It has always been simple, but making it hard was always your way of avoiding pain. If you want to change your life, you have to change what you are doing. It wasn't his fault, her fault, their fault or the circumstances. It was your inability to choose. So, life chose for you. Somewhere in that crazy mind of yours time stopped. You thought someone would rescue you, but they didn't. You have to rescue yourself. This is not a fire you can put out; you have to walk through it, in order to reach life. Getting burned is apart of growth, didn't you know?
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It has always been simple, but making it hard was always your way of avoiding pain. If you want to change your life, you have to change what you are doing. It wasn’t his fault, her fault, their fault or the circumstances. It was your inability to choose. So, life chose for you. Somewhere in that crazy mind of yours time stopped. You thought someone would rescue you, but they didn’t. You have to rescue yourself. This is not a fire you can put out; you have to walk through it, in order to reach life. Getting burned is apart of growth, didn’t you know?

-Shannon L. Alder

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Dignity/ˈdignitē/ noun 1. The moment you realize that the person you cared for has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you, but a headache. 2. The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes.3. The moment you stop comparing yourself to others because it undermines your worth, education and your parent’s wisdom.4. The moment you live your dreams, not because of what it will prove or get you, but because that is all you want to do. People’s opinions don’t matter. 5. The moment you realize that no one is your enemy, except yourself.6. The moment you realize that you can have everything you want in life. However, it takes timing, the right heart, the right actions, the right passion and a willingness to risk it all. If it is not yours, it is because you really didn’t want it, need it or God prevented it. 7. The moment you realize the ghost of your ancestors stood between you and the person you loved. They really don't want you mucking up the family line with someone that acts anything less than honorable.8. The moment you realize that happiness was never about getting a person. They are only a helpmate towards achieving your life mission.9. The moment you believe that love is not about losing or winning. It is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from.10. The moment you realize that you were always the right person. Only ignorant people walk away from greatness.

-Shannon L. Alder

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The phone rang. It was a familiar voice.It was Alan Greenspan. Paul O'Neill had tried to stay in touch with people who had served under Gerald Ford, and he'd been reasonably conscientious about it. Alan Greenspan was the exception. In his case, the effort was constant and purposeful. When Greenspan was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, and O'Neill was number two at OMB, they had become a kind of team. Never social so much. They never talked about families or outside interests. It was all about ideas: Medicare financing or block grants - a concept that O'Neill basically invented to balance federal power and local autonomy - or what was really happening in the economy. It became clear that they thought well together. President Ford used to have them talk about various issues while he listened. After a while, each knew how the other's mind worked, the way married couples do.In the past fifteen years, they'd made a point of meeting every few months. It could be in New York, or Washington, or Pittsburgh. They talked about everything, just as always. Greenspan, O'Neill told a friend, "doesn't have many people who don't want something from him, who will talk straight to him. So that's what we do together - straight talk."O'Neill felt some straight talk coming in."Paul, I'll be blunt. We really need you down here," Greenspan said. "There is a real chance to make lasting changes. We could be a team at the key moment, to do the things we've always talked about."The jocular tone was gone. This was a serious discussion. They digressed into some things they'd "always talked about," especially reforming Medicare and Social Security. For Paul and Alan, the possibility of such bold reinventions bordered on fantasy, but fantasy made real."We have an extraordinary opportunity," Alan said. Paul noticed that he seemed oddly anxious. "Paul, your presence will be an enormous asset in the creation of sensible policy."Sensible policy. This was akin to prayer from Greenspan. O'Neill, not expecting such conviction from his old friend, said little. After a while, he just thanked Alan. He said he always respected his counsel. He said he was thinking hard about it, and he'd call as soon as he decided what to do.The receiver returned to its cradle. He thought about Greenspan. They were young men together in the capital. Alan stayed, became the most noteworthy Federal Reserve Bank chairman in modern history and, arguably the most powerful public official of the past two decades. O'Neill left, led a corporate army, made a fortune, and learned lessons - about how to think and act, about the importance of outcomes - that you can't ever learn in a government.But, he supposed, he'd missed some things. There were always trade-offs. Talking to Alan reminded him of that. Alan and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, White House correspondent for NBC news, lived a fine life. They weren't wealthy like Paul and Nancy. But Alan led a life of highest purpose, a life guided by inquiry.Paul O'Neill picked up the telephone receiver, punched the keypad."It's me," he said, always his opening.He started going into the details of his trip to New York from Washington, but he's not much of a phone talker - Nancy knew that - and the small talk trailed off."I think I'm going to have to do this."She was quiet. "You know what I think," she said.She knew him too well, maybe. How bullheaded he can be, once he decides what's right. How he had loved these last few years as a sovereign, his own man. How badly he was suited to politics, as it was being played. And then there was that other problem: she'd almost always been right about what was best for him."Whatever, Paul. I'm behind you. If you don't do this, I guess you'll always regret it."But it was clearly about what he wanted, what he needed.Paul thanked her. Though somehow a thank-you didn't seem appropriate.And then he realized she was crying.

