make my wrist break out and itch.  As such, I bought a new band or two (ok….three, fine… four…. I bought four new bands) to see if that would help not only the wrist issue but my level of enjoyment of what now seemed like a very expensive and extravagant purchase.  The bands helped, for a while… longer than a day but the enjoyment was still fleeting.

In working with my own Coach, the light turned on for me when I heard her talking about deciding to love herself.  Knowing that love was a decision was a concept that inherently knew but I never stopped to dwell on it.  I always thought of it in relation to people. For instance, I love my husband, despite the fact that he rarely folds any laundry.  I love my son, even when he forgets to flush the toilet.  To me, this was really more about me being true to myself.  I choose love because I am loving.  I choose to love others because it’s about remaining true to who I am regardless of how other people choose to show up.  Then the light came on for me.  If I could choose to love others then why couldn’t I choose to love certain things, or ideas or specific circumstances?   And that’s when it started.

I decided to love my Apple watch.  I had spent too much time bemoaning the fact that it wasn’t like my Fitbit but I had spent more money on it to be comfortable with just tossing it aside.  I could either make the decision to be comfortable giving it away or setting it aside or I could make the decision to love it.  Any other decision or lack thereof had no upside for me, so I decided to love it.  And you know what.  I do.  I love it.  I love that I can have my son’s cute red headed freckled smile as my watch face.  I love that I can feel like Inspector Gadget and answer a phone call from my wrist.  I love the way it looks on my arm.  I love that it keeps track of my steps and reminds me to breathe.  Mission accomplished.

I was amazed in what a shift in perspective could do simply because of a choice I made.  If I could do it with the Apple Watch, what else could I do it with?  Early one morning on one of my walks with the dogs, in the midst of the Texas heat, I found myself longing for the cool of fall to set upon us. As soon as the thought hit my head, I knew that I had months left of this Texas heat and longing for something other than what was right in front of me would only make me miss the joy of today.  It was right then and there that I made the switch.  This is something that I never even thought possible but I decided to love the Texas heat.  Love it.  Love. It. Love it.  Seriously.  If you want to change how you feel about something, then you simply change your thoughts about it.  It is that simple.  I love the feeling of the warmth on my skin.  I love the feeling of heat and the refreshment of diving into the swimming pool and then getting out and allowing the heat to set back in.  I love that I can wear shorts and sandals and that my skin takes on a beautiful new color for a few months. I love it and find myself enjoying the season I am in instead of longing for what comes next.  Fall will come and when it does I will love it too.  I may not have to manage my thoughts as closely when that rime comes, but it is love none the less.

I think it’s important to point out that I didn’t make a switch and everything was rainbows and butterflies.  Being fake and inauthentic will never feel right and you can’t sustain a feeling based on a false thought.  If you want rainbows and butterflies, I am sure you can get there but start out with thoughts that feel more neutral and less negative and work your way up the thought ladder from there. As you have more positive thoughts then you will have better feelings to accommodate them.  I started with finding something I genuinely did appreciate or love and kept building from that foundation.

Whether intentional of by default, love comes from a decision.  You can love others. You can love things.  You can love the heat and the rain and the deep cold of winter.   Love just loves.   It feels good to love.  Who doesn’t want that? Choose to love.  It feels fantastic.

 

Deciding to love is always a good decision!

What Would Love Do?

I have been thinking about love a lot lately and what it means to really love someone.  I mean, all we need is love. Right?  Love is the answer.  Love never fails.   Some say love hurts, love bites, and Jennifer Lopez told us that “Love don’t cost a thing.”  Love makes the world go around.  I could go on and on.

We use the term “love” to cover a variety of different feelings and actions.  I remember when a friend of mine, who was originally from Venezuela, shared with me that as she was learning English, this was a completely confusing piece to her as it felt awkward to say that you loved someone with whom you weren’t “in love.”  I hadn’t spent much time thinking about it before but we use word love like it is an ever-abundant resource (which by the way, I fully believe it is).  However, we always changing the meaning of the word by changing its context.   For instance, I love my husband but I also love my son, and peanut butter, puppies, a good night’s sleep, a great new outfit, puppies, Jesus, sushi, puppies, purple, and did I say puppies?  My list of loves could go for days, but the truth is, I don’t love sushi in the same way I love my husband, and I don’t love my husband in the same way I love puppies.  You get the idea.  I think it is easy for us to think of love as a feeling, which it can be, but I also believe it is so much more.

My growing desire is to operate continually from a place of love.  I truly believe that I show up as my best self when I show up from that place…that place of love.  So, what do I mean by that?  For starters, I need to share that love and fear don’t co-exist together.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18).  For me, when I speak of love, I think that to love someone is to always want what is best for them, regardless of how it impacts me.  As I have moved through this past week, as I hit challenges along the way, regardless of the type of situation, I would ask myself, “what would love do?”  When my child had a temper tantrum, when my husband got upset with me for being a back-seat driver, and when my client was being unnecessarily demanding.  I asked myself how would love respond.  I also found late in the week that I was feeling really stressed about something at work and when I stopped to look at it, what I realized is that the stress was caused completely by fear.  Fear of my own failure.  Fear of my inadequacy.  As I said, fear and love can’t co-exist.  Where there is fear, I must replace it with love.  Loving myself is just as important, if not more important than loving others.  Taking the time to think through, “what would love do,” let me re-position my thinking and approach the situation from a completely different perspective.  Honestly – a place that felt so much better.

As I start out this week, I am continuing my internal focus on intentional love.  I have been amazed at what a shift it can make all around me.

Love God.  Love myself.  Love others.

When love is pure, when it is done right.  I promise you, it does not hurt and it does not fail.

