Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Natural Human Instinct

My dad was white.
My mom was black.
But I didn't know it.

I was young, maybe 6 or 7. I remember being in a store with Mom, and seeing 2 men talking. We were close enough to hear them talking. I couldn't tell you the exact conversation that was had between them. I remember the look on my mom's face. It was not her normal happy and ambitious face. She had a look of disappointment and a little sadness. I didn't know why. She wouldn't tell me.

Later that night sitting around the dinner table, my parents were talking. Ian ate happily, but I couldn't help but try to listen. I looked back and forth at their lips, trying to catch what they were talking about. I don't remember the exact conversation, but I do remember knowing she was talking about the two men. My mother said something about how one man was "black." I was confused.

Mom, what does a "black man" mean? 

They looked at me, then each other. My daddy simply said, "It just means his skin is darker. That's all."

Oh. 

Then he said, "Mom is black, too!"

I was confused. I looked at my mom, then back at my dad. "She is?" I looked at my mom again. All I could see was who she was: my mom. The person who did my hair in the morning. The one who took me to school. The one who made this dinner.
Then she said, "Yup, and Dad is white. His skin is lighter." I looked at my dad. "He is?" My dad: my protector, the one who fixes teeth, the one who makes me laugh, the one read me stories before I went to bed.

They were different.
But that didn't stop them from loving each other.

...

In my family, there is a variety of diversity. We have members who are white, black, Kurdish, and Filipino. We have members who are adopted. My mother's mother is white, her father is black. Her siblings are half. Some married people who are white. One uncle married a beautiful woman who is Vietnamese.  

Yet there is still love.

Differences doesn't cause hate.
Fear, ego, and pride causes hate.

As a child, I didn't see a difference between my parents skin color. I just loved them for who they were: my parents.

Love is the human natural instinct. Hatred is fed. We don't naturally hate differences. We are attracted to them.

Hatred happens when it is said that different is bad.
Love happens when it is said that different is okay.

Hatred happens when it is said, "I am better!"
Love happens when it is said, "We are the same."

Hatred happens when it is said, "What's in it for me?"
Love happens when it is said, "How can I help you?"

With everything happening right now, where diversity is feared, where race fight against each other, when human fight against human, where fear fight love, where pride and ego fight humility and patience, it can be hard to find peace.

Perhaps, we just need to start where it's easiest: in the home.
Love your family. Love your friends. Love them for their insecurities. Love them for their imperfections. Love them for their strengths. Love them for their influence. Love yourself for your flaws and strengths.

Love is not a verb. It is a noun. It is something we do. It is something we practice.

Christ said, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, with all thy mind... and love thy neighbor as thyself" (Luke 10:27).

There are 3 relationships mentioned in this verse:
1. The Lord
2. Your neighbor
3. Yourself

Your neighbor is your family. Your neighbor your brother and sister, your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins. Your neighbor is the Black, the White, the Kurdish, the Filipino, the Asian, the Muslim. Your neighbor is the guy who wasn't paying attention and put a dent in your car. Your neighbor is the person that made you feel absolutely worthless today. You neighbor is your teacher. Your neighbor is the one that's the same as you. Your neighbor is the one that's different from you. You are expected to love them as you love yourself.

So how do you love yourself? Do you really love yourself? How you view yourself is how you're going to view your neighbor.

I think Heavenly Father knew that we needed support from each other. I think Heavenly Father allows specific people to be families together, friends to find each other, strangers to cross paths, because he knows that the love we can have for each other can support us through fear and tribulations. I think he knew there would be differences. I think he knew we have the ability to look pass differences, and look for the similarities.

If we really looked, we'd find more similarities.
Differences simply enhances our uniqueness.
We are different.
But we can still love one another.


They were different. 
                                            But that didn't stop them from loving each other.


We are a result of love. 


If we really looked, we'd find more similarities. 
Differences simply enhances our uniqueness. 


Power within Insecurities

It was late.
My husband was sound asleep, and knowing that he would be waking up in just a couple of hours for work, I didn't want to wake him. My heart was pounding, my breathing was shallow, and my body would not calm down. My panic attack was taking over my mind, it started imagining the worse. 

What are the worse possible things that could happen with this new job? The worse thing could be that no one will like me. Maybe I won't be good enough. Maybe I won't be able to keep up with all the responsibilities that I am going to be putting on my shoulders. 

What some people may not realize about panic attacks, especially those attacks that accompany PTSD, is that expecting the worse is not always pessimism. It's not easy to just "flip the switch." It just is. It's how the mind is processing information. It's not accurate, it's biased, and it perceives the bias as truth. And so at this moment, I felt like every possible thing that could go wrong would go wrong, and that was just how it was going to be.  

During these attacks, it's like there are 2 versions of myself: Logical Jensen that knows that this is ridiculous and Emotional Jensen who can't process anything at the moment. They were arguing with each other. It was something like this:

LJ: Jensen, seriously? You can't expect to be perfect the first time.
EJ: You don't get it! If I don't, I'll get fired!
LJ: Yes, but Jensen, you were picked to do this job, which is saying something.
EJ: BUT WHAT IF I FAIL!?
LJ: Then it's not the end of the world. You've been through worse. BELIEVE ME.
EJ: (Not processing what LJ says) I need to know everything before August 22... I need to do (start making unrealistic list..) 
LJ: ...
EJ: THE WORLD IS ENDING!!! 

And hence the 2 Jensens argued with each other, and I just listened to the thoughts. That's normally how it goes. 

But this time was different. As I thought of all the worse things that could possibly happen, as I thought of all my fears, as I listed every insecurity that I have, a thought came into my head. This thought definitely did not come from the 2 Jensens. It was as if it interrupted the argument. It was clear and distinct. It said,

"Your biggest insecurities and fears are hidden strengths the Adversary does not want you to remember. Your insecurities are blocks that prevent you from understanding the power that you have."  

...

What if our insecurities and fears about ourselves are hidden strengths we once had, and we have to remember them? 

What if we took our insecurities and instead of being afraid of them, we conquered them? 

What if our insecurities are blocking us from the greatest thing that we can do for ourselves? 

Everyone has talents and gifts that they are supposed to use to accomplish amazing things. The Adversary knows that. So, he tells us, "You can't do it. You're definitely not good enough. And seriously, look at yourself. What could you possibly contribute?" The funny thing is, he makes it seem so true. So, instead of pushing ourselves, we listen. He uses fear to limit us.

Or worse.

He uses apathy and laziness. 

Why develop hidden talents when there's Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Pokemon Go? (Humor... it's ok to laugh!) Looking at these take time away from you. Instead of developing talents or conquering insecurities, we watch other people live their lives through their photos. We play mindless games. 
These things are not bad. 
But how much time do we spend?

If he can get us to not care, if he can get us to be apathetic, if he can get us to become clueless about the power that we have within ourselves, then he has won. 

In a world where so much negativity is happening, where there is so much hatred, be a light. 
...  

Think about your insecurities. What makes you view them as insecurities? Is it how you look? Is it that you don't feel like you are capable?
Change that. Try thinking the opposite.

Think about your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Is it to develop talents? Is it to accomplish a dream? Is it even just to be a little bit better everyday?
What are you going to do to get there? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to gain? 

Change the way you think. 

It's so easy to just give in. It's so easy to give up. It's so easy to do nothing. Sometimes, we may feel like we need some huge change to happen to help us develop and grow. Sometimes, we may think that we need obstacles and challenges. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Turn a weakness into a strength. Change an insecurity into a power.  

  


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