Thursday, April 25, 2013

People Aren't Lists

As most of you already know, I recently did a survey to find out what specific things (inwardly and outwardly) attract males and females to the opposite sex. I honestly didn't expect to get as many responses as I did, and they were pretty interesting. Here are some of the results:

What attracts Females to Males:
Outer (Physical Appearance)- 
Good Smile (15)
Pretty Eyes (10)
In Shape (8)
Tall (6)
Good Hair (3)
Facial Hair (2)
Tan (1)
Inner (Personality)- 
Good sense of Humor/Can make me laugh (19)
 Godly (11)
Responsible (8)
Outgoing (6)
Kind (6)
Intelligent (4)
Romantic (3)
Selfless (2)
Not controlling (2)
Country Boy (1)

What attracts Males to Females:
Outer (Physical Appearance)-
Good Smile (11)
Pretty Eyes (8)
Good Hair (4)
Cute Butt (3)
Nice Legs (2)
Blonde hair (2)
"Doesn't matter as long as attraction is there" (2)
Inner (Personality)- 
Good sense of Humor/Can make me laugh (11)
Confident (9)
Godly woman (7)
Intelligent (5)
Laid Back (4)
Not Fake (3)
Country girl (3)
Not afraid to be herself (2)

So, as you can tell, girls and guys are both attracted mostly to people with good smiles and the ability to make others laugh. But the truth is, even if someone has a good smile, and makes you laugh.. you're going to find something wrong with them. These two qualities alone aren't going to persuade you to date someone. So, let's say someone happens to have an incredible smile and is the most hilarious person you've ever met, but they have chronic acne and scars or thin brittle hair or they aren't really outgoing or they have an annoying laugh. They may have a few of your "qualifications", but their features on your "turn off" list will completely cancel out their perks. For example, say you're a girl.. and you meet a guy. He has this awesome personality, beautiful blue eyes, he's muscular, he loves the Lord, and he's not controlling. This same guy smiles and he has messed up teeth that are a slight shade of yellow, and occasional bad breath. BAM! You forgot about all of those other things as soon as I said that, didn't you?! Or let's say you're a guy, and you meet this sweet southern girl with a gorgeous perfect $5,000 smile, she's confident, she's sweet, but she's overweight and isn't very smart. Now, you not only have a qualifications list.. you have a turn off list as well. The truth is, we're too picky. If a guy treats you perfect, is a man of God, but doesn't look like a Calvin Klein model.. give him a chance. If a girl is an absolute sweetheart with a good head on her shoulders and a woman of God, but doesn't look like the girls in the Victoria's Secret magazine, give her a chance. People can surprise you, and you'd be shocked to see that what you thought you wanted.. actually isn't what you need. 

After asking everyone else what attracts them to the opposite sex, I got the same question several times. They would tell me their response, and then ask "Well what about you, Hope? What makes you attracted to a guy?" The truth is, I don't have a list. Everyone makes all of these lists in their heads about what they want in a lover. Like brown hair and a sweet voice. A sharp mind and a soft heart. A sense of humor that actually makes you laugh like you mean it. This and that. And it's all complete crap. Because people aren't lists. People shouldn't be compared to mental lists. I've always wanted to be the person who made someone realize that. I want to come across someone with a list in their head that is nothing like the person I am, and I want to show them what they didn't even know they were looking for. People who think they know what they want are fooling themselves. Nobody really knows what or who they want; not until it's right in front of them. 

"who are you, 
you are not a name
or a height, or a weight
or a gender
you are not an age
and you are not where you are from

you are your favorite books
and the songs stuck in your head
you are your thoughts
and what you prefer for breakfast 
on saturday mornings

you are a thousand things
but everyone chooses
to see the million things 
that you are not"

"That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they're pretty. It's like picking your breakfast cereal based on color instead of taste." -John Green

People are not their bra size, nor are they the width of their waist, nor are they the slenderness of their calves. They are not their hair color, their skin color, or a shade of lipstick. Their shoe size is of no consequence. They should NOT be defined by the amount of attention they get from males, females, or any combination thereof. People are not the number of sit-ups they can do, nor are they the number of calories they consume in a day. 

You are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desirable not for the amount of attention you get from the opposite sex, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful NOT for the shape of your vessel, but for the volume of soul it carries. 

I think you could fall in love with anyone if you got to see the parts of them that no one else gets to see. Like if you followed them around for a day and saw them crying in their bed or singing to themselves as they make a sandwich. Or you saw the way they look when they wakeup and they've forgotten their surroundings. Or you saw the gasp they make when their favorite character dies in a movie. I think, after seeing someone at their most vulnerable moments.. you wouldn't be able to help falling in love with them.
So, forget your list. Be open minded. Enjoy the person that's in front of you. Give someone a chance that you normally wouldn't. Because people aren't lists

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do.

When we're going through a tough time, no matter what it is, it feels easy for us to say no one understands how we feel. We often say that no one has been through our situation, no one has ever felt this low, and that there's no way things will ever get better. But I promise you, it does get better. It may not seem this way right now, but the pain will subside and you will smile again. I know how you feel.

