Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Making Lemonade

Whew! What a ride!

I’ve managed to slide into mid-week fairly unscathed despite a few challenges life decided to toss my way. But the week wasn’t without some loveliness as well.

On Monday, I received two new books from one of my favorite Authors, Debbie Macomber which I’d won in an online contest. I spent the better part of a day which didn’t even begin until noon reading Last One Home, a story about a woman who had left her family behind at 18 to marry what she thought was the love of her life. Instead, he was a manipulative abuser who cut her off from family, friends and even acquaintances. The story chronicles her struggles climbing out of the hole he’d buried her in, alone, broke and with a young child to raise. Reaching out to the family she’d left behind forced her to see that the damage her husband had caused went beyond just her and her child.

Sometimes, the Universe Intends for our Choices to go Awry

As women, we make our share of poor choices but it’s how we rectify them which really tests how strong a foundation we had to begin with. Many of us don’t see how strong and capable we are, settling for someone who is far less than we deserve. The lucky ones like me finally hit a point where we realize we truly do deserve better. We do whatever it takes to fix our lives. We know we’ve truly succeeded when we learn to love the person who may have gotten buried under a lot of crap, both of our own making and from those poor choices we allowed into our lives.

Fortunately for me, unlike Cassie in Ms. Macomber’s book, I left my own abusive relationship with a means of supporting myself and my children and no visible bruises or scars. Many women aren’t so lucky. The existence of the many shelters and safe houses for women and their children to escape abusive men is evidence of this. But what about those who either aren’t strong enough or who lack either means or opportunity to leave their own version of hell, or never get the chance? Kudos to Ms. Macomber for highlighting the organizations which not only provide shelter but also moral support for women to escape their abusers and the fear they lived under for so long. But even more for emphasizing how helping others sort out their own lives benefits the giver as much as the receiver.

Always on the Lookout for Ways to Give Back

She also piqued my curiosity about Habitats for Humanity. At one time, my daughter and I considered helping with the construction of a home in our area, but other commitments got in the way. Though I don’t know that I’d be much help these days (it was once pointed out that I paint more with my belly and boobs than with a paintbrush) I’m sure there are other things I can do to help them or another organization in my area. I made an effort awhile back to get involved with neonatal care for a cat rescue, but was met with scheduling conflicts for all of their required training sessions. As I believe things happen for a reason, I can only assume that I was being “saved” for something else.

Macomber’s Cassie reminded me that the best way to improve your own life is to give of yourself to someone else. She took what she’d learned during her own struggles to help others. I know that writing about my own healing processes has given others something to think about, but I’ve only really covered two traumatic life events, and they were basically related. Maybe it’s time to speak out about how I ended up marrying a man who was as wrong for me as he could get and who I stayed with longer than I should have. Or how it took me years to recognize and embrace the lessons I learned from the experience. Or how I learned to tell my daughters that he did the best he could with what he had as he, himself was broken.

I will never regret the two beautiful daughters he gave me, albeit less than willingly, but I’m grateful that I was finally able to crawl out of the hole of self-loathing which was already in place when we met. It’s unsettling, to say the least, to realize that had I just loved myself more, I would never have even noticed him. I see now that his real purpose in my life was to give me another tool I’d ultimately need to learn to love myself. Funny how that works.

Each Lesson Shortens the Learning Curve for the Next

As I continue the journey I set upon when this lifetime began, I find it takes me less and less time to figure out the lessons which are embedded in the challenges I face. I know now that we never, ever make wrong choices. We do make choices which have less-than-desirable outcomes. However, in truth, we needed to make those choices because we needed the outcomes to teach us a lesson. Without that particular lesson, we might still be fumbling around trying to find our way, all for lack of an essential virtual tool.

If I’ve learned nothing else in the 60 years I’ve been on the planet this time around, it is to be grateful for every challenge and setback I’ve faced. (You’ll notice, I don’t use the word “Failure” here). Each one taught me to look at things from a different angle or to step back and regroup. Sure, there’ve been more than a few face-palming moments but if I’d truly been at the point where I should have known better, I wouldn’t have needed the lesson, now would I?

So the next time you’re chastising yourself for a mistake you think you’ve made, try taking a step back and asking yourself What did I learn from this experience? Was the outcome sufficiently painful that I won’t be likely to repeat this particular act of misdirection? If you can answer the first question honestly and the second question in the affirmative, then the experience was both necessary and valuable. But be warned, if you struggle to answer the first question and waffle on the second, you will have the opportunity to revisit the lesson again…multiple times if necessary…until you see the lesson and internalize it for future reference.

Life doesn’t give us lessons to sour our mood but to quench our thirst when things heat up.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for every mistake I’ve made and every lesson I’ve learned from them.
2. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made and the ones I’ve lost along the way. Some were meant to be here for a season, others for a reason, and a few, even for a lifetime.
3. I am grateful for lights at the end of the tunnel.
4. I am grateful for synchronicity.
5. I am grateful for abundance: life, love, lessons, joy, challenges, successes,dancing, writing, playing, working, peace, hope, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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