-Ron Suskind

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Dear Future Me, I hope that today you are the person you always set out to be. I hope you accomplished everything that they said you could never do. How many lives do you change in a day? Do you speak out for what is right, or sit there regretting your silence? I hope you are what I’m not. I hope you speak out with such a voice that everyone around you can hear it even when you aren’t speaking. I want you to have power in the way you speak- giving light into someone’s world filled with darkness. I hope you live as if you are the only one capable of making a difference, and embracing that ability in the best way possible. You don’t need to have your name written in the text of a history book, but you need to live to make your words give life to the ones who thought they didn’t deserve one.When you read this letter, I hope you are somewhere where all of you previous goals can be made accomplishments. I hope you still remember your past, and pass on your story to those who need to hear it most- to show them that they are not alone. I hope you achieved that brighter, happier life you used to daydream about when you were younger. I hope all of your dreams became your reality, and I hope that eventually your nightmares dissolved into the depths of your past- never haunting you again. I hope that you one day took off the mask that hid the truth. That you broke down the barriers you built, and learned to trust someone- really trust them- somewhere along your journey. I hope that you look in the mirror with a small, true smile and be proud of what you see. I hope that you learned to break through the surface of the water drowning you- anxiety. I hope that you now see the world from a whole new perspective, and learned to enjoy the sun more than the rain.. Most of all, I hope you learned to speak. To speak in such a voice that must be heard; a voice that embroiders your words onto a heart that needed them most. I hope you are happy, and teach ones who are like the old you to be happy as well. I hope that today you are the person you always set out to be.Sincerely,Your Past

-wnq writers

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Closing The CycleOne always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

-Paulo Coelho

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A few years ago I spent Christmas and New Years alone. No family. No friends. No gifts. A little tree with some lights on it. A small Christmas dinner (in a can). Far from home but with a lot of good memories of it. I didn't feel too sad because I knew things would change for the better because I knew I would change them for the better. It was all up to me, not fate, or luck (although understand that those are big players in this game too). If I didn't like where I was at that moment I couldn't feel sorry myself and blame someone else, play the victim. I was the one who put myself there and I knew I was the one that had to change. So I did. See, misery is never very far away from us (it lurks around every dark corner) but neither is joy. You've got to roll with that black horse when it visits, ride that bitch out if you can but you've got to enjoy the hell out of the other too, when it chances to come your way. Above all, you've got to recognize joy when it shows up to dance with you and, sorry, that's not nearly as easy as it sounds. You've got to fight tooth and nail in this life to try and be as happy as you can with the circumstances you've been given. You've got to fight with every inch of your being for that and grit your teeth and stick out your chin while you're doing it too because although without a doubt it's the right fight to be in, it's going to be hard sometimes. So hard that maybe you'll be blind to everything else. Along the way however, always remember one thing: even though there are people out there in the world who will take the heart right out of you...there are those who will put it right back in again (let them). Learn to recognize who they are because that's something really worth knowing. But it's up to you in the end. It's up to you to embrace the wonders in this life and to deny the darkness (and there are plenty of both). Be strong, be brave, be kind, be noble and above all, slay your dragons and keep on moving. Don't stop. And finally, even if happiness forgets you for a little while, never completely forget about it. It's there waiting for the other to pass. Even in your darkest hour don't ever doubt that for a second.

