Everyday we wake up to a world that seems to be striving to be better at something. I have friends who are professional BMX riders and I see the effort on a daily basis to become a better ramp rider or flatlander. I see friends working to become better cyclists or become faster sprinters. My Instagram is FULL of people striving to have better bodies and bigger muscles. Scroll through your Facebook feed and you’ll see all of your friends working to be a better artist, smarter student, better cook, and even a better latte art master. We should always be striving to be better at what we love, but I want to encourage everyone today to not only be better at “something” but to be better people in general.
The last couple of months have been life changing for me. A series of events have taken place that made me “catch my snap” and help begin a journey that has inspired me to not become better at “something”, but to be a better man and person. I won’t share my entire life story in this blog post, but I will say that life has not been easy for at least the past 10 – 12 years. Many don’t know that I was married for 12 yrs, which unfortunately came to an end about 6 years ago and it was only after that marriage that I began seeing “things” in myself that I didn’t like and needed to work on. There have been many challenges and struggles over the years, and though I don’t like the outcome of many of them, all I can do is learn from them and work to be “better”.
Being a “better person” will be different for each person, but in the end it’s about improving who you are for yourself and to others. I know that I have a big heart and have a lot of love to give but I also know that I have or had some personality traits that can sometimes get in the way of being a better partner or friend. I can look back at my failed marriage and see where I went wrong and see the many many ways that I was selfish, and that continued into the next relationship. Not to say that I was the sole reason for the marriage failing, but I do take responsibility for my part. These flawed personality traits also translated into how I handled friendships and even work relationships. It’s not until someone calls you out on this or until you go through a situation that “slaps you in the face” that you finally “get it” and truly develop an interest in seeing real change. That’s where I’m at now and all I can do is embrace it.
As a result of recent situations, I felt led to reach out to friends over the last several weeks who I feel I may have offended in the near past and did the same with others close to me. Some were receptive, others I never heard back from, but I did what I felt I needed to do. It was just the beginning of my desire to “make things right” and be better. I’ve always been the type of person that wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes to a fault, but in the end all you can do is have an open heart, apologize and forgive, and leave it at that. What those people or the recipients do with it is then up to them.
One thing we can do to become “better” is to learn to forgive more easily and be quick to apologize when needed. My latest situation put me in a position that allowed me to completely put my pride down and become as transparent as possible. I had nothing to lose and in essence this is how we should walk daily. Pride is ugly and it can hinder so many things in our life. It will keep us from speaking what we really feel and in turn prohibit real change and real expressions of our feelings. It can also keep us from following our hearts and making important moves in our lives. We see it all the time in movies, that typical scene where someone steps up as the “hero” , puts their pride down and says “F this!” and puts their heart on the line, drives full speed to the airport in hopes of catching that person before they jump on a flight to Paris. haha. This is a scene from the ending of “Family Man” with Nicolas Cage. Good movie, get it on Netflix tonight.
Right now my truck is running like crap. It’s in need of a good tune up and for those that know a little about trucks / cars, I think that I need to change all 8 of my coil packs. Until I take care of these and a few other issues it’s not going to run right and might even leave me stranded somewhere. Like our vehicles, we too as human beings need regular maintenance and “tune ups” and this can come in the form of counseling, therapy, or just some good one on one time with solid caring friends or family. I have to give props to my core circle of friends who have been a great source of support and have shown true friendship. I owe them so much and as part of becoming “better”, I have to remind myself to reach out as a support to them as well.
I’m a firm believer in therapy and not ashamed to share that I’ve been going regularly to my therapist for the past several weeks and I love it. My friends have been great but you don’t want to exhaust them with your crap and wear them out. Yes, sometimes my friends amaze me and provide some of the most awesome advice and perspectives, many times leaving me feeling like there isn’t any need for my next therapy session. However, it’s not until I’m sitting there on that comfy couch in her office that I realize how much I needed to be there.
Whatever it takes for you to get the maintenance you need in your life, find a way and follow through. We are not meant to walk through life alone or making decisions in our own understanding, and there’s so much that our solid friends, family, or a good therapist has to offer. Take advantage of it and also be that person to others.
Whatever it takes to be better, do it. Read, learn from friends, build one another up, get plugged in to a good church, pray, go to seminars, or go on a retreat. Men, surround yourself with other wise men, ones that will lift and build you up, and women, do the same. Women tend to do this naturally anyway, but if you don’t, capitalize on those around you that can be that mentor or strong woman who will speak truth to you and give you good counsel.
In the end, let’s all just strive to be better. Better friends, better partners, better husbands and wives, better parents, and most of all, better human beings. Love one another, serve each other, lift one another up, and live a life that puts others first. If we all lived this way I don’t see how we could go wrong.
Have a better day than yesterday.