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

Posts tagged ‘imperfections’

A Self Love Kind of Valentine’s Day

Self-Love is the Best Love You Can Have

self loveAs holidays go, Valentine’s Day has long been my least favorite and one I often choose as a day to isolate myself from the world. I stay off Social Media, and bury myself in a book or some other task to avoid seeing all the happy, sappy posts about ooey gooey love.

It’s not that I don’t believe it exists. I just don’t think it’s necessary to remind the multitudes like me who are alone, by choice or otherwise in so blatant, and let’s face it, commercial a manner of our aloneness. I think I’d be less averse to the day if the commercialism wasn’t so rampant, and if there was an emphasis on self love.

Why self love, you may ask? I believe no romantic partnership can be strong or complete unless each partner, individually loves him or herself. I see so many posts from people talking about the flaws in their relationships. They look at what their partner does or doesn’t do. Maybe some of them are valid, but if so, why stay in a relationship like that? I read into the complaints without solutions that the whiner doesn’t care enough about him/herself to either speak up and ask for what they need, or decide the relationship is broken beyond repair, and leave before it negatively impacts their future.

Love Your Imperfections. They Make You Unique.

Maybe I’m overly simplistic, but at least I speak from some experience. I left a broken relationship, and to be honest, I did it long before I learned to love myself as I am, flaws and all. In fact, I didn’t love myself much at all when I decided life was too short to be that unhappy. The ensuing years weren’t always easy, but I can look back now and recognize I got through the tough times, and eventually I did learn to love myself.

I also learned no one can give you self love or even teach you how to love yourself. You might somehow internalize examples you see, or gain some techniques from self-help books, gurus, and support groups. But you have to do the work. You have to want to stop hating yourself and perpetuating your unhappy life by obliterating your self-defeating habits.

I’ll help you out a bit on that one. Here are some things that helped me climb out of that pit of self-loathing into a place where I can usually accept my flaws (face it. I’m human, and I will occasionally see the extra pounds and fling poo at my self-esteem), recognize my accomplishments, and truly believe my goals and dreams are achievable.

Taking Baby Steps to Self-Love

  • Focus on eliminating negative self-talk. This is best accomplished by having an accountability partner to help you see when you’re doing it.
  • Educate yourself. Read excessively. My books of choice began with “The Secret” and “Laws of Attraction”. As I evolved, so did my reading list.
  • Create positive affirmations and post them all over the place; your house, your car, your office…
  • Subscribe to emails or groups that are all about positive affirmations. Some of my favorite’s are:
    • Messages from the Universe (email)
    • Contagious Optimism (Facebook)
    • Tiny Buddha (Facebook)
    • Speak Your Soul (Facebook)
  • If you spend much time on Social media, unfollow anyone who focuses on negativity, be it political bashing, complaining about life, or anything else that doesn’t feel good when you read it. The occasional mention of health issues or other life challenges is one thing, but avoid the wallowers who complain but don’t seek solutions.
  • Look yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning and say something positive. The one I used and still do when I need a pick-me-up is “I’m beautiful, sexy, sassy, and delicious!”
  • Flip all negative thoughts with something positive you’ve achieved, or a challenge you’ve overcome. e.g. I gained half a pound today, BUT I got more than 10,000 steps in yesterday and what I ate, while perhaps not perfect, was mostly healthy AND I avoided the cookies at the Grand Opening I attended.

Committing to Yourself is Priority One

  • Make solid commitments to yourself. Mine include getting my pre-scheduled blog posts accomplishmentsup to 4 weeks ahead. I allowed myself to do it in baby steps. Get it to 2 weeks and hold it there for awhile, then move it to 3. After keeping the 3 week program in place for awhile, ease into the 4 weeks. And what do you know! Here I am.
  • Never, ever focus on how long it took you to achieve a goal. The only important thing is that you achieved it. You took as long as you needed to. Period.
  • You deserve to take care of yourself first. Remember the story of the plane, the child, and the oxygen mask. You have to put yours on first or you won’t be conscious enough to help the child.
  • It’s OK to say no. Refer to the previous bullet point. Your first priority is your own self-care. Everything and everyone else is secondary. Even your kids! Sure, when they’re really young, you have to take your moments a little more selectively, but you can still take them. I figured out how as a single mother to twin girls. You can too.
  • It’s OK to ask for help. In fact, I highly recommend it. No one can or should do everything themselves. There’s a world of experience and possibilities for you to draw on. Use it!
  • Don’t sweat the small shit, and everything is small shit.
  • There’s only one moment you can control, and that’s the one you’re in right now. Worrying about all the stupid stuff like paying bills, making dinner, grocery lists, or the crabby boss you have to face tomorrow are not in this moment, so love it. Enjoy it. Make it the best moment you can.

