Four simple words to say. If only it were that easy.
Most people struggle with self-acceptance. Just look at the latest New Year's resolution lists and you'll see millions of people who have a list of things that they want to change.
The problem is, for most people, that list is the same as it was last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.
Einstein said that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". He was on to something (he was a pretty smart man after all).
But perhaps what needs modification are not the external factors in our lives, but the internal ones. The ones that we try to hide and cover up. The ones that don't make it on the covers of our social media sites. The ones that don't pass our personal test to show to the world. It is often these internal struggles that are our biggest demons.
But there is power in knowing that you are all that you need to be. Nothing extra. No fluff. No quick fix plan needed. You. Alone. With all of your strengths and your flaws. With all of your deep dark skeletons in the closet that nobody knows about. With your joys and your hurts. And yes, even your mistakes.
Too many times people look to others to determine who they are. We create social comparisons based on who has the nicest car or who lives in the best ZIP Code. But therein lies the danger.
If you forget that you are beautifully made just as you are, life will knock you down every chance it gets. Like a spectator at a tennis match you will end up looking left and right, and then left again, to determine who you are and where you are going. If all of our efforts are to keep up with the Jones', we will all too soon discover that social status does not provide the happiness and state of contentment that we thought.
And if you find your validation by comparing yourself to others, you will always come up short. Feeling empty. Feeling "less than". Lottery winners are often miserable after winning, with many reporting that they wished that they never won.
But there is an even greater danger. If we are not careful, we inadvertently teach our children to value the search for what we are searching for. We run the risk of teaching them that possessions are what make someone valuable.
And our children begin to value things rather than people. Possessions rather than relationships. And the cycle continues. The reality is that most people go through life searching for validation. But where and how you search is key.
Possessions don't add value. You are not what you have. People's opinions of you---where you come from, your ZIP Code, your past--- don't define you.
So, the question is: who are you really? In the core of your being - your true inner self - without contamination by the world's expectations and pressures.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is having the courage to look inside to find the answer to this question. And then responding to where it leads you...
And, if you dig deep and allow yourself the courage to be vulnerable, you will find that you are more than enough.
Just. As. You. Are.
© 2016 by Dr. Kelly Graves. All rights reserved.
“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Three years ago, my dear friend Lindy Beauregard made this statement to me in relation to the program we co-created and had been growing since 2008 called The Child Response Initiative (CRI). Lindy was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in September 2011. Given about six months to live, this woman-warrior defied the prognosis and fought for two years until her passing in December 2013. Her fight was a fight of strategy. A fight of grace. A fight with a purpose.
This is the story of the Kellin Foundation.
Meet 4-year-old Sara. Served through CRI, Sara was living in a family struggling with domestic violence. Sara’s dad cut off all support to the home as a power and control technique after being served with a restraining order.
Lights. Water. Heat. All off. Mom was not working (another common power and control technique). The family was in crisis.
Lindy and I worked with local resources to get all of these basic needs restored. But, there was another basic need that we identified. A basic need that is not typically considered but essential to childhood - it is the basic need of children to feel safe and normal in an otherwise chaotic environment. To experience the simple and innocent joys of childhood. It was clear that Sara needed that desperately.
You see, separate from basic utilities, Sara’s dad also cut off her dance class membership, which was the one activity for Sara that brought pure joy and normalcy to her week. While community resources are in place to assist with basic needs such as utilities, there are limited resources to help with the basic needs of facilitating the emotional health and wellness of children through activities such as dance for Sara. Yet, these are essential for children.
In response, Lindy's Kids was founded to provide assistance to kids and families to help ensure safety and wellness, with the goal of allowing kids to enjoy being kids. Lindy’s Kids was a fund that was allocated specifically to support kids and families in meeting those unique needs.
Lindy’s Kids needed a home. Lindy and I talked to several local non-profits that could potentially serve as a home for the Lindy's Kids program, but because of the crisis response nature of the kind of work that we do we could not find a good fit that could respond as quickly as we would prefer.
Lindy's desire as she fought her battle with cancer was to create our own foundation so that Lindy’s Kids would always have a place to call home that would not have red tape barriers that would keep us from helping kids. I assumed we would just call it “Lindy’s Kids.” But, Lindy had another plan. Whoever knew Lindy is well aware that she was always very strategic.
Six months before she died, she asked me to meet her over a cup of coffee at one of our favorite hangouts. There, in the booth with an outwardly fragile woman who was inwardly the strongest woman I have ever met, Lindy proposed that instead of a nonprofit called Lindy’s Kids, we needed to think bigger. She proposed a nonprofit that would be called something different but that would still be the home of Lindy’s Kids. Over medium roast coffee and a bagel, she asked me to launch this non-profit as a testimony to our joint legacy of giving back to the next generation. A legacy of working together to make a difference in the world. Feeling overwhelming admiration for this amazing woman, I agreed. With one condition – she needed to pick the name and we needed to decide together its founding mission and vision. She agreed. We sipped our coffee and casted visions of how we could make a difference together, even beyond however many days she had left on this earth.
Two weeks later, I got a phone call from Lindy. She had decided on the name. I can still remember the excitement in her voice that pushed through the weakness she felt. She shared it with me - The Kellin Foundation.
At first, it didn’t register, but after about 20 seconds, I understood. Kelly. Lindy. Forever connected. Connected in a joint legacy of making a difference together. It was perfect.
That was 2013. Three months after that conversation, Lindy died peacefully with her husband (and equally amazing human being) by her side. Several years have passed since that time that have allowed for grieving, healing, and situational changes that have made it clear that the time has come. Time to grow. Time to live out our legacy.
The soil has been prepared. The seeds have been planted. The right people are in place. It is time to work. It is time to cultivate change. Change not only for kids and families, but for individuals. For communities.
This is the story of the Kellin Foundation. Join us as we work toward making a difference together.
©2016. Dr. Kelly Graves. All Rights Reserved.
Root Words is an inspirational and motivational blog grounded in the latest research that challenges us to get us back in touch with what is truly important in our lives. It prompts us to dig down deep to reconnect with the root of who we are - with our true, authentic selves. This is essential for genuine and true and lasting change, for the connection that we have with ourselves is the most important connection of all.
Root Words was created by Dr. Kelly Graves, Read about Dr. Graves and the full Kellin team here.