Don’t Hate What You Are Because What You Are: Is Beautiful
Don’t believe what others see in you, choose to believe only what you see in yourself.
It’s no wonder that people, women especially, have self-image issues. I read an article today on Psycholigy.com while doing my research for this article. The authors’ message just makes the water cloudier concerning the subject.
In her opinion, telling someone that “You Are Beautiful” prompts a “No, I’m not” response more often than not. She says that people with body image issues who are told they are beautiful create a counter message and draws their attention to how they look.
Personally, I believe that this is the wrong message to be sending anyone, especially someone with body image issue. Because we are ALL beautiful. Learning to look past the exterior and seeing yourself for who you are instead of what you are is the key.
Most of our media images we associate with “beauty” are from the east or west coasts. Areas where the substance of a person isn’t a priority. Growing up in Los Angeles with what we lovingly called the “plastic” crowd, we saw perfectly beautiful men and women change their bodies and appearances in order to fit someone else’s idea of how they should look.
This did not make them happy inside.
It’s my opinion, and maybe I am alone in this, that what’s profoundly important is what’s on the inside that radiates outward that makes for genuine beauty. We live in a society today that tells us not to see each other as people, but see each other as things. This is where we lose our humanity. We become superficial and dishonor each other and ourselves.
Having qualities that delight or appeal to the senses and often the mind.
What I love about this definition is that there is no mention of the superficial exterior but the “senses and often the mind”. When we stop seeing ourselves and people as things and start seeing ourselves and people as people, we can finally see the beauty within ourselves and in others.
I have two sayings I use rather often:
When asked what I don’t like, my immediate response is “ugly people, and that has nothing to do with looks”. We all know them, the judgmental, superficial, just want to talk about me people. I do my best to avoid them.
And second, “you are Beautiful, and you look good also”. I do my best to remind people I noticed their genuine beauty and did not focus, or not focus, on their exterior beauty.
I live by two rules in life that I would like to share with you all that I think will help if you have personal body image issues.
#1. No Regrets
I live my life fully, on my own terms, not someone else’s. I think about everything I do BEFORE I do them, then own it. Fully commit to it and own it.
#2. Your opinion of me is NONE of my business.
People may believe whatever they want about me, and that is perfectly fine with me. I also have the right to not believe them.
You are Beautiful because you are you. You are Amazing because you are you. You are Unique because you are you. You were born of an Amazing Universal Power that makes no mistakes. When we listen to those who don’t matter, and even those who might, when they throw the negatives towards us, and choose to believe them is when our beauty fades.
We need reminders, sometimes often, that we can be beautiful if only we adjust our understanding of what genuine beauty is.
Beauty is seeing someone hurting and helping.
Beauty is seeing something unfair and fighting to help make it right.
Beauty is sharing a sunrise or a sunset or an evening sky full of stars with another who can’t see and explaining it.
Beauty is visiting the sick just to make them happy.
Beauty is selflessness.
Beauty, real beauty, has NOTHING to do with your body and EVERYTHING to do with your heart.
So, Don’t Hate What You Are Because What You Are: Is Beautiful
This writing is in memory of my Father, who—without knowing it — helped make me the man I am today.
When I was a young boy, my father seemed bigger than life, like most fathers seem to young sons. I looked at him in the same way that I imagine my son Jeremiah looked at me at that age—the Superhero—the towering giant who can fix anything, do anything, and make anything seem better than it is. We see what we want to see until we don’t. Little did I know that he would teach me an important life lesson. What I Learned from Being Stuck and Frozen.
Life took him away from me incredibly early in my life, so we never got to have the kinds of deep conversations that my son and I have had. We never shared a beer together. We never ran a half marathon together, never traveled the world together, never went camping, never attended baseball or football games together. My memories of him are very few, but I have one that will never fade.
I was about seven years old, and we were returning home from somewhere. We were laughing when he pulled into the driveway. He was good at making me laugh. As we got out, and I looked at him over the roof of the car, all I could see was his head. My superhero dad seemed so small, with only a head and no body. As I chuckled, I slammed the car door shut with my thumb still in the door. Screaming at the top of my lungs, crying for him to fix it, I stood frozen, unable to move. What he did next remains forever etched in my mind.
