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

Posts tagged ‘rules’

Learning to Feed the Positive Vibes

Positive Lessons I Learned From “The King and I”

Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune, So no one will suspect I’m afraid.
The result of this deception, Is very strange to tell
For when I fool the people I fear I fool myself as well!
And ev’ry single time, The happiness in the tune
Convinces me that I’m not afraid.  — I Whistle a Happy Tune

I’m not always positive or upbeat. Life kicks me around my fair share. But I’ve learned to keep a positive attitude even through the wildest storms. Unlike what today seems like another lifetime ago, I don’t mask my feelings. I feel them, acknowledge them, love them, then try to let the bad stuff go. The positive affirmations I share here and on social media aren’t meant to cover anything up, but to remind myself where I might currently be is only temporary. As long as I focus on the lesson rather than wallowing in the pain, I know I’ll navigate the current hazards and reach the other side only slightly the worse for wear.

It wasn’t always this way. The lessons I share today came at great cost. In learning them, I had to let go of the person I thought I was in order to become the one I was meant to be. There were times I was certain it wasn’t worth the pain.

Whether it was by choice or by design, I pushed through anyway, and today, I’m grateful I did. Not only have I gained an amazing group of friends who have essentially replaced the family which was one of the casualties of my emergence, I’ve found the child within, giving her the love and appreciation I withheld for decades. We are both richer for it.

Breaking Old Molds: Painful but Rewarding

I come from a long line of women who nurture their misery like it’s something to be cherished The Tower from the Spiral Tarotand protected. Some even raised it to deity status, so in my defense, I didn’t know better. But as I got older and interacted with people from other families; other backgrounds, I had plenty of opportunity to learn. It was my choice to remain in the dark hole I mistook for the warmth and comfort of the family womb. In truth, it was only a comfort as long as I followed their rules and lived my life within those confines.

Those rules proved to be structured in direct opposition to my own wants, needs, and talents. It was an untenable situation I’d either have to leave, or give up on the person I needed to be and the child who was crying desperately for release. In the end, I gave in to the child and gave up the family into which I’d never fit anyway.

I’d like to say it was a clean break and I’ve never looked back. That’s only partially true. I opened the door 20 years in when they offered me a chance to return to the family fold. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the price was higher than I was willing to pay. Just as I’d outgrown the friends I had 20-30 years ago, I’d outgrown most of my blood relations too. It’s no reflection on any of them. We simply don’t fit any more. We’re pieces of entirely different puzzles now. In many ways, we probably always were.

Accept, Acknowledge, Release

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-RNnFfMThese days, I acknowledge pieces of my past as they come up for review. I know there are feelings I still need to feel before they can be released and forgiven. There’s only one way through that storm, and it’s straight through. Fortunately, it does get easier, and most of the feelings I’m called upon to feel are less painful; less intense than the ones when I first tore down the walls.

At least they feel that way. Maybe I’ve just learned they can no longer really hurt me, or I’ve gotten stronger. In the process of becoming my true self, I’ve learned a lot of things. One is resilience. What might have broken me before is often no more than a small scratch or surface wound now; easily healed and quickly forgotten. The walls I once thought protected me actually bound me to the pain longer than necessary. Without the walls, what I don’t want or need dissipates more quickly.

Once the positive attitude was entirely an act. A way to convince people to leave me alone so my wounds could heal unimpeded. But like Anna in “The King and I”, after awhile, what I feigned became true, not because the world changed, but because I believed it with all my heart, and made it real.

A lot of folks these days are trying to discredit the “fake it ’til you make it” point of view. For them, I suppose it’s not the right approach, but it worked quite well for me with one qualification. You can only fake it for a short time. Eventually, you have to either have made it so, or revisit your expectations and revised them to fit who and what you truly are deep down inside.

Flipping the Script While Staying True to My Calling

I’ve revised and restructured many things in the last decade or so, but one thing remains constant. I am a writer. It’s what I was meant to be, and what I will ultimately excel at. No matter how many times I’m knocked down, discouraged, or criticized, it remains my singular focus. Even when I go months writing nothing but blog posts and morning pages, I’m still a writer. I’m still writing.

The fact that I’m writing constantly is evidence enough I am living my story; walking my talk. I’ll admit, the last year or so I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut, though the amount of words I’ve pounded out might belie that observation. I’ve neglected my memoir and more, my fiction writing. I think I needed to get some kind of structure with writing of any kind before I could get back on that horse. But with blog posts always 3 weeks or more ahead, Medium posts scheduled a month or better in advance, and chapters of “Sasha’s Journey” going up on ChapterBuzz with some regularity, I’m ready to up my game.

I want to do another NaNoWriMo, but more, I want to finish everything I’ve started, and actually publish something. I know that means focusing on things like building a platform, and learning how to publish and market my work. I feel, after all the roads I’ve traveled; all the words I’ve written, it’s well past time to point my trusty charger in that direction. Just typing those words makes me feel inspired, empowered, and energized, which tells me I’ve finally found the right mental state for my higher aspirations. It’s been a long time coming, and in a lot of ways, I’ve faked myself right into what I always wanted to be when I grew up.

My positive attitude may not be a constant thing, even today (but then, whose is?). It is, however, very real, and comes from the depths of my no longer frozen heart. May it inspire others to let loose the chains of their own checkered past and follow their dreams.

