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Imperfect Being

Lately, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching. Wondering where did this fragmented part of me called “perfectionist” come from? In my early years, I was all over the place, and “order” did not exist in my life. Not until I had children and got my first corporate job is when I started to understand the importance of order and how it needed to become part of my life. Then I began to notice that if there was something that was not in order or that was not done right; then I would come undone. I would become frustrated, or the little lie would whisper, “You could have done a better job at that.” Honestly, I never paid attention to why I would respond to certain things like that.

Growing up, I knew my parents always wanted the best for me and loved me. They wanted me to have a good-paying career, and an education which who doesn’t want that for their children. Both parents were hard workers. My stepfather was strict and had a lot of “do’s and “don’t.” So whenever something was not up to his standards, he would vocalize or demonstrate how disappointed he was of me and my behavior. It could have been the smallest things, like not washing the dishes properly. Then the harsh comments would come, “You can never do anything right or “You are so lazy, you will never amount to anything or my least favorite, “You will always be a failure.”

Earlier this year, I began the journey of self-discovery and started to search in places that had always been there but never had I visited. I have been on a quest of trying to connect the dots of why I do certain things or why I allow certain things to bother me. There is where I found that fragmented part of me called, perfectionist.” The connection in why things had to be a certain way. Whenever I would hear those words in my head, “You can never do anything right” the actions would follow right after where everything needed to be perffect for it to be considered right, how twisted is that? What saddens me the most is that I spent many years in that vicious cycle.

I even introduced this fragmented part of me to my children as well. I did not vocalize it but by giving a cold shoulder or my disapproval look, that said enough. I am quickly learning to extend grace and forgive myself and be an encourager to them when they have their moments. I find myself praying that they too will get the same revelation I have; not called to perfect. It is okay to want to have things in order, and it is reasonable to want to strive to achieve a specific goal for personal reasons that are healthy or that will help you grow. But when you attempt to be perfect or hard on yourself for falling short, that’s when it becomes unhealthy.

That is where that fragmented part gives birth and creeps in and eats at even the best parts of you. Everyone is imperfect, and there is not a perfect being on this earth. So why continue to strive after something that no matter how much you attempt to perfect never happens, and waste years achieving something that is a dead end. Everyone is flawed in their way and has challenges that they may or not recognize in them. But when you begin to get stressed out, or it becomes compulsive in reaching an absolute perfection, this becomes a weakness, and now that pesky little guy has gnawed his teeth inside of you and seeks to suck the life out of you, which hinders you from living a life of being content, fulfillment, and happiness.

So beloved, I want you to ask yourself what you are striving after? Who or what have you allowed to creep in that resides and is continually eating away at you?

I pray that you would know that you are enough and are loved. That you would know God sees you as his beautiful masterpiece and made no mistakes when he created you.

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time.

What you went through was not about you!

Sometimes in life things happen that are out of our control. Painful events like losing a loved one, a divorce, a traumatic experience. Those things shape, mold and change who we were called to be.

We sit in those dark hours alone, devastated wondering why or how and try to make sense of it all. Maybe still in a state of shock and not know how to process what’s occurred.

I have had many of those painful events occur throughout my life. For the longest time I remained angry and stuck wondering why this happened.

Then one day a light bulb went off and I realized this pain was not just for me to endure. I had to face those hard things and allow forgiveness and healing to take place within my heart and mind.

I began to realize that I was called to help others with their pain and come alongside to help guide them and not remain stuck. To breathe hope and help them with their disbelief of fighting the good fight. No matter what has happened in their life.

I want to encourage you to not lose hope. I’m not sure what you are facing. But I want to speak hope into your situation and let you know that your going to make it. One day you will share your story with another individual that comes across your path and you will let them know your story and how you made it through.

Believe, Believe, Believe,

Maybe what YOU went through was not about you.

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope one Life at a Time!

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Calculate your prey…

I was fascinated as I was watching a documentary about Lions. Did you know that a lion is a large cat and are known as “king of the beasts?” They are very territorial and truly defend their area against intruding lions and other animals. One of the ways a lion proclaims an area is by their roaring and scent marking on trees or different regions. Interesting enough the lions were calculating how to take down their prey, and then all of a sudden lunged at the neck and bit down until the animal was strangled.

This documentary was such a great illustration of how easily individuals can become prey and be killed. It made me reflect on how easy it is to fall prey to certain things in our lives. One downfall the lions have is that they do not keep track of the direction of the wind blowing. Which leads the bigger prey to them due to their scent marking. Reflecting on the enemies in our lives we tend to not see coming and are caught off guard.

