A long time ago, my dad and I were laying on the couch and he told me something I’ve always remembered.

He said to me, “We will lose ourselves from time to time, but if your moral compass is pointing in the right direction, you will get to where you need to go.” I will always remember that for many reasons.

The brighter the light the darker the shadow. There is still a battle going on inside of me. I am fighting one of the hardest battles there is to fight, and like I always say…the specifics don’t really matter…but the feelings and emotions do. I have been in this for a while now, and while I have made some significant strides, in each war battles are won and lost. Today led me back to a quote that I have depended on for years now.

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. I’d hold you up to say to your mother, ‘This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know.The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”

Life is balanced…very balanced.

And what you do in the past does affect your current outcomes.

You are the result of your actions, decisions, and words.

This is an undeniable fact of life…and once in a while, no matter how pure your intentions are…something comes back to bite you in the butt.

Today was one of those days, and while the offense wasn’t that bad…the pain that it caused the other person ripped a hole in my heart. So I sat there, eating lunch, looking at her in pain from something that happened many many months ago…and I just feel awful.

Most of all, I am trying to keep it together in a restaurant just swimming with people. What do I do?

Own it.

You’re going to make mistakes…you’re going to screw up…you’re going to hurt the people who you care about, but in the end, are you going to step up to the plate and face your fears, or are you going to divert them somewhere else.

That is what the Rocky quote is about. It is about getting up no matter how many times life knocks you down. And it is also about being you.

We all lose ourselves, but blaming it on other people is what cowards do. I have been that coward. Most of my life I was that guy that would make an excuse for something. I want something better for myself. More importantly, I want something better for those who are around me who are involved in my life. They don’t deserve that.

Clean it up.

You have to be willing to clean up your mess. When we don’t, we walk around with baggage, we live in the past, and we can’t fulfill our dreams. I will be the first person to tell you that I make an incredible amount of mistakes.

I am completely fallible, I walk on the same ground everyone else does, and I have the potential to hurt people just like anyone else. But I do care. I care, and I will do anything for those who get hurt from me because I really do believe in loving others unconditionally.

It hit me pretty hard today while sitting there…that the only way to really understand Love, is to learn from being unloving…Passion, from being dispassionate, and Never Quit…from quitting.

You only realize how strong these things are by doing the opposite. By having events in your life that balance you out. You can love as much as you want, but eventually, you will hurt someone…but you must keep loving. Because that is who you are. That is what you are about…and that is who you want to be.

Like it says above…I would rather tell the truth than be judged for mistakes. I know that I have made all sorts of messes in the past, but I learn from them.

That is why I am here writing in front of you today. I realized that I could learn from the havoc that was going on around me instead of living blindly to the mask that I was wearing. And it still happens, I do sometimes put on a mask, I still relapse into old habits, but I am moving forward.

It is events like these that make me want to try harder, not only for other people but for myself. I will never stop learning from life when it decides to life me.

I will be the first one to admit my mistakes, and I will be the last one standing when everyone else gave up. I am going to be better than this. The feeling in my stomach probably wont leave for a while, but putting it on the paper and sitting here with my faults sets me free.

I will do better.

Love. Passion. Never Quit.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project