Publisher - August 2021
Photography by Lindsay Gifford
“The lesson is don’t confuse living out “loud”, with just being ‘loud,’”
— Elizabeth Skenes Millen —
I believe those who live the “loudest” are not “loud” at all; the most impactful people are those who are kind, humble, loving, giving and understanding, even when others are not kind, humble, loving, giving or understanding to them. Do you get how mentally strong and secure one has to be to do this? Especially in this pitiful day and age when throwing the middle finger up, or yelling obscenities, is the norm.
People have gotten ugly to the point where there’s no room for human error. Little accidents happen all the time—someone gets bumped, or starts to move into your lane, no one gets hurt, but tempers flare even though these things are fixed within seconds. However, some people choose to carry these little non-malicious haps around with them all day. I often wonder why people let a bad 30 seconds turn into a bad day. How often have you said, “I’m having a bad day?” Why? Take a moment to put things into perspective and decide if your bad day could be shortened to a bad moment.
I think those living the loudest are having the best days. But, I'm referring to the ones who can turn the proverbial other cheek and happily move on, not the ones who get irate, rude and flip everyone off. Ironically, it turns out that living out loud means having the heart and the self-assuredness to build people up, instead of tearing them down, accepting people’s shortcomings, instead of pointing them out, loving yourself, instead of clamoring for others’ validation, removing yourself from abuse (verbal, emotional, physical) instead of continuing the fight, forgiving yourself and others, instead of seething in resentment and offering grace when all you want to do is let someone have it.
Grace. It took me a long time to fully understand the philosophy of grace, but simply put, it is unmerited favor. Grace is when you receive something even though you may not deserve it, or you give someone something, even when they may not deserve it. We are all given grace—by God, family, friends, coworkers, service workers, even strangers—every day, and its power is underestimated. It takes way more hutzpa to offer grace than to lash out with anger, criticism or hate. Living out loud isn’t about being filled with piss and vinegar, or bullying others into submission. Those actions hurt people, including the one dishing it, and there is nothing noble or victorious in hurting others. Absolutely. Nothing.
Many people live without being mindful of grace, and in doing so, they are always ready to strike out and bite, believing this an effective way to solve problems. This is how wars are fought and this is also how relationships are destroyed. You’ve heard phrases like “Kill ‘em with kindness,” or “You catch more flies with honey.” Whoever came up with these concepts were total badasses because they rose above the need to exude a tough exterior and figured out how being kind and gentle is more powerful than being rough and angry.
The lesson is don’t confuse living out “loud”, with just being “loud,” tough or prickly. When you live out loud, often your life speaks without you ever having to say a word. There are common attributes among those who choose to live out loud, which allow them to experience a higher level of living, and all of these are attainable right now:
Be kind: This is something you’ve been told since you could walk. Being kind to others isn’t complicated, and as weak as it may sound, being kind is powerful beyond measure. When you choose to be kind, your energy ignites the world.
Offer Grace: Isn’t the concept of receiving kindness, even when you don’t deserve it, a wonderful relief. Grace gives us protection from perfection. Be sure to offer grace, as you would have others offer grace to you.
Build up others: People who live out loud don’t tear others down to make themselves powerful, heard, or right. When you lift others up, you go up; when you tear others down, you go down with them. It’s that elementary.
Love others like it’s your job: Actually, this is your job. No matter what, love always wins. You may disagree, but if it doesn’t win, it wasn’t love. Faith, hope and love…and the greatest of these is love.
Be loved like it’s your job: You can’t exude the positive energy that comes with living out loud if you love others like crazy, and don’t allow them to love you back. Most of us have had life experiences (childhood, for one) that make it almost unbearable to allow the vulnerability it takes to be fully loved. I get it: The bigger you love, the further you may fall. Don’t allow fear to rob you of being loved. Just open yourself up to hugs, kisses, laughter, joy, compliments, help, relationships, connection and deep conversations. I’d rather have these things for a short time and they be stripped from me, than never having experienced them at all.
Validate yourself: When you can truly live out loud, you will no longer need other’s validation, and that is the most powerful position on earth. When the only “good job’s,” and “‘at a boy’s,” you need come from within you, consider yourself the baddest of badasses ever!
Be happy for others: I don’t think humans are really wired to be happy for others, which probably stems from the survival of the fittest days. However, you can teach yourself to be happy for others. It all starts with being happy for yourself. If you are grateful for who you are, how you are and what you have, then you will always have enough positive energy to be happy for others. Jealousy can’t exist when you come from a mindful place of abundance. Jealousy, stinginess, greed all comes from fear and lack. When you start appreciating what you have, you will always have enough, plus a surplus to be happy for others.
Please adopt this mantra right now: The best revenge is no revenge. This concept supports living out loud at the most badassiest level possible. When you live by this mantra, you have reached self-actualization, Maslow’s highest achievement on the Human Hierarchy of Needs. No: The jerk who cut out in front of you doesn’t need to be yelled at. No: Your ex husband doesn’t need to be crushed, killed and destroyed. No: You no longer have to degrade the waiter who accidentally brought you sweet tea. You don’t need any of this sort of high maintenance, negative energy, life-sucking behavior because you understand that when you let this menial stuff be menial, you are choosing a life of complete confidence, peace and happiness, and you no longer have the lowly need to be right or justified. (Deep breath here. This is great news!)
It has taken me a lifetime to even know there is a different way to live, and the transition is off the charts amazing. Life now vibrates on a higher, positive, energy frequency, where confidence, well-being, assuredness, happiness and love pave every step of the way. Whatever it is holding you back from living your loudest life, write it down, put it in an envelope and write “the best revenge is no revenge” on the front. Now, unlock the mental chains you’ve been bound with, move on and be happy. I’ll meet you there.