Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. John F. Kennedy

Last night I was listening to Oprah while I painted. She said, if we accomplish anything at all we will be hit with, “Who do you think you are?” This might come from ourselves or from other people, but we have to deal with the fact that we want more out of life than what we have. We want to see, do, have, or accomplish more. Often, a still small voice inside of us is telling us we can do more, have more, and be more, but is it the same voice that makes us hesitate and fearful?

Or, do have two voices, the positive and the negative and they will continue to be at war our whole lives, but we can feed the negative or the positive, we can’t get rid of either of them, but one of them will rule us, and we get to choose which one it will be.

I picked up a book on Tuesday, “Seven Secrets to Profit From Adversity,” by Joe Roberts. In it he tells us we don’t have to be up, to look up. In 1989 he left the streets of Vancouver, B.C. Canada a broken, homeless drug addict. In 1989 all he could do was dream of a better life, but that dream led to overcoming the challenges and obstacles he faced. He learned life doesn’t give us what we deserve, it gives us what we negotiate. He has written a book to help others move toward the change they want to see in their lives.

Who was he to think he could get off the streets and build a better life and be a role model to others? He had a dream. It sounds like that dream came to him in an instant and it took ten years to realize it. Whether we believe it is God that speaks to us, a higher power, a still small voice, or the universe, does it matter what we call it, but haven’t we all heard the voice even when we didn’t heed it?

In business as in life – you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate. Chester L. Karrass

We negotiate what we want out of life every day, and one of the people we have to be willing to negotiate with the hardest is ourselves. If we don’t ask enough of ourselves, if we don’t face our fears to go after what we want, and if we don’t develop self-control so we are free from things that control us and destroy our lives, we won’t be happy.

Sometimes the things we want are harmless, but other times giving in to our wants leads us down a dark road. We have to be our own control board throughout our lives. Our challenge might be substances we have to stay away from, toxic people, dangerous situations, immoral acts, overspending, gambling, or taking advantage of people who seem willing to be taken advantage of. If we want to look ourselves in the mirror and feel good about ourselves we have to believe we did the best with what we had most of the time and forgive ourselves for our shortcomings.

Too much of the devil made me do it, does not build a good life. It does not create a life we are proud of. If we put ourselves first too often we may fracture relationships we can never fix. What if we get what we want but we’ve trampled on everyone to get it, our children feel unloved, our spouse is long gone, most of our family is not speaking to us, but when people meet us they are impressed? Isn’t it better to be loved and respected by those that know us than to impress those that don’t know us?

In the end, we are who we are, we can do what we can do, and we’ve made the choices we’ve made. If we are happy with the sum of that at the end of our lives then isn’t that a good life?

Are we winning our negotiations with ourselves?

What we know matters, but who we are matters more. Brene Brown

Don’t negotiate your value with anyone. You’re worth it. Been worth it. Will forever be worth it. Unknown

Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent. William Shakespeare

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