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

Posts tagged ‘responsibility’

Instill Kindness Into Honesty and Sarcasm

The Twisted Path of Honesty

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-h7171rHonesty is a word you see tossed around a lot these days. It’s being used to justify all sorts of inhumane, unconscionable behavior. Like sarcasm when it’s misused, honesty can cut and wound more deeply than a surgeon’s scalpel, and with more lasting and debilitating results.

Think about the parent who continually berates their child for failing to measure up to their expectations. Maybe the child is falling short of some imaginary mark the parent sets. Perhaps that mark is well beyond the child’s current capabilities. Either way, it’s honest to say the child failed, but at what cost? Will the child keep trying to please the parent and reach every higher, or will they become discouraged by the lack of acknowledgement for their efforts and stop trying? How many of you were that child, and grew up believing it wasn’t worth trying because you’d never be good enough?

I, for one wasted a lot of productive years because a toxic cocktail of sarcasm and honesty without compassion taught me to believe I’d never reach my goals if I couldn’t even reach the ones my parents had set for me. Pardon my language, but what a crock of shit!

Children Are Taught to Fail or Succeed

As children, you might see your parents as almighty gods who set expectations for you; when to potty train, when to feed yourself, when to crawl, when to walk, when to contribute to the household by doing chores…the list is endless. At what point do your expectations become your own instead of someone else’s? For some, the answer is “never”, while others take control over their lives much sooner. I’m one of the lucky ones who finally figured it out, though releasing the shackles of my upbringing took a lot of effort, and no small amount of pain.

It’s painful to learn the people tasked to love, guide, and encourage you left out some serious components. While they guided you to the best of their abilities, tacking their own expectations to your psyche with the subtlety of a staple gun, they did so without concern for your growth and ability to ultimately be your own guide—set your own expectations. And they failed to encourage you when you didn’t hit the mark on the first or second try. You never learned it was OK to fail a few times, but to recognize with each try you were going a little further; reaching a little higher.

While it was true you’d missed, and they weren’t wrong in saying you had failed, the constant failures and resulting honesty (or sometimes sarcasm) caused so much pain it was easier to give up entirely than suffer each time you tried and missed. Unfortunately, even when you left their direct influence, those failures and the pain stayed with you, holding you back from exposing yourself to cruel remarks and sneers if you tried and failed again.

A Society of Blamers

https://www.flickr.com/photos/goosmurf/426541487/in/photolist-DG8Vz-aj7drL-7qTUTm-bUZPKf-5UAF2U-6UnKch-4otLcg-6UiHya-75yzm-atwpet-4yCU8H-5nfnR-76Lzw1-6Ugcxa-7Q3md4-eib8UU-HfpTbN-Nxr3k-jTu6n1-5PSApx-etyaXr-4yCTT2-bRGkTc-bRGkGZ-e4RcXr-bwqg74-4ZLzc9-5fjXUt-7ogfMQ-ETXURp-ppVJ8D-rewk6c-6DAK7j-9APZid-Kpntb-9BoSUh-pTQTuk-atmgv4-qpKtSA-5xcdi7-oACc4f-66hZkp-8WPNFN-6tvQCx-ag4U2Z-8WPL5h-8WLJUp-8WLEKx-8WLKTV-aDXK3PGranted, not all children grow up in an environment that stifles their willingness to continue to try, and come back fighting after each failure. But our society has evolved to mimic the kind of parents who see all the failures, and ignore the efforts. It highlights, and even mocks the times you fall down, and never once recognizes or applauds the times you get back up, much less when you do succeed. Instead, it raises the bar just before you reach it, and mocks you for another failure.

No wonder so many are angry; so quick to accept a suggestion that blames someone else for their failures. You have to win once in awhile to be willing to keep playing the game—unless of course you’re a masochist! You need to hear a word of praise every so often so you’ll see your efforts are worth the struggle and the pain. Else, why bother?

But is blaming someone else really being honest with them? With yourself? How can anyone else be responsible for your failure to reach your goals, or worse, the goals that someone else assigned to you, and you didn’t have the guts or the strength to challenge? Parents might affect your first experience with conditioning and goal setting, but there comes a time when you’re in charge of your own life. Whether or not you accept that responsibility makes it no less true. Allowing your parents, or some other authority figure to continue to set your expectations makes you no less responsible for your own future. Perhaps that’s why many relinquish that responsibility to a controlling mate.

