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

Posts tagged ‘qualities’

Recognizing Stress for the Fears it Masks

Self-Imposed Stress Inducers

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-cS691NHoliday stress. It affects each person in different ways, and for different reasons. For me, like most people, it’s a combination of things, but not what you might expect.

Cleaning stresses me out. My house is never pristine, and though I keep up with things like the kitchen and cat boxes, I am lucky to vacuum and mop once a week, much less, the two or three times my house needs because of my messy little fur balls. I’m not as bothered during the normal course of the year, but while getting ready for my annual Thanksgiving Feast, I pushed myself pretty hard to get floors and bathrooms scrubbed. As a result, my weekly cleanings suffered for a little while after as I recuperated from the frenzy; more mentally than physically.

Maintaining my writing schedule, while a labor of love can make me a little crazy during the holidays too. After Thanksgiving, it took me a couple of weeks to get back to my schedule of three weeks ahead. By then, Christmas week was looming, I had wrapping to do, and plans to make for the trip to my kids’ house. Still and all, I managed to get the wrapping done and all the paraphernalia stowed away for another year with about four days to spare; a new record!

Recognizing My Worth Via Someone Else’s Eyes

Leaving home for a few days stresses me out too. I know my home and cats are Created in Canvain good hands while I’m gone, but I do miss waking up to my own furries, especially Dylan and Pyewacket who love to sleep on my head, and wake me with kisses.

My biggest stresser, 6 years and a month into my self-employment journey is still marketing. Both my daughter and I have a hard time talking about ourselves, our strengths, and our accomplishments. She’s figured it out a little better than me, though. She roughed out what she needed for her grad school application, then sent it to me to, in her words, “fluff it out”.

What it really meant was I took what she wrote and added in some more of her relevant experience and accomplishments which triggered her to expand on them herself. It made me realize maybe I need to draft something to promote myself and give it to her to “fluff out”. She certainly sees me through more generous eyes than I do.

Learning to Focus on My Qualities

The question is, what might that be? I’ve put my second pass through LeadsLab on hold for the moment, while working on getting back on schedule with my writing projects. Maybe when I get back to it, I should write something up, then pass it on to her to inject some of the me she sees?

I admit I’m my own worst critic, and am least able to recognize the things I do well. I annoy the crap out of my daughter when I dismiss her assertions about what she thinks I’m good at. In the first place, I do her a huge disservice by dismissing her perfectly valid and objective opinions. In the second, I short-change myself. I’m not sure which hurts her more, to be honest.

Letting Go to Move Forward

The Tower from the Spiral TarotIn the weeks leading up to the New Year, I wrote a lot about changes I want to make for the new decade, and goals I want to accomplish. I think it’s also important to focus on what needs to be released. Here are a few of mine which really need to go:

  • False modesty
  • Disrespecting people by dismissing their positive opinions regarding my work and talents
  • Fear of disappointing anyone, including myself
  • Procrastination
  • Quitting before I give it a genuine, heartfelt effort
  • Letting one person’s opinion stop me in my tracks
  • Submitting to the distractions of Social Media and email

This list might be short, but each item is holding me back in many ways, and it’s time I stopped allowing excuses, fears, and outdated beliefs to stand between me and the greatness of which I’m capable.

Self-Motivating

Some say you have to either get angry enough or desperate enough before you’ll fight for what you truly want. I can see the truth in someone like J.K. Rowling who was in dire straits when she fought to get her first “Harry Potter” book published. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for an external reason to get my butt in gear. It motivates some, but it doesn’t mean everyone needs an external force.

I look back over my life and see how many things I’ve accomplished on my own. I also see I could have done so much more if I’d learned to ask for help a whole lot sooner than I did. I was taught not to by a long line of ancestors. It’s been my daughter who’s helped me see what I was taught was probably my biggest self-limiting belief.

Old habits are hard, but not impossible to break. I’m still learning who and what to ask when I need help. I don’t always recognize I’m doing something which could be greatly simplified if I ask for help from the right people. I’ve also asked for help from the wrong people at times, which made me a little gun shy. Not to mention the many times I asked for help in the wrong way. Small wonder I didn’t get the results I’d hoped for, and I’ve no one to blame but myself.

