Updated: Sep 3, 2019
So, today's topic has been one brewing in me, and we all know I'm more like a volcano than anything else. I suppress until I explode. And today, I think it's time that I speak up. I want to start off by giving examples and stories before telling you my exact thoughts, so please bear with me.
Bakersfield California is my home. I was born and raised there, and it is still my place of safety, comfort, and familiarity. No place is perfect, but there's no place like home. Many people, when I am asked where I am from, either don't know where Bakersfield is, or they have a distaste when they say, "you're from there?!"
There have been so many horrible things said about my city. It was Johnny Carson labeled Bakersfield as "the armpit of California." And unfortunately, a lot of people in Bakersfield have adopted this name and adopted a mindset that our city is a "god-awful place." I've seen going around on Facebook several memes, posts, and even videos mocking our city, especially right now. I don't know if it's just because it's in my algorithm so I see it more, or if it truly is just my city being attacked by it's inhabitants more than ever.
There are areas in my city that are "the nice area" and "the bad area." Every city has them. We have Oildale, which yes, many people are known for being either high or drunk, and it's not necessarily the safest part of Bakersfield, but it isn't the most dangerous either, and it's not the cleanest area. The reason why I bring this up is because many people choose to exploit the faults of my city rather than showing the beautiful parts of it.
If you live in a city that you're dying to see change and transformation in, let me give you a suggestion: stop complaining. Stop mocking. Stop bashing. Because the reality is, you're not doing anything to help these particular issues find a solution, are you? If you think the place is "trash" and "dirty," then why don't you start cleaning it up?
I'm tired of watching people on social media claiming that they are "advocates of change," yet all they do is complain. Look, you have the right to your own opinions. America is a place of freedom of speech. But if you're going to complain and exploit the cons of the city you live in, why don't you come up with solutions to these problems instead of being a nagging voice? If you're truly going to go after change, why don't you bring it?
It's not just a problem in my city. Where I most see it is different environments, such as workplaces. I've been in situations and environments where yes, there is plenty to complain about, and many people talk behind people's backs. Side note: gossip (also know as "the tea") and complaining have become such a normal language in our society, it's insane.
I'm an external processor. Sometimes I have to word-vomit in order to get all the junk out of my mind to find common ground and see from all party's perspectives. It's not easy to run a business. It's not easy to run a company. And heck, it's not easy to be your own boss or someone else's boss. In some cases, in smaller businesses, all the work will fall on 1-2 people. In order to run a business, you have to understand finances, book keeping, administration, system organization, know how to manage the office & people working in the office, on top of whatever the service or product is being provided.
Thank God I have amazing business partners to help me run my business otherwise, well, I don't want to even think about where I'd be.
I'm grateful to my parents that they trained me to be an independent learner. My dad made sure that if I was going to be homeschooled, I would have good people skills. He succeeded, as I grew up around adults and learned how to deal with people and with confrontation at an early age. I also learned a little bit about as much as I could, a trait I also inherited from both of my parents.
I watched my parents be the boss, I watched my dad and how he interacted with people on all levels, whether relationally or in a business perspective. I watched my mom take on confrontation with all people like it was nothing. Whenever I have moments of doubt in myself, I remind myself that I am made from all the best parts of my parents, and whatever they have cultivated is my inheritance. As an adult, I have learned to go into many situations thinking to myself, "what would Mom & Dad do?"
It has served me well. My parents are not easily moved and do not allow people to walk all over them, and I am no exception.
They taught me to be part of the solution. So now with this perspective of seeking change and backing it with action, I get so aggravated when I hear people talking crap about situations or people behind their backs when I know they don't even have the courage to face it head on.
I'm considered more "aggressive" in nature. I have no problem bringing up problems and issues I am having to whomever is most appropriate to bring the situation at hand to, even if it does mean bringing it to the top. I also have no problem asking them, "What can I do to help you?" in regards to the situations at hand.
It's an interesting dynamic that I have in these types of situations, and it is for my wish for excellence, integrity, and wish for honor and truth that I suppose many "higher up" people ask for my help. Maybe it's simply because I offered it?
Can I challenge everyone, if you consider yourself an advocate for change, make your backbone taking action with it! Start learning all you can about what is needed, what the requirements are, and what needs to be considered in finding solutions to the problems we can be so busy complaining about. I'm not saying fix every problem, although if you have a fixer-type personality like me, we all want to fix everything!
This is why I have a lot of respect for people who go after what they want. I have a lot of friends who I don't agree in all their stand or views, however I respect them because they're doing their research and choosing to learn and put themselves in a position to create change.
Funny how this blogpost is being written during a conference Renaissance Church is hosting on Transformation and Ed Silvoso, the speaker, said something really profound: "A blessing has the power to break a curse, therefore a blessing cannot be undone by a curse. If a blessing is rejected, then the blessing is revoked."
May I suggest we start blessing the situation and people we're around instead of complaining and talking badly about them? If a blessing has the power to break a curse, then we ourselves should start acting from a place of being a blessing to something, someone, or to a situation. And as Ed said, if the blessing is rejected, then you can't do anything about it. Just keep being a blessing.
So what does it look like to be a blessing? It looks like having the person's back. Many visionaries don't have the support they need because they are doing everything they can by themselves. So help them. Become a supporter, watch their backs. Maybe every once in a while, ask them what they need help with and help carry their vision. Be a servant, be someone that adds to their panel of solutions rather than being just another sitting duck or worst yet, a backstabber.
You can make small impacts by doing simple things. I did an experiment a couple weeks ago where I did one small act of acknowledgement or kindness for someone every day. Here was the outcome:
Monday: The man at the stop sign. He was homeless and asking for money. I happened to have some cash on me and gave him $5. He stopped me and said, "Thank you for taking the time out of your day to acknowledge me when many would not. You're a blessing and an angel from heaven." I replied with thanks and he told me, "Don't stop being who you are. We need more people in the world who make a positive impact on it."
Tuesday: It was the garbage man. His facial expressions shared he was not enjoying moving the trash. The car in front of me was impatiently honking at him to get out of the way and made many dangerous maneuvers to get around him. When it came my turn, I raised my hand and smiled at him. His facial expression turned relieved and full of joy, and I patiently waited. When he moved, he stopped and motioned for me to roll down the window. "Thank you for being patient, you made my day with your smile." I replied with thanks and told him to have a good day.
Wednesday: It was the elderly lady with the dog. I was walking by the studio. She was struggling with her cane as her dog was getting caught. People passed by her. She had a bag of groceries and looked at the street. I went up to her and asked if I could help her to her car. She replied with a relieved yes, and I took her bags and walked her across the street. "Never change, my dear," she said to me full of thanks and kissed my hand.
Thursday: It was the little boy in front of me in the line at Starbucks. He wanted a drink but didn't have enough money. I stepped forward and paid for his drink. He looked at me dumbfounded for a minute. Once I got his drink, he said, "Thank you miss, I was getting the drink for my mom. She has cancer." He motioned to the woman across the room in a wheelchair. She waved and thanked me. "You're a true blessing to us," she said.
I never completed my mission to finish the full week of doing one thing every day to bless someone, but intentionally doing this made me realize one thing: people are dying for people who are willing to bless and be kind to other people. A simple smile can make someone's day. Letting someone over in traffic can be relief to someone's temper. Being kind to melts tension and aggravation.
So let's do that! Let's intentionally do one thing every day to be a blessing to someone's life. If you decide to challenge yourself with that, let me know what the outcome is in the comments down below! I'd love to hear how you made a small difference in someone's life.
You can listen to this blogpost in podcast form here: