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

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Time for Change Again

Riding the Winds of Change

created with CanvaI’m feeling somewhat alienated lately. Friends I once hung out with, laughing and carefree now gravitate towards others who share their need to frequently vocalize dissatisfaction with their lives, or conflicts with others. I want no part of it and as a result I find myself once again on the outside looking in.

Overall it’s a good thing. I’d rather steer clear of the whining and complaining. Perhaps things will shift and the negativity will run its course. Meanwhile, I’ll either have to find others to hang with until this cycle peters out, or revert to my normal, isolationist patterns.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with friends needing to vent their spleen, and to find others who share their current mindset. There are times I’ve needed to do so myself, and am grateful people put up with me while I did. Right now, I know if I stayed there too long I’d start absorbing the negative energy and find fault instead of joy with my own life. Though I enjoy having a pack to run with, I’m OK being a lone wolf for awhile too. Perhaps I’m being pushed into being alone so I can spend more time working on my projects and business. I’ve always believed things happen for a reason

To Everything There’s a Time; a Season

A friend recently pointed out I have my own cycles. Sometimes I simply need a https://www.flickr.com/photos/sermoa/7289177616/in/photolist-c77Wy9-r361B6-7UmPsp-XGAjhz-64e9v7-2aA91KA-dgqyUQ-45XqnC-9QJ7eT-9QN5fS-sHuD2X-eYWQtB-fbDKCi-RX57Dd-21GaQYp-ap2UBy-2cqyUd9-4BaZUn-XR9iq1-649VdX-GEVNFE-37rTTS-8GD4Ct-21M2mrm-8PB966-kzYvK4-6Vje9y-4Hq3oP-izzeb3-ouihv3-NiJYj7-bua5Bm-iRQDZe-jpV8mm-gJX2L-R36JFv-23NUNNG-2cw7Nyt-2a4658R-npfQy2-RZFcen-M2YpLg-STMqAt-WKMNmd-29UnKjq-owijzY-f4WJBJ-96ELMg-p9Cein-T8HccTlong stretch of alone time. Nothing is wrong. I need to be alone to do some self care and work on me for a little while without distraction or interruption. It could be I’ve waited too long to indulge my inner hermit.

She must be indulged even if it’s simply a matter of taking a few days to lay low and get things done. Doing multiple loads of bedding has even crept into my dreams. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder I need to wash the sheets and comforters from both beds which usually requires 3-4 loads. I need to get caught up on blog posts again and schedule another month’s worth of posts for Medium. I also have to finish compiling blog posts for my opt-in E-book.

That doesn’t even take into consideration the rewrite I’ve had hanging over my head for a couple of months. Clearly, disenchantment with the energy the people around me are exuding means it’s time I got myself organized, which requires alone time. Either I make it for myself or the Universe makes it for me.

A Time to Build My Network, and a Time to Do the Work

I’ve learned we all have cycles we go through; ups and downs, highs and lows. I know I need time to indulge my social side, and time to be alone with my thoughts, dreams, and hopes. Times to look deep inside myself and decide which of the many paths laid out before me I want to take, and what I’ll have to do to make it happen.

Lately, I’ve given those hopes and dreams short shrift. I’ve done the easy stuff like writing blog posts (easy for me, anyway), and setting up posts for Medium. I’ve shirked the tougher stuff like putting together the E-book or starting to re-write my memoir.

The truth is, I only hurt myself when I take the easy road. Pushing the big dreams into a corner while I essentially play games with myself is cruel and unkind. I deserve better. Perhaps that’s why I’m so sensitive to my friends’ complaints. Except I know I have no one to blame but myself.

Nobody is turning my attention away from what’s important but me. No one is criticizing me, or throwing obstacles in my path. There’s nobody to suck my energy except my old fiend, procrastination.

Re-Focusing My Energy

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking care of business. The new web pages went live recently, and are performing well. I made doctor’s appointments I’d been putting off. I’ve made and consumed 2 batches of gazpacho, and have the ingredients for several other batch meals with which to re-fill my freezer.

Again, those are the easy things; the stuff I do without thinking about it. Some of it is actually therapeutic. In fact, I’m getting more exercise these days too! All good things, and I can’t complain. And yet, I know I can do better; accomplish more.

It all starts with a single step in the right direction. Maybe distancing myself from people who need to air their grievances, no matter how valid, is exactly what I need to do right now. Again, it’s no reflection on others, but a reminder I need to keep working on myself, even if that means more alone time than I’ve taken recently.

Turning Sloth into Productivity

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jessicamullen/15936340893/in/photolist-qheUWa-6tvCyC-mfcahW-kF42vg-7aHRKn-dozSYs-upc1JR-5nU36i-6ZX1X8-9soFsZ-b6p5F2-dKgSFh-9soP3r-9GGyf-edzaxy-dKgQLq-4oLacT-9z49UC-aBS6db-kF5mTy-dbhFbp-83VBDF-JGdSxG-dKgR3q-dKbnZX-kF3i5M-kF2WWF-25sqyfg-kF3het-dKgU63-7121pw-dKbnLT-6ZXghB-7aMFFo-6ZXfye-a6G8a6-26PQPAR-ceZ3mw-7aF5cr-7aHRUn-kF3FwP-dKboVp-dKbj4F-3jqo8-dKbmgk-kF5cCu-dKgPvE-edzags-dKbjKc-dKbjtVMore important is to use my alone time wisely. Too many Hallmark movies and evenings spent parked on the couch are starting to turn my brain to mush. Though my cats love the extended cuddle time, it isn’t going to benefit any of us in the long run.

I guess I need to step back and re-set every so often, re-evaluating my priorities, and reminding myself to keep the goals front and center. It doesn’t mean putting in an endless stream of 18-hour days (unless the muse strikes and I become oblivious to the passage of time). Those days and that mentality are behind me.

It does mean putting my butt down in front of the computer, my fingers on the keyboard, and doing the writing and revisions I’ve committed to doingfor no one else but me. It means giving my business the attention and effort it deserves instead of haring off on the next adventure in People-land. There’s a reason I can only handle so much people-ing before I need to disappear into my turtle shell for some R and R.

