cat-lion-mirror~By Wendy Zangari
Life has a way of changing whether or not you expect it or want it to. You grow up,  you learn about things you never thought you would ever learn about yourself or others and you grow. You give so much of yourself, you feel as though you get nothing in return, but is that really the case?  Think about all of the things that you gained, an awareness of oneself and others, learning from the experiences that you had gone through during that time.  You gained more than you think.
Being alive and aware makes one think more, the brain cells are always moving and always regenerating. You are always thinking about how you can be a better person and gain self awareness, self control, and self esteem, but if you look at self, you have to look at others to learn about self.
Is that judging?  It is not judging unless you are trying to create a scenario in which you are pointing fingers at another for the way they behave. Perhaps when you do that you should look at yourself, see what things you don’t like about that person’s behavior. It might be because you don’t like what you see within yourself.
Sometimes I look at others behaviors and they simply don’t make sense to me, I turn my head sideways, my forehead crinkles up and I can’t seem to understand why they are acting in a way in which I just don’t quite understand. In this case I look at the behaviors in a different way, I look at them and sometimes I see someone who has grown up in a household in which they might have been abused, their husbands do everything they say in fear or don’t listen to them at all, they aren’t respected in their households, but feared or thought of as less than.
Can I blame them?  Yes and no, it’s all in their upbringing that has affected the way in which they act and that could mean who you associated with in life that also brought you your ideals, morals, values and realities, not just your immediate family. But everyone can get help once it is recognized, but recognizing their bad behaviors is another issue people seem to have. They look elsewhere and point fingers at others for their own issues, some have PTSD and some with learned behaviors.
These kind of people use control in other areas of their lives to feel like they are in control, but what they are really trying to say is that they are out of control.
Either way, because of the ways in which you are pushed in life by situations and people you meet, whether or not you are upset about it at the moment or resentful at others for the way it had occurred or how they acted, think about how grateful you should be about the outcome. Other avenues open, ones you never thought would, especially when you were caught up in a world that wasn’t for you. You always gain knowledge through experiences, good or bad.
When you try new things in life, you gain more self knowledge, self awareness, self control and self esteem and you learn how to deal with all sorts of different kinds of people, usually through trial and error, but that is how it works. It always helps you work things out when those type of people arise in your life again and they will.
While working with GMO Free PA (I quit as of last month), I learned that politicians and owners of organizations or companies are no different than you and me, they are regular people that were in the right place at the right time, worked from the bottom up or knew people with money. Some people are in it for their own interests, some are in it to help others, some are in it for their personal rights, some are in it for fighting for fairness and some are fighting for their survival. Each one has a personal interest, usually based on the people they love or themselves. But in the end, we all came together for one cause.
There were some that I met and saw them running things in a different direction, they put projects out there in which they want to see the world, a free world, a world where all skills and all things are equal, nothing is less than the next. We are all equal!
They want to have everything be a trade society, they give things for free and take things for free. A depot of free stuff that others no longer use anymore. They teach others to live sustainably, how to grow their own gardens, how to become a beekeeper, how to know which weeds to eat in your yard, how to make your own water and filter it. All basic ways in which our world once ran.
They have a Time Bank in which they trade skills, where one person does a job for free for someone based on their skill and you pay it forward with a skill you may have, to someone else. All based on time (how much time you put in), no job is greater than the next. This is a group of people who started an organization in their town (which is a couple towns from where we live), hoping it will spread to other surrounding areas.  I hope it does, this is an amazing paradigm!
I met CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) owners and saw how they grow their produce sustainably on their farm, I spoke with Senators that introduced our bills and ones that were running for Governor of our state. I met business owners and questioned their practices and saw how the other side thinks in regards to GMOs and their profitability (which that’s all it is, profit) and how the farmers no longer have to do a lot of leg work in the fields.
I went to Farmers Markets spoke to communities, educated them on what is in their food supply, some took it well, some gave backlash in which they thought it was an amazing technology. However, there were more people concerned than there were that gave me backlash, I have to say that! I even went to Food Festivals and went to major events in our state where politicians spoke and had the floor.
I learned how to speak to people without being in their faces, the best way to express what you know is through knowledge. Speak calmly and if the person doesn’t quite understand or have a good grasp on what you are saying, give them resources to look up on their own. I find that people don’t want to be spoken to, they want to have a conversation with you, they only hear what you say if you say it in such a way that doesn’t infringe on their current beliefs and that isn’t thrown at them indignantly.