A small caution. This list evolved over a number of years. Start small and remember, it’s a lot easier to take 1,000 baby steps than it is to take one giant leap. Those baby steps add up to giant leaps a lot faster than you might think. Also, don’t isolate yourself. Learning self-love is easier when you have someone in your corner both supporting and supported. Humans need to both give and receive. It’s called balance.

Share Your Story

in the flowWherever you are in your journey, feel free to share here or on one of my Facebook page. I’m more than happy to be one of your cheerleaders. I believe if more people loved themselves, there’d be a lot less room for hating others. Think how quickly all the blaming and shaming would end if everyone felt good about their own damn selves.

Sharing Your Load: The Ultimate in Self-Care

Are you struggling to keep all 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 and your life space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

 

Gratitude is the Most Powerful Tool in Your Toolbox

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the many people who have helped, and continue to help me on my self-love journey.
  2. I’m grateful for my ability to stand alone, accepting I haven’t found someone to share my life, but knowing as long as I’m breathing, the possibility is still alive.
  3. I’m grateful for the many examples in my life of couples who both love themselves and each other.
  4. I’m grateful for all the different kinds of love in my life: friendship, kitty love, family, self, and the love of life itself in all it’s twists and turns.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, family, support, compassion, kindness, positivity, inspiration, motivation, self-care, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic 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

Overwhelming Ourselves into Inaction

Life Can Be Overwhelming: Get Over It!

Oftentimes, the goals we set for ourselves are filled to the brim with all our hopes and dreams. This leads to goals as big as Mount Olympus, and often leaves us staring in open-mouthed awe. But open-mouthed awe doesn’t help us climb the mountain. In fact, quite the opposite, it leaves us standing in one place, unable to move, overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

While we stand there staring, we lose sight of the fact that our goal is climbing the mountain. Climbing the mountain before us, or anything else we might imagine starts with a single step, a tiny action, and a plan.

Yet not all of us get stuck in the same part of the process. For some, taking the first step is their sticking point. For others, it’s the idea of creating a plan. We lose sight of the fact we don’t need to plan every single tiny step. In fact, that would inhibit the process even further as things happen along the way we can’t possibly plan for, and which will often alter our trajectory.

Breaking a Goal Into Manageable Pieces

I like to think of the plan as an outline where you hit the high points, but leave the details open. Those high points are your mountains, but the details in between are your stepping stones, and you can’t always plan where the next one will be. The real trick is to be alert for choices we’re given along the way; should we take the easy, already beaten path, or try our luck with one that’s overgrown and will require a little more effort? Do we always stick to the straight and narrow, or take a chance on the one that meanders its way through mountains and valleys, fording streams and climbing over boulders?

Your mind shifts, the world changes, and sometimes even the next milestone in your plan is moved, pushed back, or even changed entirely.

I believe that’s where so many of us get hung up. We believe even those milestones have to be engraved in…well…stone. Nothing could be further from the truth. They’re more like place markers giving you a direction to reach towards. How you get there will rarely be a straight shot, nor would you continue to hold onto the excitement of the journey if it were. A winding road with surprises appearing around each bend is not only more interesting, but leads to discoveries you hadn’t considered when you first drafted the plan. Better still, it challenges us and forces adaptation and learning of new skills which will be of use to us further down the road.

Detours Can Be A More Direct Route

As a child, my two favorite things were reading and making up stories. Along the way, I got involved in many things; dance, technical theater, accounting, even a little mentoring. I got married, finished college, became a parent, got divorced… My point is, life changes and plans fall through.

Do we sit down on the ground and bawl our eyes out about how mean the world is for knocking over our sand castle? Do we insist the road we were on was the best and only one for us? Not if we want to accomplish anything.

The world can seem like a bully, knocking down our block houses, rolling over our dreams like an endless tidal wave. Yet what happens isn’t personal. It’s simply a way to not only make us stronger, but more flexible. When one plan falls through, we need to figure out how to make another one out of the bits and pieces which remain. We need to learn how to build on a more solid foundation and to make what we build resilient enough to accept a bit of thrashing around; even some out and out abuse, and emerge from the chaos ready for the next wave of challenges.

Dealing With the Overwhelm an Moving On

We all get overwhelmed from time to time. Sitting down and having a good cry isn’t always the wrong answer. Sometimes, you need to let go of some crap before figuring out what your next step will be. The tough part is letting it go without trying to hold onto a couple of pieces you think you might need, or are emotionally attached to. Those things will weigh you down as you begin to rebuild from your new perspective. The purpose they were meant to serve is in the past. It’s time to set them down for someone else to find and use to move themselves forward, as you are doing now.

