To Pretend or Not to Pretend…That is the Question?

I did a lot of pretending when I was younger. In elementary school I had to pretend the home I went back to everyday wasn’t broken and abusive. In high school I had to pretend I was not crumbling on the inside and like I wasn’t constantly thinking of ways to just end it all. In college and early adulthood, like most young adults, I had to pretend that I knew what the hell I was doing. With people I came in contact with back then I would pretend that I was outgoing and like I thrived on being around lots of people when in reality people drained me and any creative energy I had, and I really just wanted to be left alone. Not alone in some lonely, woe is me type of way either, but rather in a way that actually refilled my creative well.

I mean that’s what life is mostly isn’t it. Pretending! Going along to get along. Trying to fit in with people you probably don’t actually like just so that they don’t classify you as difficult, weird and awkward or just think that something is wrong with you altogether. You pretend to understand things you really don’t because you don’t want to appear like you aren’t knowledgeable and capable. It gets to be a little tiring to pretend all the time. To always have to be “on” and faking that you feel something you don’t or faking that you’re happy if you’re not.

When you get to a certain point in life you just want to be surrounded by people and live a life where you can just simply be. Where you can express how you feel about something or someone without having to hide your emotions and feelings. Where you don’t have to apologize for being a person who wears their heart on their sleeve and whose emotions show up all over your face. You want to not have to explain yourself to people who you thought you didn’t have to explain anything to because it was thought to believe that you were accepted just the way you were.

The simple truth is, at least the truth that I’m coming to realize, is true acceptance doesn’t really exist. No matter what situation you find yourself in, no matter what circle of people you surround yourself with, there is always going to have to be some manner of pretending. Sometimes it hurts to realize that but it’s best to live in reality than to have blinders on and think something is true that isn’t. Even those that are closest to you, that are your closest friends, aren’t going to always accept everything there is about you. We are all deeply flawed, and sometimes vastly broken individuals and that means we have things about us that others just can’t come to terms with and that they would rather adjust or change about you than just simply accept without question.

Let’s be honest, you probably have some things that you would change about the people in your life as well. I suppose the real question is who in your life are you willing to make adjustments for and who are you willing to pretend around? Can you really ever go through life without having to pretend something? Is there ever going to come a time in life where you can remove the mask and just be yourself without having to rationalize who you are to those you love and call friends and found family? I thought it was possible but now I’m not so sure. I guess the jury is still out on that one and only time will truly tell.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BeYou

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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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

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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

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Troubles Don’t Last Always

I try not to get too overly hopeful anymore about how a year is going to go for me. I swear every time I move a couple of steps forward in my goals, life comes along and says ‘nope, not so fast, need to knock you back a few steps more, you’re not quite ready yet’ and then I get discouraged. Not discouraged enough to ever give up on my dreams and goals because come on, if I haven’t given up on them at this point why would I suddenly give up now. It just gets extremely frustrating when I feel like I just might be getting somewhere, that for once I might be getting to a place where I can just not have to worry so much. That place where I can be comfortable (not in the complacent kind of way) and just not have to stress over every single little thing for fear that the walls around me will come tumbling down. It just sometimes feels like I can get close enough to touch the dream but never quite close enough to actually have it.

Keep in mind when I say the dream, I don’t mean being rich and famous or overly wealthy (not that I would deny myself that opportunity if it should so happen), just to make a living from my creative abilities and not have to worry if I’m going to have a roof over my head from one month to another. I mean to be able to have my daughter tell me she needs something and to not have to weigh helping her with what she wants or needs against providing food and shelter for the both of us, or even just myself. I just want to be able to survive and thrive a little with my art and then if there was a bonus that I would add to that, I would say to be able to reach out and help other people who are also struggling without hesitation.

I know that being a creative is not an easy thing and I’ve never thought that it was supposed to be, but I just never anticipated constantly getting knocked back every time I manage to get somewhere, and I mean every single time. Having said all of that, and being the spiritual person that I am, I am reminded from several church sermons and biblical scriptures that troubles do not lasts always. That whatever struggles I have gone through, or that I will inevitably go through, that God will always bring me through anything, and it may not be in the way that I think, but it will always be in the way He feels is best for me to be able to grow.

I am so highly resistant to change that I sometimes think that the knocks that life keeps giving me is its way of telling me that I need to stop being so afraid of change and to stop shying away from risks and opportunities that could make me grow. Could that be the lesson here? That troubles don’t last always but they do always persist until you learn the lesson that you were meant to get from the journey. Perhaps that is the piece of the puzzle that I am missing. Being brave enough to go for anything without thinking of what could go wrong.

Whatever your struggles are in your journey to get to the dreams and goals you are trying to reach don’t let the times that life will knock you down discourage you. You have to get back up and keep pushing through. There is light on that other side, even if it only looks like you can see tiny cracks of it right now. Let those tiny cracks of light be enough for the moment. Imagine how much more there is to see if you just stay vigilant and keep moving forward. I won’t lie and say that you won’t get discouraged ever again. That’s a part of life, a part of the journey. But just keep in mind that troubles don’t last always and that you can only get what you’re striving for if you keep going.