So teaching people that are so varied in the way they think was difficult, but I spoke to people with confidence (whether or not I was), I studied and researched and kept up to date with the latest and greatest studies being done. I didn’t want to slip into the unknown when someone asked me a question. I didn’t want to have my local monthly meetings and not have people understand what I am saying.
I stumbled in the beginning, as we all do, and I lost confidence, but towards the end I learned more about myself, more about my community, more about politics, more about non-profits, more about laws, and more about my own confidence. I gained it more firmly or so I thought, but it fell apart when I left!
In the end, I saw myself being lost and using my title as my identity. I saw my Ego get bigger as I learned so much in so little time and I was a leader for a County in my state, That was huge to me and I let some of that go to my head, but I didn’t realize it until I left. All of this made me feel important, like I mattered, like I was being listened to finally. But…
When I left I wondered who I was, what I was going to do now, how I was going to continue in my life, what is my path now? Who am I?
How can this be?  How can I have so much confidence in what I am doing and yet when I gave up the position, I felt useless? I had no direction.
Then I looked at what I had accomplished, how I was an asset to the organization, but how I felt used and abused by them and not appreciated as appreciation is shown, not spoken. It never happened and I never felt appreciated, no matter how many “Thank You’s” I got.
I built their website last year and this year handed it off to others to continue, it was also a tough thing for my Ego, but I knew that it was not about my Ego, it was about a bigger thing, bigger than me and I pushed my Ego aside, trained the new Administrators, gave up my position and went on my way.
Even so, it turned from Ego based to angry at them for being this way towards me and the rest of the organization. I was sad and angry at myself that I left, but sadder that things didn’t work out, I was crying and feeling a loss. I was confused and up in arms about the situation.
I then looked at myself and what I had gained from this experience in the past year, I couldn’t be angry or sad about the experiences I had, which made me grow exponentially into a person that is confident and can speak their mind  (in person) without fear, to anyone of any stature or position. I turned that anger to understanding and appreciation for what I did, for what we did as a group of people for the betterment of society.
The emotions that went through me seemed like a death in the family had occurred, I went through all the stages it seemed.
What I gained was a sense of self, confidence to speak my mind to others in person rather than on paper, doing it eloquently and without anger, without pushing them in one direction or another, just explaining the facts ma’am.  It helped in many avenues of my life and the different types of people I encountered.
This was one of my resolutions late last year, to speak up (nicely, of course), even to those who have hurt me and to let them know that they have done so. It gets it off of my chest and it is something I had to give away, the anger, to be able to move on in life without harboring bad emotions moving forward. So far this resolution has been in full force this year, I have lost friends (if they were friends to begin with as you never know nowadays with social media) and I have gained friends (ones that align with my thinking and enjoy my company as I theirs).
I learned how to speak publicly in forums, I have learned how to lead a group of people to show them and teach them and help them grow. I learned the lengths that I would go to help another human being out, I learned about how to tone down passion in a voice, but still have it in your heart where it is heard. I learned about who I am and not through a title, but through experiences.
I had to go through this process in order to get to this place, this place of contentment that what I did was an amazing thing that I did for the sake of humanity. This is confidence, not arrogance. This is love of self for being the best person that I know how to be, it is the person I knew I could always be, but had to go through the pain and suffering to get here, to be able to say that I actually feel as though I gained myself and didn’t lose a thing, is huge for me.
Whether or not people know me from my writing or my social media pages, they truly don’t know me because I don’t show you all of me. Does anyone?  We all have behaviors we are embarrassed about and don’t want to acknowledge them. They make your face turn red, your heart stop, your face contort into a weird smile, when all you have to do is recognize the behavior and see it for what it is and grow from it, learn from it and try not to do it again if it is so undesirable.  Apologize for your behavior and move on, but most people hurt others when they are embarrassed.
I try to be as transparent as possible, but there are some things I too get embarrassed about, but how are we going to learn from each other if we don’t speak about it and discuss our shortcomings? Our souls need to grow, isn’t that why we are here in the first place?
Grow from that, see how you are behaving towards another and look at the dynamics in which you spoke to them. Find out why? Get to the root of your emotions. This is how you search for self!
I grew from that, I see that I am just like you and you are just like me, we may not always agree, but we can always agree to disagree and learn from our experiences and grow from there!
This is the process of becoming self aware! It can be painful, but isn’t growing up painful? Without pain we wouldn’t have greatness to compare it to!

© 2014 – 2015, Ready For The Shift. ™ Wendy & Greg Zangari, All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute these articles on the condition that the content remains complete and in tact, full credit is given to the author(s), and that it is distributed freely.

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