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“You cannot tailor make your situation in life, but you can tailor make your attitudes to fit those situations.” ~ Zig Ziglar

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” ~ Zig Ziglar

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Many parents want to raise fully empowered kids.  Unfortunately, today there seems to be an epidemic of teen suicide, the last resort of extreme powerlessness.  Our hearts are breaking and we want to make it stop.  How do we empower the underdog?               

Earlier this month 11-year-old Kierra “Kiki” Walker shot and killed herself in my hometown, Merrimack, New Hampshire.  She was a sixth grader at my alma mater, James Mastricola Upper Elementary School, where she reportedly suffered from unrelenting bullying from the other kids.  An anti-bullying rally and candlelight vigil is being scheduled in honor of her memory. 

I was bullied when I lived in Merrimack, although mostly in my own home.  As a result, I began to seriously consider taking my own life when I was a little older than Kiki.  I played the scenario over in my mind.  In my imagination I saw the police standing over my lifeless body shaking their heads and asking my dad what happened.  My father would respond politely, “I don’t know, Officers.  She was just plain crazy!”  The cops would then solemnly offer their condolences and be on their way.  Personally, if I had thought for one moment that I might have received any sort of post-mortem vindication, let alone a candle-light vigil, I might have gone through with it.

In the middle of my junior year of high school my family moved from New Hampshire to Minnesota.  This brought me to my eleventh ‘new’ school in as many years across five different states.  My home life was more toxic than ever and I was pretty socially disconnected.  At that point my thoughts of suicide escalated.

It was during these darkest of days that I was offered a very part-time job by the mother of an acquaintance at my new high school.  Each Saturday morning she paid me to help her clean her beautiful home for a few hours.  At lunch time she prepared a simple meal and set me up in her living room with head phones on, to eat and listen to audio tapes by this crazy guy named Zig Ziglar.  “This is for you,” she explained.  “You don’t have to tell anybody else about this.  It’s for you.”  That’s all she said. 

One thing that strikes me about this scenario is that she didn’t ask me about my bruises or explain to me that I deserve better treatment or confront my abusers.  What she did do is teach me how to tap into the power of my own mind and it’s one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me.  I’m eternally grateful to Mrs. Moroney and to Zig Ziglar for the likes of this:    

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I’m really glad I changed my mind and decided to live.  Life is AMAZING!  One thing I’ve realized is that the more challenges I come across, the more challenges I’m able to overcome.  I grow in strength and wisdom with every experience.  I can honestly say that I embrace all the experiences of my life because they have contributed to me becoming the woman I am today. 

We cannot control other people or many external events, but we can control ourselves.  If your life is anything less than you want it to be right now, for any reason, I encourage you to begin experimenting with the creative potential of your own mind to make your life better.  Read about people who inspire you, like Zig Ziglar.  Make a Vision Board.  Watch inspiring films, you’ll find plenty of examples in the Magic Movie Clips Library.  And while you’re at it, find a good therapist, mentor or friend who helps you exercise your intellect and unleash your full potential.  

Where do you find inspiration?  What seemingly insurmountable obstacle did you overcome which made you stronger in the end?  Let’s celebrate life by encouraging each other –- please leave your success story in the comments below! 

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L2 ProfileWhat to do when rebel perennials challenge my rule over the miniature realm of my cottage garden?  This is the question on my mind, as I contemplate the fate of renegade purple cone flowers who’ve unexpectedly popped up in the balloon flower bed — which also reminds me of a kitschy cross-stitch plaque that used to hang in my kitchen, proclaiming: “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.

garden 2011 july

Thinking about the divorce papers I was signing off on earlier today, I’m glad I got over my notions of making the best of a bad marriage when I could be truly enjoying a romantic relationship that makes my heart sing.  Why should anyone, plant or person, settle for making the best of degrading conditions?  Why wouldn’t you want to move to an environment or situation which is more naturally conducive to allowing you to shine? 

For the first time, I find myself questioning the wisdom of that classic empowerment metaphor when I look at it from the plant’s point of view.  The truth is my purple cone flowers won’t bloom where they are planted unless their needs are being met.  Different plants need more or less sunlight, acid or alkaline soil, and varying degrees of moist or dry conditions — just to name a few examples.  If they can’t get their needs met they will move, under-produce or die.  Don’t we, as living beings, also have specific, basic needs to be met so we can flourish?   Read more »

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IMG_0867-RTSoul Mates.  True Love.  What do you believe? 

On a cold night in 1996 I went clubbing with my then-husband, let’s call him ‘The Darkly Gifted Songwriter’, and some friends in downtown Minneapolis.  My husband was performing at a popular club that night…  

It happens that it was ‘Psychic Night’ at that club and my girlfriend wanted to get a reading in between music sets.  I was intrigued, but I didn’t know what to believe about such things.  I decided to watch carefully and keep my mouth shut.

When it was her turn, we ducked into a curtained corner, billowing with smoky incense, finding ourselves face-to-face with a little old lady who looked like a witch.  Classic.  On the table before her was a burning candle, a crystal ball and some cards with unfamiliar pictures on them. 

The witch started by accurately describing some very specific details about my friend’s life circumstances, which would not be obvious to a stranger.  I was somewhat shocked by the accuracy and specificity with which the witch described my friend’s current job and family life.  My friend asked about her love life.

The witch abruptly turned from my friend to me and said, “You… you are the one they want to talk to!” Read more »

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