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

Posts tagged ‘heart’

If We’re Perfect in Our Dreams, Why Are We Less So Awake?

As Perfect As Our Dream Selves

Like many women, I spend a lot of time focusing on my weight. Whether I do it overtly or not, I am telling myself I’m not good enough at my current weight and that I need to lose some of my excess baggage. The trouble is, as long as I keep telling myself I’m overweight, I’ll continue doing things to maintain the status quo, hard as I try to alter my behavior.

I realized something recently which rather confounds me. In my dreams, I’m always at my ideal size and weight! What this means is, deep down inside my subconscious, I am perfect just the way I am. I’m not critical of my weight or my complexion or any of the million and three things we find to dislike about ourselves or at the very least, want to improve upon.

It made me realize we have many conflicts within ourselves. The obvious one is mind vs. heart. And maybe this is simply one aspect of that conflict. Our mind sees fault and our heart—well, it sees, if not perfection, lack of imperfection. Our heart loves us unconditionally and our mind nitpicks us to death. While our heart thrives on adventure and change, our mind wants to keep things the same at all costs.

Live a Peaceful Life. Stop the Internal Strife.

Do you see where I’m going with this? We seem to spend our lives fighting with ourselves, and it has to stop! If we can’t find a way to make our own facets get along and find compromises, how are we going to successfully maneuver the 60-lane high-speed highway of humanity, all struggling to make their internal voices get along?

I’ll be the first to admit people annoy me, sometimes constantly, while others, it’s a dull rumble at the back of my mind. In pretty much every case, if I take a step back and disconnect from the situation, I’ll find what’s annoying me is something I fight within myself. The harder I’m fighting to control or change something I, myself am guilty of, the uglier my response when I see it in someone else. Think how much more pleasant I’d find other humans if I’d just stop hating all the things that make me unique. If I’d stop considering those qualities flaws.

Amplify the Heart’s Voice

I suspect the me I see in my dreams is my heart’s attempts to show me the part which really matters is anything I want her to be. She isn’t constrained by physical characteristics, false modesty, or vanity. She goes on adventures and sometimes things don’t turn out so well. But she gets up, deals with the consequences, and moves on, happy to be alive.

In my dreams, I never go shopping and find nothing fits right or looks good. I never overeat or otherwise abuse myself. That isn’t to say I haven’t been awful to other people, but those dreams invariably wake me, leaving me shaken and confused about what transpired in the depths of my subconscious.

Not all my dreams are memorable or self-involved. Often I’m someone else entirely, or even playing multiple parts. Sometimes, I don’t even remember what I dreamed or even that I did, but those nights are rare. My already overactive imagination runs rampant when I stop thinking about all the mundane crap we fill our lives with, and allow whatever lurks in my shadows to come out and play.

Coming out of the Shadows

Maybe that’s really the answer. If we let our shadow selves come out and play more of the time, we’d have less time to think critical thoughts about ourselves. We’d be less inclined to judge others by the faults we’ve manufactured and magnified about ourselves.

I was listening to a web broadcast talking about comparison, but I think what they said works as well for judgement too. Essentially, when you find yourself judging someone else, step back and recognize 5 things in them you find amazing. But don’t stop there. Look at yourself, and recognize 5 of your own amazing qualities. By doing this, you’ve cut off 2 damaging and pointless processes in your mind. You’ve stopped looking at someone else through your own pain and discontent, and you’ve cut that discontent off at the knees by seeing yourself in a kinder, more accepting light.

When a person is unhappy or discontented, the emotions color their outlook; darken how they look out upon the world. Take them low enough, and they fail to see even the most beautiful visions through their darkened viewpoint. A conversation with them about the virtues of almost anything is an exercise in frustration.

Asking for Help When the Gloom Overtakes Us

https://www.facebook.com/cmhagbYet we all go down that road at times. We see everything that can go wrong, and nothing that has already gone right. We are Eeyore’s who can see darkness on the sunniest of days. Sometimes we can pull ourselves out of it alone. We can make a conscious effort to see the beautiful flowers, smell the delectable scents, and hear the sweet sound of birdsong.