Using Other People as a Mirror

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rLife is one long learning curve with switchbacks, dead ends, and the occasional sharp, steep drop that lands you on your ass in a pile of rubble. I’ve learned the hardest part of those falls isn’t getting up afterwards. It’s finding the lesson and not giving up. It’s far too easy to say: Doing that made me crash and burn. I guess it means I’m not meant to succeed. I used that worn out excuse too often myself, and have likely missed a few amazing opportunities.

Yet I’ve learned by watching my daughter that sometimes we’re supposed to miss a few opportunities so we have time to build our confidence and get ready, not for an amazing opportunity, but for the amazing opportunity.

In spite of it all, I’ve always told my girls that when things seem to be falling apart the worst, be it a lost job, lack of opportunities, a few harsh realities smacking you in the face; if you hang in there, things always turn out better than they would have been had you not been booted out of a comfortable, if uninspiring place. My words have not proven false yet.

Timing Isn’t Everything. Starting Is.

It’s taking me a little longer to find my footing this time, but until lately, I really wasn’t putting forth a lot of effort. I wasn’t expecting much of myself. That all changed a couple of months ago, though it’s taking me a little while to hit my stride. Perhaps making major changes just before the holidays wasn’t my best choice of timing. I do, however, work best under pressure. I had to learn how to do it when the only real pressure came from inside myself.

I’d say it’s working if my jumpy stomach and anxiety over catching up on missed deadlines is any indication. At the moment, there’s absolutely no one breathing down my neck or having expectations of me. I have no one to satisfy; no external deadlines to meet.

What I do have is a Trello board full of deadlines for my own work:

  • Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday blog posts
  • Edits and postings of chapters of “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Re-writes of all but 4 chapters of “Rebuilding After Suicide”
  • Research into publishing options
  • Learning to write an effective query letter
  • Learning to create a synopsis for non-fiction
  • Publishing both books

Recognizing and Acknowledging My Support Team

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/4549085259/in/photolist-TBE2Nw-p4EDEt-TtPDPz-T6fYRE-WessCa-5aopSw-7VZfyt-ihp3jf-ekkzYU-dmX7yH-9XZhkA-5aooT5-TdHezm-b2Jtm4-ekkCk7-e2akL2-ekeVB6-k52jg-W218xN-5ahpwJ-9WoYHJ-d8ZSaC-9WVckM-dmX7a8-5a2rPt-bAkTRr-5aoogS-eQjvsU-fKHzgW-VeN9y3-5aimQk-5fy8qh-e2aadv-5anCeQ-ekkB5Q-W9ExL4-9mo7Zz-VZfQY7-fKraHx-aFayE2-ekkDFA-Sn7nK9-55Kh4v-ekeSRt-bk1R1Y-9DZ7ZJ-dmX9XU-RZ7W4o-chvcYj-qwtAJXI have at least two people who’ve been kicking my butt to get these things done. One has even implied I’m depriving a lot of people of my work by failing to complete the re-write and get the darn thing published. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one. I may have had a few experiences with people benefiting a little from the words I wrote, but not enough to make me believe my words and experiences could actually help a lot of people.

Looking back at that last paragraph, I realize it’s partly a lie I keep telling myself. I wouldn’t be driven to keep writing and sharing my own struggles if I didn’t truly believe they might help someone else who’s having a tough time. If I’m lying to myself to hold back from rushing headlong for some of the goals I set 6 years ago, it’s because I’m allowing fear to take the wheel. I talk a good story about letting fear have a voice but no voting rights and no driver’s license, but my words have no meaning if I don’t live them myself.

I think the theme for 2020 and beyond is not so much facing my fears, as living my truth.

Gratitude to Chase Away the Fears

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the reminders to put fear back in the corner.
  2. I’m grateful for the people in my life who push me to be my best, and remind me of my worth.
  3. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve set for myself, and how I’ve been able to rise to and even above them.
  4. I’m grateful for the physical reminders that I’m on the right path, even though it’s often scary as hell.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; supportive friends and family, topics to write about, motivation, inspiration, love, joy, productivity, health, peace, prosperity, harmony, balance, and philanthropy.

