An August Photo Diary

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Hello, friends. Here we are. At the end of another month. It has been one of a lot of growth for me, I feel. One of those months where you feel the way gum looks when you lift up your shoe, and it is stretched into little strings. Expanded.

Here are some of the things that have been on my mind:

Change

“If you are not changing yourself, then you are not intelligent.” Benjamin P. Hardy

I was talking to a friend who was telling me that they were talking to another friend who has known me since college, and that apparently, I have changed. (Confusing much?)

At first, I was like, I really haven’t changed. Maybe we always see ourselves as stagnant boring little creatures, who run on a hamster wheel, but actually, then I realized I have changed. I have changed a bunch. I have lived through so much since then, and grown, absorbed and stretched. And growth is always characterized as a positive thing (unless it’s a bad medical thing), but change often has a foreboding and negative connotation that looms over it. Sometimes, it means unknown.

If we aren’t changing, we aren’t growing. Albert Einstein once said that “the measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

I was reading a piece by the brilliant Benjamin P. Hardy, who asked, “What have been the main 10 events in your life, and what impact did they have on you?” (Something like that). I found this to be interesting. It’s so important to always be moving forward and never back.

Sometimes, it’s easier to see how others have changed. But, it’s worth pausing at times, and realizing how much we have changed. It’s also important to think of the ways in which we desire to change.

Next, it’s so important to remember that, as Mr. Hardy explains, we aren’t kind people who then do unkind things. No. Actually, whether we are kind people is determined in our actions. If we repeatedly do unkind and selfish things, guess what, we aren’t kind. We are what we do and how we behave. Sometimes, we deceive ourselves, and we think we are kind or tolerant or smart, yet our behaviors show the exact opposite.

It’s such a reminder that as we analyze who we are and who we want to be, we should not just be reflecting on our own lofty ideals that we may agree with but on our actual behavior. Our behavior is the thing that truly reflects what is in our character.

“Your personality doesn’t shape who you are. Your behaviors shape who you are.” Benjamin P. Hardy

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” Paulo Coelho

Responsibility

“You can’t be passive. You must be innovative, creative, and generous. You’ve got to work a few years like few people will, so you can spend the rest of your life like few people can.” Benjamin P. Hardy

It’s one of those seasons where I feel I have my head down, and I am working on a bunch of stuff that is really important to me. It’s a season of setting up foundations. It doesn’t mean you adopt a workaholic around-the-clock lifestyle. No, even in these seasons, we need balance. My point is that sometimes we need those seasons because it means we are taking responsibility for our lives.

It’s so important to take responsibility for the life you want because at the end of the day, you are the only one responsible. If you want to establish a savings account, you need to save, and that may mean sacrifices. If you want to start a business, that may mean putting in extra hours, at first. If you want to get married, then make sure you have something to bring to the table.

So many times, people have a tendency to blame others for what is happening, when so many of their own choices have landed them there. It’s important to remember that others’ circumstances and resources are different than your own perhaps, and that each person is responsible not only for their present but for their future.

If you want certain things, you have to work for them. Because at the end of the day, a prince may will not ride in to save you, your parents won’t bail you out or help (nor do they have to), and no one will put in the hours for you.

If you want something, you work for it. If others don’t agree or they want certain things out of you that you simply can’t give at the moment, well, that’s too bad. So often, everyone lives as they please but they want everyone else to fit into their world and schedule and ideas as to how things should be done. Don’t be guilted into fitting into someone else’s agenda, even if there is nothing wrong with it, at face value. My point is work for what you want and do what you have to do. Everyone wants something, but you should also have what you want (and get it through hard work). So, work for it. You are the only one responsible to make it happen. It’s usually when we allow others to make decisions for us or make us fit into where we don’t want to be that we start blaming others. Sadly (and fortunately), it doesn’t work that way; you have a voice. It’s always your choice.

Which leads to…

Detachment and Self-care

It’s important to respect yourself and take care of yourself. Take it from someone who works in a field where people always need something out of you. Take time to do what you want to do. Take time to rest. Take time to eat, uninterrupted. Take time to walk outside. Key words: take the time.

Actions and Dreams

“The greatest dreams are always unrealistic.” Will Smith

Set concrete goals and work toward them. Invest in them. Recently, I have invested time and resources in the ministry Modern Witnesses. It continues to grow into a beautiful community, and its beautiful because of the women in it.

I am wrapping up a book, etc., etc. Everyone has a dream. I have a list, you have your own list. Set the bar high. Tell others (accountability). Set a deadline. Put in the work.

Always have the high expectation. People who tell you not to expect much set themselves up for mediocrity and lack of accountability. People don’t like being held accountable (look at politics and organizational leadership). But, ahhhh the things that would change were people held to high expectations. Some would lose their positions altogether.

“Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” Jim Rohn

Investing in your dreams is a way in which you invest in yourself. If you feel stagnant, what is something you could add into your life that would feed your creativity and contribute to what you give to the world?

Invest in Others

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston S. Churchill

Lastly, I always think that our purpose in life is to be reflections of God Himself. That means serving others. This isn’t a call to wildly fill up your schedule (refer back to ‘detachment and self-care’). It’s a call to always remember that “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” (John Wooden quote).

“In the end, we are only whom we have empowered.” Dan Sullivan

Conclusion

So that is what has been floating in this brain of mine. I know so many of you have written to me regarding dreams and business plans you have. I just wanted to share my own thoughts and how I have been growing in the past month. These aren’t things I have mastered, but they are things I want and need in my life. I am putting in the work. I truly believe that anything apart from that is dysfunction. As you get older, and start forming your world, it’s so important to make sure it’s the world and purpose God wants you focused on. And if it is, green light and go. He will empower you and continue teaching you along the way.

Everything starts with us and who we are. If our behavior aligns with the character we want, our desires, execution and contribution will, too.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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