Let’s Not Play the Comparison Game

Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I try extra hard not to compare things happening in my life to the things that happen in the lives of those around me and in my circle. I would say that out of all of the days in a month, over half of them I succeed in that mission because I know that we can never see what someone else does in their everyday life to achieve whatever level of success they’re having at the moment. In reality the truth is that most of the time, if you are not succeeding at whatever dream you are chasing the problem isn’t someone else’s efforts on their journey but perhaps your lack of effort in your own, or it could just simply not be your time. Most days I remember that. Most.

There are some days, maybe a little over a handful, where you truly feel like you are doing absolutely everything that you possibly can, and you see someone on a similar path as you and everything seems to be working out in amazing fashion for them. Frankly in those few days the shit just feels unfair. You’re working your ass off, pouring everything you’ve got into this dream and vision you have, and sometimes pouring things you don’t have in the emotional tank and still…nothing. You think, how much damn adversity is one person supposed to go through before they just break. That whole notion where it’s just not your time and your time will come just seems like utter bullshit on those days and you’re just mad at anyone who is on the adjacent path and are just traveling along with no bumps or obstacles that YOU can see. Does any of this sound like feelings you’ve dealt with? No! Just me?

Well, I have had a few of those days already for the month of January and I’m telling you, sometimes it just makes me want to throw in the towel and give up on everything. But then I look at my vision board and see this quote I put on there for this very eventual moment. It says, “You didn’t come this far, to ONLY come this far”. I need the constant reminder that I’ve come so much farther than I have to go (at least I hope so because truthfully, I can’t see the entire road ahead of me) and that if I quit now, it will have all been for nothing. Honestly if I didn’t believe in my dream and my vision so emphatically, I probably would have given up on it a very long time ago, but I believe in this and I know this is what I was put here to do.

This is what I need to remind myself of when I start comparing my journey to the road that other people are on because the only thing that accomplishes is it makes me resentful of that person (and that’s not who I am) and it plants seeds of doubt in my own mind about my journey. I have different abilities and limits than the next person and I can’t map out my journey according to someone else’s level of effort and ability because, once again, their journey and mine won’t be the same.

So, when you have those bad days where everyone’s road starts to look so much easier to you than your own, just remember that while it’s natural to have those feelings, you have to put into perspective that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. As the quote says at the top of the post, comparison is the biggest thief of joy and I for one want more joy in my life, I don’t want to be the one stealing joy away from myself. Don’t you allow yourself to be the thief of your own joy. Just make sure to keep watering the grass on your own side of the fence.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeBold #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Be The Example

I wanted to say something in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today and I was looking over my posts from previous years and it’s sad that things still seem to be in the same state in terms of the world. It always astonishes me when I hear powerful people, politicians in particular, use his quotes and it is evident that they have no idea the message that he was trying to convey. Either the true meaning goes over their head completely or they make a conscious decision to go in the opposite direction of the words he says.

The picture above is one quote I had actually never heard before as one of his, but I can’t think of one that fits the time we are in better. Our leaders in this country are so busy struggling for power and trying to do anything to hold on to that power that they seem to have forgotten that they are only there, in office, to be of service. They are supposed to be there to serve the people of this country.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of service, not just in the fact that he served God as a preacher, but in his service of people and trying to seek justice for all of humanity. He wanted everyone, everywhere, no matter what color you were, no matter what culture you were from, what social status you held, what profession you practiced, to be treated equally. I never understood why it was such a hard concept for some to grasp, but I did understand that for some reason, it was. For some reason I would always be treated differently in some way because I was born with darker skin and because I am from what most would consider a poor status. I am technically considered below the poverty line; I pretty much always have been. But does that mean that I matter any less?

The people in power always proclaim to be for the people but there are certain members of public service who most certainly do not care about the people in this country that they are supposed to be serving, at least not past the campaign stage of things. I think the quote above is something that they all need to keep somewhere in their offices and anywhere they go really because then maybe at some point they will remember that public servants are supposed to serve the public, not their ego, or their wallets, or their professional resume. It would do well for people to remember, on this day in particular, that serving the public is one of the greatest things you can do in life, but only if you are truly serving the people, and not just yourself.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeCourageous #BeHopeful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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When Does Later Become Now?