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

Musical Memories: Joyfully Off-Key

Joyful Memories Blurred by Time

As a teenager growing up in a newly established suburb of Los Angeles, one of my favorite pastimes was sitting on someone’s front lawn singing songs from the last decade or so in loud and joyful abandon. It didn’t really matter whether we got all the words right, or sang on-key. We were an accepting bunch who valued passion over accuracy anyway.

Hearing some of those songs today when I have my Pandora station set to music of that era brings back memories of friendship and an easy, carefree life without the teenage angst I know existed. In short, the joy remains, and the pain fades into a distant past which no longer has the power to elicit emotion, much less what surely felt like the end of the world at the time.

My friends and I grew and thrived in a world which we’d soon discover was far less critical than the one we’d move into when we left our idyllic nest for college, the military, or the work force. I’d like to think the people we came to believe held our fate in their hands were at one time as accepting as we were. But I know that’s naive.

A Suburban Bubble of Naivete

We were in a sheltered nook away from harsh realities like poverty and blatant prejudice. I’m not saying such things didn’t exist around us. I will say a large portion of my high school’s population would be considered privileged, both by standards then and now. We were predominantly white middle class with a large enough Jewish population to make us one of the few Southern California school districts at the time to close on major Jewish holidays.

With such a rarefied upbringing, I look back and wonder how I allowed others to take qualities of inclusion and acceptance from me for decades. When I look beneath the surface of those carefree days, I find answers I kept buried as deeply as the feelings I’ve only recently learned to share.

Despite the inclusiveness I remember now, I put a great deal of effort into fitting in where I was never meant to. I tried to fit in with the actors and actresses when my passion for theater leaned more towards the technical aspects. I was happiest building sets and exchanging insults with my mostly male classmates, or learning how to texture a stage from professional associates of the drama teacher’s husband. I wish I still remembered some of the makeup techniques I learned which led to wearing a beard I’d created around campus for a day.

Setting Low Expectations

Created with CanvaThen again, my expectations were set low by a woman who’d navigated the perils of the UCLA theater department, yet saw fit to only give positions like stage manager, lighting and sound heads, and prop master to boys. Girls were relegated to make-up and costumes. Heaven knows several of us girls climbed ladders to hang lights, spent countless hours building and painting sets, and many late nights ensuring the shows came off without a hitch.

Though I doubt it was her intention, she helped me set my expectations lower than I deserved from the start. When I got to UCLA myself as a theater major, I lasted barely a year. I couldn’t handle the rejection at all and was ill-prepared to play the political games my high school teacher had learned to navigate in her time there. Perhaps her own biases were the only way she thought she could prepare her female students for what existed in the outside world.

I ultimately left my love of theater behind to knock my head against the wall of another male-dominated profession; accounting. I’ll never really know why I chose the harder road nearly every time, but it continued to be my pattern until I learned to accept myself as I am, and stopped trying to fit in. Perhaps that was the lesson all along.

Fruitlessly Trying to Fit In

I watched my mother try to fit in frantically, desperately, and all too often, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ionics/6338284584/in/photolist-aE6nbG-49a2Xa-TLgW2Q-5wAD6N-HGKPP-8UV6CB-6Sg7YA-9QycpZ-6u4T3X-4sC9aH-5nXKzn-5grmh3-ane6BH-W9uq65-62rxQ-Kud31E-XtaBzZ-LdJuy-LdJvu-ePGUFv-aE6qsQ-LdYkF-8Kvnyj-RdeDP4-6Btbw-ekUyG-eSNDQT-ESpkfb-5U4HwZ-66XHwe-a9LTFX-bWTW3k-4YhDF-2qGQSu-5LpPj-4jpvK-vjdRaC-8L6p5A-6HFRB-5r1qA-4jpvJ-4joXu-5QDfE-7qEysG-4jpS4-24RfjoL-bEFCy1-4joXx-43zSs-2e9RpMMfruitlessly. She worked harder than anyone to keep a beautiful home, support charities, stage elaborate parties with incredible food, and clean up her own mess to do it all again. In her mind and heart, she failed until she gave up in the most indelible way possible. In a way, perhaps that’s what finally convinced me to stop trying to be what I’m not.