Until next time… #BeVigilant #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Where’s the Manual for This Thing We Call Adulthood

I was having a conversation with my daughter the other day who I constantly feel like I failed. Not because I don’t love her and show and tell her that every single day so that she knows she is loved (which is something my mother never did). Not because I don’t do a good job of making sure she is taken care of first and foremost. But rather because I’ve spent far too much time sheltering her in the vein of wanting her to not grow up before she should have to, letting a child, or teenager, be and act the age that they are.

The problem with that has now come to fruition in the fact that she now clings to the sheltered life that I practically killed myself (metaphorically of course) to provide and she’s terrified of going out into the world and actually being an adult (despite the fact that she’s 19). I made her feel too secure in being taken care of that she doesn’t have confidence that she will be able to take care of herself. What do I do with that? I mean I tried to explain to her that there isn’t a manual on being adult, hell I’m still winging it as I go along.

How do I dispel her fears of adulthood when her fears are valid. Being an adult is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be and I had to be one far before I actually became an adult which is why I wanted her to enjoy the years that she didn’t have to be. But I may have completely hindered her which makes me feel like a complete and total failure as a mother. It’s a tricky balance between being the mom who wants to protect your child no matter what to being the mom that has to let go and let her child spread her wings and fly. It’s even trickier when that child doesn’t want to leave the nest. I’m just writing today to express my frustration with this new phase I’m in of being a parent to an adult child (because we all know you never stop being a parent no matter how old they are) and I’m hoping that there is someone out there that understands so that I’m not alone in this conundrum.

We had a talk yesterday and I told her that there is no manual for being an adult. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got but the one thing she can’t do is not go out and try. She said she was terrified of messing up and I explained to her that she will absolutely mess up. I told her that she will make plenty of mistakes and she will learn from those mistakes and then make some more. I told her that being an adult is basically trial and error and you don’t know what works for you or if you’ve gotten something right without actually trying. It didn’t seem like it helped her, and I imagine when I was just entering adulthood it might not have helped me either but that was all of the wisdom I had.

I just want her to feel confident in this world and I don’t know how to get her there. I guess it will just have to be a day-to-day thing because what other options are there. I just really want to know, where’s the manual to this adulting thing that we were forced into. Well getting this little rant out helped a little and perhaps it will even help someone else out there. I guess we’ll see!

Until next time… #BePatient #BeMindful #BeCourageous

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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Do We Always Have to Be “On” to Prove We Showed Up?

Last week was a rough week and I tried extremely hard not to show it. Now it was supposed to be a really exciting week in terms of my YouTube channel because I was doing a collaboration with one of the biggest AuthorTubers on there and it’s someone who has motivated me and inspired me through her own channel so that part was very exciting. And believe it or not it went well. But I had to mask a lot of pain that I was in to make it seem as though everything behind the scenes (for me anyway) was okay.

I woke up last Tuesday morning in excruciating stomach pain that is looking like it may be a hernia but that explanation for the pain wasn’t considered until near the end of the week and after the exciting collaboration happened. But I did what most of us creative entrepreneurs who are also moms have to do. I smiled my way through the pain and pretended everything was okay. The only way you would have known anything was wrong (at least until my first week of May vlog comes out later today) was if you happened to be close enough to me for me to confide in.

We often have to be “on” sometimes even when we don’t want to be. Even when we may be in pain or, for some, grieving, or depressed, or when you just plain old don’t feel like putting on a mask. If we want to succeed, if we want to get to a point where we can truly thrive, where we can enjoy what we’ve built and have the luxury of being able to say no if we want to, there are oftentimes pieces of ourselves that we have to sacrifice.

There are far too many instances where we find ourselves amplifying the performance we have to put on just so no one sees us struggling and my question is why. Why is it wrong, or weak to show when we are struggling. Why is it that we feel like we would burden someone else by telling them that we may not be okay, or that we need some help. It’s a question I think that we should all ask ourselves because I sure hope that I’m not someone that other people feel that have to put on a show for.

I just want to be a light, and some sort of inspiration and motivation for as many people as I can. I suppose that’s why I sometimes feel like I have to contain my struggles. I hate the thought of pulling anyone down or not being able to inspire someone. But sometimes I need a break from being “on” too and that’s okay. Striving as a creative entrepreneur should never mean having to put on a mask to hide our pain. I like to think of it in terms of a phrase that I used to hear in the church I grew up in. They used to always say that all were welcome to come as they are. When we come into any space, creative or other, no matter what we are struggling with, we should always feel as if we can be free to come as we are.

Until next time… #BeVulnerable #BeThoughtful #BePatient

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are We the Mistakes We Make?


Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.”

