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

Posts tagged ‘perspective’

Dissed or Dismissed

https://www.flickr.com/photos/isfullofcrap/14380470592/in/photolist-nUKEU9-oMLPmB-8o71Ca-nPPNHJ-qd9RKP-okhmqR-fuWjT3-oML6M6-fuX8cK-p5e2Em-GERdfA-vFBnZi-oML9bz-p4ZHWk-o5JVM2-oMLPzT-aC6HoR-fuG2oD-5fJ4yk-p3e3fq-fvcbu9-fuxXyo-4vkQY2-fuWm8Q-o7cT4m-dxhEEA-nPPevH-9hDwZw-axGR4j-nWVbLk-ry7Zq9-nPNYbf-fuhu2e-o4eXnh-noF8Du-o5gnFG-6j3PHv-ocnr3Y-BKd9wG-dmwng-oMLLX9-fuWM6k-fvc3HQ-oMLjrL-fuXjMt-dFuNNC-o22Eqd-U1T3as-o5go5s-9T6eJo

When We Outlive Our Usefulness

Recently I was forced to accept a hard truth. A woman for whom I’d been doing a few simple kindnesses had been accepting them with little more than an off-hand thank you, almost as if my actions were her due. Then I witnessed her offering to compensate someone else for a similar kindness. It made me feel that in her eyes I had little value, a feeling which was proven when she approached a group of us talking and acted like I wasn’t there.

Sure, I was hurt at first. But then I remembered a friend’s wise words. “Don’t take another person’s actions personally”. In this case and a few others recently, I saw how well the words applied and am doing my best to take them to heart.

People and Their Stuff

People are always going through their own stuff. We aren’t always aware of what that stuff is (unless it’s one of those people who broadcast their entire life in true basketball play-by-play fashion on social media). Some are truly going through a difficult time. But like it or not, some are simply narcissists who direct their attention towards those who can benefit them is some way and blatantly snub those who might somehow stand in their way or worse, offer them no value. Either way, their actions are a reflection of themselves and nothing more.

Unfortunately, they are often quite adept at drawing an empath into their game for a little while. Their very real struggles to achieve value and validation can tug at sensitive heartstrings and bring a desire to help. But eventually their true, soul-sucking nature comes through and it becomes clear that this person will continue to take, never to be filled and will, if they’re permitted, drain the empath dry before seeking another soul to suck.

With Age Comes Perspective

As I get older, I don’t stop being taken in but I do learn to recognize the signs and extricate myself before any long-term damage is done. The knowledge that it truly isn’t personal has done a lot to help me withdraw and heal more readily

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say these people don’t recognize their insensitivity or the harm they do, I do believe it isn’t a conscious choice to harm a particular person. They simply latch onto the easiest targets to fill a well in themselves which can never be filled. They themselves are a black hole of insecurities which absorb compliments and reassurances like a dry sponge yet never come close to saturation.

That would require becoming a complete human being capable of both giving and taking on a visceral level. They’re only capable of such actions on a superficial level at best.

Learning to Offer Pity and Nothing More

I’ve found such people earn my pity as they are incapable of having truly fulfilling relationships with others. They’ll always be looking for the next emotional well to drain in a fruitless effort to more than dampen the ground at the bottom of their own. But it just absorbs what it takes from others like a vampire sucks blood, never satisfied, never fulfilled.

I can’t imagine the emptiness of a life which depends on the emotions and approval of others, yet still finds no value in themselves. It must be a sad, lonely place where love and joy are just words with no meaning to which they might connect personal experience.

Experiences Help Me Better Understand My Mom

Then I think about my mom and the collection of faces she showed the world. I wonder if this emptiness I recognize in others was the life she lived and saw fit to cut short because she saw no reason to continue living in that infinitely dry well. Though I’m tempted to show more compassion for those who live their lives this way, I know it will not only pass unappreciated, but will end with me feeling used and hurt.

There are many people in this world who deserve our love and compassion; those who face their own struggles, yet put some effort into getting through each day on their own. But there are some who always expect others to fix what’s broken. Those who never recognize that in order to fix their own broken parts, they have to be an active and willing participant. To me, these people are no better than the man who pays for sex because he’s not willing to give something back to his partner other than the sightless, soulless cash he gives in exchange for a few moments of physical pleasure.

