They say that a mirror is the window of the soul. This cliche makes me think of the Harry Potter movie, where Harry stares at the mirror seeing himself with this mother and father: the thing he desires most.
Recently, I had to face the fact that I have had an openly hate relationship with my mirror. It seems like every time I looked in the mirror, I saw the third grade picture of myself: short, chubby, shag haircut. Probably, one of my worst pictures, ever! Of all the pictures ever taken, why would I see the ugliest one every time? I have seen other pictures of myself and know that this picture is only one of 1000’s and that I have plenty of pictures that look beautiful. It feels like watching a scary movie and after you watch the scene you can’ t “un-see” it.
This relationship with my mirror kept me feeling little, small and afraid. Much like I did in third grade. It affected my confidence in both my personal and business life. It was the root of many of my decisions. Ultimately, I had to face that girl and put her in her place: my past!
Not who I am. Not holding me back. Not afraid. Not little. Not me. Simply an awkward phase that all children go through.
Now when I look at the mirror and my third grade self shows up, I simply replace her with the memory of a picture that reminds me of the woman I am now.
Creating a buzz……¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
In my last blog post, I wrote about scarcity. I would just like to continue the discussion a bit further.
Do you tell yourself, “I’m not ___________ enough?”
We can fill in the blank with hundreds of words but ultimately the answer is probably just “I’m not enough.”
This type of long-term thinking starts to shake our confidence and our love of self. This statement also is a comparison to others. Fundamentally, we are never going to be good enough when we believe this type of negative self talk.
So let’s make a pact to stop it now!
I realized a few weeks ago that I was in a funk. I am a list maker and love to check things off my list. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, over a couple of weeks nothing was getting completed and things were adding to the list. That was the trigger…..
I was off and running. I had been giving myself a negative talking to everyday about all the things that were undone and my ability as a leader, mother, etc. to get them done. I was just not good enough! Then one morning as I was sitting at my vanity I heard myself.
Well, let me tell you, I gave myself a good talking to. Right then, right there I said: Now just stop it. (I sounded like my mother for a moment). Who you are is not measured by a to do list. There can be unseen road blocks and actions of others to slow you down. The important thing is to tell yourself you can do it. Work on it day by day. Rome wasn’t conquered in a day and you are not measured by your to do list.
Creating a buzz….¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
Recently, my mom has put together books on genealogy on her side of the family.
As I was reading, one word came to mind: scarcity.
The word scarcity is normally used in terms of resources. When you think of my family’s history, scarcity definitely describes life.
Briefly, my family came from the corner of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. They were farmers or worked in or around the coal mines. Life was very hard. Many times food, clothes, electricity, and time were scarce. Mothers worked in the home but the work was labor intensive and took so much time to complete. I can only think there were so many times when they thought: no matter what I do, it is never enough and there is more tomorrow.
With this history of scarcity, it is not difficult to see how women got to the “just not enough” mentality. In my opinion, instead of being “not enough time,” it has turned into “not good enough.” I realize that this might seem like a big leap, but throughout the ages we have learned from what the previous generations have taught their children. Life was filled with scarcity.
Life may have less scarcity of resources for many of us; however, we are still in the scarcity mentally.
Do you have enough?
Creating a buzz…..¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
Culturally, we have shamed women for wearing makeup, body type, working, breast feeding or not, aging and even personality traits.
What are we doing? Should I feel bad that I am curvy and not thin? That I love to wear makeup, especially lipstick? That I love to work and wanted to have children? Why are my choices up for debate by other women and the media as to which is better for me?
Are we as women so insecure in our own choices that we must criticize and judge those that make different choices? Isn’t it time to band together and accept each other for the choices we make, even when we might disagree?
Get right with yourself and your choices – then allow other women to do the same. We are all on a journey, so let’s not define each other by our choices and shame those that chose differently!
Little by little…a small band of people can change the world. Stop the shaming! Let’s spread the word!
Creating a buzz…….¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
“You are a disappointment.”
Just let that sink in.
Like many women my age, we have spent our lives trying to create a sense of a superwoman. Be high achieving, perfect mother, extraordinary and sexy wife/lover, a sensitive, caring friend, sister, daughter, president of the PTO or other charitable event and never, I mean never complain or look disheveled.
And of all those things, you fail at one. Which one?
It doesn’t matter!
All the wonderful things you do and have done have just been wiped away by this one failure. One aspect of your life where you have not experienced the success or happiness that you had hoped for.
What do you do? How do you respond to that negative talk, whether it comes from someone or in your own head?
Creating a buzz…..¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
About the same time as the financial crisis, my personal life was going down the toilet as well. I felt like I was being punched from all sides. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, unhappy, frustrated and down right miserable.
I had so many fires burning, I did not know which one to put out first. It dawned on me, that many of the challenges I was facing were outside my control. But, there were a few things I could do to improve how I was feeling.
I started investing in myself.
First, I went to the people I loved and that gave me emotional support. I told them that I had things I had to do that required a positive mental outlook. I could not be around anyone that was negative! This did not mean if someone had an issue that I did not want to hear it and encourage them to work toward a solution. But negativity – the for the sake of negativity – is not something I could be around. What I had to do required positivity.