I know one of my enemies has been “thoughts.” Did you know that we get anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day? Seems overwhelming and exhausting all at the same time. Experts say, typically it is more negative thoughts than positive that come and can change your whole outlook on life. Those thoughts usually come in at the midnight hours, while sitting dormant or when facing difficulties.

I know for me it is tough to shake some of those enemies off. I have watched people lose touch with who they were because this “enemy” crept in and took the life right out of them literally. Not realizing how damaging that “enemy” can be to our well-being. In the line of work that I do” thoughts” are the number one cause that enables people to remain stuck and from growing.

I have learned to decipher things and become a good listener, be more observant of where I am at mentally and watch my behaviors as well as others. At times it can be disheartening to see how people change due to the enemy that has come in and sapped who they were called to be versus who they are. We get so bombarded that one has to be intentional about deciphering what those enemies are so that they do not sap the life right out of us.

So I want to propose these questions to you:

What are some of the things that you did not calculate that have changed who you are?

Are you sitting with those feelings of defeat because you lost sight of the enemy and life has strangled who you are?

Learn to be alert and calculate how to take down your prey, so it does not take you out.

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, AMP).

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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To be continued…

Have you ever watched a tv show or movie that had you sitting at the edge of your seat anticipating what is going to happen next? Then all of sudden it ends with “To be continued”.

You have all these emotions running through your veins and left wondering what just happened and why would they leave you that way? When will it be continued?

If you are like me I pull out my phone and search online to see when the next sequel or episode is coming out. Only left feeling more disappointed when there are no answers to those questions.

Have you ever felt like that about life? All of sudden things are going great and then something happens that alters your life, causing a pause. Either by a tragedy, loss of a love one, a separation or divorce or unexpected illness. Left wondering what just happened? What is going to happen next?

When I look back at some of the episodes of my life many have brought different emotions like pain and brokenness, while others caused a hardness of heart and bitterness! Left wondering will this pass? Some of those painful moments created self reflection and brought change within me or my situation. Learning from many of my “to be continued” series.

Just like the tv show or sequel it continues and shows you the next part of the story.

I am not sure what your facing today, but I want to encourage you that the things that have been left “to be continued” will be continued! You are building your story, your sequel, your next episode.

Every episode in your life builds upon the story that was created for you! Be encouraged today, this too shall pass! Then you will sit back and play the reruns of your life with others and those episodes will bring hope and encouragement to others as your share.

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing hope one life at a time.

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Who is coaching YOU?

What is a coach?  It is a coach who comes alongside you to see you where you are at and help you get to where you want to be. 

I recall watching a commercial with a well-known basketball player and thinking, “He was not always a great basketball player”.  He had to work with someone behind the scenes that showed him different techniques and calling out some of the areas where growth needed to take place in.   The coach had to come alongside the basketball player on the sidelines and outside the games calling out different plays to conduct and not conduct while being in and out of the game.  Even the best experts utilize a Coach. A coach will listen to your story without feeling judged, criticized and provided the greatest support during those hard times.

We all have blind spots in our lives that we are unaware of and need some guidance in.  In having coach or accountability partner, they help in areas that are challenging and approach beliefs that are crippling one from making genuine connections and have fulfilling relationships.  They help individuals to gain the courage, strength and discover some of the passions and gain the confidence needed in overcoming life challenges that come unexpectedly.  

A coach helps to work on self-confidence and explore obstacles that have kept an individual stuck and has enabled them in believing that they can move forward.  Especially if you have not identified them as blind spots or mental blocks.   With Coaching one can explore many different topics like personal goals and/or professional goals.  It is not just about dealing with the past but closing the gap of where one is currently at and where you would like to be in your ideal self. Together creating an action plan that the individual and the coach are held accountable to fulfill and achieve those goals.

When your sitting down with someone who is a coach or is holding you accountable that person is able to examine where you are at and learn what patterns have been good for you and not.  Honing in and taking a look at some of the life challenges and misunderstandings about yourself and others.  That has occurred throughout life and learn to follow through in trusting yourself to revisit those areas. A coach helps with your personal life, goal setting, and dealing with life challenges.  It helps an individual to get unstuck and create healthy habits, as well as learning how to have fun, unleash the gifts within you, and improve relationships.  Furthermore, it helps create awareness in identifying your life purpose and reaching your goals.