I don’t know about you, but I have spent large parts of my life planning for later. I’m a planner by nature so most things I do have to have some kind of plan or else I can’t function. In other words, I am not a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person. I don’t do well with spontaneity (and believe me I have tried). Now you might say, well planning is a good thing. You need a solid plan to build businesses, careers, and to really see your dreams through, don’t you?

The thing about planning so much (or at least as much as I do, which would probably be considered over-planning) is that you’re making plans for what comes later without thinking about what can be done now. I heard someone say the other day that people who always wait and plan to do things later, are people who never get things done. Now I’m sure this wasn’t meant literally because as I said earlier, everything needs a plan of some kind but there is a such thing as planning so much that you become stagnant and unmovable. A point in which you’ve made all of the plans, you’ve done all of the research, you’ve got all of your ducks in a row and then you find yourself so used to being in the planning stage that you start to wonder, well what now. What do I do with all of this planning now?

You start to overthink whether you’ve made all of the right plans. Did you research all of the right things and were your sources of research correct. You begin to wonder if you should now plan all of the ways that things can go wrong and subsequently what do you do when they don’t go as you originally planned. This can become a never-ending cycle of planning and preparation which turns into you never actually getting the thing you’ve been planning all this time for done.

So, with that in mind I’m going to make conscious efforts this year to do the things that I have been wanting to get done for a while right in this span of time that I have now. I don’t want to keep waiting for things to be perfect like I had been doing because that’s never going to happen. There were so many things that I didn’t do last year all because I was waiting for some magical “right” time to happen. I was waiting for everything to fall into place after doing all of the planning and research for the perfect moment. I was waiting for the right circumstances to be in play. But all of that waiting doesn’t bring you success.

You know what I’ve learned by studying really successful people and combing over the facets of their lives and how they built their dreams up into reality? They never waited until later. I mean sure they planned and researched but they didn’t allow themselves to become consumed with the idea of “perfect timing” and what that would look like. They planned and then they leaped and said let whatever happens happen. Did some of them make mistakes along the way? Of course they did but you can’t make mistakes if you don’t take the jump to begin with.

On my vision board there’s a saying that says, “It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap” and that’s what I want to do this year. I’ve spent years planning things out and researching things to the point of exhaustion. This year (as afraid of heights as I am lol) it’s time for me to just close my eyes and take that leap of faith. Faith, not only in myself, but in what God has placed inside of my heart to do and the mark I am meant to leave behind in this world. So, if you’ve been waiting for some magical right time to just go for whatever it is you want, that time is NOW! Just Jump!

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeBold #BeBrave

Jimmetta Carpenter

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It All Depends On How High You Bounce Back

If you never know failure, you will never know success” ~ Sugar Ray Leonard

I haven’t written here in a few weeks, roughly about a month and I just want you to know that it wasn’t because I suddenly ran out of things to say. Aside from the fact that NaNoWriMo is this month and I tend to be more singularly focused on writing a brand-new novel in November, the last few weeks have just been inherently hard. I have been feeling like the Universe has just singled me out and said, ‘nope you can’t get any wins right now because you just don’t deserve to win’.

Now of course I know, logically, that that’s a little ridiculous because everyone deserves a win in life. It’s just not feeling like I’m going to get one anytime soon. It’s kind of like getting a couple of steps ahead for once and then getting knocked fifteen steps backward. It’s hard to feel optimism in that scenario. Yet, I am reminded of the fact that each time I think I’m not going to survive through the week, somehow by the time the end of the week gets here I’m still standing, and I have survived to fight another day, another week, another month, another year.

We’re getting close to the end of this year and that’s about the time where I usually reflect on the things I didn’t get accomplished and the plans that didn’t come to fruition so that I can figure out where I went wrong in my planning and plan effectively for the following year. However, it feels like my best laid plans don’t seem to ever materialize the way that I think they will, if they materialize at all. I thought for a moment that maybe I just shouldn’t plan anything, maybe I should just go with the flow but trust me, if you know anything about me by now, you know that my little planner heart would literally break without having a plan in place. So, what then? If the plans seem to not be working but I can’t just not plan, what do I do with that?