Once again, I am detaching for my own sake. People and places will still be there when I resurface, and I’ll appreciate them more for my absence, and for the time I take to move closer to my dreams. If some of them have moved on by the time I resurface, I’ll know it was a necessary migration for all concerned. It wouldn’t be the first time I changed my social environment, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Living for the Adventure and Wonder of a New Day

I’ve learned the only certainty in life is change, so I might as well embrace it. Fighting change only exhausts me. Swimming upstream may have been my pattern for awhile, but it doesn’t mean I ever got very far doing it. Give me a canoe floating down a lazy river instead. I’ll enjoy the scenery instead of fighting a losing battle to go back where I came from. If it had anything to offer me in the future, I wouldn’t have moved on in the first place.

Do You Need to Shake Things Up So You Can Bring Your Dreams Closer?

Are you trying to do everything, yet falling farther behind? Are you doing too much of what you hate and not enough of what you love, because you feel pressured? 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!

 

Seeing Each Day’s Wonder Leads to Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friendships and activities which fueled me, but are no longer the fuel I need to move forward.
  2. I’m grateful I’m ready to follow some of the changes that have been clamoring at my door.
  3. I’m grateful for my ability to be happy in my own company.
  4. I’m grateful I’m learning to put myself first and to accept that I have a right to expect commitment to myself before anyone else.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, possibilities, opportunities, losses, growth, space, motivation, self-sufficiency, 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

Finding Balance in Unique Places

A New Kind of Balance

It used to be when I thought of “balance” it meant making time for relaxation and socialization in between work, commuting, and taking care of house and home. When I started working for myself full-time, I revised my perspective many times, trying to ensure I was putting enough time into my business and not so much into what I consider sloth. (watching endless Hallmark movies, playing games on the computer, and parking on Social Media)

With the loss of my regular social schedule consisting of dancing two nights a week, and not much more, I’ve had to reorganize my schedule and my life. To my surprise, it’s meant spending a lot more time “peopling” than I used to, and finding different places to dance. It has, however, come at a price. Some weeks, I’ll dance 4 or 5 nights. I may keep up this schedule for a couple of weeks until my introverted self screams for solitude.

Invariably, I’ll swing in the opposite direction, dancing 1, maybe 2 nights, and planting myself in front of the TV for hours (which, by the way, plays hell on all of my joints and muscles which have grown accustomed to moving more, sitting less when I’m not at the computer working).

A Social Calendar Needs Variety

As I’m learning there are alternatives to dance nights and locations, so too am I learning there are alternatives to dancing as a social activity. My first reaction was Whoa! Really? I can get out and do things with people where it doesn’t involve dancing? How can that be?

After the initial shock wore off, I found doing other things with the friends I’ve made through dancing is not only a viable option, but a necessary one. Dancing had become my go-to social activity; my reason for leaving the house and getting out among people. It was a place I could tune into the people around me, or go into my own little bubble of dance meditation. I could switch places at will with few the wiser.

As difficult as it is to admit it, I’d fallen into a dance rut, and circumstances have begun to shake me out of it. Changing locations was a good place to start, but as with everything else that’s needed to change in my life, the Universe started throwing things in my path, almost daring me to accept new and different experiences in lieu of a dance night.

Laughter Clears My Clogged Pipes

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrishuggins/4675505957/in/photolist-88ac2F-8LnEVQ-r3ZSnA-rkryn2-dEHqQa-buZGL5-9NXU2Q-uQd4Gi-8HtvkK-brtvSa-mc16EB-zKaXu-mayYKi-LpBQx-24Q2uC3-5fjkkg-eJzqz-di4zr7-di4Cts-9d5Zj3-9SKTfn-FCdjdz-f5wwhN-XjXzMf-9P5vA2-kVMXd9-47aeuC-zNAvV-dZ5cLv-5P5kRq-5z3cp5-7fRw8n-Ad6nP2-fjj4VF-nPSwLg-GUXa92-ERVZat-YW3tj5-sgc13A-xYkggi-SwjMJA-K74gKR-qod9ho-evhnbP-5mpBv5-v38BL4-26QXWnW-nCnBUo-JSkWR-88acaPMost recently, I accepted an invitation to go to a comedy show. The club happened to be at a local harbor village where I was able to indulge myself in a bowl of clam chowder from Andria’s. I got to walk around and spend some quality time with a friend, drip ice cream all over myself, and best of all, laugh my butt off for a couple of hours. Needless to say, I’ll be repeating the experience sooner rather than later.

I’m learning there’s a lot more to balance than I realized. It’s not only making sure I move more and sit less, or put more time and effort into my business, and less into Hallmark movies and computer games. It’s about mixing it up and doing different things for a change.

More Time to Listen

I already do a little bit with concerts in the park and Shakespeare in the summer. It’s clear I need to revisit some of the experience I’ve let fall by the wayside, and let friends introduce me to new ones too. I need to go places where I can spend time talking, but even more important, listening.

Here, too, I’m finding some much-needed balance. My friends are wonderful, unique people who have life experiences with which I’m unfamiliar. Allowing them to share broadens my own horizons, and gives me new topics to explore; new things to learn.

Listening to the comedians, I marveled at their knowledge of a broad range of topics; their ability to grab from a deep well of material to respond to input from the audience while continuing to entertain and amuse. I realized their craft, like mine depends on seeing the world from different points of view. I can’t do that if I’m living in a bubble of my own experiences. I certainly can’t do it if I limit my experiences to what’s grown as comfortable as a pair of jeans I’ve washed hundreds of times.

Balancing the Old With the New

Balance also means bringing back things I’ve allowed to fall by the wayside; things like my twice-weekly “Live with Sheri and Friends” on Facebook. Since the Borderline shooting, I’ve been hit or miss about doing the live videos even though I’m usually out and about, dressed up and looking a bit less like an artsy, fartsy, hobo on the same nights as before (and often a few more). When a dance friend asked me why I hadn’t done a video in awhile, I realized my videos, like my blogs, were actually touching people even if I got no feedback to confirm it. To my surprise, people actually looked forward to my online ramblings!