People that have chosen to have a Coach have been successful in life because they have chosen to do something different and together brainstorm and create a plan that will lead them to become a better individual. 

The role of a Coach is to help provide the tools needed to help achieve goals and carry out the vision for yourself at the same time holding you accountable.  It is a great resource to utilize that allows an individual to move forward in life where the life coach is there to motivate and supports individuals that face roadblocks along the way.  Everyone has life challenges but it is what you do with them that matters.  With each challenge, there is always a solution that eventually becomes part of your story.

Where we get to explore and face those areas of life that have been challenging and help shape you into a stronger, healthier and empower the person within you.  It is a place where we provide the tools to help empty the garbage out. The goal is to gain new tools to deal with life challenged one has experienced as well as prepare you to cope effectively with the stresses and challenges that life brings. 

Life Application

Do you want to achieve happiness and true fulfillment in your personal life? Do you want to begin let go of any fears and concerns? It is time to seek after a coach or accountability partner, as we all need in our lives.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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Are you letting your junk build up?

Have you ever felt like there so many things going on all at the same time?

Then that one little thing sets you off and you reflect on everything that’s not going right.  What do we do with that? Do you deal with things as they come up or are we just continuing to stuff things and tell ourselves I’ll deal with that later? Yet later never comes!

I know from personal experience I have been one to stuff what I was feeling and then never come to address it ever again.  Either because I was afraid of having to go there and relive that experience or those feelings of being angry would come up all over again.  What I have learned on this journey is that by holding on to things in and never addressing them it begins to create a hardened heart.  It begins to take away from who you were called to be.  You begin to become complacent and believe that this new journey is a part of you.  When in reality it is taking the life out of you.  You become hopeless in the process and start losing the fight.

Like the rest of the world we are all struggling with some type of brokenness, wound or challenges in our lives.  The suicide rate continues to  escalate or people begin turning to things that they believe can numb or fix the pain.  Then to circle right back around and stay stuck in the same place we  started.

I want to advice you to change your thinking and change the lane your on and head towards the path of bettering yourself.  Remember we are all a work in progress.  Learn to deal with stuff along the way or kill the pride and ask someone to walk alongside this journey so your not going at it alone!  Two are better than one!

Take time today to deal with one thing that you can change and have control over versus the opposite of that.  Your worth it!

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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What is your verdict?

Today I was convicted in how many times in my own life I have judged, condemned or looked down upon others. Whether they have done something that was not according to my standards. I have been quick to express my opinion, even when the person has not asked for it. Or I have turned my nose up at people. I know I’m not the only one in the world to do this, but the conviction I feel is real.

As I was sitting in class and was reading about different cultures. The chapter discussed about having self awareness when working with people and their culture. As a counselor I have to flow and know my audience and become familiar with their culture. By being open and understanding certain decisions and why they choose certain beliefs, lifestyles within their culture.

The more I read the more I was I raising my nose up as if I was better. I actually said, “Those people need to straighten up and that just won’t work for me”.

I had to quickly tell myself “Get over yourself”. In order for me to be an effective counselor, leader and friend, I have to be able to accept others no matter what”. By putting aside my own opinions, beliefs and not being bias. Or act as if I’m better than whoever.

A perfect example that comes to mind is with my Hispanic culture. Hispanics are known to be late. I’m not saying all hispanics so please hear me I’m saying in the Puerto Rican culture or community. Perpetual lateness has always been acceptable and this is one of pet peeve.

At that moment is when I realized, “What are you talking about sister? “You use to be late all the time and many times have been in a crisis situation that you couldn’t control not being late. I have also made poor choices throughout life that weren’t the best. I quickly said, “Sandy, get over yourself”. Just like that I had to shut down every time she tries to speak foolishness!

I was totally convicted by a book that I am reading called “What if we start over”, by Ricardo & Susana Rodriguez.

Here is what it said,”Keep in mind that by the way you respond to someone’s else sin you can either spark the process of restoration in their lives or create further pain and worsen the wound. Our words and attitudes are decisive. The worst mistake is to judge

My prayer today would be that we are quick to not judge or condemn. That when we do that we are quick to repent and ask the Lord to forgive us.

Jesus laid on the cross and indicated, “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. This is the same response we should have with others that we may not approve their lifestyle or decisions.

Let’s mimic Christ in this and ask the Lord to lead us to those who need that unconditional love and compassion as Christ has with us..

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing one Life at a Time!