Recognizing Real Value

They believe they give value for what they receive, and I’m sure in their minds, that value is fair and reasonable. But that questionable value is something I’ve chosen to refuse. If I can’t give of myself willingly and lovingly, I’d rather walk away and leave a broken, lonely, confused person to someone else’s ministrations. To help them, even for the short time I’m able would only leave me drained and them searching for something they’ll never find.

Still, I can’t help giving them the benefit of the doubt for a little while, in hopes they can find the spark of humanity they’ve long since buried beneath layers of brick, mortar, and building materials proven impermeable to the balm of humanity we all come into this world bearing. My hope will always spring eternal. I’ll forever believe I can make a difference in just one person’s life. No matter how many times I fail.

There is Always a Reason for Gratitude

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful I toppled my own walls, despite the agony it caused for a little while.
  2. I am grateful my well is always full, no matter how many people have tried to drain it dry.
  3. I am grateful for friends who value me even when I’m not behaving like I deserve it.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which helps me work things out, sort things out, and just gain perspective over that which weighs me down for a bit.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; prosperity, friendship, love, hope, joy, compassion, inspiration, insight, motivation, support, peace, harmony, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

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!

 

Photo courtesy of R. Crap Mariner via Flikr

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Lessons Catch Us Unaware

Life: An Endless Chain of Lessons

If you’re doing more with your life than staring at a wall, you’ve likely experienced your share of lessons. Some of them are pretty obvious and come as a result of something you actually set out to accomplish. More often than not, though, the lessons have a way of finding you. This is especially true when it’s a subject you’ve revisited multiple times, yet have yet to quite grasp the concept. One of my personal favorites is patience. (In case it isn’t evident, the last comment was laced with a liberal dose of sarcasm. I, for one could use a sarcasm emoji!)

Since I seem to be uniquely resistant to this particular lesson, the Universe has seen fit to hit me with another opportunity to get it right when I least expect it, and typically, at the worst possible moment. Put me in a store with 3 screaming children when I’m in a hurry, have a blazing headache and haven’t eaten in hours and I guarantee my patience will be tested yet again. Seriously, who could be expected to assimilate the lesson under those conditions. Never let it be said the Universe lacks a sense of humor! I only hope it will avoid taking me into a situation where I learn patience or suffer serious physical harm.

Lessons in Camouflage

As I believe I am both a component of the Universe as well as it’s entirety, I feel it’s in both our best interests to protect my physical self, at least for as long as it is required to learn the lessons I came into this lifetime expecting to learn. That does not, however, preclude increasingly painful lessons along the way. Perhaps that’s part of the plan?

Although I’ve come to the conclusion painful lessons are often the most memorable (after all, who really wants to revisit an experience akin to being smacked in the head with a bat?), I am beginning to wonder if, in some cases, it’s truly about learning the lesson, or if the pain itself is the real lesson? Are we meant to experience a certain amount of struggle and strife in order to make us stronger and more resilient? Is that strength a critical component of our virtual tool box?

My perspective on life lessons is constantly evolving, but this is the biggest breakthrough I’ve had in a long time. To realize that sometimes the experience of the lesson is the real lesson is mind-blowing. So many times, I’ve wracked my brain looking for the lesson in the painful experience, completely missing the fact that the painful experience in and of itself was what I needed to learn. The real lesson, then wasn’t patience, or kindness, or compassion, or some other admirable quality. It was, instead resilience.

Finding the Blessing in Disguise

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned over the years is that seeming catastrophes are always blessings in disguise. They occur when we’ve become so attached to something, someone, or a situation that we fail to recognize when it’s time to let go of the old so we can evolve. We stifle our own ability to enter the next iteration of our life because we’re holding too tightly to what we know. No matter what our relationship to change is, there’s a time in every life when change has to occur. Most of the time it’s in baby steps, but periodically, we need a 1994 Northridge earthquake- or World Trade Center-size upheaval to shake us right out of our boots and into a new reality.

Even when these upheavals are strictly personal, the effect is the same as those occurring on a national or global scale. We are forced to re-evaluate what we need to keep and what we need to leave behind. These events might be brutal and painful like a nasty divorce or loss of a loved one by suicide or accident. But they can also be dangerously subtle like rising dissatisfaction with a job situation. Dangerous because the longer we ignore the signs, the more likely we’ll have the situation taken out of our hands.