I’m discovering balance is actually a moving target, and trying to go back to what was balanced for me several months ago is actually throwing me off-balance; much like trying to force a round peg into a square hole. I’m not the woman I was 6 or 7 months ago. Why would I think doing and saying the same things would still be a good fit? No wonder my neck has been out of whack, and the herniated disc has flared back up!

Giving Attention to My Energy Body

Several friends have pointed out lately that our bodies are a reflection of where our energy is going, or not going. I know that on a conscious level, but lose sight of it way too often. How much pain do I need to experience from migraines or herniated discs before I get the message my body is sending? I need to re-set my idea of balance!

Right now, it means writing enough new blog posts so I’m once again 3 weeks ahead. It means finishing the first pass of an E book I’ll be using for an opt-in on my website. It means accepting invitations for non-dancing activities. And it means getting back on the re-write of my memoir.

All of this means keeping my calendar up-to-date, and setting deadlines for my projects. It means saying “yes” to new and different things more often, and even finding a few to schedule myself. Of course, it also means getting back into the routine of doing Facebook Lives at least twice a week. Who knows? As I get caught up on other things, and out more in the evenings, I may even add a third night down the road. Or I’ll give you a Live in my normal, bare-faced, messy bunned self for a little variety.

Balance means keeping my options open and not getting stuck in yet another rut.

Feeling a Little Unbalanced?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? 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 Reminders and Opportunities

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends who give me new opportunities.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve become more open to suggestions and even criticism.
  3. I’m grateful for laughter. It heals so much, especially when it’s shared with friends.
  4. I’m grateful for the times the Universe drop kicks me out of another rut.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, solitude and community, friends who lift me up and allow me to return the favor, sunshine and clouds, peace, harmony, health, 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

Could We Survive an Apocolypse?

Could You Survive Without Technology?

Every day, people in “developed” countries become more dependent on technology. Computers replace pen and paper, even in classrooms. Microwaves and fast food replace good old-fashioned cooking. We get the food we eat from packages instead of the ground. Cell phones are replacing landlines.

But what will happen if we get a major sunspot event or geomagnetic storm that knocks out all our electronics? How many will be prepared to manage without the modern conveniences on which we’ve become so dependent?

Making Use of My Resources

I’m fortunate in that I can cook for myself, and still use my manual writing skills frequently. Unlike some of my friends, I don’t have a garden in my backyard where I could be growing a lot of my own fruits and vegetables. Heaven knows I have the space, but the few times I’ve tried growing things, the poor plants ended up dying of neglect. I can’t seem to remember to do things like watering and weeding regularly.

Still, if push came to shove, I’d find a way to use my ample ground space to grow food for me and other people too. And let’s face it, much of what comes out of the ground could be eaten raw if need be.

So many people in our society are ill-prepared for life without technology. They’ve never kept a set of books by hand or cooked a meal from scratch. They don’t know how to sew a button on a shirt, much less mend it. Worse, they’re used to getting instant responses. How would they fare if what we now refer to as “snail mail” was their only means of communication at a distance? The days it would take to send a letter back and forth would have them climbing the walls in frustration.

Learning to be More Self-Sufficient

https://www.flickr.com/photos/timquijano/6179927895/in/photolist-aq6KfX-veVW-2Lg2M7-aMYW9P-8BKnVH-FPZVGT-8nnv7V-4DMyEY-bWhRkq-71jk86-bVRXUM-7CiMkN-ca2vyu-cdhbFo-6Lt2io-QujiYK-njx6fU-8gLyR8-dpryBo-bbP6y6-cifvwf-9oL759-2sSSx-aMYV1X-9ZF8Hi-SLA7ho-5KWLqZ-6cdm59-5DkC58-aMZ1Kx-aMYZHa-afNBbh-bbLNKX-5TkA1a-8tSKgR-ixEkTc-9oGGGj-DDsP2-sasXwh-cGGasS-bfs4it-chgL9o-nqf3gr-9qEoMi-cgRNrL-a7m5wn-s8GWqk-zretW-nEy6rc-6XCCec/I wish I had some of the skills my friends have like remodeling a house with their own hands, or growing a lush garden to share with friends and neighbors. Because I still retain some of the manual skills I learned as a child and young adult, I suspect I’d adapt, but I’d sure as hell want to align myself with those who already have the skills I lack, and who could teach them to me!

I pride myself in keeping fit and active physically, even to the point of doing my own housework, though I hate it. I’m grateful I am still able to do it at all!

I look at people today, glued to their phones, posting selfies and statuses on Facebook wherever they go, constantly in touch with friends via text or Messenger. What would happen if their phones went dark?

Figuring Out How to Stay Connected

For that matter, what would happen to my own group of friends? We’ve become dependent on Social Media and our phones to organize gatherings, reach out to each other when someone has been unusually silent, or missing from events, and to share pieces of our lives. How would we keep everything going; everyone together without technology?

Considering sending fliers through the mail like we used to is an option, but a costly one. The price of a stamp keeps rising, though I haven’t seen an improvement in service. Email, Evites and Ecards has reduced the amount of things we send through the mail. Even a lot of our monthly bills arrive electronically now. Why invest in stamps, paper, and envelopes when you can send the document virtually free through a website or email?

Would we even have electricity, gas, or water without a computer somewhere making sure the distribution system is functioning properly?

Being Prepared in as Many Ways as Possible

https://www.flickr.com/photos/globalx/5532445369/in/photolist-stBjDL-9q2ee2-sascnH-stKKo8-9qTeg8-rrGAf6-davQFU-davQzq-ehE4fp-vZDkk-ehE5gz-sDb51U-sov316-CF2JMR-zeP1JLHere in California, we’re cautioned to have an earthquake kit. I wonder if it would be enough to withstand an extended halt to what we’ve come to consider “necessary services”. In 1994, I was without power, gas, and water for a couple of days. Other areas fared far worse. I managed OK by keeping the refrigerator and freezer closed and using my barbecue to heat food. The local Von’s was gouging people for drinking water though, charging $20 for a single gallon.

