Who Do People Say I Am? – Part 2

What Others Say About Me - part 2“Sticks and stones may break my bones,  but words will never harm me!”  Did you hear that saying when you were growing up?  Is it true? I will answer that one for you; no, it is not.  Words are powerful, strong, strengthening and destructive. The labels or descriptions we put on people can stick on them.  They can work their way deep into the mind and remain there for a life time.

The words used to describe you can build you up or tear you down. If you are spoken well of it can boost your self-confidence, stroke your ego, give you positive feelings of being respected, acknowledged, appreciated, approved, and secure. If you are criticized it can have the opposite effect.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How did others learn about you?
  • Do they know you?
  • Do they know things about you from personal experience?
  • Did they hear about you from someone else or from something written about you?
  • What is the nature of your relationship with them?
  • Does it matter to you what they say?
  • Is it true?
  • What if it is not?
  • Does it matter?
  • How will you respond?

There is another saying I heard growing up; *“To thy own self be true.”  No matter what others say about you, you know the truth about yourself. Sometimes we are unjustly accused, or unfairly judged, or misunderstood, or gossiped about by jealous or unhealthy people (see part 1). Mostly we are spoken of as a result of our personal choices in word and deed that others see or hear about.

What about your reputation? It is earned over time with a good one easily tarnished quickly.

Wikipedia says, “Reputation of a social entity (a person, a social group, an organization) is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria.”

A take-a-way from this Part 2: Usually what others say about you is what you have shown or said to them directly or indirectly. 

  1. As you are critiqued by the public what choices do you have?  
  2. Have you considered choosing to not be offended even when something said about you is offensive?
  3. If your criteria for how to be is clear to you, then what does it matter what other say?
  4. How will you live from this day forward to teach people how to talk about you?

* Original source is a line from Polonius in Hamlet.

Keith Talks

Keith speakingTo arrange for Keith to speak, coach, or train call 615-596-4474 or email keith@keithbranson.com. The topics, listed alphabetically, below can be adjusted to your needs.  Other topics can be presented as well.

Speaking Topics:

1.Abortion and Men – A highly charged topic with surprising outcomes! Learn what Abortion does to men and what they can do about it.  Discussion can be tailored for all ages.

2. Age to Age – Life’s transitions are easier when we know three things; who we are, what we need, and how we can finish well. Understanding the truth about yourself and how to be satisfied through every season of life, is possible!

3. Conflict – We all have it in our lives at some level. Learn how to manage tensions, prevent abuse and create satisfying solutions. There are four key stages that I guarantee will lead to long-lasting, satisfying relationships.

4. Death and Dying – Preparing for departure from our earthly bodies is not as hard as people imagine. Know the basic things that legally must be done at death and options you have before and after death. Alternative funeral ideas are included in this presentation.

5. Leading from back stage – Leadership models, principles and “how-tos” abound. Most have you in charge, leading from the front and center. Strength, guidance, vision and direction can be instilled in a team, a family and other groups without having your face or name on the headline and your place in the front of everyone.

6. Marriage and Family – What else could possibly be taught on this topic with so many resources already available? Divorces are still occurring, blended families are now the majority of households, same-sex relationships in marriage and parenting are legal. A fresh, relevant talk on today’s tough issues.

7. Men – The world needs godly men; men who will step up and courageously lead and serve at home, at church, at work and in their communities. Learn what holds men back, how to bring them forward and empower them to fulfill their role and mission.

 

Secrets Shared

by Keith Branson
What would people say if they knew what you had done?
What do you care if now it can’t be undone?
Does their opinion make it better or worse?
Are you living with freedom or a curse?
What if your actions now cause further harm?
The stories you share raise questions and alarm?
Discretion and respect they warn are needed in your plan,
The secrets you have held, when shared cause ripples through the land.
There is a balance I agree to what is said and when.
The truth is best told in confidence to a trusted friend.
If you have a darkness in your past that holds you back from life,
Share it with someone, seek forgiveness from God; end internal strife.

SAFE CYCLE™

TOGETHER utilizes the safe cycle to help with conflict management.  We help you Stabilize the situation.  Once calming and safety is in place, the people in conflict can be helped to reach an Agreement.  A decision on how to move Forward from where they were leads to peace and even Enjoyment again.

 

Safe Cycle verses the unsafe cycle:

SAFE CYCLE™
CONFLICT → Stabilize →Agreement → Forward → Enjoy

 

UNSAFE CYCLE
CONFLICT → Chaos →Disagreement →Stuck → Misery

 

Four phases from conflict to peace

 

I am the father of five, maybe six children.

14274278_s - heart in piecesI am not sure about the sixth because the miscarriage, if that is what it was, happened suddenly within the first eight weeks of my wife “sensing” she was pregnant but no pregnancy test was taken beforehand to confirm or deny. She had given birth to two children prior to this time and the way she felt, the way things tasted and smelled told her that she was with child. I take her word on it, I am guy and I can’t really know these things first hand.

The three children I talk about (a lot) are the ones I saw born. I have held them, laughed with them, cried with them and everything else that comes with parenting.

Ok, let’s see where we are now. 3 + (?) = 3 for sure. What about the other two, you wonder? I did introduce myself as a father of five.