I’d love to hear what you think?  If you have a favorite quote with “love” in it then please feel free to share!

 

Confession Time…

Many of you know that I am doing Whole 30 right now.  Whole 30 has many rules.  In most situations I can be a pretty good rule follower but if I don’t see a lot of value in the rule then I may not be such a good rule follower.  I am not a blind follower when it comes to rules and structure.  I would say that for the most part on this plan, I have been very diligent about following the rules but there is one rule that I just can’t help myself and I have been breaking it quite a bit.  Yes, it is confession time…

The Scale… 

Yes, I have been getting on it.  I know the rules say that you are not supposed to weigh yourself for the entire 30 days but that just doesn’t work in my world!!  My husband has no problem with this rule (mainly because he is convinced he is not losing), but for me, every morning, it calls me.  We even took the scale out of our bathroom and put it in our downstairs guest room, but it still draws me to it each morning leaving me wondering what news it can tell me.  Normally it is filled with good news and who doesn’t want to start their day out with some good news to get you moving?  This morning however, it wasn’t as kind and my weight was up a pound.  I know that our bodies fluctuate and I also know that I have been eating healthy and I have no concern about that pound in the bigger picture.  At least that is what I am telling myself.

This morning as I was having my quiet time and writing in my journal I was listing the blessings from yesterday and one of them was seeing the scale jump down and feeling encouraged about where I was headed.  After I had written it, I paused because I am so guilty of falling victim to the same tale that I work with others to help them avoid.  Yesterday morning, I was feeling encouraged and motivated and excited about the future.  Why?  I tell myself that it was because of what the scale said.  However, I know logically that’s not true.  The scale has no power to make me feel anything unless I give it that power.  The number on the scale is absolutely meaningless, until I decide to give it meaning.  This means that it is my THOUGHTS about the number that were really the driver of my motivation and encouragement and yesterday.  This morning, after seeing the number, my thoughts were different and therefore it resulted in different feelings.  Our thoughts and the stories in our head create our feelings.  I know that is true but it can be so difficult to remember sometimes.  The good news here is that I have the power to recreate those feelings from yesterday morning by simply going back to the thoughts I was thinking.

“I am making progress.
I feel great.
I REALLY am going to hit my goal weight this year!”

The scale doesn’t define my success.  I define my success! I guess there is some value in the scale rule on Whole 30. That doesn’t mean I am going to follow it …but I do see the value of not having the head chatter as the scale moves back and forth.  I am doing great and feeling good and I am going to take responsibility for reminding myself of that and not delegating my emotional well-being to a scale in our downstairs guest room.

What about you?  Are you giving your emotional power away to something else or someone else?  Today is a good day to take that power back and reestablish your own ground rules for managing the thoughts in your head.

Fat Wednesday!

Well I seemed to completely miss Fat Tuesday but I have many fat Tuesdays so that is just fine so I am not sure why this one should be fatter than others. Today is Ash Wednesday, which is otherwise known as the first day of Lent. I keep seeing multiple posts about people giving up this or that and though I am not Catholic and have never made a practice of giving up anything for Lent, but who doesn’t want a good band wagon to jump on? My mind started pondering early this morning all the things I could abstain from during this time period. In another week and a half, I am going to start Whole 30 so I thought I could get a head start on eliminating a thing or two. (Now, in transparency, the reason I am going to do Whole 30 is because I just learned that supposedly I have a whole slew of food allergies so I need to do a food elimination diet to determine if these allergy test results have an iota of truth to them). The first thing I thought of giving up was dairy (a supposed allergy and I will have to give it up while on Whole 30). Then I realized I had already put cream in my coffee. Well how about I give up Diet Coke or artificial sweeteners? Before I knew it, I had blown that one too. I know… I will give up wine. But… then I wasn’t sure if that would really count since I haven’t had wine this year. I started thinking of all sort of rules I could put in place but quicker than I could stop myself I had partaken in just about everything I could think of today. It should have been called Fat Wednesday. I am surprised I didn’t take up smoking and drinking Everclear before the day concluded. Though I respect others who choose to honor this time with abstaining from sugar, beef, alcohol, Netflix or Facebook, thank God (literally!) that I am not required to do a darn thing over the next 46 days and can just rest in the fact that God’s grace is mine and nothing I do or don’t do at this point will ever change that.

What If…

 

It is easy to be happy when everything is going great.  We can find it much more difficult during life’s challenges.  Several weeks ago, I was taking my dogs for a walk.  It was a beautiful morning and I was walking around the green belt and pond near our home, enjoying seeing the ducks and other animals as we were getting our morning exercise. I was reflecting on how good I was feeling, how excited I am about what I am accomplishing this year… completely filled with confidence that I am going to accomplish the personal goals I have put in front of me.   And boom…. just like that fear set in.  I felt a shot of adrenaline pass through me.  Now remember – what we are feeling is directly related to our thoughts so I had to stop (well I didn’t literally stop, I did keep walking) and evaluate what was going on in my head.

Things are great.  This is going to be the best year.  Wait…what if I am not meant to have all this happiness?  When is the shoe going to drop?  What if this is the best year AND the worst year?  What if something horrible happens in the midst of it all? What if… what if … what if….

The “What if” game is never a productive game if you replace the unknown with the awful.  More times than not, that is what we do and as such, I am a big believer that we attract what we think and what we put out into the world.  Instead… anticipate all that is good.  Or better yet, instead of anticipating what is to come, enjoy the now.  Breathe in the beauty of today and if today is filled with challenges for you, then give thanks for those trials because they are opportunities for growth.  Find the positive that may be hiding in the midst.  I promise you, it is there.  You may not see it today, but it is there.  Seek it and you will find it.