I've been back stabbed by a best friend. I've lost loved ones. I've had my heart shattered into a million pieces by a guy I thought was in love with me. I've struggled with learning to accept the way God made me. I've compared myself to others far too often. I've failed a test. I've forgotten to do homework assignments. I've been lied to, used, and verbally abused. I've been hated for by sharing my opinion. I've had a huge crush on a guy who wouldn't even look twice at me. I've gained weight. I've said things I should've kept to myself. I've hurt other people on purpose simply because they hurt me first. I've had negative numbers in my checking account. I've fallen short of someone's expectations.  I've misplaced things and never found them again. I've forgotten deadlines. I've apologized to someone and not been forgiven. I've ended friendships that I felt were poisonous for my life and the way I want to live it. I've dated a guy whose parents would never accept me.  I've been faced with decisions that will hurt someone either way. I've been cheated on. I've had someone steal from me. I've cried myself to sleep. I've apologized for something that wasn't my fault.  I've wrecked my car. I've struggled while trying to balance school and work.  I've fought with my parents and my sisters. I've been led on by a guy with no intentions of loving me. I've been my own best friend. I've had people stop talking to me and give no explanation. I've been rejected. I've gotten drunk to side-step the pain. I've chosen not to apologize when I should have. I've been stressed out. I've worried about my future. I've gone down the wrong path. I've missed people that I pushed out of my life. I've been denied a second chance. I've made decisions that seemed great in the moment, but they've come back to haunt me later.  I've had days when everything has gone wrong. I've had regrets. I've made mistakes. I've sinned. 
But then again, haven't we all
You just read the above paragraph and made a mental checklist of everything you've been through. You're probably thinking "Wow, she understands!" I do. And once again I'm here to tell you, it WILL get better. After your troubling times have passed, you'll feel relieved and wonder why you were so depressed before. 
Let me remind you that Jesus was the most persecuted person during his day and time. 
When you're feeling alone and betrayed, think of yourself being improved.. Not beaten down. You're getting stronger. You're learning. You're developing a better YOU. The people who are your true friends and want the best for you, will still be there through it all.. Helping you up when you fall.. Encouraging you.. Pushing you forward on days when you feel useless. We need to stop thinking we're alone, and realize that we're ALL fighting our own battles, some even similar to others. Here is a relieving thought: Life on Earth was never meant to be perfect. Life on Earth is meant to be LIVED.. Through the good, the bad, and the toughly taught lessons. God would never give you something you weren't strong enough to handle.
 People say that the best way to get through something difficult is to remember that someone else is going through something much worse than you. But I disagree. I believe the best way to get through a hard time is to stay positive. Don't allow yourself to keep reminding yourself of the "what if's", but keep reminding yourself that this difficult time is making you stronger, wiser, and more equipped for future struggles. Everything will be okay in the end, and if it's not okay, it's not the end. 
So, forgive your friends that backstab you. When you lose loved ones, remember they've been welcomed into the arms of Jesus. If someone breaks your heart, thank them for making you stronger, and move on. Don't compare yourself to others. You were carefully thought out and created by God; remember this fact when you're hating the color of your eyes or the width of your hips. If you fail a test, study harder for the next one. When you're lied to, don't be so quick to trust that person next time. When people hate you for your opinion and how you agree and disagree on particular things, remember that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. Remember that people disagree with things that they believe as well. If you have a crush on someone who doesn't give you the time of day, move on. They aren't worth it. Someone else is wishing you'd notice them, too. Think before you speak. Don't hurt people just because they hurt you. Don't try to retaliate. According to Gandhi, "an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Don't worry so much about your weight. People come in all shapes and sizes. If you apologize to someone who doesn't forgive you, move on. You've done your part. Give them time and space. They may need it in order to heal properly. If you feel like a friendship is poisonous to your life, leave it behind. You should be surrounded by people who truly love you and desire the absolute best for you. If you date someone whose parents don't approve of you, stop wasting time trying to make them. Move on. Remember that if you marry them, you marry their family too. When the time is right, his parents will adore you. Don't spend time with people who genuinely don't want you around. If you fight with your parents and siblings, apologize. Be the bigger person. Don't let your selfish pride get the best of you. Don't get drunk to feel better. Alcohol and drugs may suppress the pain, but it is only temporary. You need a permanent fix. This comes from healing your heart and your mind. Substance abuse is not the way to heal. Don't worry about your future, it's in the hands of God and he will not betray you. If you miss someone you've pushed out of your life, let them go. What's done is done. There is no turning back. If you have days when everything is going wrong, remember that it's just a bad day.. not a bad life. We all sin. We all fall short of someone's expectations. We all live with regret. We all feel like we'll never be happy. But happiness is a mood, and it's only temporary. It's like being tired, or hungry, or angry. Happiness is here, and then someone pulls out in front of you on Airport Boulevard and it's replaced with frustration. It's that easy. Don't minimize the pain, acknowledge it. Keep your head up, remember you're not alone, and most of all
Don't ever let anyone dull the shine that God gave you.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -John 16:33