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

Posts tagged ‘responsibility’

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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