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

Posts tagged ‘baggage’

When it’s Time to Revisit Boundaries

What’s a Few Boundaries Between Friends?

Everyone has a variety of behaviors they learn to accept from others. Some you feel good about, others you tolerate. Then there are the ones that make you grit your teeth, or even start avoiding certain people.

By the time I reach that avoidance stage, I’m learning I’ve allowed myself to ignore my own discomfort for too long, and need to make some changes. That doesn’t mean dumping friends because, despite the cringe worthy stuff, there are a lot of things I love about the ones I have now. Instead, it means I need to look at the places and times I’m interacting with them, and maybe give myself some space in certain cases.

What I mean is, I need to recognize what circumstances cause them to behave in ways that make me uncomfortable. It could be an activity, or certain people who come into the mix, or even a place. Whatever is causing me to feel cranky is my problem and my job to find a solution I can live with.

Changing Myself Has Altered What I Can Accept From Others

Over the years, as I’ve worked on myself and initiated some much-needed changes, there have been times when I had to take a good, hard look at my associations. I’d like to think I’m making better choices these days, and attracting people who are more in alignment with the person I’ve become. The major purges that left me alone and to my own devices for awhile are no longer necessary. I’ve learned nowadays it often comes down to taking control of my own responses, and reminding myself why I connected with the people in my life in the first place.

Many of those associations…no, let’s put the right word on it. Many of those friendships began through a mutual love of dancing. Though finding a place to gather and share our love was challenging for awhile, it forced us to look at other options and lately, I often have to choose between 2 or 3 amazing options knowing I’ll spend time with at least some of the friends I’ve made, whichever one I choose. (of course, choosing to stay home and veg on the sofa with the cats is always an option, but doesn’t offer the community connection I’ve learned I truly need).

Fortunately, the nights I do choose to stay home are never because I feel the need to avoid someone. There was a time, far in the past now, when that wasn’t the case. I guess you could say the people in my life now, though admittedly wild and crazy in their own way, are far more civilized than many I associated with in what I fondly refer to as “my broken years”.

Getting to the Root of My Anger

I spent many years angry all the time; at myself, at other people, at my job, at my https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691Nchoices—you name it, and I found something about it that pissed me off. I was so mired in my own misery, I couldn’t begin to identify the source. That skill didn’t come until I broke into a million tiny pieces and had to figure out how to put myself back together, but better this time.

It’s a funny thing about shattering; you never find all the pieces, and frankly, some of them aren’t worth finding anyway. You have to learn to sort the useful from the harmful and be willing to toss out pieces which might go either way. Someone once said to me “when in doubt, throw it out”. Of course he was referring to what was, at the time, a mountain of clutter in my home and office, but I’ve learned it applies to pieces of ourselves too. There are so many things we carry around simply because it’s become habit. They serve no purpose, and all too often, hold us back from accomplishing what we’re both capable of and meant to do.

Once again, I’ve meandered quite a ways from the original topic, but as usual, there is a point. Truly.

Shattering is Often the First Step in Recognizing the Need for Boundaries

created with CanvaShattering so I could rebuild was actually the first step I took in learning how much I needed to set boundaries. The first one I had to set was with myself. I had to let go of the anger and misery and actually face all my bottled up feelings. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a pretty sight when I first started unpacking all of those desiccated, moldy old feelings. Some had been there since childhood and would have been pretty rancid had they not at least partially fossilized. In some ways, I’d have been better off if they hadn’t as it’s been much harder to get past the hard outer shell so I could deal with the soft, gooey parts inside.

Learning to feel anything after a lifetime of wrapping it all in a tight, dubiously impervious ball is not for the weak of heart. If I thought I’d been through hard times before, the process of not only shattering the casings on my feelings, but actually revisiting them one by one, and exposing myself to the lessons they carried was one I truly would not have chosen had it not been utterly necessary.

The truth is, I didn’t enjoy being cranky and miserable. It took awhile to realize it, but I didn’t like being all alone either. I had to learn to “people” on my own terms (this is where the boundaries began to come in), and discover I didn’t hate people as much as I wanted to believe. I learned I’d spent decades attracting people who were, in their own way, a lot like me; sad, lonely, angry, and bitter.

Bitterness Wrapped in Anger is an Unpalatable Appetizer

Only when I admitted to myself that the bitterness was encased in those pent-up feelings did I realize I would attract kinder, happier, more compassionate ones when I found those qualities in myself; albeit buried far beneath my crusty surface.

In the process, I learned we all have baggage, and we don’t have to spend our lives hiding it from the world. Granted, we don’t have to run it up a flag pole and wave it in all our naked glory for the entire world. Once again, we establish boundaries. In this case, it’s more about who we attract with what we reveal.

Those who are put off, or made uncomfortable will avert their eyes. That’s as it should be. Those who can relate, or feel compassion will interact insofar as they are willing or able. Some may approach and get angry, not because we’ve said something offensive, but because we’ve nicked a wound they’re not ready to re-open. They’ll shut the door (another form of boundary) and lock it if they want to continue hiding that wound, or leave themselves an option to re-open it when they’re ready and able.