Are You Letting Yourself be Controlled?

I suspect some find it easier to both relinquish control and assign blame as it takes the desperationresponsibility off themselves—or so they believe. In truth, they still have the responsibility, but choose to deny it so they can blame someone else when they ultimately fail. What they’re really doing is making little to no effort because the goals they’re reaching for aren’t what they want. In a sense, they’re predisposed to failure, and may even like it that way. At the end of the day, they can hide behind an assertion that “it’s not my fault”, and blame someone else who had the audacity to take responsibility for themselves, and overcame the same basic odds.

They can feel justified, and even self-righteous in claiming others took away their opportunities when in reality, they took them away all by themselves by giving up long before success was even on the horizon. It’s a lot harder to admit you’ve stood in your own way than it is to blame your stagnation on blacks, or homosexuals, or Muslims, or Jews, or Women, or whoever your scapegoat du jour might be, than to admit you failed yourself.

History is full of people who raped, pillaged, stole, and otherwise grabbed what they believed they deserved from those they’d decided didn’t deserve the fruits of their own labor. Our society is rife with those who still believe the dangerous lies they not only tell themselves, but which are being substantiated, not by those who wish them well, but by people who’ve learned how to press a few hot buttons to manipulate the herd mentality into doing their bidding.

Buying Into Rhetoric While Relinquishing Responsibility

https://www.flickr.com/photos/moonjazz/4322051067/in/photolist-7zVDcR-5HMRtL-WXwZ4x-5HwZ1W-W8gjMg-cmRixy-6QT7w5-644Ln2-aqnYV4-t3u4Vo-a3fPm8-96X9E-661V8k-7imNtn-dyL2X1-pqPPxB-8ZBwzC-6aTwUf-8X7nVL-98Xpyp-91GcS5-8QFSZ3-8QCL54-8QCLjR-fD8pbT-fke9kC-8rt4if-6eLvkB-2fF3nDE-8QFRwq-8VvhHg-39jdZK-fjZ1WZ-fjZ1nc-fjZ1JR-6jPBns-TCH7H7-dKE42n-GhN8P-21yUcgH-d5ogN-616Soq-7L5RSL-fjZ1PX-94tRCT-fjZ1AB-fke9Qh-SZrAL7-5ZFHzH-jSKjmJThat’s what happens when you have a large portion of society who believes they’re not responsible. They’re easily led because they want someone to tell them what to do; how to believe; and worse, who to blame. And you end up with lemmings who are willing to turn a blind eye and accept rhetoric like this:

You see Trump’s arrogance, I see Trump’s confidence. You see Trump’s nationalism, I see Trump’s patriotism. You hear Trump’s unsophisticated words, I hear Trump’s honesty. You see Trump’s racism, I see Trump’s words being misconstrued and twisted by the media daily to fit their narrative. You see Trump as a Republican, I see Trump as a Patriot. You see Trump as a dictator, I see Trump as a leader. You see Trump as an Authoritarian, I see Trump as the only one willing to fight for our freedoms. You see Trump as childish, I see Trump as a fighter, unwilling to cave in to the lies. You see Trump as an unpolished politician, I see Trump as a breath of fresh air. You think Trump hates immigrants, I know Trump is married to an immigrant. You see Trump putting an end to immigration in America, I see Trump welcoming immigrants to America LEGALLY. You see Trump’s cages at the border, I see Obama’s cages at the border. You see Trump with a struggling economy, I see Trump with an amazing economy until the Democrats shut it down. You see the violence in the streets and call it “Trump’s America”, I see the violence in the streets of Democratic run cities who are refusing Trump’s help and call it “Liberal America.” You want someone more Presidential, I’m happy we have someone who finally doesn’t just talk the talk but actually walks the walk. You and I? We see things very differently.

Do we really see things differently, or are these the words of someone who wants justification for abdicating responsibility for their own future, and a reason to be hateful, cruel, and unkind without remorse or consequences? You decide. But before you do, I suggest you do a little research into the dialogues in Germany as Hitler rose to power. If you’re not shaking in your boots afterwards, you might be allowing someone else to take the lead.