Calmly and gently, but firmly, my father said, “JOSEPH — OPEN THE DOOR.”
At that point in my seven-year life, I had fallen, bumped, smashed, crashed, and broken quite a few objects and body parts. On those occasions when I’d hurt myself, I’d had seen the alarm in his eyes, sometimes panic. This time it was different. His eyes were still quiet and wise, as if he knew he was passing down an important lesson, from a father to his son.
Life guarantees things will go wrong, and we’ll get hurt. Sometimes in those moments, we freeze or panic. The lesson that my father taught me is, when those things happen, get calm, breathe—andOPEN THE DOOR. My dad reminded me I have the knowledge, the ability, and the strength to handle the situation.
So, I did, I opened the door, and I was free. Afterward, he walked me in the house, put my thumb on ice, and did what a wonderful dad does, gave me a bowl of ice cream. Then, we went to the doctor.
The thumb nail eventually fell off and, to this day, a small section on my left thumbnail doesn’t grow. That’s just fine with me. When I feel stuck, it’s my reminder to get calm, breathe, and OPEN THE DOOR.
I was born to two people who Loved each other enough to deliver my brother and me into the world and create a family. Out of his sons, I was my father’s favorite. He and my mother discovered they weren’t right for each other and chose separate paths. It’s an awfully familiar story.
Some in my family have suggested my father did not have the proper tools to be a father, not in the state of mind, to be the best example for me. I’ll never know. He took the divorce extremely hard and could not see us after they separated. My last memories of him were watching him sit in his car crying outside of our house. Without my superhero father, I felt alone.
We moved every year. My mother struggled alone on a secretary’s salary to raise two boys in Los Angeles, California. Most landlords wouldn’t allow us to renew the lease, since most months we were late with rent. My brother and I never knew about that—her way of protecting us.
Being thenew kid meant they bullied you—unless the other kids thought you were crazy—in which case, they’d leave you alone. I learned early on to pick a fight with the biggest kid on the playground on the first day of school, even if I’d get pulverized, which was the case a fair amount of the time, and the other kids would leave you alone.
I ran away from home a few times. I thought If I could just find my dad then everything would be alright. I hadn’t yet been told that he was dead.
The cause listed on his death certificate I would later find was suicide.
Alcohol and sleeping pills were apparently somewhat common during that era. I found out three years after he died, when I was in ninth grade—again, my mother’s way of protecting us.
Although I was a decent student—passing my freshman year with a B+ average—I didn’t feel good enough, ever. When I was fifteen, my mother dropped me off at the local police station. From there, they sent me to juvenile hall and sent to live at a boy’s home for troubled youth, called at the time The Pacific Lodge Boys Home.
Woodland Hills, California, was a strange place for a boy’s home. We attended the local public high school for some sense of normal life. That worked in theory, but kids can be very cruel. We were referred to as “the Lodge Boys” by the other kids and reminded daily that we were not “normal” kids.
Friends were hard to come by, unless they were from the Lodge. So, most of us just hung out with each other, it created a bond between us. If someone from school messed with a Lodge Boy-and they usually did—we all came running. We called ourselves TheBand of Wayward Brothers.
They designed the daily schedule at the lodge around individual counseling and occasional family group counseling sessions, with the eventual goal of reuniting each boy into his family unit. I knew in the back of my mind I’d never return home, that I’d live at the Lodge until I turned eighteen, alone, with no family, no tribe, and no one to belong to—a throwaway child no one wanted.
One minute you belonged to something—be it healthy or dysfunctional, it was your tribe, your family—and the next minute, it’s taken away. You’re suddenly, unexpectedly, bewilderedly alone. After losing my dad as a child, I felt alone. Now I truly was alone and lost.
The multiple dorm residential facility had several counselors who worked and slept there during their shifts. One of my counselors, Cane, was a social worker. He was a warm, laid-back surfer guy, and was always nice, Cane genuinely cared and never judged us. I was horrible to him. We all were. We were a group of angry, hurt boys, deposited in a home for troubled youth, who felt alone in the world.
