Thoughts Don’t Have to Become Things
I’m not blind nor am I dead yet. There are some nice looking men at the gym and I admit I look. Before you think I’m a dirty old woman, many of the most attractive in my eyes are closer to my age than they are to my daughter’s. Yet after a particularly yearning observation I laughed at myself thinking: You know you won’t ever talk to him. Even if you weren’t hobbled by your introverted nature, this is the gym. You rarely talk to or even acknowledge anyone here. The ear buds go in before you walk through the door and stay in until you’re back in the safety of your car.
I also have it lodged firmly in my mind that I won’t encounter men who dance at the gym while I’m there in the middle of the day and I’ve convinced myself it’s a show-stopper.
Besides, that nagging little voice inside me contributes the ones you admire wouldn’t give you a second look. Your dedication means nothing as long as you’re still 40 pounds overweight, and sporting baggy shorts, a saggy men’s t-shirt, and a messy bun.
Nagging Voices from Distant Memories
How often do we let that nagging voice convince us we’re unworthy despite our best efforts? While we may be successful and confident in some areas of our lives, there are still places where that deeply ingrained insecurity cuts us into tiny pieces.
We can’t cut the voice out like the cancer it is. Instead, we must dig deep into our psyche and find the source. Typically it’s found in our earliest memories; in an event or series of events from our childhood. It’s there we must return and reprogram ourselves.
Too often, well-meaning parents seek to make us better people by pointing out our faults. I’m sure I did the same to my kids despite my best efforts to see the good in them first. Plenty of people manage to get through those early years with minimal damage to their overall self-esteem. But many of us don’t. We carry the wounds of all the not-good-enoughs we heard well into our adult years, and watch the demons rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune moments.
In my case, it tends to happen when I allow myself to want something too much, or feel left out because I’m hovering on the outskirts. Never mind in most cases the outskirts is exactly where I want to be, and have probably put myself there on purpose. When I start feeling left out of things, I quickly forget my own part in creating the space I’m in.
One Area of Our Lives May Be More Impacted Than Others
Men are one of my biggest challenges. As a teenager, and well into my 20’s, I didn’t really date. I had lots of guy friends who’d use me as a sounding board for their girl problems. I never asked them to return the favor. Not that I didn’t date at all, but my experiences were typically short-lived and unsatisfying, probably for both of us. My awkwardness with anything remotely resembling intimacy couldn’t have been comfortable for anyone who tried to get past the hard shell which was well on the way to becoming the sky high walls of my 30’s and 40’s. Then again, the men I chose weren’t exactly looking for long, heartfelt talks. In retrospect, each one was broken in his own way, just like me.
The trouble was I, like so many others had learned to believe the negative voices instead of what I saw, felt, and heard with my own senses. I couldn’t believe someone would actually like me for myself, and had plenty of evidence to confirm my beliefs. Little did I realize it was me who created those failures by listening to the wrong voices.
These days, I’ve reverted to my teenage years in some of the more positive aspects. I have guy friends I’m comfortable with, and with whom I can be myself because I enjoy their friendship with no expectations, or even desire for something more. I can again be their sounding board and give my honest opinion without fear they’ll run away if we don’t happen to see eye to eye.
But I’ve locked myself into a false sense of security. I stick with the “safe” ones who won’t try to breach my much less impenetrable barriers. I keep my distance from anyone who causes the slightest tingle of awareness, convincing myself there’s no possible way it could be mutual. And though the person I see in the mirror looks pretty damn good to my eyes, my mind continues to tell lies about what other people see. Most of all, I set unrealistic limits and expectations so no one will ever meet my requirements.
Yet I realize even being able to look in the mirror and see qualities instead of flaws is a huge step for me. It also gives me hope I’ll continue on the more positive road to where I allow myself to believe others see me as I do in those moments of clarity and complimentary awareness.
Beauty vs. Perfection
I was reading something recently that said each and every one of us is beautiful. It didn’t say perfect, and frankly, perfection is in the eyes of the beholder anyway. What’s perfect for me might be the opposite for the person standing next to me. So realizing each and every one of us is beautiful in our own way is quite the revelation, yet so obvious at the same time.
Because beauty and perfection are in the eyes of the beholder, one of the first steps to shutting down the negative voice that says others see us a certain way is to realize we can’t possibly know what someone else sees. So why do we decide what others are thinking? Or how they perceive us? In doing so, we unconsciously carry ourselves differently, never giving them a chance to form their own opinions without us muddying the waters with off-putting behavior.
Re-reading the last paragraph, I find myself getting angry. How dare we prevent another person from forming their own opinion? How dare we put words in their mouths; thoughts in their heads. In our failure to shut down the negative voices, we do many people a disservice. At the same time, we deprive them of getting to know someone who just might be “the one”, or at least could become a close, trusted friend.
Doing Other People an Injustice By Listening to the Negative Thoughts
When we give into the negative voices, we’re not just harming ourselves. We harm a lot of people we unconsciously push away. Sure, they’ll never realize what they might have missed. They move on and find people who draw them in rather than pushing them away. But what a cruel hoax we perpetuate.
I’m learning, slowly but surely to silence those nagging voices, or simply tell them flat out they’re telling lies and I refuse to listen. More people get to see my soft, mushy side these days, though admittedly, the only men I include are those I consider “safe”. But changing our ways is a process. We start with the outermost layers and work our way inward.
So celebrate the small changes. Look in the mirror every morning and pay yourself a compliment. Listen to your friends with your heart open, and try to share the same way. In time, those negative voices lose their power over you. At first, you bounce back more quickly, but ultimately, you reach the point where they’re little more than a fly buzzing around the room. Irritating, but with no impact on your overall mood and outlook.
Finding Gratitude Everywhere
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the changes I’ve made in my life.
- I am grateful for friends who now feel comfortable sharing their struggles and challenges, and not just their successes and triumphs.
- I am grateful for the ability to see my own beauty even when covered in sweat and dressed in unflattering clothes.
- I am grateful for opportunities which are beginning to open doors and allow people to come to me with projects, ideas, and above all, hope.
- I am grateful for abundance; friendship, joy, love, confidence, dancing, kitty love, early rising, productive days, new directions, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.