Changing for the Better in Spite of Ourselves

I can honestly say I never left a job which no longer served my best interests at the first sign, or even the 10th. In fact, in most cases, I stuck it out until the situation was taken out of my hands in one way or another. And yet, in hindsight, I left at exactly the right time because the circumstances surrounding the parting of ways was a critical component of the lesson I needed to experience. It was especially scary when I had two young daughters to support, but I can look back now and see that I always managed to pull through. That, too is part of the lesson. I’ve always survived whatever I was dealt.

Granted, I have not been given some of the challenges I see others face: developing a terminal disease, watching parents age, sicken, and ultimately pass on, homelessness, or a multitude of other life-lessons. But those are not the lessons I came here to experience. At least not this time around. But the people who are faced with different challenges than I am simply get a collection that’s unique to them.

Recognizing Our Own Brand of Resiliency

Though family suicide is far more prevalent than even I had come to believe, I am uplifted not only by the stories I’ve been privileged to share, but by how many different ways people demonstrate their own resiliency. In the process, one of my major upheavals broke me off from a group of friends who chose to expend their energy complaining about their lives instead of changing them. Though it left me adrift and alone for a time, the conditions I, myself had put into motion by looking at the world through more positive, grateful eyes ultimately led me to friends who faced their challenges in a healthier manner.

From my newer circle of friends, I’ve learned that life will deal you some seemingly crappy hands just to force you to step up and accept the challenge. I learned I’m not the type to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me no matter how many times I wanted to do just that in the years following my divorce and my mom’s suicide. Somehow, I always found a reason to keep going. I always found a reason to keep trying. I found it in myself to find another way when the old ways no longer worked.

Not only did I find out I was resilient, I found out how to make that resiliency work for me. But most of all, I started learning how to ask for help; how to be vulnerable at times. And guess what? There wasn’t a single time when I actually shattered into a million, irreparable pieces.

Yes, some of life’s lessons can really kick the crap out of you. But getting to the other side with most of your pieces intact is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. And it’s one I give myself over and over again.

From My Eternally Grateful Heart

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my resiliency.
  2. I am grateful for the opportunities I’m given to learn, even the less obvious lessons.
  3. I am grateful for inspiration which gives me not only an endless stream of Facebook Live topics, but an ever-growing list of blogs waiting to be written.
  4. I am grateful for being a constantly evolving being. Stagnation has never been my comfort zone.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, lessons, experiences, opportunities, joy, sorrow, pain, healing, vulnerability, and strength. It is only by experiences both sides of the coin that we become whole.

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!

 

Photo Courtesy of Lucie Provencher via Flickr

The Tarot Card pictured is The Tower from the Spiral Tarot

Guest Post: From Losing My Job to Finding Myself

Tonight, I’m very pleased to present a guest post from a member of one of the communities to which I belong. These people encourage and support each other through whatever the personal journey might be. So please enjoy a break from my ADD style with a post from Nikita Ross.

It was the day I had been dreading for weeks: The day I would find out whether or not my contract was renewed. I tried to remain positive during the weeks leading up to the big meeting, but couldn’t shake the general feeling of malaise. In the eight weeks leading up to the end date on the contract, I had finally succumbed to a career girl’s worst nightmare: burn out. Despite my best efforts, the exhaustion had gotten the best of me, and I felt myself slipping in all aspects of my life.

As you probably deduced from the title, the contract was not renewed.

I started working when I was 12 years old. My first job was raking blueberries in the summers in addition to babysitting. If you ever get the chance to rake blueberries, don’t take it.

Though there were a few setbacks in my teen years, I became the golden child in college. One of my projects landed me on the radio and in Student Success magazine. I was on the fast track. So much of my identity became wrapped up in this idea of being a career woman that other integral parts of myself got put on the back burner; my love of literature, my creative writing, my easy going attitude, my parenting skills, my compassion, and understanding. Being driven is an asset. Being cold is not.

When the contract ended I found myself in a position I didn’t know how to handle. I had been working since I was a child. I was the girl who worked overtime and couldn’t stand beach vacations because the idea of doing nothing for so long would drive me crazy. With a history of depression and anxiety, I was not prepared for what happened when I lost everything:

I got really happy.