Out of the hundred, or so, kids at the Lodge that Christmas, only two of us were not going home to be with our family for the holiday. My friend Patrick and I wouldn’t be going home, which meant that our counselor Cane, whose shift was that night, had to stay at the dorm with just the two of us, instead being of home for Christmas with his family.
Little did we know, Cane had asked, and received permission, to take Patrick and I off campus for Christmas. We didn’t know what we were getting into, but it was better than being at the Lodge for Christmas.
Cane picked us up on Christmas Eve and off we went on what he called
“Cane’s Christmas Present Run”, visiting friends of his to exchange presents and Christmas wishes. Not once did any of them make us feel awkward for being there, even though they knew where we were from. The day ended at his mother’s house with homemade Christmas dinner and all the fixings. It was a real family dinner with lots of food and lots of people, none of whom made either of us feel left out or unwelcome.
Cane and his mother gave presents to Patrick and me—no ugly sweaters or generic or cheap items—genuine gifts they put thought into selecting just for us. I had never known that kind of generosity. I didn’t understand it. I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live.
When he brought us back the next day, I asked him why he was being so nice to me. He said,
“My job, Joe, is to Love you enough, until the day comes when you can Love yourself that much.”
I have never forgotten his words, though I didn’t know what that meant.
My life changed that day. I have had my ups and my downs.
I’ve been homeless to a homeowner. Not a simple task in California.
Unemployable to a nationally recognized business owner.
Poor and broke, to not having to worry about being evicted.
A 15-year-old throw away child to a sitting Board Member of the San Diego Center for Children I affectionately call The Pacific Lodge Boys Home South.
A lost boy, to world traveler, knowing now that not all those who wander are lost.
Multiple Ironman triathlon series finisher.
And now new author of a book titled “You Matter, even if you don’t think so”.
To the next generation of Wayward Brothers and Sisters, or anybody who thinks they are stuck and frozen, here is what I have learned along the way. I hope it helps you.
Good people make bad decisions sometimes, that doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes it a bad decision.
Forgive easily and often. Others and especially yourself. Remember, there is only one perfect, and we aren’t it.
You are not broken, and therefore do not need “fixing”. You are perfect, just the way you are.
Life rewards the brave, so be brave. Take a chance on yourself and others.
Knowledge is only potential, but action is power. Knowing what to do is only half the equation. Take that leap of faith.
Be the best for you, just for you. You deserve it.
Love yourself first with all your heart. Those around you will benefit more.
Be your own best friend first. And don’t let him or her down or cut them any slack.
Just because someone says it doesn’t mean it’s true. They have the right to an opinion, but you also may choose to not believe it.
10. Happiness is a choice, not a place, thing, moment, or a person. Only you can make you happy.
11. Everything in life is a precious gift. Treat it as such and don’t disregard it or you will lose it.
12. Everything happens for a reason, figure out why. There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.
Sometimes we forget to recognize the richness in our lives. We forget that a thankful heart creates a grateful heart. This is mainly from the messages we encounter every day, telling us to focus on what we don’t have instead of the abundance we do have.
This creates a conflict in our innate nature, our inner self, our sense of gratitude. Rather than focusing on what we do not have, what we have not achieved, where we did not go, or who we do not have in our lives, we should focus on the many blessing we have that we take for granted.
“Be thinkful in order to be thankful,”
— John Maxwell author
If we take a moment and take an inventory of our blessings, I call it thinking on them, we will gain a new appreciation for how well we live, no matter our circumstances.
If for example you walk in another man’s shoes, figuratively, you will gain a newfound appreciation and a true understanding of how blessed you are.
For most of us we are used to walking up to a light switch, turning it on, and having light. Yet 940 million (13% of the world) do not have access to electricity. 
For most of us, we are used to turning on the stove and cooking dinner. Yet 3 billion (40% of the world) do not have access to clean fuels for cooking.
Focusing on what we do have, and being grateful for it, brings about a spirit of thankfulness. Gratitude is the least expressed but most important virtue in any person’s life. It’s when we realize it we grow toward thankfulness.