Seeing New Changes Coming From My Discomfort

It’s made me realize that the behaviors which are currently making me feel uncomfortable have to do with wounds I am not yet ready to re-open, clean out, and cauterize. I have to sit on them for awhile, dealing with others that aren’t quite so painful or raw. The time to re-open those which are currently making me pull back and practice a drastically mellowed hermit behavior will come in time.

The truth is, the discomfort right now means I’ll be re-opening them sooner rather than later. Otherwise, like those I make uncomfortable with my forthrightness, I’d have slammed and locked the door instead of looking more deeply into myself to try to understand my reactions.

Can you relate? Are you finding that certain people in your family or community are suddenly doing things that annoy you? Irritate you? Even piss you off? Try taking a step back and looking at what part of you their actions are bothering. You might be surprised by what you find! If you’re like me, you’ll poke at some of those feelings for awhile before allowing yourself to open them up, deal with them, and ultimately, let them go.

Gratitude Makes Revisiting Old Feelings a More Pleasant Trip

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the insight I gain from my friends.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned about kindness and compassion.
  3. I’m grateful for the shattering I underwent. It might have been painful, but it was also healing, and uplifting.
  4. I’m grateful for healthy friendships which make me try to be a better person.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; opportunities, inspiration, love, friendship, supportiveness, compassion, kindness, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. 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

August 31, 2015 Life Between Universal Head Slaps

I believe the Universe is warming up to deliver a humdinger of a head slap. Why do I say that? In the last month or so, it has seen fit to reintroduce people into my life who were last seeing during a very difficult time period when I was making a lot of poor choices and behaving in a very negative and self-defeating fashion. And it isn’t the same time period. As of tonight, I’ve seen three of them.

The first instance was very positive and friendly, showing me that despite my poor behavior, there were some good times, and good memories.

The second was more like a leech seeking to re-attach itself if I wasn’t able to make it clear I was no longer that person. Fortunately, after a month of intermittent encounters and behavior on my part for which I’m not proud, I seem to have sent that particular less-than-stellar portion of my life back into the past where it belongs.

My latest encounter was only from a distance, and given certain circumstances, wasn’t entirely unexpected. The parting of the ways I experienced with this particular individual was instigated by his recently-deceased wife. In this case, I saw no real reason to make contact. I couldn’t say with sincerity that I was sorry for his loss, and maybe that’s the point. His appearance was a reminder that it’s high time I just forgave the woman. We’d both moved on and hadn’t had any contact in at least a dozen years. We moved in different circles and even the smallest of ripples didn’t intersect. Before that head slap comes, I guess I need to work on that forgiveness; both towards her and for myself. I certainly contributed to the situation by being stupid and unnecessarily vulnerable. It also occurred at the end of what I think of now as ‘the years of negativity’. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to “The Secret” and began eliminating negative behavior from myself and negative people from my life.

You Win a Little and you Lose a Little

Looking back on those years, since the Universe insists, I carried around a lot of unnecessary baggage. Through a series of events and some much-needed guidance, I finally realized I had the ability to put things down. I didn’t need to schlep every single bad decision and every single tragic life occurrence around with me forever. I simply needed to take the lesson from each experience and let the rest go. I also found during those years that the Universe didn’t bother giving me head slaps; perhaps because I was beating myself up more than enough without any outside assistance. Instead, I was given a lot of opportunities to learn to love and appreciate myself. Believe me, back then I was a very slow learner, but even the tortoise gets to the finish line eventually.

What I’m trying to say in my usual meandering fashion is that we need to look around at what is coming into our life now and then because oftentimes, it is something we need or a lesson we need to learn. If we’re already indulging in self-flagellation, the Universe won’t give us more of the same, even if it feels like that’s what we’re getting. The Universe knows that we’re going to attract what we put out there so it isn’t even necessary to pile more manure on someone who is attracting manure. It takes little effort to become an expert shit-attractor.

It’s only when we’ve learned from those wrong turns and detours that we start to receive some challenges; not to drive us backward but to make us stronger and more certain of our path, perhaps even to get us to open up to options we’ve discarded because they seemed to be too difficult. Forcing us into a detour means we have to figure out how to make the sub-optimal work instead of just taking the easy road. Step out of that comfort zone and try something that makes us think quickly, maneuver better and even get out of our own way.

So in spite of the frustration at having to field some old manure, I know it is in my best interests and is preparing me for a new and interesting detour which will take me someplace I’d never have gone had the road I was on remained smooth and easy.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for life’s challenges as they give me the opportunity to explore new places.
2. I am grateful for my imperfections as they give me reason to strive to be better.
3. I am grateful to be getting back into the edits of “Sasha’s Journey” and to have set myself a goal to finish before NaNoWriMo. So I have another 292 pages to edit before November 1. I didn’t think I could write 50,000 words in a month either, and now I’ve done it twice!
4. I am grateful for my friends and family who, whether they realize it or not encourage me to go farther, do better and be a kinder, more compassionate person.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, freedom, happiness, charity, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

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January 2, 2015 What is it about The Tower Tarot card that freaks people out?

