Practice Preaching

As I get older, I start to realize all those cliche sayings I heard growing up are so beyond true.

The one that’s sticking out the most to me at this point in my life is: Actions speak louder than words.

Let me rephrase this really quickly.. Because I’m not talking about projecting this to a guy who led you on, a girl who seems like she’s interested in you but she’s not pursuing anything, or someone saying they’ll do something for you but didn’t follow thru. No. That’s surface-level. I’m talking about putting action into yourself.

Ask yourself.. When was the last time I was unhappy with where I was in life or who I was as a person? Maybe you wanted to lose weight. Go back to school. Save money. Change a habit. Start a project. Something. Now ask yourself when the last time you executed changing that & followed through completely..

I feel like we, people, are so in love with knowing we can do pretty much anything. Knowing we have the potential to be whoever and whatever. But we don’t necessarily love to put the work in to follow through to reach that potential.

Something I’ve observed, even about myself sometimes, is that people are quick to point fingers at others while saying they’re not a man or woman of their word. There were times I caught myself even giving my friends advice that I couldn’t give myself. I would give them my raw, brutally honest opinion about whatever they were going thru, and would give them my genuine advice – which was reasonable. But even when I would get the same in return, or when they had that “you’re right” reaction.. I couldn’t ever apply it to myself.

At what point do you point the finger at yourself and say the same thing? You start blaming everything around you for the things that you’re not happy with in your life. All because it’s easy for us to go back to what we’re comfortable with. It’s easy to be complacent. Changing yourself is hard.

& honestly, it is hard. It’s hard to actually put action into things like “I’ll never speak to this person again” or even planning out what you’re going to say to someone. Because the second you face that person, you face yourself. You face every word you’ve told yourself. Everything you planned to do. Everything you want to believe to be true, but you learn quickly that those words serve no purpose unless they are carried out wholeheartedly, and completely.

Life has taught me that you can’t just rely on speaking things into existence. I can say a million times a day that I want to be successful. I might even get into minor details while speaking out loud. It might get my mind in a motivational and positive state, yes. But it doesn’t do anything further than that. At that point it’s a matter of putting your thoughts to action. Putting your word to truth.

Why is it so hard for people to execute the highest potential they have within them? Resource reasons, maybe. Laziness, even. Or maybe they’re scared of failure. We’re afraid to make mistakes, even if we’ve heard a million times “never give up”. But what really goes into NEVER giving up? Continuity. Dedication. ACTION. In each of those. Our mistakes and our failures make us who we are. We really shouldn’t be afraid of that. Because then we’re afraid of unleashing our purest, highest versions of ourselves. It’s a matter of seeing ourselves for exactly who we are, and every mistake we’ve made so we can not only direct our paths for our lives, but force ourselves to walk in it at the same time. Walk the walk.

One important aspect of this is the people you choose to really be in your life. Think of it like getting relationship advice from someone who constantly cheats on their spouse. Or from someone who continues to put up with a toxic relationship. They may preach to you words of advice like “know your worth enough to leave him/her” or something about monogamy, but how are they living out their own advice? This might sound harsh, but these aren’t people who will help you grow. And honestly, you’re better off loving them from a distance.

We must see the people around us for exactly who we are. People have true colors, because they may not truly be the image they paint themselves to be. Unlocking our own potential does not mean we have to do the same for the people around us. We can’t “fix” people. Only they can do that. Just like no one else can fix us. We have to understand that although we are all a work in progress, some people have life progression and potential to reach before being a certain part of your life. Sometimes that means letting people you love go. Or sometimes that means focusing on yourself for periods of time – and don’t settle for time frames. The work you put into yourself doesn’t HAVE to be done right when you expect it to. We should know by now that’s just not how life works sometimes.

But whatever words you speak over your life must have a plan put to them, or they serve no purpose. People with good intentions speak good things into the world, but people with determination actually execute their words. Practice every single word that you preach. No matter how hard that may be, and no matter how long it may take.

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than you can with  your lips.” -Oliver Goldsmith

Photo: Art of Visuals

-Keilani M Afalava

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