Leave them better than you found them


leave them better


I had A Moment yesterday.

You know, one those times when someone shares a bit of insight that absolutely rocks you back on your heels.

Mine came as I was listening to our pastor preaching on the mystery of marriage.

He shared about a bit of advice he received when he introduced his (hopefully) future wife to his grandfather.

The message from his revered relative was short, sweet, and simple:

Leave her better than you found her.

Let that soak in for a moment:


Leave her better than you found her. 


The implications of that left my mind working overtime.

Rather than seeing myself as a wife who does her best to give her best, my perspective shifted and the gears started turning:

How can I leave my husband a better person than I found him after a poor night’s sleep or longing for a more meaningful career?

How can I leave my children to be better than I found them as they struggle with the challenges of growing up?

How can I leave my extended family, friends, and others with whom I come into contact better than I found them at work, school, or behind the counter of the local coffee house?


Let that soak in for a moment:


Leave them better than you found them.


What does that look like?

For some launching off points, I return to Brad’s message:

Do you saturate your marriage and family with grace and forgiveness?

Do your children feel the safe embrace of your love?

If you were on the receiving end of your behavior, would you feel cherished and treasured?

Would you flourish and blossom under your hope and encouragement?

Would you know and believe in your beauty and worth even at your worst moments?

Would you be joyful in your very presence?

If the answer to any of these is anything but a resounding “Yes!” I would start looking for ways to lavish your loved ones with love, to leave them better in the mornings, evenings, and every waking moment in between.

A heartfelt recommendation: Watch the original message in Brad’s sermon yourself, as it is tremendously powerful and full of hope whether you are single or you’ve been married for years. It is well worth your 38 minutes: What is the mystery of a great marriage?

Comment: How do you leave them better? I look forward to your thoughts!

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Just imagine. . .Responding with gratitude rather than grumbling, and enjoying more happiness and contentment. And rest assured I won't share your address!

When Stubborn Pride is Pulling Your Strings

stubborn pride

I am well acquainted with Stubborn Pride.

I have listened to that wheedling, guilt-inducing voice too many times in my life, and it has never ended well.

As a matter of fact, I learned some time ago that when I am really struggling with fear of failure, I can find it lurking nearby, working my emotional strings better than a master puppeteer.


Kim, you’re not making progress at a career like you thought you would.

You better hope no one asks you what you do for work.

Kim, your personal finances are are a mess.

If I were you, I’d really be ashamed of my money management skills.

Kim, your list of friends is practically non-existent.

Perhaps you are far less interesting or fun to be around than you thought.


Stubborn Pride attempts to manipulate you with a distorted view of the truth.

Your reaction is almost always to either hide in embarrassment or double-down with Stubborn Pride at the controls, continuing to do what you’ve been doing, and continuing to get the same result.

But here’s the real truth:

Your “failures” don’t matter to the people to whom you matter.

They love you no less for what you think you should have done or become.

They love and accept you for you.


They are able to see something you might not:

Stubborn Pride is the real problem, and until you recognize it is pulling your strings, it will hold you captive.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits offers turning toward the problem as a solution:

Turning toward a problem is scary as hell. That’s why we avoid it. But you can overcome that fear and do it anyway. You can look the problem directly in the face and open yourself up to it. Only then can you deal with it, and see that it’s not as scary as you think. Because by turning away from the problem, we give it power, and the fear of it rules our lives.

Let’s take away that power, and shine a little light on the problem. Allow ourselves to feel the pain, to feel the fear and still take action. To begin the healing. To begin to create something new and amazing from the ills that have been hiding in the dark.

Turn toward the problem and you turn it into something beautiful.


In my experience, cutting the strings of Stubborn Pride allows us to not only move forward from our mistakes and mis-steps, but also frees us to reach out and help others from the benefit of our experience.

More resources to help you cut the strings:

Barking up the Wrong Tree: What 5 Counter-Intuitive Things Can Help You Make Better Choices? 

Inc.: 4 Decision-Making Mistakes to Avoid

TDH: A Must-Have Decision Making Tool


Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. ~Malcolm S. Forbes


Comment: How have you cut the cord when Stubborn Pride has been pulling your strings?

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Just imagine. . .Responding with gratitude rather than grumbling, and enjoying more happiness and contentment. And rest assured I won't share your address!

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