Every Grateful I’m Responsible for My Own Destiny

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for opposing viewpoints, as long as we can communicate with kindness and compassion.
  2. I’m grateful for my quiet place where I can go to refresh and recharge, even if I know it’s at risk right now.
  3. I’m grateful for my ability to express, even when my opinions aren’t popular or even well-received.
  4. I’m grateful for being able to move my body when my brain is spinning out of control.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, communication, compassion, friendship, balance, peace, harmony, joy, health, acceptance, 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

Backing Slowly Away From Toxicity

To Clear Toxicity, You Must First Acknowledge It

Every day you’re exposed to toxicity. No matter how hard you try, some gets past those barriers you’ve erected. Perhaps it’s something that tugs at your heartstrings, or raises your ire. Maybe it comes from someone you love and respect. Let’s face it, everyone has their hot buttons and triggers. No matter how much you try to exude love, compassion, and kindness, there are times something will set you off, and that raging devil, anger will rear his ugly, malignant head.

For me, the solution has always been to disconnect before I get sucked in, though there are times, I’m not as successful at disconnecting as I could be. Once in awhile, I still engage before I do a reality check and back away before I say something I might regret. Most of the time I’ve become good at making a couple of less inflammatory comments before allowing myself to be sucked into an argument that will invariably have lots of casualties and no winners.

I have a lot of hot buttons of my own these days, but one of the worst is blame. I have zero tolerance for comments that blame one group or another because, frankly, I am sick and tired of people assigning blame at all, much less to infer one entire group of people, be they racial, sexual, cultural, or generational, is responsible for anything that’s going on the world, either good or bad. Every group has its sinners and its saints, but most people who are categorized (another hot button of mine) into one group or another fall somewhere along the continuum. I choose to believe most of them will be on the kinder end.

Erupting in Anger Instead of Reaching for Compassion

Perhaps I’m naive. Maybe enough people are fed up with something or other that their anger https://www.flickr.com/photos/armenws/5837909811/in/photolist-9TSPcr-C3VGX-24FwY6-26x1rb6-5itLut-dhFGeP-pFWFZK-abNp5y-adf5z-hL7FHE-dhFHhY-dhFvph-dauvud-dhFwgW-dhFqWQ-dhFtAn-abeFZP-dhFDeu-dhFuoZ-dhFqbq-adhZR-abKzAD-adf81-abKx9R-bpTzDn-QVxKyY-abKyYK-9gERc8-anUgst-abeFCX-bzS7hf-abeGb2-2cYSbck-8GpCMm-abNm6Y-21Uy4Gb-4NKgmb-abNkTs-begshM-hRcioi-daKq9G-aUymi2-ZRYKoW-9tsYBM-abeFsx-bNLL6K-F2o45H-6MFFvx-9SsLVR-ZAWXwiand frustration are spilling out unchecked, allowing their darker side to rise to the surface. I choose to see differently. I choose to see the kindness and compassion that caused the rage to erupt in the first place. Beneath it all, they’re doing their best to bring attention to a wrong that needs righted, even if, in my opinion, they may be doing more harm than good by alienating those who might have helped.

It saddens me to see everyone fighting over petty stuff. If they cleared away the sludge that’s masking the real issues, they’d find we’re all on the same page in wanting everyone to be safe, comfortable, happy, and well-treated. Sure, what’s coming out of some people’s mouths is vile and poisonous. But how did their minds become so poisoned? How did they turn the innocence of birth into a reason to hate others with no valid reason?

How can so many profess to be God-fearing, yet spew forth hatred for any of God’s other creatures? This is perhaps one of my strongest reasons for finding organized religion unpalatable.  I struggle to reconcile the hypocrisy in my mind or to understand why some people can’t see the indisputable connection they have with everyone and everything on this beautiful planet of ours. They miss the synergy that’s always present, and when allowed to flourish, always blooming and growing, not only in front of our eyes, but in our hearts, minds, and souls.

Embracing Ubuntu

By the same token, how can people scream to the rooftops about rights and respect and fail to respect others in the process? We all make mistakes. We all behave less than kindly at times. Shouldn’t forgiveness be part of the process for altering behavior in a more positive way?

Every so often, a post about the South African concept of Ubuntu appears on my news feed. I always share it, but have yet to save one of the graphics, or better still, create on of my own. Wikipedia contains this quote from Michael Onyebuchi Eze which, for me, exemplifies the ideology I’m trying to teach myself to not only embody, but exude, albeit with limited, though increasing success:

‘A person is a person through other people’ strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance.