~Matthew 7: 1-3

I swore I was not going to write about this issue and yet here I am getting ready to do just that. We all know (unless you are living under a rock) about the slap heard around the world that happened at the Oscars roughly two weeks ago. Well, I’m not going to say that I believe that Will Smith was right for responding to a tasteless and crass joke about his wife’s medical condition in the manner in which he did, or even that Jada Pinkett-Smith needed to be protected in that way. What I will say is that if you read Will Smith’s book or know anything about his childhood then you can understand why HE felt that he needed to be protective in that way.

Violence is never the answer, and he could have, and should have, handled it differently. However, I will not sit here in judgment of this man who has had a 30 plus year career without nary a blemish and who has been beyond an extraordinary example to all who are watching, over the one time he dared to show that he is in fact a human being and that he does make mistakes just like the rest of us mere mortals. He made a mistake. He is aware of that mistake, and he has since apologized multiple times for said mistake. There is no time machine, and he can’t go back and erase the mistake he made so what more is it that people want him to do?

We cannot keep throwing people away because they display that they are human beings. We get so caught up in the idea of perfection and in us admiring people who have maybe reached the level in their lives that we are seeking to get to that we tend to put them on this unrealistic pedestal. We hold them up as a model (which is fine until you take it too far) of the dreams and levels of success that we strive for and then we act shocked when they make a mistake. It’s almost as if we somehow forgot that just because they are a celebrity or someone in a position much higher than us that they are also human beings just like the rest of us.

I don’t know anyone who has not made a mistake and honestly far worse mistakes than Will Smith made that night. I don’t think that any of us are in a position to judge another man (or woman) by their worst mistakes because Lord help us if we are judged by ours. We don’t (or we shouldn’t) just toss someone aside simply because they disappointed us. We should instead show that person some humility, show that person some grace, show that person some forgiveness and do for them what we want other people to do for us when we mess up. I mean even Jesus got angry and flipped over a few tables (Matthew 21: 12-13) and if Jesus can be imperfect than who are any of us to expect perfection from any ordinary or even extraordinary human being. Be careful who you are tossing aside and make sure that you can measure up to the judgment that you are casting onto them.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeHumble #BeGracious

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Give Yourself Some Grace

The mind is a funny thing. Sometimes you can find yourself slip back into old habits and old ways of thinking without even realizing it. I try to maintain optimistic because my spirituality has been a way for me to be assured that everything is going to work out the way that it is supposed to in the end. However, lately I have heard myself sink back into my old ways of thinking and have found myself saying things like ‘I know that the other shoe is going to drop soon’, or ‘when it rains, it pours, or just yesterday I said ‘the Universe is working against me’.

Now instinctively I know and believe deep in my heart that God is going to make sure that I’m okay, even if things don’t go as I planned them to, or even remotely the way that I want them to. But my old anxiety and self doubt creep in and I realize I still have some work to do to get rid of that self-sabotaging nature. Without realizing it, I have been, once again, giving power to fear and doubt about what I am capable of achieving.

I think that it gets lost on some, those who don’t struggle with mental health issues or constant anxiety and overwhelming and crippling fear, just how hard it can be to stay in a positive mindset. I constantly get from people how positive I am and I don’t mind that at all but make no mistake, it is work to try and keep a positive frame of mind. Some days are astronomically harder than others and the good days can start to feel like they don’t happen often enough.

I’m writing this post today because I want people to give themselves grace, as I am trying to give myself some. Grace when you’re not feeling at your best. Grace to make the mistakes you need to make so that you can do it better the next time. Give yourselves grace to let yourself cry when you feel like it. Allow yourself some grace to just be honest when you’re not doing okay to be able to say so without any feelings of guilt. Give yourself grace to, on those days when things are just too overwhelming, simply do nothing but be.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeCourageous #BeKindToYourself

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

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When Life Hands You Obstacles…

It’s always the moments when you think you’ve got a handle on everything and that you are just getting back on track when those curveballs get thrown at you. Sometimes it seems as if life can throw so many obstacles at you that it leaves your head spinning. By now you would think that I would be used to knowing that when things are going well the other shoe is probably about to drop.

I’m more geared to being optimistic these last several years and trying to find the positive in everything. I’ll be honest and say that it is a lot easier said than done at times to be positive when things feel so negative, but I always try to remember that it could always be worse (for so many others it is worse) and that it will get better as long as I don’t dwell in the messy, hurdles and keep moving forward.

The thing is that if you aren’t being hit with obstacles, odds are that you might be in that overly comfortable place where you will be content with what you weren’t able to get done. The thing about that place is that you won’t really be growing in your purpose and your gift. That’s the place that you don’t really want to be because the magic can never truly happen if you aren’t growing.

Growth is messy. Growth is uncomfortable. Growth is hard and grueling. When you’re in that growth period, I mean really in it, it doesn’t feel rewarding, it just feels challenging. Growth can be a constant test to see if you’re really ready to fulfill your dreams and your purpose. The question is are you going to remain in a place of simply being content or are you going to push yourself to grow further than even you thought was possible?

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BeUncomfortable

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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