Sure, the first couple of weeks were full of crying jags and screaming “Who am I?” at the sky until the neighbors complained, but after the shock died down I felt strangely peaceful. As the weeks went by I found myself to be more patient, more compassionate, and much more relaxed.

While figuring things out life-wise, I was able to get back in touch with nature. I was able to help out family members who had been neglected due to the demands of my schedule with different tasks. I had quality time with my children, in a quantity I hadn’t experienced since maternity leave. I spent more time at the beach in the past two months than I had since my childhood. I’ve found the time to write again.

The biggest surprise was the notable decline in anxiety levels. It has since occurred to me that perhaps my inability to lay dormant on vacation had less to do with my love of being busy and more to do with the fact that I didn’t want to have the time to deal with some hard truths. I loved my job, but I’m not so sure I loved myself.

The future is a big question mark now. Maybe it always was. What I know is this: what I thought was the end of the world was the beginning of a better one. As the cliché goes, every cloud has a silver lining. I can only hope that anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation is able to find theirs.

NikitNikita Rossa Ross is a freelance writer and self-proclaimed bibliophile. When she’s not busy wrangling her children or plotting world domination, she can be found working away on her blog Strong in Body, Strong in Mind. An avid reader, runner, and weight lifter, Nikita believes that books and barbells have equal weight when setting goals for self-improvement.

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!

October 16, 2014 Perspective: Don’t be afraid to shine your light. #shericonaway #blogboost

In just a few hours, perspective can change.

This afternoon, I began to write a post about my dysfunctional family which has not enjoyed the loving, close relationships so many post about on Facebook. But now, a few hours later, after an unusually short night of dancing, I realize that I don’t want to write about that at all. The truth is, we all have some sort of skeleton in our family closet. So what? Because it isn’t where you come from, what advantages you had or didn’t, whether or not someone cherished you as you deserve to be cherished. No! It’s about what you do with what you have that’s important.

Too many people out there, from every, single generation alive, blame their parents for what they did not become, or for what they do not have. These people would have more luck selling me the Brooklyn Bridge or beachfront property in Arizona. Statistically speaking, our parents only influence our behavior and personality until the age of about ten, after which we are more strongly influenced by our peers, our teachers and a host of other people we interface with every day.

Put forth the effort or go home. This is a no whining zone!

If we want to achieve anything in life, we have to put forth the effort ourselves (I’m also speaking to myself here, as I have not achieved what I’d hoped to so far this year, but it is from my own lack of sufficient effort, and no other reason). People are rarely born into a life where someone takes their hand and leads them down the path of a successful life, however one might define it. If they did, we’d never be able to sustain it because we wouldn’t have learned how to achieve it in the first place!

The School of Hard Knocks is where we learn lessons that stay with us because of the hard knocks we received. There’s nothing like a painful lesson to keep it in our minds for awhile. Remember what you were doing the first time you burned yourself or cut yourself with a sharp knife. How willing were you to repeat that lesson?

It’s the same with lessons which are painful on a less tangible level. If they hurt, we naturally resist repeating something which was painful. Yes, I realize there are some folks for whom pain isn’t a reliable deterrent, but I’m addressing the majority of folks right now. How many people who are badly hurt emotionally in a relationship will resist getting involved until they learn that it’s not the relationship but the type of person they chose?

So I am not going to write a post about how I wasn’t close to my mom or my sister because it falls into that broad category called “So What?”. They didn’t choose the path I followed. I did. The successes, the lessons, the failures (which are really just lessons in disguise)…they’re all mine. Having nobody to blame also means that there’s nobody to steal your glory!

Live it! Own it! Be it!

Every one of us is an amazing person. Some of us just hide it better than others. We must never be afraid to allow our light to shine. You never know when it might brighten a dark road for someone who really needs it!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for attitude adjustments which brighten my perspective.
2. I am grateful for friends who chase away my dark shadows with their sunny dispositions.
3. I am grateful for knowing when to walk away and think something through more carefully.
4. I am grateful for the excessive amounts of positive energy flowing through me.
5. I am grateful for days when I think I’ve accomplished nothing, until I look back and see that I was moving so fast, the whole thing just blurred.
6. I am grateful for abundance: Love, health, positivity, energy, friendship, motivation, inspiration, vitality and prosperity.

Namaste

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