I guess that’s why I find this quote from Dr. Seuss to also be relevant, though not for the same reasons the anti-abortionists use (or perhaps mis-use) it.

Taking Responsibility

It’s not that I don’t understand. My own blood family has infighting and disconnections galore. In fact, it’s been part of our culture for more generations than I know. My grandmother used to talk about people who’d done her wrong, and who she no longer spoke to, loudly and vehemently. To listen to her, you’d have thought they’d stolen her husband and murdered her cat. While my mother claimed to reject that way of thinking, she embraced it herself on a number of still-memorable occasions.

While I’d like to say I’ve learned from their behavior, I’ll admit there are few members of my blood family with whom I’m even in contact any more. Granted, in many cases, it’s been a mutual decision, but there is definitely some bad blood between me and some of my family that I could, if I put forth the effort, clear at least my part of.

Maybe that’s what it’s going to come down to when all is said and done. Everyone needs to repair the rifts within their own family before trying to fix all the societal rifts that have been created. Some may be more recent, but the propensity to find a difference and hate it probably goes all the way back to the dawn of humanity. Free choice is one thing, but when we use it as a reason to hate someone, I think we’re missing the point. Heck, we’re not even hitting the target!

Healing Begins With Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for things that make me think, and reassess my own behavior.
  2. I’m grateful for motivation and inspiration.
  3. I’m grateful for the commitments I’ve made to myself.
  4. I’m grateful for the positive influences of the people I call family now.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, motivation, inspiration, dedication, peace, harmony, balance, health, opportunities, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Life.

 

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

Positive Affirmations and Being Not OK Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

Using Affirmations to Uplift, Not Mask

silenceI tend to share what some might consider an excessive number of positive affirmations, and inspirational posts. It doesn’t mean everything in my own life is hunky dory all the time. It means I share them because most of the time, I need to be uplifted as much as anyone else out there. I need constant reminders to keep putting one foot in front of the other even if I do so more slowly on some days than others.

I also need to be supported when I’m not feeling very OK. For most of my life, letting it be known that I wasn’t always holding it together perfectly was not only proscribed, but dangerous. To have friends who will now ask me if everything’s OK, simply because I shared certain posts is one of the biggest blessings in my life.

As a strong proponent of mental health awareness, I’m especially conscious about the highs, lows, and in-betweens that form the pattern of my mental state. I’ve learned to accept there will be days when it’s all I can do to perform the bare minimum of my daily tasks, and others when I’m my happy, over-achieving self. The truth is, most days fall somewhere in the middle, and that’s as it should be.

Changing Perspective

Granted, what constituted my bare minimum 20 years ago compared to now is a completely Created with Canvadifferent animal. Certainly, my actual responsibilities have decreased. I no longer have children to care for, nor do I leave the house to go work in someone else’s office 5 days a week. I’m also not the angry, frustrated, self-sabotaging woman who repeatedly failed at anything that would have improved my own circumstances. The most profound change I’ve made came in the last 5 years or so. I learned to commit to myself, for no other reason than I deserved it.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to value myself enough to honor those commitments, be they professional, physical, mental, or emotional. I suspect a lot of it had to do with early conditioning when I was never enough for my mom. She set expectations I eventually deemed impossible. Unfortunately, when I gave up on trying to please her or find success in any of her expectations, I essentially gave up on any I might have had for myself too.

I think for awhile, I’d allowed her to set my bar for me, relinquishing any responsibility for my own life. Her code was so powerfully embedded in my psyche, I didn’t realize I could rewire it if I wanted to. I ended up going through the next 20 years or so believing I was destined to be mediocre. Whether it was the way I looked, the jobs I landed, the relationships I attracted, or what constituted friendships, I led a life of settling. I believed I wasn’t worthy of anything better, much less following my own passions and believing in my own talents and skills.