“The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.”
— Douglas Wood
There is a term called compassionate gratitude that we all should be aware of. It’s a combination of compassion and gratitude.
Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, they define it as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
Gratitude expresses appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. Spontaneously generated from within, it is an affirmation of goodness and warmth.
When we combine the two terms and understand the meaning of the combined definitions, we can come to realize our true abundance and can awaken feelings of guilt in your heart. Guilt coming from not fully appreciating how well you live verses the mixed messages you receive in your daily life.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
— Brené Brown
When we establish the mindset of “there will always be a place for you at our table for you and your loved ones”, we begin to fully appreciate the rich and plentiful bounty we can all have and can all share with others in our individual lives.
In this time of thanks lets all remember that A Thankful Heart Creates a Grateful Heart.
I’ve written another article you might like that addresses this topic. You can access it here:
 Access to Energy/Our World Data.org/by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser/accessed 11/26/2020/https://ourworldindata.org/energy-access#:~:text=940%20million%20%2813%25%20of%20the%20world%29%20do%20not,a%20high%20health%20cost%20for%20indoor%20air%20pollution.
 Access to Energy/Our World Data.org/by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser/accessed 11/26/2020/https://ourworldindata.org/energy-access#:~:text=940%20million%20%2813%25%20of%20the%20world%29%20do%20not,a%20high%20health%20cost%20for%20indoor%20air%20pollution.
 Compassion defined/what is compassion/ Greater Good Magazine/accessed 11/26/2020/ https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition
Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow
Everyone has a past, some good, some bad. We call it the past because it is behind us, in the distance. History teaches us that if we cannot reflect on our past, it destines us to repeat it. As we enter this new season of our lives, it is always good to take a moment and reflect on it because Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow.
“Time never tires of running,”
-Amad (The great Egyptian poet)
With a new year comes new opportunities. Opportunities to grow. Opportunities to serve others. Opportunities to create a better existence for ourselves, our Loved ones, and the world.
With a new year come new challenges. Challenges to us personally. Challenges to our families. Challenges to our tribe. Challenges to our world as we know it.
But we, as people of humanity, can face these challenges and overcome them. We have the power within us collectively and individually to overcome any obstacle that life puts in front of us, no matter the circumstance.
As long as people of humanity have existed, wrongs have happened. We have carried injustices out. Some in the name of progress, some in the name of greed, and some in seek of power.
In order to overcome our past and prevent from making the same mistakes, we, as people of humanity, must reflect and take an honest look at ourselves individually in order to prevent the past from reoccurring in our future.
Merriam-Webster defines reflection as:
: a thought, idea, or opinion formed, or a remark made because of meditation
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Reflecting on the past does not mean standing in it, it means standing on it. Your past does not make you who you are, it merely makes you where you are. Reflecting on it is how we do not repeat it. We all have made mistakes; we all know that. But if we are to move forward into a bright new era, we must reflect on what did not serve us and change it.
In the definition above, we should take special not to the instructions given:
In order to change the way life has been will require humanity, starting with ourselves, to think different thoughts. Thoughts lead to emotions. Emotions lead to ideas. Ideas lead to action. Action leads to change.
Reflection should start with ourselves first. In this fast-paced society, we now live in a time where spending time alone without distractions is exceedingly difficult for us. We have grown accustomed to the distractions. Some would say addicted to them.
Timothy Wilson, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and colleagues, conducted a test and recruited hundreds of undergraduates and community volunteers to take part in “thinking periods.”
The results were shocking. When given the choice of being shocked by pushing a button while being left alone by themselves or not, 67% of males, and 25% of women shocked themselves because they could not entertain themselves with cell phones and outside distractions removed for the environment there were in.
Arabic Proverbs: Mafish Halawa Min Gheir Nar:
Translation: There is no sweetness without fire.
Meaning: Nothing good comes easy.
Self-reflection is difficult, especially with outside distractions. My suggestion is to start slowly. Go for a small walk and do not look at your phone. Extend the time until you get comfortable without it for a short while.