Then, I listened to the advice I was given. I began taking some quiet time for myself; by myself. This gave me time to regenerate and refresh. I used this time to do something that was restful and relaxing. By doing this weekly, I began to attach the challenges with a renewed vigor and confidence. Little by little my energy stores were being increased.
Finally, I started exercising weekly. Let me be clear- I HATE exercising! But what I realized in the process of doing something I hate, I became more self disciplined. My stress level was much more manageable and I looked better. (Always a plus.)
It’s been a process for the last 4 years. I can’t say I haven’t fallen off the wagon occasionally, but I always get back on. I know that the results are worth it.
Creating a buzz……¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
When did we become so obsessed with fitting in? Being just like all of our peers? We talk about being unique and loving ourselves. We even fill up Facebook with inspirational quotes to remind us. Yet, from my view point, we are obsessed with fitting in than standing out of the crowd.
What do I mean? Let’s take kids, for example:
Dress like everyone else, speak the same language, have the same phone etc. Now while fitting in, have the best grades, be the best football player, be the most popular….etc. So what happens to the kid that is trying to fit in but cannot stand out in the most acceptable areas?
Similar things happen in the work place as well:
Someone who wears the blue suit, white shirt and red tie but is not the stellar salesman but keeps the computer systems up and running day in and day out. Fitting in but not standing out…..
Fitting in is like putting an emotional stopper on who we are. It is a constant reminder that our differences may bring the kind of attention that scares us. So to remain somewhat invisible, we conform. This takes the joy out of being able to be the person we were meant to be.
How are you conforming? How has it limited your joy?
Stand out! Be the unique person you were meant to be.
Creating a buzz ¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
Bravery conjures images of a warrior facing the foe – looking it directly in the eye and having the ability to push the fear aside to face victory or defeat.
I would have described myself as brave for the first 49 years of my life. Looking at each battleground as just an obstacle to overcome. My sword was optimism and shield was dogged persistency to learn all I could about my foe. Whether it was the autism my daughter suffered or the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis my son had, they would not beat me down. To this end I was victorious.
However, at 50 I started to realize that I did not breathe: I felt strangled by the life that was mine. I was smart, mildly successful in my business, and had done things that I was proud of but, if asked, could not tell you what I wanted the next 1/2 of my life to be. I could not tell you what I enjoyed, did not have a hobby or a goal to achieve.
What did others think of me? What did others see in me that maybe I just could not uncover? For so many reasons, self esteem, fear (and a lot of it), always putting myself last. Finally, feeling that I had to get to know myself; really take a look at who I am, I began a new journey.
I was so afraid of confrontation, being judged and told I was being ridiculous. The day of this realization, I went to bed for 24 hours trying to deny it. Eventually, I realized that this was truth; it was who I was. When I got up out of that bed, I could be a new person, have a fresh start…. I had seen my weaknesses and was determined not to be ruled by these fears again.
I needed courage and bravery to push me through the uncomfortable days ahead. When judgement was facing me in the mirror, I had to look her in the eye and tell her I was worthy and owed myself the gift of being authentically me.
Creating a buzz ¯`•.¸¸.ஐ
So much has been written lately about courage that maybe we have gotten confused about what and when we are courageous. The media makes us believe that courage can only be demonstrated by extreme acts; i.e., Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner or a war hero or a fireman pulling someone out of a burning building. And while many of us would agree these are forms of courage, we have lost the notion that to be courageous may actually be small steps done in the face of fear.
So many stories come to mind of people that have stepped up in what might appear as just a daily living that have been a true test of their courage:
What about the alcoholic that commits everyday to being sober and has been for many years?
What about a high school student that chooses not to do drugs when all his friends are?
What about a man that stands up to his peers for equal pay for females in the workplace?
What about the soccer mom that stands up to the abusive parent on the sidelines?
Acknowledge when you show courage. Most often it is when you are afraid but you lean into the fear and you speak/do from your heart. Let us not forget about the small acts of courage we do.
Newsworthy does not equate with courage!
How do you live courageously?
Creating a buzz………
*picture taken from Google images (attribution unknown)
A few years ago I realized my whole life was spent trying to fit in somewhere. Work. Family. Socially. As I reflected on what it had cost me to fit in, I realized it had just about cost me everything. The more I tried to fit in, the more tired and emotionally numb I became.
I asked myself: “When did this craziness start?” Suddenly, I remembered my small little 4th grade self. I had always been so excited for school to start, but pretty quickly I realized that I wasn’t the right religion, I was too smart, I was chubby, my parents weren’t from Auburndale, I was happy and outgoing (and a talker).
None of this fit in to Ms. X classroom or Central Elementary school. So it began – I did everything I could to fit in. Trying to become as invisible as possible. I became a pleaser so that people might not notice I did not fit in.
At about age 49 I just could not keep up the mask anymore. I felt like the mask was on so tight it was choking me. I even found myself saying this out loud. At first, I wanted to blame others, but pretty quickly I realized I had done this to myself. What could I lose if I just let myself be me?
I did not become myself overnight. I had to start little by little. I had been trying to fit in for so long, I had to stop myself and ask if this was really me? But, I am about 4 years into being aware of how to just be me. It is enough.
Have you experienced this? What has it cost you?
Creating a buzz……..