Looking At Myself Through A Different Lens

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150484208@N03/44184429080/in/photolist-2ajqKpo-2iLh6WQ-2iBA7uZ-2iEvWFK-2iKWNFS-5wZd1M-UweR3b-2jc1suY-2iWZ1KF-2ht36Yo-J8P7Ws-2iXJHdW-KCZu4y-2iLV5ND-2jgHRX1-2iLsdSL-2iLwEjt-2ivpRhq-2iLiHgG-pqR24V-2iK8Wno-2jfL2sq-2jfH7qu-2jfMjsM-2irWkYR-2irvLb4-6XvHWe-2iBik4o-2iMdfG8-2jfHBBf-4izYnK-3YDemA-M2PYfg-8uXSYZ-9pbQWs-7wRDZ6-bjQUa-7PLAC4-6iTi1k-3eokAS-bXbdaM-Ltpr-9pgan3-6iThKx-aYXZsc-63Fnjj-7MQqK5-d8iCoN-fdKDCn-4PZadvSure, I had friends who complimented me on my intelligence, my wisdom, and my ability to quickly learn and remember line dances, but in most cases, I was quick to dismiss their words, saying I was no better than anyone else, or pointing to someone who was better than me. What I didn’t realize at the time was people get tired of being dismissed. I didn’t even notice when the compliments stopped coming, and often, when friends who might have been supportive drifted away.

When I finally took the leap and left a job and the work I’d come to, if not hate, at least lose interest in, I drifted for a couple of years. I lackadaisically kept up my blog, started a website, and signed up for courses in a few different areas. Nothing stuck, and I couldn’t find anything to hold my interest. Instead, I read books, watched TV, took naps, and eventually, started going to the gym regularly. When I found I’d started many things, including 3 novels and a memoir, but completed nothing, I knew I had to take a hard look at who and what I was, and where I wanted my life to go.

The initial picture wasn’t pretty, forged from years of self-criticism, and under-achieving. I knew deep down I had lots of potential, but I always seemed to find a way to stop well before I reached any kind of positive conclusion. Yet the roadblocks and obstacles that did the most damage were ones of my own creation. I realized I had to start changing my own story before I could take charge of my own destiny; a responsibility I hadn’t even realized I’d relinquished to someone who was, by then, long dead.

It began when I watched “The Secret” for the first time, and made a pact with a friend to help each other remove negative self-talk from our conversations. I’d like to say I’ve learned to remove it completely, but that’s a level of perfection I’ve yet to achieve, though not for lack of trying.

Putting Myself First

As time went on, I knew I had to make major changes career-wise, as I’d dug myself a hole I wasn’t even sure I wanted to climb out of any more. In truth, I was bored; with my life, with a long series of dead-end jobs with increasing responsibility but no recognition, and with the way I looked. To be honest, there was a long period of time when I didn’t even bother to put forth the effort.

The turning point came when I realized if I didn’t commit to myself, first and foremost, I wasn’t going to break decades-old patterns. I knew, at least vaguely where I wanted to go, and who I wanted to be. I didn’t have details, and have learned since, I don’t need to. The picture in my head and a passionate desire to be present in that picture are enough to start putting things in place.

Things like:

  • Scheduling regular, consistent blog posts
  • Mapping out steps to complete my current WIP’s
  • Doing regular Facebook Live Videos
  • Posting or sharing positive affirmations and quotes
  • Showing up every day with my face washed, teeth brushed, hair combed, and wearing something other than what I slept in (which means I’m putting a bra on every day)
  • Maintaining my physical fitness
  • Meditating regularly
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals, that require little to no daily preparation. This includes:
    • Making a large enough salad to last for 3 or 4 meals
    • Preparing batch meals that can be frozen in single servings
    • Taking advantage of seasonal produce to make things like gazpacho and fruit salad
  • Self-education

Adjusting Expectations

https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhami/2993662670/in/photolist-5yxiBC-8U5hPD-3edYTu-4CUgRY-3zQatC-5vmZ5c-bu1dBi-aGGHJg-aGGHaR-BrnmAC-JDHRGr-aGGG6n-anNJMT-aGGJDF-nhi5kC-URiXsy-8TU5Uu-7RHX6n-dSUfp3-8pz3GG-ax1E17-Gf1oKW-5wx88t-66XiHU-7U9YpL-7fcpGE-6C7S53-6AEtio-8YbMjQ-587zbz-MiRWFF-5htVfK-onWKYE-edRR9q-9jX3Pw-oZ6LzR-8pRD6w-9eVxUz-axUgNW-F6D6yL-dbZeKc-4cLsjY-b8ppRD-FfTkWW-7Lsz4B-66Xk3Q-2zs3Zi-7Lxsep-kyFmeu-RNnFfMI’ve also learned there are times when I’ll slip a bit on due dates, and beating myself up about it won’t help me get back on track. I need down time, and there are times I’ll need it more than others. I have to honor those cycles, and recognize when they end, I’ll come back stronger, clearer, more confident, and more committed than ever.