These days, I usually have at least 10 gallons of fresh water in the house, and more than 1 tank of propane. I even have some firewood for my portable fire pit, and a good supply of food, assuming the outage doesn’t last long and defrost the contents of my freezer. I have an ample supply of food for my furry roommates, and the ones who keep the rat population in check as well. (Their job might get busier depending on the kind of disaster). I’ve also learned to fill my gas tank before it drops below 1/4 of a tank.

I’m willing to bet I don’t have many of the recommended items for a crisis, and I definitely don’t have everything in one convenient place. Still, I feel like I’m better prepared than most. As long as I have books, writing supplies, flashlights, and batteries, I’ll manage OK even if I have to eat the contents of my freezer defrosted but unheated. Everything in there is fully cooked, so it wouldn’t be a health issue.

Ensuring My Community Will Remain Intact

How can we help each other prepare? How can we ourselves reconfigure our https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanuska/16371662835/in/photolist-qWH3YT-h3KDEM-ewdvhp-e9cCB-6Wf1h7-9iRoH2-89tR5w-89tQSA-7skA4b-7pBtca-49z4DU-6TNaBU-otqsxk-4KAQus-7vuw6o-8afGXv-6hw7Tk-APopNz-AL6QNw-s54FqX-NmuqLf-2ix4T1-pQjPE7-TxLjHh-67Je8b-dDzvwJ-67Jesh-2WQ4zq-8z2ufX-7vuwP9-z1sx5G-oc8Axy-a6br61-hw2FTF-p16gZp-dTB5hW-nZBebF-gmjmkX-pEum5b-pErusD-obWc5n-fcvgnp-pWGBhX-eJNrGA-54tbDb-H8SaT-dRtQeu-qATRHy-hRTeai-2m98eclives to be ready to shift gears should much of what we’ve come to depend on become unavailable for an indeterminate amount of time?

My words might sound alarmist to some, but many a science fiction writer has addressed some form of major crisis on Earth. Most of what was written in the early to mid-1900’s has come to pass in one form or another. Everything from rockets to Mars, to Big Brother observing us in our homes. So why not at least acknowledge our need to be prepared to lose the communication methods we’ve come to depend on?

As for me, I may be dusting off the bicycle that’s been collecting dust and spiderwebs in my shed, make sure the tires are still intact, and that I can still ride the darn thing. It’ll come in handy should I need to find alternate transportation at some point in the not-so-distant future.

Can I Help You Help Yourself?

Life is complicated even without contemplating disaster. Do you need help getting more in alignment with your goals? 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!

Recognizing All I Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I can still walk a good distance and take care of my own needs.
  2. I’m grateful I’m both able to cook and enjoy the process.
  3. I’m grateful I’ll never be too old to learn new skills.
  4. I’m grateful for my morning walks which not only get my blood moving, but work out any kinks I acquired while lying prone in my bed.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, friendship, energy, inspiration, support, motivation, dedication, 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

You’re Beautiful at Every Age

Beautiful Comes From the Inside

Nothing makes me crazier than to see commercials telling people the normal signs of age make them ugly. Whether it’s a thickening mid-section, lines around the eyes, or skin that’s no longer as resilient as it once was, the makers of so-called beauty products do everything in their power to convince you those things are unattractive and need to be fixed.

Because of the barrage of advertisers telling you you’re essentially broken, you’ve probably either had your self-confidence taken down for the count almost daily; in which case you’re spending thousands of dollars on products meant to fix what was never broken in the first place, or you’ve given them all the middle finger.

Sadly, too few of you have told those companies and ad agencies to pound sand, which, if you ask me is the kindest thing they deserve to hear. I’d like to see an increasing number of women (and now, those companies are targeting men too!) say: “I’m perfect the way I am! I earned those gray hairs; the laugh lines around my mouth and eyes; the creases on my forehead. I’ve lived my life to the fullest instead of spending hours in front of a mirror looking for imaginary flaws!”

You Can’t Turn Back the Clock

Since when was it necessary to spend hours every day trying to look like you did https://www.flickr.com/photos/ceb291/279546797/in/photolist-qGKwn-dsq663-DhMiLN-q2YT9A-8U2RDM-aDXL6p-aDXU5n-2baeKXq-8M44HJ-hzeerF-p2jdDa-aN3xDe-aGdmFB-21pHSi2-2a4dmRb-Zkr86N-dAKzhx-aiW1rL-aCeMLr-aNpbWi-aDP3QU-aN3HY2-ZooWsE-dAZZ7r-Gu5v5M-7fm3tL-aEGFKg-qpiuys-DhbHPh-2bJ9goC-aq74Go-aDWZhj-dHbCzP-aNpnVr-anVoV9-41FjRz-41F7Jg-21kJg5y-d9Ukkg-aDXTbi-2eekMDo-Gtq4vM-7fhahR-21qv3Bt-aE2K4y-7fEHog-9ZnqzB-Zktkp1-21qvaPV-hs4J8G10 or 20 years ago? What’s wrong with the way you look now? Chances are, you aren’t in the public eye, or trying to get ahead on your looks alone. You have so much more going for you. You’re smart, and you’re beautiful but not a superficial beauty dependent on creams, salves, and fancy exercise bikes. Your beauty shines from within.

It’s in the people you touch, the things you care about, and your social consciousness. Your beauty shines in the children you’ve raised, or otherwise influenced. You shine brightly in the examples you’ve set, glowing like starlight, unmarred by the passage of time because your glow comes from deep within; from your essence; your soul.

Let’s Stop Validating Greed and False Promises

Yet every time one of those so-called beauty products leaves the shelf to go home with someone who is already perfect the way they are, the pronouncements of the advertisers are validated. With each validation via product sale, they’re inspired to find more things wrong with you they can promise to fix.