I don’t think I’m the type of person that could just not plan for success. Maybe the key is just to manage my expectations which could then manage my disappointment. Perhaps it’s just as simple as knowing that failure is the very life blood of success because how can you truly succeed without failing a few times (or in my case a few dozen times) because failure is the very proof that you are trying, that you are going for your dreams, and that you are not giving up on them, ever. As much as I may sometimes want to throw in the towel, it’s just not in my nature to give up.

I know that I want to be purposeful in everything I do in this life. I want to inspire others with my gift for words and motivate those who may also be struggling with big dreams and crushing defeats. You can’t do any of that if you’re just going to throw your hands up and say to hell with it, I give up. I’ve never been a quitter, and that’s not to say there haven’t been moments when I tried to quit (both at life and my dreams). It’s also not to say there won’t be moments in the future where I’ll have really hard days and want to quit again but I’m made of stronger stuff than that, and so are you! We’ve got this and no matter how many times life tries to knock us down we will keep getting right back up because that’s what success is truly about. It’s about continuing to get back up no matter what and no matter how long it takes to achieve the dream!

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeTenacious #BeDiligent

Jimmetta Carpenter

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On the Other Side of Time

So often we find ourselves in a place in our lives where we just know that we should be somewhere that we just aren’t yet. We have the trajectory planned out and feel that if we are truly doing everything right then of course our plans would fall into place. It would be really nice if the plans we make could be seen through without any bumps along the road. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way that we planned.

However, maybe it’s not unfortunate because there are times when beautiful things happen along the way to the plans that we originally made. Sometimes we find things that make us grow as a person and people that help us become better than who we were before we headed out on our journey. There are moments that we sometimes miss looking for what was supposed to be.

Life is about growing and becoming better versions of ourselves with every passing day. Staying true to a plan that has outgrown us isn’t necessarily beneficial to you or the people whose lives you are meant to touch and impact. We can’t always fit in to a place in which we no longer belong and trying to continue to do so just hinders our growth. Growth isn’t always going to be as beautiful of a transition as is one from a caterpillar to a butterfly but if we keep in mind that the uneasy and uncomfortable parts of change make for beautiful results in the end then it makes all of it worthwhile.

The beautiful things that we are expecting out of life, they aren’t just going to magically appear. They aren’t always going to have some alluring transition into this masterpiece of a result without some twists, turns, and uneasiness. There is a process we must grow through in order to get the life that we truly want, the life we know we deserve. What we truly want for our lives comes on the other side of time.

Until next time… #BeDiligent #BeMotivated #BePatient

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Can There Be Grace In Failure?

Last week I felt like I was failing on multiple levels. I couldn’t seem to get anything to go right or work out right and I wasn’t saying all the right things to the people around me. It was just not my best week. However, when I go back and look at my footage for my writing vlog on my YouTube channel that I filmed all last week I see that while yes, everything didn’t go as I had planned it or wanted it to go, I also didn’t completely fail at everything. And what I did fail in, I learned some lessons from what I didn’t do right. I guess that’s the thing about the way we perceive things and how it may be seen to the outside world.

The thing that I can’t seem to get a handle on is how to have grace with myself. I try and sometimes I think I have a handle on a good self-care routine that allows me to have that grace. But most of the time it’s my own expectations of myself and my abilities that make it hard for me to cut myself any slack. I don’t typically worry about the expectations others have of me and that is because my own bar for myself is so unattainably high that I can’t seem to get over or around it. I want big things out of life. I want to leave a big legacy for my daughter and in this world. I can’t do that playing things small and yet I constantly feel like that is what I’m doing.

It seems that I’m always having to adjust my goals because I simply can’t seem to reach them, at least not in their entirety. It’s like I come close but fall short on so many levels. When I saw the above quote, it made me think about the fact that even in my losses perhaps there are still some wins in the lessons that I am able to take away and apply towards the next attempt that I make. It reminds me that as long as I at least give it a solid try and truly put in the effort to achieve the goals I set out to accomplish then I haven’t really failed because there are so many people who just don’t try at all.

I suppose the point in all of this is to say if you too struggle to allow yourself grace, if you also beat yourself up for the goals that you don’t get accomplished, that you are not alone in that mental tug of war. Try to remember, as I will also, that it’s not about how many times you get pushed back from the goal line or get knocked down. It’s about getting back up and pushing through towards that goal line. It’s about not giving up and letting the doubts in your mind win. it’s about taking the lessons that you learn from the initial blow and applying them to your next attempt. Make sure that you are taking some mental breaks from the pressure that you put on yourself and remember that taking care of yourself is also a win. It’s a win for your mental health.

If you are looking for some suggestions of some things you can do to show yourself some grace and maybe take better care of yourself, I just did a video last week, mostly for writers, but it applies to anyone really, about ways to better take care of your mental health in high stress periods of time. I hope that you check it out and I hope that you make just as much of an effort to show yourself some grace.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeHopeful #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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We Have Reached the Writing Holiday Portion of the Year

It’s a new month and we have now entered a Writer’s favorite season, or at least this writer’s favorite season. It is Prep-Tober which is the month that we take to get ready and organized for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) in which writers challenge themselves to essentially fast draft a novel in only a month. To people who aren’t writers it sounds absolutely crazy to take on this challenge but to a writer this is our holiday season, and we get totally hyped up for it.

Now the secret that I’m not sure a lot of writers will really tell you is that it’s not really about whether we can finish the novel, in actuality it is about the community of writers that we have built up and the support that we give to one another throughout the entire month. That’s not to say that we don’t support one another every other month in the year but during Prep-Tober and NaNoWriMo that community outreach and support is multiplied times a hundred because it’s the one time a year where all of our goals are pretty much synced up in the same way.

I love this time of year because typically it is when I get to map out a brand-new project (I have done a couple of NaNo’s as a rebel before though) and I get to flesh out one of the many shiny new ideas that plague me throughout the year. I’m excited to get back to writing in my mystery series as I will be writing the fourth book in that series. Mystery is where my heart really is in terms of writing, well mystery and contemporary fiction, but mostly mystery. I do want to also write a historical fiction romance book but I’m not mentally or emotionally ready to write that one just yet, maybe next year.

If you too are writing a novel this November, I hope that you will come join the AuthorTube Community over on YouTube and perhaps subscribe to my channel (link is below) and some other wonderful channels over there to get your dose of community and, if you need it, help with your stories and overall motivation for the task at hand. Writing is not an easy feat, and it is inherently a solitary act, but it doesn’t always have to be. I hope that you all have a wonderful first week of October and if you are also a writer and are joining in on the excitement of our season, that your Prep-Tober kicks off in spectacular fashion.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeMotivated #BeInspired

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Never Give Up On You

In case you missed the talk of the Emmy’s last week, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Emmy at 65 years old for supporting actress in a comedy series. Only the second black woman, with the first black woman having won 35 years ago. Now the fact that she finally won an award that she is overqualified for and should have won a long time ago isn’t the takeaway of the night for me. Her acceptance speech, in which she sang a song about being an endangered species and knowing where her voice belongs as an artist, and then went on to tell the audience that that moment was what believing looked like and that if you ever have a dream, you should never give up on yourself. I think I replayed that speech about a dozen times that night and probably another two dozen since then. It was something that I didn’t even realize I needed to hear.

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling quite defeated and a bit kicked around by the universe. It’s been making me question my talent and my abilities, and even someone with as much faith as I have can get bogged down by self-doubt. I’ve been wondering with all the hard work that I put into writing and being a creative individual why success seems to continually elude me. Now my definition of success is not the typical fame or fortune, which I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want just a little bit. Rather what success looks like to me is accomplishing what I set out to do in this world, fulfilling the purpose I truly believe I’m here for, and taking care of people who need to be cared for. Success to me would be having an impact on others in some meaningful way.

I have never had an easy road on this journey we call life. Things have definitely been rough at some points, damn near unbearable at others, with a few bright spots along the way. Sometimes I forget that just because things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to, or think they should, doesn’t mean that they are forever out of reach. I also tend to forget that what I do does matter to some and acknowledgment can come from even the most surprising places.