So I share something positive on Facebook every day (usually several somethings) but recognize we all have “those” days. I encourage myself and others to respect our own cycles, and to honor our own boundaries and needs. It took me a long time to realize the only expectations I needed to meet were my own, and a bit longer to figure out what those were. I had to disentangle myself from all the things I’d been taught to believe by people who, in their own minds only wanted what was best for me. Unfortunately, their vision was extremely limited, and defined by what they, themselves had been taught to believe.

Always Something to Be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I finally learned to commit to myself.
  2. I’m grateful for the people who’ve come into my life at just the right time to help me learn, and sometimes unlearn what I need to know to move forward.
  3. I’m grateful for the successes I’ve had in the last few years which support the choices and decisions I finally made for me, and only me.
  4. I’m grateful for inspiration which never really deserts me any more, if it ever did. Learning to tap into it at will has been one of my greatest lessons and achievements.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, inspiration, commitment, motivation, friendship, support, joy, peace, health, harmony, balance, 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

Finally Putting Myself First

Who’s Looking Out For Me?

For most of my life, I was convinced it was my responsibility to please other people. Whether it was parents and teachers when I was younger, bosses and boyfriends as I moved into my 20’s, children, friends, and co-workers as my 30’s and 40’s slipped by—not once during those decades did I pause for a moment to ask:

Who’s looking out for me?

The harsh reality was, no one. Everyone had expectations, and I suppose they all assumed I took care of my own. And yet, I didn’t. I ate poorly, slept badly, gave up dancing to schlep my daughters to practices and events while they were in high school, worked long hours for thankless, self-serving bosses. The only things I got out of it were a marginally decent paycheck, and a lot of extra pounds.

Don’t get me wrong. The time and effort I spent on my daughters was a labor of love. It wasn’t their job to take care of me, though as they grew older, Heather, at least made an effort at times, when her own life wasn’t overwhelming her. And she was definitely the driving force behind me getting back to doing one thing I’ve always loved; writing.

Forgetting to Put My Own Health and Welfare First

But I always put things like healthy eating, regular exercise, and me time on hold until I had less on my plate. Of course the day didn’t come until long after Heather moved out. I didn’t give myself permission to put myself first until all other responsibilities; kids, job, friends; were no longer a factor.

That’s when I started paying more attention to what I needed. I put myself on a gym schedule, increased the number of blog posts I wrote, finished the first draft of my memoir, and so much more.

I discovered the more I gained control of my own wants and needs, the more able I was to organize something else. My house grew less cluttered. My health improved, and when I was faced with revisiting my diet or taking blood pressure medication, the answer was obvious. I increased my weekly blog posting to three and my pre-scheduling to at least two weeks. And I added thrice-weekly posts to Medium.com as well.

Falling into Old Habits

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrStill, it wasn’t long before I began doing things for other people, even when it conflicted with my own needs. Nothing major really, but enough to bring my migraines back more frequently. It took me awhile to realize where my problem lay, but when I did, I took a giant step back.

I looked at how little I’d been getting done aside from what I’d already put in place. Nothing new had been added in months, and I was spending too much time either parked in front of the TV or playing computer games. I was wasting my best writing time, late nights, on mindlessness. And it had to stop!

I looked around myself at all the projects I wanted done but couldn’t bring myself to start. I tried to ignore the preparations I’d made to re-write my memoir after getting the editor’s notes. I cringed at my failed attempts to write regular articles for Elephant Journal.

Re-Committing to Me

It all came down to one monkey I thought I’d gotten off my back. Once again, I 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-jk3BYpwas failing myself. I was blowing off all the commitments I’d made to move my life and business forward. I’d allowed myself to become discouraged by a combination of other peoples’ opinions and my own lack of progress.

So many times in the last few years I’ve recognized a need to take a few steps back and take stock. To look at where I am now, where I’ve been, and where I still want to go. Part of the solution is to re-set intentions. Part is to use my time more wisely. But most of it is to rekindle the flame inside me that burns away feelings of unworthiness, inability, fear, and ineptitude. In recent months, I’d allowed that flame to burn low, if not go out.

