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

Posts tagged ‘criticism’

Breaking Free of Malicious Numbers

Refusing to Live By the Numbers

Numbers on the scale don’t define me. Like the ones on my blood pressure monitor, they really only give me guidance about whether or not what I’m doing is helping with my ultimate goal; to keep my body as healthy as possible using natural methods. Yet there are days when I’m tempted to beat myself up over eating too late or indulging in something sweet instead of simply realizing I made less healthy choices in the last day or two. I can’t change what I already did but I can use the results to help motivate me to make healthier choices today because right now; today should be me entire focus.

Living in the now may not be easy but ultimately it is the recipe for a happier life. You simply cannot change anything you’ve already done, and you can’t do something tomorrow or a month from now until that day becomes Now.

Reminders like the numbers on my scale serve but one purpose; to remind me to focus on the time and place over which I have influence and sometimes even a modicum of control. That isn’t to say I avoid getting on the scale or monitoring my blood pressure each day. But they’re tools designed to remind me each day I have choices. I can choose the healthy ones which keep the blood pressure numbers in the safe range and the numbers on the scale, if not going down, at least remaining stable.

Praise is More Powerful Than Criticism

I’ve learned, no matter what the numbers say, or how far I’ve deviated from what I consider a good day, Ihttps://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhami/2993662670/in/photolist-5yxiBC-8U5hPD-3edYTu-4CUgRY-3zQatC-5vmZ5c-bu1dBi-aGGHJg-aGGHaR-BrnmAC-JDHRGr-aGGG6n-anNJMT-aGGJDF-nhi5kC-URiXsy-8TU5Uu-7RHX6n-dSUfp3-8pz3GG-ax1E17-Gf1oKW-5wx88t-66XiHU-7U9YpL-7fcpGE-6C7S53-6AEtio-8YbMjQ-587zbz-MiRWFF-5htVfK-onWKYE-edRR9q-9jX3Pw-oZ6LzR-8pRD6w-9eVxUz-axUgNW-F6D6yL-dbZeKc-4cLsjY-b8ppRD-FfTkWW-7Lsz4B-66Xk3Q-2zs3Zi-7Lxsep-kyFmeu-RNnFfM find something to praise myself for. It doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment or milestone, though sometimes I do have them. It’s all the baby steps I’m taking to improve one aspect of my life or another. It’s the weeks I get to the gym all three days and do a full workout (more often than not these days). It’s fixing at least 1 decent meal today.

Of course, there are days when I’m doing the happy dance all over my living room; days when my FitBit tells me I’m a rock star for exceeding my 10,000 step goal by at least 20%. And there are days when I double it. Just as there are days when I crush my goals, be they health, writing, or something else; there are days when I hit far short of the mark.

Should I make the child within feel less than because I had a day or two when I was lazy and accomplished nothing, while making a big deal about the days when I crushed it? What message does that send? Would you do that to a child or a pet? Do you scold when they do something wrong, making a huge deal out of something relatively minor in the general scheme of things? Do you offer faint praise when they go above and beyond?

Being Considerate of the Child Within

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrI know I’m probably getting a bit redundant on the topic, but so often when we stomp on our own egos, we’re stomping on our inner child who, like our own children, thrives on encouragement and withers under the thoughtless abuse we pile on undeserving shoulders. So when I catch myself getting critical about the numbers on the scale, the numbers in my bank account, the number of hours I spend writing, or the number of words I hammer out, I’m learning to take a step back and ask: “would you say this to one of your daughters?”

Even though they’re both adults themselves, one with a child of her own, I still wouldn’t crush their ego. In fact, I’m more often the cheerleader showing them how amazing they are, whether they’re wildly successful at something they’ve attempted, or a major flop. I try to point out that the mere fact they put forth the effort is a success, not only in my mother’s eyes, but in general.

Which brings me back to my point. We won’t always succeed at everything we attempt, at least if we’re measuring success quantitatively. But as long as we keep showing up; as long as we’re willing to stumble and even fall on our way to figuring things out, we are always successful. We don’t learn by getting things right the first time, or even the 500th in  some cases.

