Author: connie

The Power of YOUR Story

Everyone has a deep, embedded need to be understood. It’s one thing we all have in common no matter what age or demographic we come from. When we are understood, we feel like we belong – and belonging is powerful. Belonging creates resilience. It gives us a safe landing pad to take off from to dream and live life to the fullest. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When we are not understood, we become the worst versions of ourselves. We have to fight to feel we have a place in this world. This is where we pick up armour to guard ourselves. The more misunderstood we feel, the greater our fortification of our heart. Heart wounds happen when the positive beliefs we want to have about ourselves is conflicted with negative labels and beliefs others try to impose on us. When someone steps out in courage to tell their story and is met with attuned listeners who seek to understand their story, it changes the game. It is life changing for both the storyteller and the listener. One of our National Hope Talk speakers, Adam Gilfillan from Ottawa shares about the power of story. He shares openly about how he was always expected to be the “funny guy”. It was hard for him to share when he was struggling because everyone expected him to be the happy one....

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How do we create connection?

I have spoken to audiences from adults to youth about connection. I have given out surveys, researched, and initiated conversation with numerous people around the topic of connection and here’s something I’ve learned. Everyone wants to connect and feel connected. When I ask what people are noticing about mental health in their context they echo the same problem from schools to workplaces: we want to connect, listen to people who are struggling without judgment, and provide support. When I ask a room full of people to put up their hand if they agree with this, every hand is in the air. We all agree that everyone is facing a battle, be kind. We all agree that choosing kindness can do wonders. We all agree that what the world needs is more love and acceptance. This is great news. People want connection, which can solve so many of our mental health issues. This means there’s hope to see our mental health crisis lessen significantly! Where we are struggling is with the whole “people” part. The problem we face with the universal desire to connect is that at the same time we deal with how much humans can suck. “You’re having a great day and then people happen.” Every single one of us has one thing in common no matter what our background. We all have a need to be understood,...

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What I’m teaching my son about feminism, toxic masculinity, racism, and discrimination

Our world is full of heated arguments from people who have experienced deep wounding from others. We are living in a day where the wounded are not staying down. They are rising, refusing to be pushed around any longer. They’re fighting back and it’s awesome… and it’s also not great at the same time. Yes it’s awesome that women are fighting for their voices, positions of influence they show they deserve. Yes it’s awesome that the LGBTQ are fighting for rights and saying it’s not ok to be disowned, abandoned, and treated with rejection. It’s awesome that minorities are rising up to tell stories of the affects of colonialism, inequality, and discrimination. But the lack of empathy I see in our world doesn’t feel awesome. It feels toxic. My son comes home from school feeling like he has no voice as a male. One day he jumped in the car and yelled out, “Stupid feminists!!” I was taken back. In that moment I had to try very hard not to react because as a woman in leadership, I have experienced first hand why there is feminism. I don’t agree with some of the methods ladies use to fight for their rights, but the reason they fight is still there even though there has been much improvement. It reminds me why I say: “You can write, ‘Everyone Belongs’ on your...

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Where Was God When….?

There is no shortage of pain on the earth. How many feel abandoned, rejected by friends or family? How many are abused and mistreated? Domestic violence, trafficking, injustice, poverty, terrorism, racism and war are rampant in our world. Some find themselves in situations they would never dream of. An affair, an addiction, homelessness. Hopeless. Recently when I was speaking at a youth camp, I asked the youth to finish this sentence: Where was God when…. Their answers were shocking. “Where was God when my mom died?” “Where was God when I was taken away from my family on Christmas eve?” “Where was God when I was raped?” Why do bad things happen to good people? Where does the gospel fit in with pain? Is it really true that if I decide to follow Jesus all of my problems will disappear like some promise it will? Why do we as Christians feel the need to defend God or over-promise when it comes to pain and tragedy? Is this the gospel? Didn’t Jesus suffer? Didn’t he…. die? The greatest problem with pain is that we want to fix it. Somehow, avoiding pain at all costs has become humanity’s greatest goal, and if Jesus can do that for us, we’re IN. What do we do with pain when it comes? We hide it, medicate it, attach ourselves to anything that can save...

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Which “Jesus” are you passing on?

What picture comes to mind when you think of Jesus? What about those who surround you in your every day life? Home? Work? School? “What picture comes to mind when you think of Jesus?” is a great question to ask people who want nothing to do with religion. Their answer can be enlightening and is worth listening to without a defensive stance. To the culture around us, Jesus takes on various faces and behaviours. To some, Jesus is angry, ready to judge the world in disgust. To some Jesus is political. To others he is a belief system that was forced on them. To some in our nation, Jesus represents colonialism. To some the word “Jesus” makes them think of all that’s wrong with them. Some believe Jesus was a good teacher, ranked alongside Buddha or Mohammed. To others, Jesus is just a word used to express frustration. Our culture largely associates Jesus with religious Christianity, but this isn’t always a great match. Many people are ok with Jesus and the life he offers, but find the religion of “Christianity” much different, and something to avoid. We often reflect a Jesus we create in our own image. Politics have made Jesus into a right wing nut. Religious people make Jesus a set of rules and obligations. To others, Jesus has often represented the need to look at how awful...

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