I don’t think that I have ever quit at anything in my life. Not anything that meant anything to me anyway. I may have had moments where I took a break, had to recharge my drive for just a bit, get my bearings together after a big letdown, but never have I quit. I’m just not made that way. When I heard that acceptance speech from Sheryl Lee Ralph, it just reinvigorated me and reminded me of what I already knew deep down inside. That I can never, ever give up on me. So, if you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to rest and recharge but don’t stay down. If you need someone to remind you of what you’re working towards and to keep pushing through. Then let me tell you, get up and look in the mirror and say to yourself “Never give up on you.”

Until next time… #BeDiligent #BeRelentless #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Never Lose the Power to Imagine the Endless Possibilities

 

I recently took LeVar Burton’s Master Class on the Power of Storytelling and there was something he said that stuck with me. That we have to keep our imagination in order to visualize and manifest what it is we want out of life. He highlighted the fact that as children we are always so inquisitive and asking what if this were possible and what if that were possible. Somewhere along the way, as we grow older, as we are told to grow up and to be practical and realistic, we lose that part of us that questions everything and that believes that everything we want can be made a reality simply because we believe it to be possible.

He made a powerful statement that nothing can ever happen in our lives unless we first believe it can, unless we can first imagine that it can be a reality. I have never thought of it quite that way. We need our imaginations, and we need to carry them with us throughout our journey in life because you are going to constantly have people telling you what it is that you can’t do. There are going to people at every turn judging you and putting you down and trying to, in their words, keep you grounded in reality, but the reality that they want for you is not the reality that matters. If their reality limits your imagination and the span of what it is, you would be able to do then let them keep their version of reality while you hold onto yours.

We are the Masters of our own fate. I mean yes, overall, I believe that God is the one who navigates our journey, but you have to believe in the gifts that God has instilled you with to change this world. You have to know your value and that the possibilities for you are endless as long as you believe they are. We have to keep that part of us that can imagine what others deem impossible. It’s how we are going to see this journey we are on through and become all that we are destined to be in this life. More than that, it is the best way that we can go beyond what we can even imagine. In order to reach our true potential never lose sight of all of the things that you imagine possible for your reality. We can soar as high as our imaginations will carry us!

Until next time… #BeInquisitive #BeFearless #BeInspired

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Never Underestimate Your Inner Strength

Someone reminded me the other day when I was feeling frustrated and defeated and just plain weak that there is no way that someone who was weak could have survived everything I’ve been through and still be here. From an abusive childhood to the multiple attempts of suicide that didn’t take, the many bouts of depression, quite a few car accidents that I probably shouldn’t have been able to walk away from, extreme anxiety, and of course the normal knocks that life just hands you on a regular basis. They also reminded me that even though I am not always aware of the difference that I have made in other people’s lives, that I have in fact made a difference.

I tend to think big even in terms of the change I want to affect in this world so when I say I want to change other people’s lives in some meaningful way I immediately think in terms of money and being able to one day give to various charities and organizations that make changes throughout the world. To help people in their times of need the way that people in the past have helped me in mine. I didn’t mean to dismiss the small changes that can be made over time. I neglected to think about the small impressions that one can leave on someone’s life that could change their lives for the long term.

I’m not good at always thinking the best of myself or complementing myself, or apparently receiving complements in regard to myself. I don’t always see in myself what other people see in me and it’s definitely one of those things I need to work on but also a coping mechanism developed over many years that’s a little hard to get rid of. I am quick to dismiss my abilities, sometimes forgetting what I’ve already achieved in my life. I have for far too long underestimated myself and my value in this life.

We should never sell ourselves short, both in terms of the strength that we have to face difficult things that come our way as well as in regard to the change that you make in other people’s lives. Sometimes we never even see the impact that we have on those around us until someone else points it out. We all matter to someone, most likely to a lot of someone’s, and even if you aren’t the owner of some major corporation that donates millions to charities on a continual basis, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change the life of the person you come in contact with simply by going to the store. Just because you aren’t sure how you’ve managed to survive the obstacles that have been tossed your way doesn’t change the fact that you did in fact survive them. On those days when you are feeling weak and discouraged just remember the strength you have inside you and the impact your life has on others.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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