-Noel James Riggs

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we all make vows, Jimmy. And there is something very beautiful and touching and noble about wanting good impulses to be permanent and true forever," she said. "Most of us stand up and vow to love, honor and cherish someone. And we truly mean it, at the time. But two or twelve or twenty years down the road, the lawyers are negotiating the property settlement." "You and George didn't go back on your promises." She laughed. "Lemme tell ya something, sweetface. I have been married at least four times, to four different men." She watched him chew that over for a moment before continuing, "They've all been named George Edwards but, believe me, the man who is waiting for me down the hall is a whole lot different animal from the boy I married, back before there was dirt. Oh, there are continuities. He has always been fun and he has never been able to budget his time properly and - well, the rest is none of your business." "But people change," he said quietly. "Precisely. People change. Cultures change. Empires rise and fall. Shit. Geology changes! Every ten years or so, George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we've had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people." She flopped back against her chair. "Which is why vows are such a tricky business. Because nothing stays the same forever. Okay. Okay! I'm figuring something out now." She sat up straight, eyes focused somewhere outside the room, and Jimmy realized that even Anne didn't have all the answers and that was either the most comforting thing he'd learned in a long time or the most discouraging. "Maybe because so few of us would be able to give up something so fundamental for something so abstract, we protect ourselves from the nobility of a priest's vows by jeering at him when he can't live up to them, always and forever." She shivered and slumped suddenly, "But, Jimmy! What unnatural words. Always and forever! Those aren't human words, Jim. Not even stones are always and forever.

-Mary Doria

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Life has always seemed to me like a restaurant,' said Peter. 'When you’re born, you come in and sit down...''Oh, my God,' said Brenda.'...and they show you the menu,' went on Peter, frowning at Brenda. 'And it’s a swell menu. It’s got everything on it. And they tell you that you can have anything you want, the rarest and tastiest and most wonderful dishes imaginable.''Who’s they?' asked Brenda.'They is a sort of waiter-cum-proprietor,' said Peter, 'and he represents organized society in the parable.''It’s a parable, is it?''Yes. So you study the menu and you pick out the dishes that appeal to you most. Some people pick more exotic viands than others, but everybody picks out something he thinks is swell and the waiter-cum-proprietor pats him on the back and says it’s an excellent choice. And you sit back and wait to be served. That represents the period of adolescence. ... Damn it, where was I?''You were adolescent.''So you sit and wait to be served your fondly chosen dish,' resumed Peter, 'and pretty soon the waiter comes in and what does he bring you? He brings you hash! "Hey," you say, "this isn’t what I ordered." "Oh isn’t it?" says the waiter who is no longer friendly. "Well, it’s what you’re gonna get." Now this is the important part. Some people meekly eat their hash. Some drown it with catsup and try to enjoy it.''I get it,' said Brenda. 'Those are the drunks.''But there are a few who say, "Goddamn it, I didn’t order hash and I don’t want hash and I won’t eat hash." They get out of their chairs and the waiter tries to push them back, but they say, "Get out of my way, who the hell are you?" And they fight their way into the kitchen while the waiter hollers and protests and there they find mountains and mountains of hash. But they keep looking around and pretty soon in odd corners of the kitchen they find the dishes they ordered, the rare and costly viands they had their hearts set on. And they eat ’em and they enjoy ’em and then they go out of the restaurant the same as the hash eaters do, but boy, they’ve dined!'He threw down his cigarette and stamped on it. 'That’s all,' he said. 'Thank you for your attention.''Who pays the bill?' asked George with interest.'I don’t know,' said Peter irritably. 'That would complicate the parable to the point of chaos.''Who did you say the waiter was?' asked George. 'Organized society?''That’s right. A pale flabby guy with a walrus mustache.''I don’t quite see it,' said George.'I do,' said Harriet, sitting up on the day bed. 'I see it. It’s beautiful.''It isn’t so bad at that,' said Brenda.'You’re damn right it’s not.