I’ve filled my weeks with more dance nights. But my alone time has been an endless chain of ennui. I’ve convinced myself I’m doing well to stick to the schedule I’ve made for writing blog posts, but have written nothing for others in the last month. I’ve made no effort to work on any of my larger projects, or even set myself a schedule for completing them.

Filling My Time With Uselessness

When I sit down at my computer at night, I open a game or social media instead of a document. Even my passion for reading has gone unfulfilled.

Sure, I write my morning pages every day, but most days, they’re filled with comments about the cats or other meaningless drivel. I’ve lost sight of their true purpose; to dredge up my innermost thoughts and drag out what’s truly bothering me and keeping me from moving forward. I’ve even seen only an occasional blog idea rather than the many I used to get from a single day’s writing. My dreams are vivid, but by the time I hit snooze a few times, they and whatever message they might have held disappears and never makes it to my morning pages.

But the real problem still comes down to one thing. I’ve stopped honoring commitments to myself. I haven’t really replaced them with anything substantial. Occasionally, I’m an ear for a friend, but even that’s become infrequent of late. Mostly, I’m simply avoiding.

Recognizing My Avoidance Behavior

https://www.flickr.com/photos/158790927@N08/25811269728/in/photolist-FjRveS-9bdN4K-dKT3m8-anLPS8-G2jGGP-666Dfo-9m3HTB-2ybGf6-9iiWLY-25XfULY-7a6uQa-U9eETw-7DiPVT-p9S65F-e2GNW6-vQhq-4X1zBQ-21j28Rw-aThcrK-RtCD8e-JQymgD-4tNbf5-pHEbRM-6Spn3F-q6BKxR-dFUcvG-pRv5H1-a83xB-3BDEC4-51zVdg-qDXFZQ-ZxzHMW-5QUcWa-sRkDaA-nwfiJe-D2A2dy-6mzNAb-51EaCE-dH2iC3-51zW7R-qy8Bsg-2fiQNc-4rnFvK-cGPQZG-jKU2zx-rpgXY4-oUjEqW-6AiPdn-8GTCLG-9VrnVKAvoiding what, you ask? First and foremost, finishing my memoir and figuring out how and where I’ll publish it. After that, it’s doing things to improve my physical environment like sanding the walls in the bathroom and applying the paint I bought months ago, or digging up weeds in the yard I thought about doing while we had rain and the ground was soft. Now it’s summer and the days are hotter, giving me more excuses to put that project on hold yet again.

I’m also avoiding working through a course which will help me create a client funnel, and thus, more business. I’m making excuses, most of which are pure garbage. I tell myself I don’t know where to find people who need a ghostwriter or even an accountant. But have I put forth the effort to learn where they hang out? Barely.

I’ve also talked about trading more blog posts for coaching sessions, but have yet to offer up a schedule I promised a couple of weeks ago.

Taking Positive Steps

Now I could keep beating myself up for letting myself down, but frankly, that would simply extend this already interminably dull and unproductive cycle. Instead, I write about it here, taking credit and responsibility for what I’ve done and where I am so I can come to terms with it and move on.

The funny thing is, if someone let me down like this, I’d address the issue and try to find a solution. I wouldn’t let it drag on forever. I’d send a follow up email or text and open a dialogue. It’s really no different with myself except the dialogue is done with pen and paper, or fingers and keyboard instead of voices or emails.

In a way, I’ve already done most of the work by writing this post. I’ve pulled out the issues, and if I don’t fully understand the causes behind my latest round of self-sabotage, I’ve at least acknowledged it’s happening, and that I’m aware of it. Like any kind of obsession or addiction, the first step is admitting it’s a problem. In the coming weeks and months, I can work on the solution. I can acknowledge all the things I do to avoid the commitments to myself, and I can offer convincing arguments against any value in avoidance.

Using My Writing to Set Myself Right

The solutions are always in my writing even when writing is the problem. In fact, when writing is the problem, sitting down and writing are my best direction out of the pit I’ve likely crawled into while avoiding writing. Funny how that works.

