What 'New Year, New Me' Should Actually Mean

What 'New Year, New Me' Should Actually Mean

A great mindset to bring into 2018
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The minuscule imperfections of life can sometimes take over without us even realizing it.

We are so quick to worry about things like body image, interaction with negative people, politics, exams, drama, social media etc we often forget to cherish the things that empower us. We have fallen so deeply into an everyday routine we are blind to the beauty of things like nature and good company, which lay right in front of us.

The simple fact that we have been blessed with another year, month, even day is something to take a step back and be thankful for. So in this new year to come I vow to take a step back more often.

By appreciating the sunset and the way it never looks the exact same. By going through my contacts and reconnecting with people I’ve lost touch with. Every person I love I will make sure they are aware of it.

By taking my dog to the beach and taking time just to sit and listen to the sound of the waves. By setting aside time for myself, sitting in a coffee shop and grasping the feeling of independence. By taking pride in who I am and never letting another person interfere with my confidence due to their own insecurity.

By traveling to every destination I am capable of and taking a ton of pictures while doing so. By not spending more than a small portion of my time “worrying” because life is so much more than that.

I will explore different local business in towns and places I am unfamiliar with, listen to music with a deeper insight and invest in tickets to create unforgettable memories. I will take more road trips, plan more things to look forward to and spend more time creating things.

I will go out of my way to make people smile both that I don't know personally and that I've known forever. I will fill my time productively while also appreciating nights staying in with great company.

So I encourage you to live all of the years to come embracing the things we forget to make time for and if this is something you have already realized I praise you. Striving for a successful future should always be a goal in life but, while achieving that, we should absorb the beautiful life we are given.

Heres to positive aspirations, being surrounded by people who care for you and taking a moment to appreciate the small things. May the upcoming year bring you happiness, good health and much love.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Everybody Has Room To Grow In Being Loving And Kind

Is anyone wholly kind? Is anyone wholly loving?
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Everybody loves kindness. Everybody loves love.

But is anyone wholly kind? Is anyone wholly loving?

A deficit I see (and experience myself, seeing that I am an imperfect human) very prominently in our world, as I know it, is of a gaping lack of authentic, non-transactional kindness and love.

I’d like to preface this by once again highlighting that I do not consider myself outside of this deficit. My love and kindness are impoverished, surely not what love and kindness could truly be. I feel that I can speak on this because I am part of it.

Do we fight for social justice? Do we advocate for human rights? Do we believe in universal human dignity and the protection of it?

Do we also treat each human being we encounter with the same ferocious, passionate care we claim for humanity?

Do we insult people behind their backs? Do we fail to be intentional and genuine with everyone? Do we fail to make certain people feel cared for by our disengaged, disenchanted demeanor?

The answer, by the way, is yes. If you’re human, yes. Our love and kindness are not what they proclaim to be. My love and kindness are not what they proclaim to be.

I can admit this without shame because I know my worth. I know that my flaws and weaknesses have no effect on my value as a human being. And yet, I also know it’s important to admit these truths, and to acknowledge what they mean.

There is no such thing as loving “enough.” There is no such thing as being kind “enough.” The world is shattered. We are a broken, imperfect people. There will never be a day where we will be able to claim that we were perfectly kind, or that we loved perfectly.

What shall we say then? Shall we go on hopelessly, or apathetically, since imperfection is inevitable? By no means!

Acknowledging that our love and kindness needs growth creates room for that growth. It’s not self-deprecating to accept imperfection. Imperfection is a fact— but it shouldn’t lead to shame. Shame is a lie. Shame would claim that we need to be perfect to be priceless. Shame is dehumanizing and devaluing. We were not created to feel shame.

But we were indeed created to grow.

Love needs us to be open to growing in it. Love needs space to expand into. Love requires true intentionality. Love requires genuine relationship.

Love requires our acknowledgment that we can work on it.

How are we going to go about doing that? I might try setting my pride aside, so that I never treat anyone in my heart as if they’re a means to an end, or consider someone unworthy of my care. I might try to look people in the eye a little more. I might try being less quick to jump to annoyance or frustration. I might attempt to put away a bit of my judgment.

I might hold my tongue if my thoughts are about to release something dark and negative into the Universe. I might say sorry when I hurt someone, even if I think I’m right, because their perspective matters. I might listen to others’ thoughts and feelings, even if they differ from my own experience. I might have more intentional conversations.

I might be honest, even when it hurts. I might take a deep breath and work through an argument thoughtfully, instead of remaining closed minded. I might take a little more time to make sure others feel cared for.

I might allow room for myself to grow in love, something humanity can never get enough of.

How are you going to grow in your love?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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