In The Eyes

She looked me in the eyes and said. “But what made you that way?” “Like what?” I asked. “People aren’t just that way, the way you are. Something happened. What was it?”

I looked back at her knowing one thing for sure…that she had seen right into me and that she almost already knew the answer. Like I always say, the specifics aren’t actually the important part. It’s everything after the event that actually matters. Maybe it wasn’t just in that second that she knew, but she knew. I’ve never really been called on that part of my life before. I’ve always been able to sense that in others…but never had the mirror turned my direction.

So I sipped my drink and started to tell the story, only to be cut short. But as the words stopped coming out of my mouth, I started to think.


You’ve probably heard the phrase in some sort of variation , “I see myself every day so I don’t really notice much of a difference.” Usually people will say that when they are referring to weight…but in my case, and as I took a walk tonight thinking about this very question that she had asked me, I started to actually think about where I have come from. As someone who deliberately focuses on living in the present, I don’t often visit the past. But when I do, I am now much more comfortable with confronting some of the situations I have been through in my young life. You have to be careful though – because when you visit this place, you have to make sure you can get out. Sounds a bit ridiculous, but coming from someone who used to be stuck living there, it’s all too easy to focus on what did happen versus what is happening right now.

So I asked myself, “How did you become you right now?”

On one note, there was the massive forces of change and my worst nightmare coming to life, and on another there’s the product of habit. I decided to visit the first to start. Many of us know exactly what will happen if we don’t change our course. In my case, I knew exactly what I was sailing at. The captain steered his ship directly at the reef bank with the sharp jagged rocks sticking out on the water…a location that had been marked on the map by many as “Don’t go here…you will sink.” The question of why that was the case is still a little bit shady, but nonetheless, it happened. We are the product of all of our decisions up to this point. Sure, there are natural events that occur throughout our lives that we cannot control in the slightest, but in all honesty, we have the capability to make our own decisions and steer our own ship on whatever course we decide. In the end, it was you at the helm…and it is you that must go down with the ship.

But after being rescued by my crew, I came to the realization that I indeed was responsible for my own life and that I could turn it all around. It was Aristotle himself who said that we are the finest representation of our actions. So I took that idea to heart and began to pound away, as a blacksmith creates a sword, at the characteristics I wanted to exist in my life. The age-old question of “are leaders/heroes born or created?” is easily answered for me now. I believe that within each of us there is something great and we can all leverage that ability, hone it, and improve upon it until we have created something fantastic that looks almost drastically different from what started we with in the first place. I am a firm believer that you can create your own path and your own story. Because once you realize that the past is indeed just a story, you have every opportunity to pick up the pen and start writing a new one on fresh clean white sheets of paper.

All the tools you need to create something amazing are already in your toolbox. In His infinite wisdom, he didn’t give you every tool imaginable, but gave you the basic ones to be able to create the big kahuna. So instead of looking at others who have figured out how to make an awesome tool and try to buy it off of them, go make your own unique replica that is completely suited to you. Trust me, it will work much better that way.

– Evan Sanders

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  • Rustic Recluse
    August 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    How did you become you right now?
    This is a classic question that I try to re-visit every now and then.

    I too, had it with recognising such in others, but when I was once asked, I was stunned.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Dotta Raphels
      August 6, 2013 at 10:39 am

      ” As someone who deliberately focuses on living in the present, I don’t often visit the past. But when I do, I am now much more comfortable with confronting some of the situations I have been through in my young life. You have to be careful though – because when you visit this place, you have to make sure you can get out.”

      This paragraph here made my heart pound! Just yesterday I was saying something to my husband about visiting my yesterdays and finding it difficult to navigate back to my present.
      Life can be weird and I realize now that my inability to come away from yesterday is simply because the underlined issues are not yet resolved.
      This is truly an inspiring post,thanks for sharing it.

      • Dotta Raphels
        August 6, 2013 at 10:40 am

        Reblogged this on DottaRaphels.