One of my greatest qualities or flaws, depending who you talk to, is stubbornness. I’ve held onto ideas, things, and people far longer than necessary because I didn’t want to feel like I’d given up. No one ever taught me it isn’t necessary to hang onto something which no longer serves you, or that letting go isn’t the same as failing. I realize now my early influencers didn’t know the difference either. You can’t teach what you don’t know yourself.

It didn’t matter if it was a mismatch of a career path, an ill-conceived marriage, a job with no future, or an idea which had long since been proven faulty. I hung onto them all with dogged determination of a person facing a life or death decision.

Learning to Roll with the Punches

https://www.flickr.com/photos/erix/66519749/in/photolist-6SW1e-VTKUdm-M1eYnL-242z7nc-oqkg1j-proThx-fsTWuh-6k2FkX-o4wR24-y6Zwr-KfMCGq-SFv9cS-8hfbmZ-bfs4it-SkpXJ5-fTkgBF-SRG43L-oaSpyU-6LELFf-8sY2Wq-65Q84A-4uhkK6-4CwKmQ-21jdqXp-ry5GpM-RHagrR-s7emTJ-b8moxH-pgqTW-GmKEPY-7h7g9p-6tuV9R-r3UHnJ-9kePpX-b1DnC2-9Gv9Kj-RFjn7k-6tuPQR-2b4oHPW-nxaMN8-Kez8E-6tuN7i-dUaLfP-6nXEKq-TiiQCx-nXxmkn-hCDNRa-CFeyn-2YRhRS-9BUEVNeedless to say, changes were more often than not forced upon me as the Universe knew I wouldn’t release my death grip unless I had whatever it was ripped from my desperately clutching arms with the crushing finality of a tsunami. I suffered for it each time, all the while assuring myself it was for the best.

The funny thing is, I started believing the losses and changes which happened to me instead of being my choices meant there was something better coming, and I needed to clear space. It wasn’t long before those expectations began to be met. Slowly, and with baby steps I moved away from the place where I’d reconciled myself to be underutilized and unnoticed to where I could shine my own light in a way I was meant to in the first place!

I’m still learning to believe I deserve far more than I can see right now, but I am no longer fighting the idea. Somehow, in the process, I’ve moved full-circle back to the carefree, inclusive, accepting girl I once was, and who laid dormant inside me until I was ready to be my true self, and not aspire only to fit in.

Finding the Perfectly Imperfect Me Who Got Buried Under Life

It’s taken most of a lifetime to discover who I was again, and to see I was and am perfect. I don’t need to be anyone but who I am for my friends to love and accept me. It doesn’t matter if someone can’t relate to me and keeps their distance. In fact, I’ve come to love the fact that I truly am an acquired taste.

None of us is meant to gel with everyone. Some do it better than others, either because their corners are less sharp and they can ease into situations more smoothly, or because they have yet to learn, like I did they don’t have to fit in everywhere. Those may still be learning to accept themselves as they are, but though I hurt a bit when I see one of them struggling, I know it’s not my lesson to teach, but theirs to learn.

I had to experience a lot of bumps in the road before I figured it out. If I hadn’t felt the pain of rejection and the frustration of never pleasing anyone, I wouldn’t have come to appreciate my own unique self. I’d never have shed the masks, torn down the walls, and stepped out in all my own bright, gaudy plumage, with a voice that might at times break glass.

I’ll never fit anyone’s idea of normal and that’s perfectly all right with me. I’m a happy little weirdo who attracts a lot of wonderful, quirky, unique people. Life among the people who are their own unapologetic selves is never, ever dull.

Grateful for Every Bump in the Road, Every Universal Head Slap

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the bumps in my road that taught me being my unique self was perfect.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who don’t expect conformity.
  3. I’m grateful for the people who held me back, and ultimately propelled me forward.
  4. I’m grateful for all the times the Universe has drop-kicked me out of a stale situation.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, uniqueness, imperfection, challenges, lessons, rewards, new roads, old memories, friends, family, peace, harmony, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

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

Retraining Myself to Focus on My Assets

Switching My Focus From Ass to Assets

Created with CanvaLike many women, I have a tendency to obsess over the parts of me I’ve deemed less than perfect. Needless to say, those parts appear larger than life, while I sometimes have a tough time recognizing my assets. It’s been especially difficult the last few months when I’ve danced at a friend’s house once a week where one wall is mirrored. I see myself in the mirror and notice every bulge, every hair not quite laying right. I compare myself to my friends, all of whom are slimmer than me, and of course, find myself wanting.

