Hello Quarantine Peeps and Home Fries,

So I know that we are all locked up and looking for things to do. I have been working out with my roommate this week. She is trying to get certified to be a personal trainer and my other roommate and I are her guinea pigs for 30 days. I worked out 5 days this week and I feel really good. Working out is great, but another way to pass the time is to READ. I read this book called the Four Agreements a couple of times. The book is short, sweet and it can be read within a few days.

The Four Agreements is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz, a Mexican author and spiritualist. The agreements are the following;

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Things Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best 

Be Impeccable with your word! Ruiz means to be honest with yourself and others. If you say you are going to do something, DO IT. Use words to speak life about yourself and others. Avoid gossiping and speaking negatively about other people. The bible discusses this as well. Mark 12:30-31 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” Proverbs 18:21 says, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Basically, your mouth can make or break you. Do I struggle with this? YEEESSS!!! I can be really quiet, but when I get to know you, I am extremely talkative. Sometimes, I say the wrong thing, and once you do that, you can’t take it back. Since I have been taking my walk with Jesus more seriously, I feel more convicted about things that I say. Honestly, I should probably pray before I open my mouth EVERY TIME.

I try to encourage people, but I don’t know if I’m being supportive or not. The struggle is real. One of the things I learned in bible study is that love is not always rosy and peachy. Showing love also means saying things that people don’t want to hear. Figuring out the line between being loving and not be loving is still a mystery for me. As far as being a person of my word. When I say I will do something, I usually do it. However, I gossip sometimes and I know I shouldn’t. I’ve been way more convicted about that lately. You don’t want to say negative things about people, but sometimes you just need to let out your frustrations, concerns and feelings. The best way to do this in a healthy way is to journal. Journaling is cathartic and keeps you from saying words that can hurt feelings. It gives you time to reflect so when you do confront a person, it is done with thought and not in the heat of the moment. It is not good to hold in your feelings all the time. You can’t be Pollyanna, but you shouldn’t be a tyrant either. Find a balance, think before you speak and be a light for Christ. If people who don’t know Christ, see you being mean, and careless with your words, then how do you think you can lead someone to the Lord. We are human and we make mistakes, but you have to strengthen your relationship with the Lord or whoever you believe in, so that you are more mindful about the things you say and do. When I notice that I have hard feelings against someone, I pray for them and I focus on the positive instead of the negative. I also pray for the Lord to take away my negative feelings toward this person.

Don’t Take Things Personally & Don’t Make Assumptions: Woooo, chile, these two are sooooo difficult. I think these two go hand in hand. We take things personally, usually when we make assumptions about why someone did something. When other people make daily decisions, we always make it about ourselves. If the woman in line cuts in front, we think that she has just stomped on our hearts and we become angry and reactive to the situation. This escalates the problem and you leave mad for the rest of the day. I witnessed this occur so many times at my customer service jobs, especially in New York.

In my life, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I assume the best from people, until they show me differently. I give people more chances than I probably should, but hey, remember Jesus said to Peter in Matthew, “forgive seventy times seven.”  However, forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tolerate poor behavior, especially if it is effecting your self-esteem and self- worth. You can forgive people, but I don’t think being a doormat will solve your problems either. Balance is key to everything in life. If you feel someone has done something to you, ask them about it. Go to the source instead of slandering someone to another person. Choose your words carefully, you may be surprised that their actions had nothing to do with you at all. Yes sometimes, people are untruthful about their motives, but it is better to ask someone about their intentions than assume they are going to come for you in the middle of the night with a hatchet and slaughter you. Super vivid example, I know, but internally we assume the worst of others motives and create this big scary monster of a person out of a minor action, detail or flaw. If someone is getting on your nerves, say something. It’s not what you say, it is how you say it. I think we all know how to speak with tact to one another. We are in our thirties now, so let’s act like it guys. LOL!

Seriously, taking things personally has been a huge issue for me and it is a work in progress for sure. People think that change happens with big events or life milestones, when in reality it is in the the small daily decisions that creates change. If you notice that someone didn’t speak to you, speak to them and ask them how they are doing. You might find out that they have alot on their minds and just didn’t hear you say hello. It’s happened to me a few times. People said they told me hello, and I really didn’t hear them. I didn’t ignore them on purpose because if I hear hello, I always respond. Funny thing is is that I used to be so scared to say hello to people when I was younger because I was afraid that they wouldn’t respond to me and it would hurt my feelings. Now I have made an effort to say hello to people more often and sometimes I am surprised at how open people are to you when you show interest in them, even for a second. You can make someone’s day just by smiling at them and saying HELLO. Even New Yorkers, will surprise you and say hello, if you say it first. I think it shocks them that someone would even say HELLO, at all. LOL!

Lastly, but certainly not least; Always Do Your Best. I always tell may students this, but can I be frank? I work hard, but sometimes, I don’t always feel like I am doing my best. I always think I could be doing more, I could be singing more, I could be planning my lessons more thoroughly for my job. I could work harder and make sure I blog every SATURDAY. I’ve been working out this week and trying to eat better, but I feel like I could have done more. Finding the line between doing my best and pushing myself too hard has been challenging to say the least. In the last year, I have tried to have more fun and not work so much. Even though I was working so much in the past, I’m not sure I was always doing my best. I always tell people that I try my best, but I’m honestly not sure. I think sometimes, I give a good effort, but I am still trying to figure out what is MY BEST and not someone else’s best. Since I would take on so much, I don’t know if the quality of my work was as good as it could have been over the years. I feel better when I have less balls in the air and I can focus on a few things at a time. This seems pretty unrealistic, especially in NYC where everything is go, go, go all the time. The quarantine has slowed us down, but maybe we needed it. This time has given me a moment to really reflect on my life and figure out how to make to most of it when I begin my full-time job  in the fall. Regarding doing your best Ruiz says “Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement; self abuse and regret.” I guess I’m still a work in progress on this one and all of the agreements if I’m honest. That’s life though, it should be a work in progress, constantly working toward growth in all areas of our lives and once we reach a milestone, celebrate, and then set new goals. Do YOUR BEST this week and stay safe everyone!!!

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