    • thebettermanprojects
      September 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      I really really enjoy that question. It makes me think pretty hard. I am going to write about that today

      Love for you to connect with me on Facebook

  • carmenw503
    August 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I could smooch you for this!! Way to empower others 🙂 great post (No, I don’t talk like that usually 😉

    • thebettermanprojects
      September 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Haha I will take a virtual kiss. Thank you! Hope all is well

      • carmenw503
        September 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Hi 🙂 (Hides face nervously smiling) You’re welcome and I’m well. How are you?

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  • sharmishtha basu
    August 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    fantastic piece!

  • Stuart Mcintosh
    August 4, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    When I met my wife she said “I don’t care who you were, I am just happy it made you who you are now…and I like that very much”….That day I wrote a new path. …. You just reminded me of that, thanks.

    • thebettermanprojects
      September 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I love that quote from her! That is exactly right! I am glad you have written a new path for yourself.

      Love for you to connect with me on Facebook

  • klove
    August 5, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Insightful and thought provoking as always!
    Big Love

  • Sara Ann
    August 5, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I love this! Being able to take a peek at our past and retrieve the lessons life has given us, and using them to make us better in the present, just be being aware of our past. It is such a delicate line to walk. Love this. Have you seen “Finding Joe” on Youtube? May want to check it out! I think I’ll post a link on my blog because it is about the warrior’s journey, just like each and every one of our own journeys.
    Much love,

  • Nikki
    August 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Reblogged this on Nikki in Real Life and commented:
    This is my first re-blog. It’s worthy!

  • Nikki
    August 5, 2013 at 9:59 am

    This post was the first thing I’ve ever re-blogged. It is wonderful in every way! Congratulations for figuring this out while you’ve still got plenty of future ahead of you!

  • passporttorainbows
    August 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I would reblog this but I’d rather take your advice and make an entry inspired by your work that fits more into my life. It’s obvious you can write but this post is just inspiring. Thanks and I look forward to more entries.

    • thebettermanprojects
      September 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      If you need some advice please fire away! Love for you to connect with me on Facebook and we can chat!

      • passporttorainbows
        September 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm

        I already liked your page awhile back. Honestly, I was just wondering how to get started. Motivation is hard to come by these days and you seem to have it in spades. How did you just decide to be better? How did you follow through?

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  • mindfulblogger
    August 6, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Reblogged this on i am one in four.

  • Dotta Raphels
    August 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Reblogged this on DottaRaphels and commented:

    • thebettermanprojects
      September 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you so much. You are very right, we must revisit the past so we can learn

  • HalfPriceMistake
    August 7, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Great Quote!

  • thahirahmad
    August 11, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Reblogged this on Leaving My Footprints in Life.

  • AdonaiShekhinah
    August 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I loved reading this today. I was thinking about something my therapist said last week, and I was a little unsettled by it. I’ve always felt very strongly about what I did in my life to move it forward…the problem was that I didn’t deal with the FEELING aspect of the experience, I tended to put it back in the back while I forged ahead. But the thing is…not taking the time to experience the feelings…rebounded in my case.

    And I have been thinking all weekend….”how did I become this person?” and in some ways….”do I really know myself…?” I’ve worked so hard to make my life my own, but I didn’t accept my own feelings.

    So what I am saying to you…is that there is a whole story about you, that promises to be just as relevant and engaging as what you present here. Explore it…feel it…and if you feel up to it, share it. I’m sure your readers would love to hear it.

    Be well

    • thebettermanprojects
      September 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      That is absolutely right! You have to sit with your feelings and experience them. It is so good to dive inside of yourself and understand your true story. I also know that there is a whole story about me…much of it has been read by the readers over the past 500 + days. Thanks for all of it!

      Love for you to connect with me on Facebook

  • カシオ edifice
    September 13, 2013 at 4:01 am

    腕時計 レディース カシオ edifice