The trouble is, the creams, lotions, wraps, machines, and programs are never enough. There will always be imperfections to magnify and ridicule. Who came up with awful terms like “muffin tops”, “saddle bags”, or “camel toe” anyway? Certainly nobody’s friend!

I’m not trying to deny people an honest living, but when was tearing people down over made up imperfections an honest living? It’s time to take back your right to age; to live your life squeezing every ounce of joy from it. When it shows on your face, your body, your hair, your skin, rejoice!

Loving Who, When, and Where You Are

You’re not wasting precious moments trying to reverse the natural aging Created with Canvaprocess. You’re showing gratitude for the opportunity to age by appreciating the changes. You’re enjoying the sunshine with friends and family, unconcerned about the lines it might be etching in your face.

Or you’re sprawled on the living room floor on a Friday night playing games and eating pizza. It’s nobody’s business what you choose to eat; healthy or junk. You make your choices and live with them. The criticizers can go look in their own mirror for a change. It’s time they dragged the skeletons out of their own closets, and left yours alone!

Tearing You Down to Build Themselves Up

The Tower from the Spiral TarotI have a theory about those companies anyway. They’re run by people who, themselves have terrible self-images. They’re never happy with the way they look, how much money they have, or how much stuff they acquire. They think having a successful company that makes money by tearing other people down will make them happy.

I’ve got news for them. All the money, all the beauty treatments, all the stuff in the world won’t bring them happiness. There will always be something missing from their lives because they don’t bother to look past their own masks and facades.

Meanwhile, they’re damaging the psyches of millions of other people who’d have been better served by someone emphasizing their qualities instead of their flaws. But where’s the profit in that, I suppose.

Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands. Build Someone Up.

But wait! Think about the last time you paid someone a compliment. How did they respond? Sure, a lot of people have trouble accepting a compliment, but even so, didn’t they light up just a little? The value of that moment can’t be measured in dollars and cents, but it also won’t end up in a landfill when it fails to change that person’s life for the better. They won’t have to look for the next thing that’s supposed to fix their brokenness.

Instead, they might just look in the mirror the next time they pass and see the beauty you pointed out to them instead of the flaws some marketing department invented to make them feel bad enough about themselves to spend money on a product they not only didn’t need, but which couldn’t deliver on the promises anyway.

The best part is, it costs nothing to give someone a compliment. When you give them freely, you’ll find they start coming back to you just as freely. People who are happy and feeling appreciated simply do not see flaws. They might see imperfections, but they’re what makes each one of us unique and special.

They’re Not Imperfections, They’re What Make You Unique

What are imperfections anyway? They’re nothing more than something different; something that doesn’t fit some arbitrary definition of beauty (and we know where most of those come from!). They’re something that makes you stand out a little or a lot. The shape of your mouth, the set of your eyes, where you have curves, or don’t. The things which are uniquely you.

I’ll leave you with a final question: Why would you want to look and act like everyone else? (ok, 2 final questions) Why would you want to hide the very things that make you special and unique?

 

 

Gratitude is the Universal Dream Generator

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for my perfectly imperfect self.
  2. I’m grateful for the choices I have to listen to people who tell me I’m ugly, or to give them the finger. Guess which one I choose?
  3. I’m grateful for friends who build each other up and never tear each other down.
  4. I’m grateful for my ability to look in the mirror and see only qualities now.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, positivity, glorious imperfection, uniqueness, strength, choices, opportunities, healthy, peace, 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

Best Laid Plans Work Best With Balance

Letting My Inner Child Call the Shots Occasionally

https://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/6144729060/in/photolist-3sXiiN-79cUTk-6VaBVG-GUsXeK-qnCm5H-d5XpoC-5Tvsgb-7x7Jhw-amZkSu-pXsfKM-5TopvB-5MF2XZ-dnqeiB-9C31Yv-28ku7Rg-9m5Cts-omGCDC-5T4qn7-e2xNUC-mfCeZT-6RVoAh-a3P2f7-urpka-nKtZgr-8LFLux-dsSyjE-9AzNx5-W4TpQJ-xXPgS-brRoHe-9T2kCn-edcZ3H-a4dWNc-2Frv8v-sBJeM-5MGjKv-5cGQ25-gMdeqC-bzzgF5-4zDj55-4Uaf26-91q2wz-GPmaw-6uvJCp-7viqdV-7YKDTv-6T4oiL-7g2xCc-MKA7BD-gg9bcdThis has been the week that wasn’t in so many ways. Plans went awry, electronics coughed up junk, and even my body repeatedly told me, in the unique vernacular of a toddler: “I don’t wanna!”.

In the past, I’d have been ranting and raving, struggling to catch up, filling my hours with half-assed efforts, and feeling lousy about everything I did. I don’t know if it’s age, experience, or finally acquiring a modicum of patience, but I take a less frantic approach to days and weeks that seem to take on a mind of their own.

In all fairness, I’m also better prepared for them since I have at least 2, and often 3 weeks of blog posts in the queue, and am usually ahead of schedule on projects for my clients. Maybe it’s simply holdouts from my days of working in an office where interruptions were the norm, and having something new and urgent tossed in my lap was commonplace. I learned to leave space in my schedule for the unexpected, and it’s a habit I see no reason to break, especially now that I work for myself.

Self-Care is More About Allowing Than Doing

Many people these days are talking about self-care. Suggestions are offered on https://www.flickr.com/photos/prestonrhea/5236270625/in/photolist-8YHfQ2-4X1dP6-P58XGS-dmtrwi-2pMKC-nC1YD-QxGsf-q4rWqa-8HeDZc-o8pVg-8mXR4g-o7nP7c-8jQqTQ-bPxsQc-dJusGN-78jLU7-98LY1P-dYGYNq-cgtYSu-cgu1F7-7rMJ9R-6z6KQA-6VuMG-6Jfxqk-4bbwMg-dmtxds-9Rf6xQ-v8gDMa-9PqETD-4MsUzv-ptUKap-a2BfLR-4UtU1B-4UtSun-5dBS8k-7eGxtr-7nUbqa-7nUbW8-fBZ3S4-5M1h3P-8DYirc-8E2uBh-6r2V98-7oFgff-7oBon2-7oBpbn-7oBoG6-7oFfRo-vPhUL-jk3BYphow busy business owners should make time to keep their own engine primed, so to speak. The ideas cover the gamut from physical activity, to healthy eating, to taking breaks.