I seem to be in the minority, but I always feel excited when I see The Tower in a spread.

So many people see The Tower in a spread and immediately turn into Poe’s Raven, calling “Doom! D49a1d-tower-card16oom!” and trying to find a way to soften impending disaster. I may be considered hopelessly positive, but I actually feel energized and challenged when this card shows up. I see it as a card which indicates a cleansing, either voluntary or involuntary, but from which the querent will arise with a strong foundation on which to build anew. A foundation which has been cleared of a whole bunch of baggage which was keeping them from realizing their true potential. In short, I see it as a card of tremendous opportunity. 

Sometimes, we get so comfortable where we’re at that we fail to realize we’re stagnating. Sure, we get clues all the time, but we can rationalize them away when we’re comfortable. That’s when I see the Tower coming into our lives, telling us that either we stir things up ourselves or something will happen to get us off of our butts and moving forward again. I’ve seen it time and time again in my life. Sometimes, I’d see it coming and take pre-emptive action, but others, I’d get blind sided.

Fortunately, I’ve never been much of a victim, and even when I was, it didn’t take long for me to see what I was doing and shake my own world until I saw the stupidity inherent to the path I trod. Even at my lowest point, I readily admitted that what, on the surface looked like a disaster really was the kick in the butt I needed to get out of a place that wasn’t in my best interests.

Honestly, which is easier: To shake your virtual fist at all of the bad luck, karma or juju you’ve suffered or learn from the life’s setbacks so the next one doesn’t knock you on your keester quite as hard?

I have a particularly hard spot for the “woe is me-ers” and the “doom and gloomers”. Listening to someone whine and complain about the same thing over and over, yet never taking it upon themselves to change it will set off my BS meter faster than anything. Unfortunately for the whiner, this also tries my already poorly contained patience and often means I unintentionally hurt their feelings. Frankly, if I were keeping score, I’d say that made us even: 1 for them for trying my patience, 1 for me for insensitivity to their tender feelings.

But my goal in life is not to misuse people, so I’ve learned to simply walk away when those red flags, bells and whistles warn me that I’m in the presence of a Negative Nellie; someone who wraps their negativity around them like a security blanket and for whom complaining is a way of life. There are people who can function well around these people. I admit it. I’m not one of them. More than once, I’ve failed to stop myself from saying rather rudely “Either do something about it or quitcherbitchin’!”

OK, so Social Worker is definitely not my calling. I just believe that we make our own way and even when the chips are down, we need to see it through because those tough times teach us a lot more than the easy ones. Universe, please note, I am not asking for more adversity. I’m simply acknowledging the fact that I learn something when I have to work for it!

At any rate, we all have “Tower moments” in our lives when it seems like the walls are tumbling down around our ears, whether it’s a marriage going to hell, a job loss, a death in the family or a million other things which make us batten down the hatches, ride out the storm and clean up the mess afterwards. Invariably, they happen because we need to move and are holding onto things which no longer serve us (yes, even family deaths). When my mother committed suicide, it really was a huge release for me. I had a ton on my plate at the time, and her overtly judgmental ways and, in hindsight, extra needy behavior were getting close to pushing me over the edge. Her death was just enough pressure release to allow me to keep moving forward. In the two years after her death, I was laid off from my job of seven years and finally saw the end of my lengthy divorce. In both cases, they were Tower moments and things changed and I had to adapt.

Where would the human race be if we had not been faced with adversity and forced to adapt or die? What kind of wimpy, useless race would we be? We certainly would not have outlived the dinosaurs, defeated Hitler or developed creatively the master vs. beginnerway we have. Sure, we’ve ignored things like preservation of our environment, but not forever. Who’s to say whether we’d have come this far had we worried about our world as much as we should have? Who’s to say that causing the damage then coming back and having to figure out how to repair it wasn’t part of the plan in the first place? The greatest people in the world made a ton of mistakes before they succeeded. I don’t have the audacity to believe that I get to avoid all of the pieces of the process they endured before I find my own success, whatever that might be. 

A couple of people shared this today, and I have to agree. The secret to success is no secret at all. You need to get up every morning, push those doubts to the side while you down that cup of coffee and put some effort in! If you just sit under a tree and wait, you’re just as likely to be hit by a bolt of lightening.  Failure is really a learning curve in disguise.

It is, however, time for me to step down from my soapbox and express my gratitudes.

1. I am grateful for my soapbox, and grateful that I know when it’s time to give it a rest.
2. I am grateful for the adversities which have made me stronger.
3. I am grateful for my lack of patience as it pushes me away from people who drain my battery.
4. I am grateful that the unplanned days of rest are making my back happier. I look forward to resuming my normal activities.
5. I am grateful for abundance: points of view, intelligence, inspiration, motivation, love, beauty, challenges, spirit, friendship, harmony, peace, joy, health and prosperity.

Blessed be.

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