Being Brave Enough to Make Mistakes

Life is like those mazes where you try to move a character through without hitting dead ends. Typically, you will hit a few and have to backtrack before you move them to the exit. In life, those backtracks are opportunities to learn, or as I like to say, “add tools to my virtual rucksack”. Each time I hit a dead end, I have to stop, regroup, and figure out where I went off-track. Rarely, if ever do I have to go all the way back to the beginning. Why? Because if nothing else, I’ve learned a few tricks in the 60-odd years I’ve been in my current meat suit. There are hundreds; maybe thousands of things I won’t bother trying because I’ve already learned (sometimes the hard way) they don’t work. Often, that brings my options down to a more manageable level where failure is only at maybe  a 20% probability. Most of the time, those are pretty decent odds, and well worth the risk.

I’ve also learned over the years to tuck and roll so when I do fall, I fall with a bit more grace and a lot less damage than I used to. But even there, it depends on the situation. We don’t stay in one place all our lives, nor do we limit ourselves by only trying things we know we can conquer. There’s no growth from staying in the comfort zone, after all. There’s also no excitement, no adventure, and no challenge.

Keeping Your Focus on the Prize at the End of Your Journey

Sometimes, you have to focus on something you want really badly, take a deep breath, and dive into a place where you don’t have a clear idea of the path ahead or the perils you might encounter. You just know what you’re focusing on is worth whatever it takes.

That’s my journey right now; the one I embarked upon 5 1/2 hears ago. To be honest, the path still isn’t clear. There are perils I know are out there, but which I refuse to buckle under; refuse to allow to deter me. Above all, I refuse to let a bunch of silly numbers to keep me from losing the vision that began in 2013 and grows stronger, more well defined, and more desirable with each peril I surpass, each obstacle I overcome. Statistically, people keep telling me my probability of success is low. But those are merely numbers, and I’m learning not to let numbers define me, or qualify my dreams.

Managing Your Own Numbers Game

Are you getting stuck in the statistics? Are numbers in your life managing you instead of the other way around? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Successes Both Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who’ve helped me overcome old paradigms.
  2. I am grateful I  am learning to keep numbers in their place, on the pages of the accounting ledgers I keep.
  3. I am grateful for new experiences, and cafe writing to get me out of the house and productive. I love my hermit hole and my cats keeping me company, but there are days I get nothing done because I allow things to distract me when I should be writing or marketing.
  4. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the times I’ve stumbled and fallen. They’ve made me stronger, but also more resilient so taking risks is an adventure, not a reason to run and hide.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, new experiences, love, joy, dancing, opportunities, challenges, lessons, successes, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
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

Eradicating Self-Judgement

Judge Ourselves as We Endeavor to Judge Others

If we’re working on self-improvement by paying attention to our tendency to judge people harshly, why do we apply the process only to other people? When we’re halting our tendency to think unkindly towards a slow checker or erratic driver, why do we fail to turn the magnifying glass back on ourselves?

How many times do we call ourselves stupid, or lazy, or even resort to name-calling without giving ourselves the same level of respect and understanding we give the mother whose child won’t stop screaming while we wait in a line of 20 people to check out at Costco?

Yet with judgement just as it is with forgiveness and acceptance, we unerringly turn our kindness and compassion outward long before we ever consider turning it inward.

One of my daughters had a tendency to treat friends and even strangers with more consideration than she would her sister and I. For a long time it puzzled me until I realized she knew we’d love her no matter what so she saw no reason to make an effort to win either our acceptance or approval. We do the same thing with ourselves. We know we can’t run off and leave ourselves behind so we believe we can turn our attention and effort elsewhere, thus earning a greater reward.

How Can We Give What We Refuse to Receive?

What we fail to understand is by subjugating our own need for love, acceptance, and kindness, we actually hinder our ability to give them to others. We create an uphill battle for ourselves where we have to be consciously diligent about our actions and reactions. Whereas if we create habits of kindness, of not judging ourselves for the missteps we take while learning new lessons (and life is a constant series of lessons) they become an integral part of our persona. We don’t have to force ourselves to be kind and understanding towards others because we treat everyone like we do the most important person in our lives—ourselves.

