"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..You Are Not…..

Please forgive me if today’s M5T is lacking in wit, humor, or wisdom.  Today is from the heart not from the head and touches on issues that I know we all have dealt with at some point in our lives or, like me, you may be dealing with some or all of these today.  Todays M5T discusses things that we are not, and yet we often have allowed ourselves and others to try and convince us to the contrary.

1.  Mediocre

You are not mediocre. You can choose to move outside of your comfort zone. That change doesn't necessarily mean a physical change. The best way to start moving the needle off of mediocrity can simply be a change of mindset, a change of perspective. Move beyond a mindset that is alright, fine, good and so-so to a mindset that focuses on the awesome, the beautiful and the extraordinary blessings in your life. Figure out what gets you out of bed in the morning beyond a cup of coffee. What excites you, what motivates you, what can’t you wait to do? Then start doing those things more regularly in your life.

2.  Alone

You are not alone. Often times we can feel alone, even when we surround ourselves with other people. How often do we think no one will understand what we are going through, what we are missing, what we need? How often do we look to temporary releases of eating, social media, spending money or binge watching NetFlix that still leave us feeling empty? Take time to look at who you really are, focus on your strengths, accept your weaknesses, look at what gives you meaning in life. When you have time alone, learn to be comfortable with yourself. Re-ignite the passion of a hobby you’ve neglected. Get off whatever your proverbial couch is and go somewhere you wouldn’t normally go, do something you’ve never done before…try a different restaurant, drive down a new road. Learn something new… a language, cooking, creating art on a canvas or with a camera… try anything that doesn’t involve a TV, a keyboard, a game controller or a smartphone.

3.  Powerless

You are not powerless. Figure out your points of pain in your life and move to make changes. You can express your deepest needs and you should fight for what you believe these needs are. You have a right to ask for something without shame.  Deep seated feelings don’t change overnight, but you can gradually and consistently take control of what is important to you. You are stronger and more independent than you realize.

4.  Infallible

You are not infallible. We all make mistakes and, I think that by and large, we all hate making mistakes. Whether those mistakes have offended others we care about, mistakes at work, mistakes through inattentiveness, communicating a wrong message or mistakes from outright failure in something we’ve tried to do…we all have that as part of our lives.  The question is what do we do about them?  I’ve needed to deal with perfectionism, communication about my emotions and needs with clarity and being open about my fallibility. Perhaps the toughest part is learning to forgive ourselves for mistakes made.

5.  Your Past

You are not your past, nor are you a bad person.  This can be a tough one.  It has been the toughest for me.  We all embrace past memories of joy, yet the painful emotional and or physical memories of the past can bind us and haunt us for years.  Stunting us.  Shutting us down from others and shutting out who we really are.  Whether that past involves physical abuse, chemical or alcohol enablement or dependency, or a myriad of other hurts we have experienced and continue to carry in our minds, the past never seems to leave. We need to acknowledge and truly believe that we are survivors and that our strength today in some ways comes from the pain we have experienced in the past.  We need to stop having a victim mentality and blaming others.   If this is a part of your life, talk with someone you trust, whether that’s a solid friend or a professional counselor.  Make a conscious decision to allow that wounded inner boy or girl, or the current man or woman to express the reality of the pain.  Find ways to reduce and stop re-living the narrative of the hurt that runs through our mind.  Stop shutting down emotionally with others and start living a new life that is based in the present not the past. And perhaps the hardest of all is to find a way to forgive… those that have hurt you and even more importantly is to find a way to drop your shame and forgive yourself to move forward.  I’m not there yet on either side of forgiveness, but it’s a work in progress.

Here’s to a week of realizing who you are not and embracing who you really are.

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved. 

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business.  He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.  

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com  and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook.  Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine.  His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome.  Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com