Some might say I set my personal expectations high, but in reality, they’re fairly low. Write my morning pages every day. Easy. Write at least a few words or a blog post daily. A little tougher, but not outlandish. Keep my personal space clean. A bit harder with my piglets of cats who simply cannot be trained to clean up after themselves, but still do-able.

As for the bigger projects like the bathroom and the yard, I’m confident when I clear the blocks around my writing and business building, those projects will be my reward for a job well done.

Above all, I think I need a reminder for those times when I forget my most important commitment is me.

Identifying the Many Things I Have to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for little things that remind me to take better care of myself and my own needs.
  2. I am grateful for the gift of writing which always gets me back on track provided I remember to use it.
  3. I am grateful for my daughter Heather who single-handedly got me back to writing regularly, even if sometimes it was kicking and screaming.
  4. I am grateful for all the people who continue to read, support, and encourage my writing.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, writing, friendship, inspiration, motivation, ladders out of the abyss, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

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

April 2, 2015 Where Have All the Manners Gone?

People are Invading our Homes with no Sense of Propriety

There’s a sense of entitlement which is permeating into the very place we considered safe and secure in protecting our very privacy and right to be left alone.

That place is our home, our castle, where we lay our heads, love our children, snuggle our pets. By now, you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about.

When the Fedex guy pounded down my door a week or so ago, I didn’t give it much thought, other than to call and file a complaint as I didn’t want his insensitive behavior to be inflicted on one of my elderly neighbors or a young mother who had just gotten her baby to sleep. End of story…or so I thought.

Today, while working in my office as I typically do during the day (and often at night as well), there was again a knock on my door, but this time, it went like this:

{Bam!Bam!Bam!}
I got up and walked to the door and before I could even ask “who is it?” I heard:
“Open up!” (my mind is thinking, who in the heck is it, telling me to open up? Police? Firefighter? but I saw neither out my window)
“Who is it?” I asked
“It’s J.R.”
“J.R.?” I asked in confusion, as I don’t know anyone by that name.
“From blankety blank appliance. Kirby.”
(Oh, great, I’m thinking, another salesman) “No thank you.” and I returned to my office.
When I looked out the window, the man was crossing the street to the home of one of my elderly neighbors. I hoped she would do as I did, and refuse to answer the door, but at least she has a rather large golden retriever to help protect her.

Rude Disruptions are Becoming the Rule Instead of the Exception

It has me wondering if parents are no longer teaching their children things like common courtesy and respect. It has become quite common for a pushy young salesman to pound insistently on my door, then waste my time trying to convince me that he’s not a salesmen, but someone who is just sharing important information with me, willing or not.

Though I’m less inclined than ever to even consider whatever wares these folks might be peddling, I almost want to tell them that they and their product are leaving such a bad taste in my mouth that should I consider purchasing that product in the future, I will look into every brand or company except theirs.

Do Such Hard Sell, Mannerless Tactics Really Work?

What are the statistics behind this kind of service and salesmanship? Are they really effective, or are these kids being pushed so hard to make a living that they lose sight of the fact that they are the face of their company and first impressions matter? How many people these days open their doors for such people, and if they do, how many of those give them more than about 30 seconds to make their pitch? When I told my daughter that the fellow today actually said “Open Up!”, she was, to say the least, disbelieving. She must have asked me four times, “Did he really say ‘open up’?”

As is often the case, this experience reminds me of one of my favorite songs from the ’70’s by Crosby, Stills and Nash. It was written by Graham Nash and released in 1970 on their album Deja Vu:

“Teach Your Children”

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of the tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix,the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

From what I’m seeing lately, that “code that you can live by” has gotten pretty weak. I could fall into the blame trap and ask who is at fault, but to what purpose? I ask instead, “What can we do to help fix it?” As I see it, this is society’s problem, and each of us is what makes up that society, so each of us has a responsibility to help get us all back on a path of mutual respect and consideration. Who’s with me on this?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn where I can help make a difference.
2. I am grateful for the ugliness in others which makes me face it in myself, be it the actual ugliness or my failure to be a messenger of change.
3. I am grateful for messages from my Guides, Higher Self and Angels.
4. I am grateful for the changes my life is taking and the new roads I’m breaking.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, people, opportunities, growth, expansion, love, joy, friendship, happiness, health, harmony and prosperity.

Blessed Be

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and my website, http://www.shericonaway.com. 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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