When you are ready, start reflecting. Reflecting on the past should be constructive, with no judgements or guilt attached.
Your past does not make you who you are, only where you are.
-Joseph Binning, author
Start with the old self. Reflect on:
Mistakes and patterns from the past and how they served you or didn’t.
Your attitude towards life and those around you.
Your spirt and how you nurtured it or didn’t.
Your strengths and victories and how they served you or didn’t.
Your weakness and defeats and what can be learned from them.
Your attitude overall and how it served you or didn’t.
Next reflect on your Spirit. Reflect on:
Your belief system. Did it serve you or not?
Your open mindedness or lack of. Did it serve you or not?
Did you feel centered and connected to your source or not?
Did you test all things or take it on faith they were your truth?
Were you kind and did you protect them from yourself or not?
Did you put them first or not?
Did you serve them or not?
Next reflect on your new self. Reflect on:
What can you change to make yourself a better person for you?
How can you show yourself more self-Love in order to Love better?
How can you empower yourself in order to empower others better?
How can you be humbler in order to show others more humility?
Next reflect on the future. Reflect on:
Reflect on learning to leave the past behind you in order to protect today.
Reflect and envision the feats and memories you want to create in your future.
Reflect on how you can help more people outside of your tribe.
Reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind.
“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”
History will repeat itself unless we acknowledge our past. We need not stand in it, but on it. Stand on your story, not in it. By learning to be still long enough for your inner voice to speak to you, so you might hear what it has to say that will make your tomorrow a brighter day. Therefore Reflections of Yesterday Can Create A Better Tomorrow.
Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
I’ve written another article that you might like. You can read it here:
 People would rather be electrically shocked than left alone with their thoughts/ Nadia Whitehead/ Jul. 3, 2014, 2:00 PM/accessed 11/AAAS.com/ https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/07/people-would-rather-be-electrically-shocked-left-alone-their-thoughts
Its Christmas day. Family has gathered together. We have exchanged gifts. We have created memories. It’s the one time of the year when all bad roads can be forgotten or forgiven. Because on Christmas Day All Roads Lead Home.
“Blessed is the season which engages the entire world in a conspiracy of love.”
― Hamilton Wright Mabie
Christmas is a time of family. We gather possibly only once a year and exchange memories, there’s always that one Aunt who pinches your cheek even though you’re too old for that. But you let it slide because it’s Christmas.
Christmas is a time for Love. Love of family is the greatest bond known to man. We can test it, even wound it. But it always survives. Because there is no greater Love for a person than the Love, they have in their heart for another.
Christmas is a time to be safe. As we grow, we venture into the world to make our mark. Sometimes that mark leaves scars. Sometimes deep scars. Coming Home for Christmas is our sanctuary. Possibly we visit so it can remind us of times past that we associate with joy to help us heal.
Coming home for Christmas is a way to come back into the fold again. Knowing we always have a place to return to where those who care for us are and allow us to stay connected or to allow us to reconnect.
Coming home for Christmas adds to the healthy moments we keep locked in our minds that we can draw from when we feel isolated or disconnected with family.
“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”
― Joan Mills
Coming home for Christmas is for friends. That warm connection with those who are closest to us. Close enough that we call them friend. A time to catch up and remember why you are friends.
Coming home for Christmas is not about the tree or the presents.
“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall”
― Larry Wilde
Coming home for Christmas is about sharing. Sharing memories. Sharing Love. Sharing moments.
Coming home for Christmas is about caring. Caring about each other. Caring how they are doing. Caring how they show up in the moment.
Coming home for Christmas is about giving giving of ourselves to another. Sharing our strength if they need. Sharing their burdens if needed. Sharing the Love you have for them when they need it the most.
And last, coming home for Christmas is about receiving. Receiving the Love given you by others. Receiving the blessing of being family. Receiving the gift of the Spirit of Christmas.
As we greet each other and share the moment with each other, lets remember that Christmas is about family and home. Home can be wherever you are, so don’t think you need to travel many miles to return there.
Therefore I say On Christmas Day All Roads Lead Home.