If you ask me, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. If it’s hungry, feed it; preferably something healthy and nutritious, but if it occasionally asks for a treat, by all means be willing to break your dietary restrictions temporarily to indulge it.

When you feel stiff or out of sorts, get up and move. I’ve recently rediscovered how much a simple, 20-minute walk in the morning can re-set your day and your metabolism. Even if you do nothing more than get up from your desk to visit the bathroom or fix a meal for the rest of the day, that 20 minutes of movement and fresh air get your day off on the right foot (pun intended).

Above all, if you feel tired, or out of sorts, don’t allow guilt to creep in and spoil the nap, meditation, or down time in front of the TV. You work hard, and you take care of yourself physically. Your mind needs breaks too.

Finding Our Level of Peak Performance

Science has proven that we are far more effective and efficient when we’re operating at the top of our game. That means sufficient rest, exercise, and nutrition. But Corporate America counters those arguments, telling us to get the job done no matter what. As a result, you have offices full of people who are functioning at 10% or less because they can’t seem to shake the latest cold or virus.

If they could stay home and get over it completely without harassment from employer and co-workers, everyone in the place would stay healthier. Think about what circulates in those office air conditioners. You wouldn’t eat food with crap like that in it. Why do you willingly breathe the air?

Yes, I’m frustrated I didn’t get as much done this week as I’d planned, nor get to the gym my usual 3 times. But I did walk every day but one, and got what must have been much-needed rest, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. As I no longer keep a lot of junk food in the house, I couldn’t eat badly if I’d tried. My idea of cheating on my diet these days is Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, Yasso 100-calorie yogurt bars, and Harvest lentil bean snacks.

Did you know it’s harder to happily binge on healthier snacks? I didn’t either until I sat with a bag of lentil snacks, ate a few, and put the bag away—because I’d satisfied the craving! The truth is, you set your mind to “healthier” and your body follows. When you overwork, eat crap, and otherwise tell your bod you don’t care, it craves love and attention in the form of things we mistakenly define as comfort food. In other words, grease, sugar, salt, and carbs.

Using Setbacks as a Reminder to Take a Step Back

Unfortunately, you get stuck in a self-perpetuating downward spiral in which https://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-RNnFfMyour health suffers, and you accomplish less with more effort. Tell me something. Who does that on purpose?

I’ve learned when life offers setbacks, regardless of the source, the best thing to do is take a step back, relax, and give myself permission to get nothing accomplished if that’s what it takes to let the situation pass peacefully. Recognize I truly do have things under control and that there’s no meter running on the amount of stuff I’m supposed to get done in a given amount of time.

Even if there was, my normal work habits put me ahead of the game anyway. I suspect yours do too, but you may have gotten stuck in a self-destructive loop of overachieving. It may be as simple as working smarter, not harder, a lesson that took me a long time to master.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Here are a few things I’ve put in place in the last few years which give me down time whenever I need it:

  • For clients I bill monthly, as soon as the work is done, I create the invoice and set up the email with delayed delivery. (Most email programs can do this).
  • Give myself more time than I know I need to complete a project to allow for delays both human and electronic.
  • Use the scheduling option on my blog and website to write my copy in advance.
  • Set up sharing on my website and blog to automatically publish to social media.
  • Pre-schedule a month’s worth of posts on sites other than my own.
  • Put all projects on Trello with due dates so I know exactly when things need to be completed.
  • Check Trello daily.
  • Put all regular daily activities on Google calendar with reminders.

Many of these might seem to you like no-brainers, but think of the stress you avoid when you don’t miss appointments; when you see what you have coming up, and how long you have to meet the deadline; when you see white space on your calendar you can use to accommodate the unexpected.

Leaving Space to Let Go

This week, I “lost” the better part of 2 days. I didn’t write any blog posts, or get work for clients done, or make progress on my marketing. Instead, I had time to take the breaks I needed, look honestly at what I’d done this week, and recognize it was more than I thought, and give some attention to my daughter when she needed to vent. All without stress or guilt!

I no longer beat myself up when plans go awry. Instead, I congratulate myself for having the space in my schedule to ride out the waves which bring production to a temporary standstill. In other words, I’ve found my balance.

Need Some Help Creating Space?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with too many things you have to do and not enough time? Did you know you don’t have to do it all? 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 and life space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the pace I set myself. It varies with energy level, mood, and circumstances, and is rarely stress-driven any more.
  2. I am grateful for my life outside the regular world.
  3. I am grateful for choices I made which, on the surface may still seem ill-advised, but which have given me a far better quality of life.
  4. I am grateful for options. Each day can be the same as the one before, but it can also be quite different. Either way, it’s my choice.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, projects, energy, choices, fresh air, sunshine, kitty love, family, peace, health, harmony, freedom, 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
 

Attitude: The Ultimate Motivator

Analyzing My Attitude

As I recently embarked on a new version of my lifelong weight management journey (courtesy of Julia Cameron’s “Writing to Diet”), I tend to think about it more than usual. Being the analytical sort, I take it apart and put it back together in various configurations. In one scenario, I look at how others treat their less-than-perfect bodies. Let’s be honest, here. I’ve never met a woman who couldn’t find something she didn’t like about her body!

Still and all, I find those who are more successful focus more on changing one thing, and it has nothing to do with food or exercise.

Re-assessing the Messages I Send Myself

You’ve probably seen a lot of meme’s and posts lately dealing with how people 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-cS691Nrespond to the messages they receive. Whether you tell a child she’s smart or dumb, she’ll more often than not meet your expectations.

Humans like you and me grow up on the outside, but there’s a part of us which will always be that child who’s easily influenced by expectations; both internal and external. When we tell ourselves things like:

You’re a mess. You need to clean up your act.

or

You’ll never lose the weight you need to. You’re a fatty who can’t control her eating.

or

You gained back 3 ounces. Might as well go scarf that gallon of ice cream. You’re a failure.