But sometimes we can’t, and find ourselves sliding further and further down into the abyss of misery and gloom. We might know on a conscious level that getting up and moving, or a change of scenery will help improve our outlook. But we’ve reached a point where we don’t think we are worth the effort. Hard to believe we personally could sink that low, especially on one of our good days. But we are all there at times.

Offering Help to a Friend in Need

You might look at someone who is always happy and smiling, always has a kind word for someone else. But I promise you, they have days when they struggle too. There are times when their body gives up for a while, forcing them to stop and deal with everything they’ve been holding back or covering up with their sunny disposition.

What’s my point in mentioning this here? It’s simple. If we’re conscious of our own drops in mood and do our best to counteract them, we’ll become more conscious and sensitive to the moods of the people around us.

I have a good friend who lights up the room whenever she walks in. She’s a spark of energy, much like Tinkerbell, flitting around the room, bringing everyone joy. But there are times I can feel her energy wane—when she’s expended so much energy keeping everyone else up, she’s worn herself out—used herself up. She won’t admit it unless someone asks her point-blank. Even then, she’ll try to sidestep the question.

Nevertheless, she, too has to step back and recharge from time to time, even if she waits until her body forces the issue with a sucker punch to the gut. I can see some of myself in her too. She doesn’t easily ask for help. Sure, she’ll ask for rides because she doesn’t see well at night, but I have yet to see her ask for help with something which affects her deeply. Granted, I may just not be one she feels comfortable reaching out to, but I do see her struggling with some pretty hairy stuff, though she may not realize I see it.

Clear Your Crud and Be A Friend

At any rate, returning to my point about consciousness and sensitivity, being aware and available to those who may not willingly reach out and ask for help is something we can only do if we stop allowing the negative voices to tear us down. When we stop listening, or tell them they’ve said their piece and can now go sit in the corner and think about their meanness for awhile, we’re ready to listen to what those around us aren’t saying, but are communicating silently. We can offer help even if it’s rejected 75 times because maybe the 76th will be our opportunity to help someone climb over a few of the boulders that have tumbled down and are blocking their way.

Our perfectly imperfect selves may be just what another person needs to refocus on what’s good and beautiful in their lives and send the sad, depressing, down-pulling side of themselves back into the dark corner it crawled out of. That side will always be within each of us. It’s our choice whether or not to allow it to affect our lives.

When All Else Fails, Try Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who help me see my beauty, and realize the faults I see are my dark side trying to gain a foothold.
  2. I am grateful for opportunities to help others, but also for finally learning to accept their help when I need it.
  3. I am grateful for days when I feel unmotivated, only to have them turned around by a chance word, a bright spot amidst the darkness.
  4. I am grateful for sunshine and rain, darkness and light, days when everything goes right, and days when things seem to snowball downhill fast. It gives me perspective and the realization that nothing stays the same for long. The only constant is change.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, joy, discovery, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, green lights, energy and even sloth, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

 

Can I Trust Enough to Give My Whole Heart?

My Own Words Come Back and Slap Me In the Face

In my last article, I wrote the following words:

Very few have ever gotten close enough to be able to hurt me.

After writing them within the context of the article and publishing it, I sat down to meditate. The words hovered in the forefront of my consciousness, almost taunting me to examine them further. Being unable to resist the temptation, I decided to use my next article, this one, in fact, to explore the idea further.

I looked back at the men in my life over the years. I realized that in every case, though I felt hurt over one thing or another when our brief interlude ended, it was never my heart which was hurt, but my pride. Thus, the words so casually tossed into the last thing I wrote for public consumption are not only the plain, unvarnished truth, but a sad commentary on my 61 years on this planet.

Being Worthy

For a long time, I was like so many others who believe they don’t deserve to be loved. It isn’t a conscious choice we make. After all, who would make such a choice? It’s more a sense of worthiness, and mine was decidedly lacking, and, as such, was reflected not only in the men I attracted, but people in general.