The Ugly Faces of Self-Judgement and Criticism

Judgement is a particularly insidious creature. We start by allowing criticism of something small; the waysomeone pronounces a word, an unusual trait that doesn’t fit our view of normal, even the cut of their clothes. Pretty soon we’ve created a false persona we hate and find fault with for no valid reason. Yet it’s really coming, not from the person we’ve targeted but from our own self-loathing. We’ve transferred it to another, most likely because they remind us of something within ourselves we mentally judge, criticize, and maybe even hate.

It’s like a disease run amok that no antibiotic can eradicate.

We’re living in a world where too many are driven by self loathing to say and do things to others which they cannot truly justify or excuse from a rational place. Deep inside they become angrier, blaming the people who drive them to act hatefully instead of doing a little soul-searching to find and heal their own wounds first. Many would say it’s selfish to take care of yourself first. But I believe if we started with the most important person in our lives, healing and loving them first we’d have a much harder time blaming, criticizing, or hating anyone else. We’d remove the triggers to our own self loathing because it would no longer exist. Think about it.

Misused Judgement is Abuse

That isn’t to say judgement is always a bad thing. Our good judgement keeps us out of trouble, helps us make sound, responsible decisions, and is one of our best problem-solving tools. But like all good tools, it is often misused.

When judgement is used to cause pain, or to place one person or group above another, or worse, to pit people against each other, a handy tool becomes a weapon. When used on a larger scale, it truly is a weapon of mass destruction. On a smaller scale, when frequently and mercilessly applied, it causes permanent damage.

Yet the damage caused by misplaced judgement isn’t always visible to the naked eye. Self-judgement in particular doesn’t give the outside world a sign saying “self-judgement practiced here”. If I had to classify it, I’d put it with other forms of emotional abuse; invisible, insidious, and wreaking havoc from the inside out.

The Visible Effects of Judgement

Eventually the effects do become visible; down-turned eyes, slumped shoulders, withdrawal from society, social awkwardness, all can be signs of some kind of emotional abuse. Granted, it may have started from the outside, but when we start believing someone else’s lies; when we internalize and believe we’re unworthy, it’s not uncommon to start measuring ourselves by the same flawed yardstick.

Breaking old patterns isn’t easy any more than breaking an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. Like any addiction, though, it starts with recognizing the problem, and admitting it needs to be solved.

Once you’ve crossed the biggest hurdle and begun your journey to self-acceptance and healing, Though some of us continue the journey on our own with many false starts and dead-end roads, I’ve learned the road is a lot easier with support.

Seeking Help to Heal

Having people around who can not only help you see the lies others have put into your head, but point out the words you speak and the actions you take which support those lies creates a kind of road map out of the negative space you’ve created. It eliminates some of the false starts and endless switchbacks you’d take on your own in the process of finding your way from judgement to acceptance. What you do for others in stopping the judgemental thoughts is reciprocated by your community.

Case in point. When I first watched “The Secret”, the friend who recommended it became my unofficial accountability partner. We’d help each other out by shining a light on things we said which were impeding our personal progress. Most of it was simply negative self-talk. We’d both, for reasons of our own developed a habit of being self-deprecating, little realizing how much damage it did to our psyches. The first step in repairing the damage had to be stopping the flow of negativity emanating from our own minds, hearts, and mouths.

Treating Ourselves with the Same Love and Respect We Do Others

There’s a passage in the Bible which says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Many of us treat others better than we do ourselves. I think there’s a good argument for re-stating the passage to read “Do unto yourself as you would do unto others”. In my opinion, kindness and compassion start from within and emanate outwards, rather than the other way around. Unless you love yourself, you cannot truly love another.

Watch the Facebook Live episode about Self-Judgement here.

Gratitude and Acceptance Are Our Greatest Tools

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the flow of ideas when I set an intention to write more frequently.
  2. I’m grateful for the way my self-awareness is increasing as I recognize old patterns and triggers.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve started learning to love myself, and to reflect that love with the way I present myself, and care for my meat suit.
  4. I’m grateful for self-care. Quiet days at home, regular gym visits, tuning into my cats’ purrs, dancing, and all the things which feed my body, mind and spirit, and ultimately help me be a contributing member of society.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, motivation, inspiration, support, encouragement, butt kicks, drive, focus, consistency, stick-toitiveness, family, hope, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps 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

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