In one sense, you’re ripping away at your own self-confidence, and in another, you’re giving yourself permission to keep failing—to keep disappointing the most important person in your life—YOU!

Self-Improvement is the Ultimate Goal

One of the requirements for the new self-improvement program I’ve embarked upon (and yes, I see it as self-improvement rather than weight loss) is to take a 20-minute walk every day. As it happens, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of walking daily for months without success. Somehow, though, when Ms. Cameron wrote about it and offered examples from students who’d followed her plan successfully, I came up with my own plan to make it work.

I know myself well, so getting dressed and out the door had to be a first-thing-in-the-morning task, or it would get put off the way my gym workouts were until I created a plan. If you’ve been following me for the last year or so, you know I’ve been incredibly successful at meeting my 3-day-a-week gym goal, because I assigned myself specific days with their own specific workout. (Monday; legs, Wednesday; chest and triceps, Friday; back and biceps).

As a result, I’m stronger, leaner, and have more energy. I also know it’s not enough, because I wasn’t sticking to my healthier diet so my weight was going up and down like a yo-yo. I’d like to believe at least half of the poundage I reacquired is muscle mass, but who am I kidding? Indeed, a part of it might be, but my clothes were fitting tighter again, and contrary to popular belief, they did not shrink in the wash!

Motivation According to Plan

In order to make the daily walk work with my schedule, I had to put it after writing morning pages and feeding the cats (tasks I can’t move around any more than I already have!), and before coffee and my usual yogurt and blueberries breakfast. Trust me, when coffee is the reward for getting my sneakers on and heading out the door to walk for a mere 20 minutes, little if anything gets between me and that walk!

Now, I could tell you I motivate myself by looking at the too-high numbers on the scale or the ample figure in the mirror and berating myself, but not only would I be lying, I’d be doing you a gross disservice. The truth is, I look at the numbers on the scale and, even when they go back up a bit, I look at my excel spreadsheet and see how many pounds I’ve released over time rather than what I regained over a day or two. It reminds me how much I’m capable of, and that there will always be setbacks.

Positive Reinforcement

I also look myself in the mirror and notice the positive changes. I tell myself how proud I am of those changes, and the effort I made and continue to make. I recognize the effort and forgive the imperfections.

Sure, I’ve changed my eating habits a lot. I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and less sugar and flour. I try to track every bite that passes my lips, though with more success some days than others. The question remains, how was I able to turn a life of sloth and often depression into one where the weight is coming off, albeit slowly, and my energy is increasing, not so slowly.

The answer is really a single word: Attitude. Changing my attitude and appreciating my smallest wins turned everything around, and gave me the drive and desire to add new things like daily walks to my routine. Attitude makes me stand straighter and taller, suck in my belly without having to remind myself, and make better food choices.

Ask Not “What Can I Eat?” But “Am I Really Hungry Now?”

It’s taught me to ask myself when my stomach growls at 10 PM if I’m truly hungry, and if so, will a small slice of bell pepper be as effective (if not more so) in silencing the dragons than some sweet or salty snack (for the record, the answer is always yes these days).

I listen to friends complaining about the way they look, or some flaw nobody notices but them. That was once me, and while I focused on the flaws and the failures, my progress was limited if not negative. I had to learn to love myself as I am, at any given moment.

Seeing Myself Through Less Critical Eyes

That doesn’t mean I have to stay in the place I spent so much time beating myself up over. It simply means that each stage of my progress is good and praise-worthy. Wherever I find myself is better than someplace I was at some point in the past.

The changes might not be visible to anyone else, but like everyone, I have laser vision when it comes to myself. I know the frame I live in once carried 20 or 30 more pounds, and that those pounds were pure fat. I know I’m starting to see collarbones I haven’t seen in decades, and silly as it may sound, it makes me dance with joy. Does anyone else notice the faint hint of bone at my neckline? Doubtful. But what anyone else sees has nothing to do with my attitude towards myself—unless I let it.

The Only Opinion That Matters is Mine

If you ask me, the biggest mistake you can make is to allow anyone else to influence your attitude towards yourself. I did for a very long time, and am working on fixing the damage it did.

I’ve also learned no matter how much I’ve shored up my attitude, people and things can still shake it. Still, it’s up to me to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes:

What other people think of me is none of my business.

Whether you’re struggling with your weight, building a business, reaching a goal, or simply giving yourself permission to succeed, I’ve learned it will continue to be a struggle until you can tell yourself with complete confidence that you deserve to succeed at whatever you want to do. The rest is just logistics.

Supporting Myself With an Attitude of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to love myself as I am, and not some pie-in-the-sky image of perfection.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve learned to set new goals, and to find a way to achieve them instead of talking myself out of trying.
  3. I’m grateful for new adventures.
  4. I’m grateful for dreams fulfilled. It means I get to dream new dreams.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, love, self-confidence, attitude, friendship, inspiration, motivation, new experiences, 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

The Invisibility of Emotional Abandonment

Healing Abandonment Issues

Created with CanvaThe last few months have brought a series of epiphanies which, when I finally connected the dots made me realize I had abandonment issues. Yet, a thorough review of my last 60-odd years revealed no particular incident when someone abandoned me—or so I thought.

Further review of my personal time line told another story. Sure, I haven’t been physically abandoned in the literal sense. The abandonment issues in my personal history are something I hadn’t even considered. They all occurred on an emotional level. It could explain why I found them so easy to stuff down inside—to deny their existence.

My mother, who had a history of being emotionally abandoned herself, always told me I was the more difficult child. In retrospect, of course I was. I was the first child who lived (her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage), and I’m not sure she was emotionally prepared to be a mother in the first place. At 21, she’d never lived alone. She went from her mother’s house to her husband’s apartment, but only after the ring was on her finger.