Recently, I realized how cruelly I was treating myself, and resolved to focus only on my qualities, not my faults. It came as quite a surprise when I looked in the mirror and realized I looked pretty darn good when I wasn’t magnifying and obsessing over those faults! In fact, as I focused on a pair of legs made strong and solid through a lifetime of dancing, an upper body strengthened by over a year of regular weight training, and a face which reflects the weight I’ve already released and kept off, I found I didn’t even notice the roundness of my mid-section at all!

Getting Away From the Need to Fix Myself

I think many of us spend far too much time focusing on things we need to “fix” until we magnify them out of both proportion and importance. In part, it’s through years of seeing ads promoting the perfect body, the clearest skin, the silkiest hair…you get the picture. We’re conditioned to see ourselves wanting, no matter how hard we work or how perfectly imperfect we might be (and everyone is!).

Yet, I discovered with the teeniest change of focus you can reverse some of the negative conditioning. Of course, I realize the change I made is only temporary—for now. Like every other habit I’ve set over the last few years, it’s going to take time and repetition to make it stick. But the positive reinforcement I gave myself already is an integral part of setting my new outlook in the proverbial stone.

Encouraging Positive Changes With My New Outlook

I’m also finding what so many have observed; obsessing over the numbers on the scale does not make them go down! Instead, I’ve reinstated food logging using MyFitnessPal. So far, results are mixed, but at least I can see where I am self-sabotaging. Currently, I’m seeing too much sugar in my diet. Yes, I know it tastes good, but the numbers help me remember the harm it does to my body. And I’m working too hard to both heal and strengthen it to lose ground by eating something I can do without. (I was going to say “easily” but face it. Ice cream and chocolate taste good for a reason!)

Of course, all the activities like food tracking, weight training, and consciously moving during the day are important, but the single most important factor in self-improvement is mindset. As I mentioned earlier, when I look for my faults, I see them in movie-screen sized technicolor. But when I look for my qualities, suddenly the faults shrink to, if not invisibility, at least a more manageable size. I can honestly look at myself in the mirrored wall and think you’re looking pretty darn good! All the hard work and discipline are paying off!

Even first thing in the morning when most of us are at less than our best, I can honestly tell the face in the mirror she’s looking especially radiant—and mean it!

Change Can Be Its Own Reward

Often when we think about making improvements, we assume doing so means 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-jk3BYpwe have to sacrifice, and frankly who enjoys sacrificing? But I’m finding when I focus on the good parts and give my obsession on the needy parts a rest, the gremlin inside me who thrives on self-sabotage either curls up for a long, winter’s nap, or goes off in search of easier prey.

I’m no longer inclined to camp in front of the TV with snacks at my elbow for hours on end. In fact, the idea is becoming distasteful (sorry Hallmark movies). I can’t even sit for hours at a time in front of the computer. I need to get up, do a chore, go outside and visit with my barn cats, or re-stock my freezer. Granted, I haven’t worked my way up to a daily walk yet, but I suspect that will come in time as I continue to reinforce my positives.

Could You Use a Change in Perspective?

If you’d like to “play along” with my new self-improvement process, here’s how you get started:

  1. Pick something about yourself you don’t like, but currently obsess over.
  2. Find something in the same area (looks, health, habits, etc.) that you love.
  3. When you find yourself focusing on the quality in #1, switch your focus to the one in #2. Make a conscious effort until it becomes a habit.
  4. Positively reinforce your focus on your positive qualities. This can be something as simple as giving yourself a compliment.
  5. If applicable, add a new habit which emphasizes and builds up the positive qualities.
  6. Share your progress with my readers. (we all love success stories!)

The truth is, you can be your best cheerleader or your worst bully. Too often, you allow outside influences to make you see yourself through the most hideous of fun house mirrors. For your own sake, try using a mirror that’s lit softly, emphasizing the smoothness of your skin and the soft curve of your cheek; the way your hair curls softly around your face (or hangs shiny and straight). And look at the heart shining from your eyes.

I guarantee, when you change your focus just a little, miracles will happen!

Is Overwhelm Causing You to be Too Hard on Yourself?