Well, those two are the ones I don’t talk about. I haven’t spoken of them to more than a handful of people ever. I don’t think about them very often either. But sometimes I do and it makes me sad. Just mentioning them now stirs my inside, churning me with emotions that I usually can press down, push over, block, or ignore. You know probably what I am talking about; when you have a memory that is not pleasant and you try to remove it from your mind but it is still there in the background.

Why am I dragging this out? What’s the deal with the other two children? Did they make bad choices or embarrass me in some way? No, they never had a chance to do anything right or wrong. They were taken from the womb before they were old enough to go it on their own. I still am dragging my feet here, funny, well not really funny like “ha ha”. Strange may be a better word, or difficult to just say the “A” word.

They were aborted.

There I said it.

Am I relieved to get that off my chest? No, I didn’t think so at first. As I have let it settle into my mind that I am free of the long-term storage fees, I do feel relief.

Do I feel any better about it now that more than a few people know that has happened in my life? I can only respond with “maybe”. My feelings on how it is received and acted on will be the determining factor on that answer.

Will I regret sharing this information? I hope not, only if it brings additional harm and not healing.

If I get defensive and seek to justify what happened, I start to talk about those early years of my life in rebellion; a “prodigal” from my Christian upbringing.

When I get real, I say both abortions were terrible things to have happened.

But when I own it I admit the abortions were wrong and tragic events that I caused.

Yes, it took two people to get pregnant. However in both cases, I was the pursuing party, seeking my own selfish pleasure and without self-control to with-strain my desires and respect the women. Did they agree to have consensual sex with me? Yes.

Don’t miss my point, especially my pointed finger to myself and other men who may read this. I could have prevented the death of my two children by not helping to create them. I put two women in a situation that they had to make a choice that I wish, so wish, they never had to make. One I knew about and let it happen. The other I was told after it was done.

There are complications in my sharing of this long-held, “Classified” information.

First, the women that chose to abort the pregnancies I helped cause don’t know I am sharing this and have not given me permission. “Oh, well tell it anyway, it’s your story” is one thought. However, I continue to remind myself that it is not just my story and I must respect their privacy to process through the post-abortion life in their own way. They haven’t asked me how I am doing, how I feel about any of it; as a matter of fact, I don’t have contact information on either to even approach them. I wish I could share more of the details; it would probably be helpful to others. But as it is now, I won’t.

Second, by bringing this up, and out, I cause a lot of attention to my life and my past. That is not comfortable, especially since I am like everyone else I have ever really known; I have made mistakes in choices and behavior. To have people sorting through the facts of my stories, like a browser at the yard sale is disconcerting at best. In most areas of my life, past and present, I am an open book. In this area I have fiercely guarded the lid on the box from even cracking open a little.

Third, revealing myself to others has caused to me examine the evidence carefully before presenting it. As I thought back over the emotions and mental struggles I had after the abortions, I recounted other consequences that were a result of  loss and pain that I needed to acknowledge. There were also issues that had occurred in my life before the “wild” days that contributed to my bad decisions and actions. It all has been a lot to process internally and sort out.  It has been worth it.

Privacy for the other people is showing respect that I didn’t show before. Letting people in on my secret is risky but also, somehow freeing. To let a burden be shared with others can make it lighter. There is a level of healing by letting it out and there is a sense of purpose from it — if the telling helps someone else that is burdened or if it prevents it from occurring in someone else’s life. Again, I say it is all worth it.

I am committed to helping other men get relief from their past.  The reality is that if a baby you helped conceive was aborted, that was your child too. Your can’t raise him or her now, however you can let the life count for something.

Abortion & Men

What is up? Why am I talking about this?

Days before the news of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions, I had old, locked down memories flood by into my mind. I know it was God prompting them because I had not read or heard any comments about abortion issues prior to that moment. I did not know why I suddenly had those memories but they came strong, clear and convicting. Once the news began to break and commentaries flowed I realized that I was being awakened to something that God wanted me to deal with personally and publicly.

My first reaction was one of anxious-to-moderate panic. “Oh no, I can’t go back into that area of my life. The lid on that box is sealed!” Then I thought, “Yes, I must open that area of my life and let it be completely healed and the seeds from its release be planted in other’s hearts to do the same for them.

The scripture John 12:24 came to mind, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Though this refers to Jesus talking about Himself and His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, I couldn’t help to also see it as the secrets we hold onto “alone” in our lives if shared out into the light can bring about more healing.

A Vision

men with arms up

This image and words came into my mind — I saw a crowd of men so large I could not image the number. Some on their knees, some standing, some leaning on others, some with hands stretched out to the heavens, some with hands over their eyes, their hearts, and their mouths. It was a sea of anguish.

As I looked at the men the Lord spoke into my spirit to help them. “How?” I asked. He said softly, ‘Begin with yourself.’ I committed that I would with His help. I felt His peace and comfort fill me immediately.

Then He said more firmly that, ‘The sea of blood the men are standing and kneeling in I have kept from your eyes.’ He had protected my eyes from the depth of it and its cry for justice. I sensed that His anger burns against the death of the innocent. His heart is broken from our apathy and impotence in preventing the killing of the children.

His words ended with, ‘Go and tell your story and have your burden lifted. Tell of My forgiveness for your sins and restoration of your spirit; then minister comfort and hope to other men. Encourage them to confess their sins of commission, or omission, in the murderous acts of abortion.’

My story next…