History Repeats Itself if You Let It

Sure, it was a different time, but I know from experience there’s a lot to learn 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-8w9Yqrabout living on your own, and having kids right away doesn’t make it easier. In my mom’s case, she didn’t even know how to cook, and learned on her own rather than asking for her mother’s help. Barely 2 years and one miscarriage later, she had me to deal with as well; a helpless baby who demanded more of her time than she knew how to give.

By the time my sister came along 2 1/2 years later, she’d made her share of mistakes, but learned a lot too. Of course my sister was an easier child! She was born to an experienced mother!

It didn’t help when I contracted Scarlatina which led to a penicillin allergy before I was 5. Add to that, a blindness scare at 10 before they realized I was susceptible to ocular migraines, a legacy from my dad and his mom. So if my mother shut down emotionally to protect her own shaky sanity, I can see now she did it for good reason, if not in my best interests.

Searching for the Love I Needed

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqLacking my mother’s love, I spent years trying to earn the love and affection from a man who, quite frankly, hadn’t been trained to give it. Until my grandmother died when I was 12, she and my grandfather were deeply immersed in each other. Their kids, my dad and his sister, got whatever was left. Affection was typically communicated with sarcasm and ridicule.

As I look back, no matter how hard I tried to measure up to my dad’s expectations so I could earn a love which should have been given simply because I was his child, he’d always set the bar a little higher than I could reach. In the end, he loved me as best he could, but for a shy, introverted, little girl with zero self-confidence, it wasn’t enough.

I grew up imitating my dad. But I wasn’t nearly as good at it as he, and made a lot of poor choices in my desperation to be loved and accepted. I vacillated between hardening my outer shell and playing chameleon for decades until the shell started breaking down and I began making drastic changes.

Learning the Difference Between Seeking and Allowing

The first was to divorce my alcoholic and emotionally abusive husband. Yes, I’m https://www.flickr.com/photos/134921587@N06/23686767022/in/photolist-C67SAS-ctvgV1-oTB61e-G23PMn-21xTKc-qJZokP-BitVnD-ctvjEb-ctv2Wo-C86UJi-5yyHup-dGchk9-ctvkoG-8smaT9-Hb9D9-bCMY61-ctvDdJ-fjCHU-DjAHuB-a7ZNLt-qGVeSr-sp457s-RLx6vm-62Xk7K-qfydfc-FFnBTk-ewnTH9-ctvqbf-pYhS7Z-agphz5-2eWFpQN-dGcfxE-bRGHjR-piX8Sk-piJE7f-ctvJCN-oh53V-bRGHxt-bRGJ5r-qfGLzR-qfEkx7-piHFu7-qyFAYh-oh4KB-oh5Y5-ctuKBf-fjDom-fjDY6-CRBBws-9aV9yxanother statistic; a woman who marries a man similar to her most damaged parent; in this case, my mom, in hopes of fixing what’s broken and earning the love she was denied. Trust me, it’s a battle that can’t be won.

What followed was a series of fits and starts. I hid inside my self-made cave, pretending I needed no one for several years. I had a couple of emotionally bankrupt relationships before giving up dating for what would ultimately last more than 20 years. Still, I knew I wasn’t meant to live without love. But experience hadn’t taught me what it really looked like, much less, how to go about finding it.

Connecting With My Spirituality and Self-Love

When I was introduced to “The Secret” I felt an almost physical shift. At first, it affected my own self-image and drove me to read more and more about fixing myself. I now have a shelf full of books ranging from “Laws of Attraction” to Kabbalah. Some have helped me more than others, but I’m not done learning.

The walls came down, the shell shattered. I’ve opened up to people and changed my social circle a time or seven. The most significant change I’ve seen is people opening up to me. Therein lies the biggest hole in my earlier years.

Breaking the Legacy and Removing My Masks

My parents, and everyone around me were a series of constantly smiling masks. No one shared their true self, and everyone was damaged in some way; some far more than others. It was a world where you either pretended your world was perfect, or faced ridicule and disgust from those around you. Broken was considered ugly. Vulnerable was weak.

By the time I figured it out, I’d seen first-hand what it cost to keep those masks in place. I’d had a few melt-downs myself, in the privacy of my own home. My mother had had the ultimate meltdown, swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills and laid her masks down for good. A few years later, my dad made a similar choice, using a gun instead of pills. He, too put down the masks and lowered the walls after a lifetime of holding them in place, sometimes out of sheer stubbornness. I have to wonder if there were times when the hold was tenuous, and his mood bordered on desperation.

Building on a Strong, Supportive Foundation At Last

Lest you think this is an excuse for a pity party, let me assure you, it’s quite the opposite. Lacking a strong emotional foundation, I had to figure out how to erect one of my own. I learned in the process it’s not something you do in a vacuum.

I’ve learned to gather around me strong, supportive friends who are able to share their own times of need, and reach out to me. The foundation I’ve built is not just my own strengths shoring up internal weaknesses. It’s built on what I’ve been able to offer my friends, but more important; what they’ve been able to offer me.

We are stronger for the people we’re able to give to and accept from. None of us have everything we need to build our foundation, any more than we have every skill, or all the knowledge we need to live a successful, fulfilled life. My parents never figured that out, nor did theirs. I was given the opportunity to change the pattern. I was also given a daughter who, like me, wanted to see it change.

We’ve each made changes in our own ways, but have also built our own communities, both together and separate. It may have begun with unrecognized emotional abandonment, but if you ask me, what it’s grown into was (almost) worth the tough lessons I had to learn alone.

Making Gratitude a Daily Practice

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the life I was given; all the hills and valleys, smooth roads, and potholes. I’ve learned and I’ve grown from the challenges.
  2. I’m grateful for the friends who even now are patient with me when I knee-jerk and crawl back into my hole. They know when to push and when to let me be to figure it out.
  3. I’m grateful for dancing which, in it’s own way, forces me to get out of my shell and out from behind the walls.
  4. I’m grateful for the writing which has allowed me to safely express things until I was ready to share more openly. And for the people it’s brought to me for the sharing.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, sharing, vulnerability, joy, dancing, motivation, inspiration, support, community, health, peace, 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
 

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