Sometimes it’s simply overwhelm which has you seeing yourself in an unflattering light. Are you beating yourself up because you have too much to do and not enough time? 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!

For Best Results, Keep Your Gratitude Meter Full

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for small changes which yield big results.
  2. I’m grateful for the ability to refocus my attention when I start going down the rabbit hole of negativity.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who see my qualities and remind me to look for them too.
  4. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my epiphanies as well as my stumbles with my readers. It helps me be a better person and a better, happier me.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, friendship, inspiration, opportunities, motivation, dreams, self-improvement, peace, harmony, health, 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

Shutting Down My Own Gossip Girl

Time for an Attitude Adjustment

Created with CanvaEvery now and then I take a good, hard look at myself and am less than pleased with what I see. This week, I realized my conversational pool has deteriorated into gossip. Frankly, the very idea of sticking my nose into other peoples’ business is typically repellent, and yet, here I am, blabbing about the good, the bad, and the ugly, all of which is none of my damned business in the first place. How did I sink so low?

I think in part, it’s another off-shoot of working alone. Most days, I don’t get to hear my own voice unless I’m talking to myself or the cats. Some small piece of myself feels needy, and instead of using the need productively, it’s sunk to the lowest form of communication.

Still, this isn’t an excuse to beat myself up, Instead, it’s an opportunity to see something I can improve upon and start taking the necessary steps to put myself on a better path. Like an addiction, the first step towards fixing a problem is realizing you have one.

Rekindling Self-Love

While working out at the gym, I had time to mull over this shift in my behavior. I realized part 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-V4V7jqof it is a lack of respect and love for myself. Happy, secure people don’t find it necessary to gossip or speak ill of others. They don’t have the time or energy to worry about who’s doing what to whom. That’s not to say they don’t celebrate their friends’ successes. They simply don’t find it necessary to yak about it incessantly. I’ve been guilty of that as well.

I believe the first step in eliminating this unattractive behavior is to re-establish my personal heart link. What I mean by that is, I need to fall in love with myself again. Seeking outside validation, both positive and negative is a clear indication my link is broken and in need of repair.

Perception of Exclusion

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ionics/6338284584/in/photolist-aE6nbG-49a2Xa-TLgW2Q-5wAD6N-HGKPP-8UV6CB-6Sg7YA-9QycpZ-6u4T3X-4sC9aH-5nXKzn-5grmh3-ane6BH-W9uq65-62rxQ-Kud31E-XtaBzZ-LdJuy-LdJvu-ePGUFv-aE6qsQ-LdYkF-8Kvnyj-RdeDP4-6Btbw-ekUyG-eSNDQT-ESpkfb-5U4HwZ-66XHwe-a9LTFX-bWTW3k-4YhDF-2qGQSu-5LpPj-4jpvK-vjdRaC-8L6p5A-6HFRB-5r1qA-4jpvJ-4joXu-5QDfE-7qEysG-4jpS4-24RfjoL-bEFCy1-4joXx-43zSs-2e9RpMMWhen I started looking back on my behavior over the last couple of months, I see glaring indications I managed to miss or simply block out. Times when some of my friends did something without me and I felt sad and left out regardless of the reason for my exclusion. I’ve been feeling especially sad as the annual line dance cruise draws nearer, and will sail without me.

Sure, it was my choice and my reasons are both responsible and valid. Still, as everyone gathers in groups to talk about the upcoming trip, I feel alone and lost, even as it turned out to be an opportunity to attend a writing festival instead. Clearly a win-win for my career and future.