Many coaches these days tell us to come up with our “Big Why”. They’ll ask us questions, drilling down into the depths of our psyche to pull out our real reason for wanting this goal or that one. I’m finding it isn’t always easy to determine what my own “Big Why” is, and in fact, trying to figure it out was keeping me from setting a couple of goals and moving forward.

Making Life’s Imperfections Work in Your Favor

Sometimes, part of your plan won’t come to you. No matter how hard you try, you can’t figure it out. Whether it’s your ultimate goal or an interim one, they’re not always apparent when you set out. Sometimes, because I need to has to be enough for the moment. We don’t always know, nor can we put into words what drives us forward and makes us keep striving for something, especially when everything we try falls apart like one of my earthquake cakes. That’s OK.

Work with what you know. Focus on a goal you know you can attain, even if it’s only going to take you through the next three days. It simply means you don’t have enough information. You don’t even know what you don’t know. Standing in one place, contemplating your navel isn’t going to change that. Moving around will. Something or someone you meet along the way will trigger a question, or drag a memory out of your subconscious that gives you a clue, inspires you to keep moving. If nothing else, the process of moving will invariably shake loose a few cobwebs and clear your head, making it easier to recognize a clue before it smacks you in the head.

Sometimes You’re the Windshield and Sometimes You’re the Bug

I’ve been on all sides of this equation. I’ve had goals, like completing my accounting degree, which I achieved. I’ve had others, like making a living as a writer, which are still gathering steam. I’ve tripped and fallen on my face dozens of times. I’ve gone down countless dead-end roads. I’ve also slogged through swamps and dragged myself that one more step up my latest mountain, assuring myself I’d be glad I did in the end. And I always was.

What keeps me going isn’t a solid goal. It’s an image of the life I want to be living, the home, the people, the grove of fruit trees I can use to help feed the hungry in my community, the cats I’ll help save from euthanization or worse. But I succumb to overwhelm too.

Forgotten Victims, or Whatever it’s Called in the End

My biggest goal is to get my memoir about family suicide published and promoted on a broad scale. Yet since the writers’ conference in February, I’ve re-written 1 1/2 chapters; none of them in the last 2 months. Why? Because I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of re-writing what took me 9 years to create. I’ve even managed to mire myself in how much I dislike the current title!

I’ve re-thought my defining moment. I created a timeline of significant events. Yet my mind runs in circles, trying to decide whether to print the whole thing out on index cards so I can re-arrange them like puzzle pieces or sit down and work with what I currently have to re-shape the existing chapters first. Stuck in a mire of indecision, I’m doing exactly what I’m telling you not to do; I’m wallowing in my own misery and frustration and failing to move forward.

Making Your Own Small Successes

Sure, I’m now putting out 3 blog posts a week. I’ve joined the #HeartfeltAcademy to move my visions for my work and business forward. Most of all, I’ve realized I can break my re-writing project into even smaller, practically bite-sized pieces. I can spend an hour a day on it without reaching that point in every writer’s life where I want to set fire to the whole project and run away screaming “I suck at this! What ever made me think I could be a successful writer?”

Instead, I listen to my coach who is telling me to break it into smaller pieces. I step back and set a couple of shorter-term goals. Most of all, I make time in my day to act on those smaller pieces knowing when I can put a check mark next to today, I’ll feel absolutely fabulous about the small step I’ve taken toward achieving one of my many goals!

Gratitude is Always the Answer

Above all, I am grateful for every step I take, every stumble, every Universal head slap, and every bit of encouragement and praise I receive. I’ve even learned how to accept a compliment without qualification or underlying belief it’s undeserved.

  1. I am grateful to Linda Clay, Jessa Hargrove and the entire #HeartfeltMovement for helping me get out of my own way, recognize my qualities, learn to overcome my weaknesses, and ask for help from the amazing women who are joining the groups every day.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the times I’ve fallen and picked myself up again. May I always pick myself up after each fall, and recognize what I’ve learned in the process.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter Heather who inspires me every single day. She may have spent the better part of 13 years at various community colleges, but she found her way back to her original dream, and will be graduating from the last community college with 2 AS Degrees before going on to SDSU in the Fall. She shows me every day how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of any obstacle. There isn’t anything we can’t overcome if we stay focused on our goals.
  4. I am grateful for friends who have become family and who are so incredibly encouraging. They may not know how much or how often their words have helped me keep reaching for my dream of being a real writer, but I wouldn’t have come this far without them.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, determination, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, love, joy, energy, kitty love, sunshine, rain, hope, health, peace, harmony, 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 is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. 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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