-Jack Iams

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Why Does He Do That? That's the number one question, isn't it? Maybe it's his drinking, you say. Maybe it's his learning disabilities. It's his job; he hates it. He's stressed. I think he's bipolar. It's his mother's fault; she spoiled him rotten. It's the drugs. If only he didn't use. It's his temper. He's selfish. It's the pornography; he's obsessed. The list could go on and on. You could spend many years trying to pinpoint it and never get a definite answer. The fact is, many people have these problems and they aren't abusive. Just because someone is an alcoholic doesn't mean he is abusive. Men hate their jobs all the time and aren't abusive. Bipolar? Okay. Stressed? Who isn't! Do you see where I am going with this? Off the subject a bit, when someone commits a violent crime, they always report in the news about his possible motive. As human beings, we need to somehow make sense of things. If someone murders someone, do you think it makes the family of the victim feel better to know the murderer's motive? No. Except for self-defense, there really is no excuse for murder. Motive, if there is any, is irrelevant. The same is true of abuse. You could spend your whole life going round and round trying to figure out why. The truth is, the why doesn't matter. There are only two reasons why men commit abuse—because they want to do so and because they can. You want to know why. In many ways, you might feel like you need to know. But, if you could come up with a reason or a motive, it wouldn't help you. Maybe you believe that if you did this or that differently, he wouldn't have abused you. That is faulty thinking and won't help you get better. You didn't do anything to cause the abuse. No matter what you said, no matter what you did, you didn't deserve to be abused. You are the victim and it won't help you to know why he supposedly abused you. No matter what his reason, there is no excuse for abuse. You are not to blame.

-Beth Praed

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I had a dream about you. It's been a while since I could remember any of my dreams, and still, this one has left me with such strong impression. Even now, when I am fully awake, your face flashes before my eyes. It's a face I can totally relate to, as if it wasn't any more yours than it is mine. Terrifying thing, you know? I can't say I've felt that sort of intimacy with anyone. For a moment you knew all my secrets, without me even having to tell them. For a moment I even knew them myself…While I was looking into your eyes, I suddenly started to realize things about myself that were unspoken for years, like fragments of my inner life that were deeply repressed. It’s hard to distinguish if they were buried inside because dealing with them was such a dirty work, or if leaving them unnamed meant that it was not possible to define them precisely enough, so they would keep their true meaning. Perhaps, all this life that I've known so far was in fact no more but a dream about living. The only thing that has kept me in touch with reality was you…I know it comes as a surprise, and you may be wondering why it took me so long to come clean. You also may be wondering how come you've never noticed before. I've tricked you on purpose, yes, and you must realize it really has nothing to do with you. It’s always been me. This is why, seeing you in my dream like that, came out as a shock. You also must forgive me. You must forgive me because I know how it looks like, that everything we ever shared was a lie, and it wasn't…I am more of an illusionist that a deceiver, but it all comes from being in fact, a very private person. Even if it was true that you knew me better than anyone, I’d never admit it. I’d rather dig my own heart out, with a rotten spoon, than admitting it. I may let people in my own little world occasionally, but I would never let them be aware of it. I don’t throw my intimacy in front of others, especially when I care. The more I care, the less I give away, and this is something for you to understand, and grant me your forgiveness. I didn't play my tricks on you in order to deceive you, but rather to save myself, and maybe even deceive myself as well. I’ve had hidden my feelings for you so deeply that I've learned to live with them, as if any other casualty. I have done wrong to myself as much as I did to you, and I don’t know if I can forgive myself. So now I wonder, could you forgive me without feeling sorry for me? I certainly don’t deserve your pity. Especially not now that I am awake.

-Aleksandra Ninkovic

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