When I finally started telling myself a different story, my entire social circle changed. For a while, it meant I spent a lot of time alone, but as I returned to the activities which had always brought me joy, I found new people entering my life who shared the joyfulness. Even so, it took a long time for those friendships to become more than surface-level. My old habits still lurk beneath the surface. I’m still hesitant to expose my soft inner core and be vulnerable with anyone.

Chinks in the Walls

But lately, a few have begun to scratch beneath my surface. They read my words and, often times, recognize something similar in themselves. That recognition helps establish a connection and those people in particular read past the words to their source, my heart.

Granted, the insightful ones are still few and far between, but having even one in my life who understands what I’m not putting into words is a 100% improvement over what came before.

The biggest surprise came when I started letting my hair down both literally and figuratively. People suddenly found a safe place to share their own struggles and challenges. Why did I never realize how honored…how touched I would feel when a friend shared their vulnerabilities with me?

Pain Averted, Opportunities Missed

Hidden behind the walls I’d built so painstakingly, I missed out on a lot of things. Believing for so many years that emotions equaled weakness, I failed to learn things everyone else seems to take for granted. I know it was my misinterpretation of my parents’ actions and behavior. I know that now. But I was so completely convinced that exposing my emotions would make me the weak person I believed my mom to be, and who I refused to emulate. How was I to know that it takes a strong person to allow others to see their soft side, and not the other way around? I made a conscious effort before my 10th birthday to block myself off from the one person who could have taught me what I needed to know.

I watched my mom struggle to be loved and assumed she was too weak to just stand on her own and tell everyone to pound sand. I watched my dad keep all of his emotions inside and at the same time, drink away the pain he never let anyone see. Yet he’s the one I chose to emulate, sans drinking. I have to wonder if he ever allowed himself to be loved; if he ever gave someone his heart.

Taking My First Baby Steps

Now that I’m at least considering trusting again, it’s opened me up to having girl friends. But a relationship beyond friendship with a man is still as frightening as it ever was. So I make excuses. The pickin’s are really slim. Not too many single men looking for a woman my age. 60-year-olds want to date 40-year-olds. I’m telling myself new stories, but keeping the same theme.

It’s funny. One of my newest friends is in her early 40’s. We were talking about how the 60-year-olds want 40-year-olds and she echoed something I said when I was mid-divorce. At the time, I was in my late 30’s and it was the 60-year-olds who made the advances, not the 40-year-olds. I remember thinking at the time, Yuk! He’s as old as my dad! Seems like I’ve completed the circle now, and I’m not exactly happy about it. Because there will always be 40-year-olds who are happy to date the 60-year-olds, few as they might be. Where does that leave us 60-year-olds, even if we don’t look or act our age?

Strengthening Myself Instead of My Defenses

But again, that’s me making excuses because no matter what I might say, I’m still not sure I can trust someone with my heart. In my mind, it’s still far too fragile. Yet, how do you strengthen something? You have to temper it. Muscles need to tear. Blisters become callouses. There will be some pain or discomfort along the way. You just have to decide whether that pain or discomfort is worth it; if being stronger and healthier is worth the cost.

I still find it easier to watch people interacting, calling it research. I still can’t talk to a man I don’t know in a social situation until I’ve convinced myself he’s interested in someone else and will only see me from a non-emotional viewpoint. Only then can I approach him in friendship, feeling that my heart is safe once more.

It seems I’ve answered my own question. I am still not certain I can bare my heart to someone, trusting he won’t take my most precious gift and stomp it into the dust.

But then I ask myself whether I’d survive the experience, and I answer with a resounding Yes! Maybe I’m ready after all?

For All That Came Before and For All That’s Still to Come, I Am Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who have breached my walls.
  2. I am grateful for those who are teaching me to let go of old fears.
  3. I am grateful for my girl friends.
  4. I am grateful for a mind that forces me to really look at my self-talk.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, lessons, growing stronger, love, joy, dancing, opportunity, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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

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