Learning to Re-focus on Qualities Instead of Flaws

I dance at our two-step teacher’s house once a week where there’s a mirror on the front wall. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8225835927/in/photolist-dwTyrn-a3ks33-9mvXys-6ja1gb-9yrH2G-nDdzvx-XUYUcB-5mVAik-aGc4QM-rcaJkB-te2rAP-a7Uq98-3dzbhp-GAf1t-n7eEii-SdF6ND-NpW4QT-Nn4EE7-Q1PXro-6GmuAj-Nb8fd-aGc4LK-5rvjUB-9G5iLz-dViNns-47qcTR-8gCJx7-53s2we-8Amcx2-651TAL-e3ogb6-3Sf9H3-23Jx66D-4beknX-477UHP-Nb8cA-61cxQD-7htzF3-e3tWNL-58nCxm-e3ogk4-27FNZKJ-9NHU1S-i23hC-8Rg5Yu-5tzpF9-CvzijW-Ck2RtR-28aTBt3-MweagTI can’t help but compare my Rubenesque physique to the slimmer curves of my friends, and feel a certain amount of disgust with myself. I know the reason is my lack of self-control when it comes to food, and laziness when it comes to getting up and moving more during my version of a work day. It’s not like someone is standing over me, expecting me to be at my desk working during certain hours. My schedule is flexible and allows for trips to the gym or a walk mid-day. I take advantage of the first, but not the second.

In the past, a silly little mantra was enough to inspire me to treat myself with love, but it’s fallen into disuse lately. I think my mantra needs some updating as well. Here’s what I’ll be using now—what I’ll tape to my bathroom mirror and other strategic places around the house:

I love myself as I am today.

I love myself as I’ll be tomorrow.

I love myself enough to recognize and accept my flaws.

I love myself enough to recognize where I need to make positive changes.

I love myself enough to implement those changes even when it’s difficult.

I love myself enough to refrain from comparing.

I love myself enough to refrain from judging.

I love myself enough to refrain from gossip.

I love myself enough.

Reversing the Downward Spiral

In the day-to-day struggle to navigate the often treacherous highway of jobs, people, and life Created with Canvain general, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative and spiral downward. Learning to recognize when you’ve jumped on a roller coaster that’s not in your best interests is definitely a learned skill, and one I thought I’d mastered.

The funny thing about life is when you think you’ve mastered something and become complacent, you get tossed back on the roller coaster without a safety bar or seat belts. You’re forced to figure out how to hold on until you can safely disembark and get back on track. Sometimes you’re lucky, and the car slows down enough for you to step off easily. Others, you have to take a deep breath, a giant leap, and tuck and roll. Sure, you’ll be bruised and battered, but you’ll be free of what drags you callously down into a place you thought you’d left behind for good, and good riddance.

Thwarting My Demons Over and Over Again

Years ago, I was in a cold, dark, lonely place where negativity and anger were my closest friends. I worked hard to escape that place leaving quite a bit of flesh behind in the process. But though I might have emerged raw and bleeding in places, I healed. In fact, in many cases, I had to break open old, badly healed wounds to get there.

But my demons, like those of so many others are greedy. They didn’t want to let go then, and want to drag me back into their depths now. They look for chinks in my happiness and positivity, and quickly fill them with their unholy mixture of misery and hate. It’s still up to me to use the tools I’ve gathered on my journey to evict them and fill those spaces, once again with love and positivity. Sometimes, that means getting out of my own way and taking a good, hard look at where I’ve landed.

Looking at Myself Honestly and Objectively

As with the degradation of my social skills and conversation, it isn’t always obvious. It doesn’t come on like a hurricane, but instead, creeps in slowly and stealthily when my attention is elsewhere. Often, I don’t see it until something makes me realize I’m feeling downright icky and don’t know exactly why.

That’s when I take a good, hard look at what I’m doing, thinking, and saying and the pattern emerges. I know then I need to first rekindle my self-love, and the rest will follow.

This time, I also know I need to spend a lot more time listening, and a lot less time talking. If I find myself left out of conversations, I have to accept it’s because I haven’t been contributing anything valuable and people found someone less negative and judge-y to talk to. It’ll take a little while to clear my slate of the crap.

Your Turn

Have you found yourself in a place you’ve been before, and aren’t sure how you fell back into old, outworn patterns? What do you do to reclaim your happier self? Tell me in the comments.

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!

Gratitude: The Surest Way Out of a Deep, Dark Pit

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve learned to recognize patterns that don’t serve me well.
  2. I’m grateful for the tools I’ve acquired on my healing journey.
  3. I’m grateful for friends who don’t desert me just because I’ve fallen into a bit of a cesspool. And I’m grateful for their confidence I’ll find my way back out.
  4. I’m grateful I can find my self-love again even when it’s slipped to dangerous levels.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: friends, family, love, joy, dancing, honesty, support, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, gifts, peace, health, 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

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