With Gratitude Every Step of the Way

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the family who raised me to recognize I didn’t belong, and to the family who has adopted me because I do.
  2. I’m grateful for the gift of writing. It’s gotten me through some of the worst times in my life, and helps me fully appreciate the best ones.
  3. I’m grateful for friendships that have become family; people who accept the weird, moody, quirky, hermity person I am without reservation.
  4. I’m grateful for dancing. It’s brought me my tribe, given me an outlet, and is a healthy passion.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, cats to love, electricity, running water, ample healthy food, family by choice, music, peace, 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

Celebrating Your Exceptional Self

Letting Go of Limits on Being Exceptional

We are all exceptional. Yes, even you. You bring something to the world nobody else does. Sometimes it’s hard to find it, mired as we are in the business of living.

The trouble is, we’re encouraged, not always gently, to fit in from an early age. Being different made you a target for teasing, bullying and abuse in many flavors. You either toughened up or conformed if you could. Some of us simply built walls around our authentic and far more interesting selves and hid the light we were meant to shine.

Reality Today Was Once Someone’s Impossible

Where are the ones who bullied and teased now? Are they doing extraordinary things? Are they taking chances or leaps of faith? Are they daring to be different? Probably not. They’re probably a member of the cube jungle, going to a meaningless job every day, tapping a keyboard and pushing paper. They have their 2.5 kids and their mini van, or maybe their kids are grown and they babysit their grandkids so their kids can have a night out. They’re hooked on “Survivor” and “Real Housewives of Wherever”. In other words, they’re boring!

Last week, I heard a lot of people talk about being comfortable and how it is just another name for a rut. Whether it’s the 9-5 job that bores you silly, yet you stay because of the regular paycheck and 401(k), or the people you never meet because you go to the same places on the same days every week (yes, I am guilty of that one!), or the lessons you don’t learn because you reject anything that isn’t in your wheelhouse. They’re all ruts. Pleasant ones, maybe, but still ruts.

One of my favorite quotes from “Alice in Wonderland” is:

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!

Frankly, that’s not a bad idea. Her point, though, is that once you’ve believed those impossible things, they become possible. For example, I believe I am a New York Times best-selling author. Have you seen my books? Perhaps you’re just not looking hard enough!

Believe in Yourself and You’ll Do the Impossible

The first step in being your extraordinary self is believing—not that you can, but that you already are! Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to go? As Dr. Seuss said:

Oh, the thinks you can think!

As I write this, I did a Google search to make sure I’m quoting correctly, and on the first page of the search found not one, but two links to of my own previous articles. This concept is clearly not new to me. If you’d like to see where I was on this subject about 6 months ago, here’s the link:  “Oh, the Extraordinary Thinks You can Think!”

You see, I’m no stranger to leaps of faith, any more than I’m a stranger to hiding my extraordinary self under a bushel basket. Sometimes, you have to feel the pain of denying your authenticity before you’re willing to endure a little discomfort to be true to yourself. People won’t always support you or even be nice about the choices you make, but is what they think about you really your business?

Why Limit Yourself by What Others Believe About You?

You can’t control what people think of you or how they react to what you do or say, so why waste your time and effort trying. Living your life to please others is, in the first place a losing battle, and in the second, a guarantee that you’ll be everyone’s doormat, and make yourself miserable in the process.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t put on this planet to be miserable for 80 or 90 years (maybe even more). I was put here to learn lessons and do great things. At 62, I’m still learning lessons, and I don’t feel I’ve done anything great when compared to the likes of Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama or any of the world’s great humanitarians. But why would I compare myself to them? If you judge a fish on its ability to fly, the fish will be judged a failure. Go ahead and be the fish, but excel at what is within your own reality. You needn’t be brilliant like Stephen Hawking, or have Carrie Underwood’s musical talents. And don’t even try to say you’re not in their league!

You’re as good as they are at what you do best. It’s the only thing that matters. You have to believe in yourself, even if that means believing impossible things at first. Eventually, the impossible becomes not only possible, but your new reality.

And don’t stop with just one thing. Once you are what you believed impossible yesterday, believe something new. Being extraordinary doesn’t have limits, rules or guidelines. You’re only limited by your ability to believe!

For Heaven’s Sake, Find Things in Your Life That Make You Feel Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m an extraordinary being.
  2. I am grateful for my imagination and ability to believe.
  3. I am grateful for writing prompts that get my creative juices flowing.
  4. I am grateful for the increase in attention my Facebook Author page has gotten the last few days. One less impossible thing for me to believe!
  5. I am grateful for abundance, the ultimate in believing; love, inspiration, success, motivation, friendship, joy, attraction, ideal clients, sustainability, exposure, peace, harmony, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Here’s another post using today’s prompt, courtesy of Serendipity, Encouraged

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

 

Don’t Seek to Tame Your Wild, Wonderful Beast Within

Wild Women Rock!

In my far-distant, misbegotten youth, I was tame, or so it seemed to me (my mother would vehemently disagree). I tried to follow the rules, tried to get along. But I was always the proverbial square peg in a round hole. My wild, unruly curls are truly a symbol of the girl/woman who lurks within. This is not someone to be tamed into conforming, though heaven knows I’ve tried with blow dryer, flat-iron and any manner of hair products. What’s true on the outside, is even more true on the inside.

Ultimately, I learned I was not meant to be tamed. I was not meant to be a silent watcher as life rumbled by in all its messy glory. Yet, I was also not meant to be sucked in by irrational drama; drama for the sake of drama. Or what my friend Ralph would call gratuitous drama. My spot on what appears to some to be the sidelines has its own reasons and purpose.

Words attributed to the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Marilyn Monroe, but actually coined by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich speak directly to my thoughts on this matter:

Well behaved women seldom make history.

Making the Wrong Things Right

Hard as I’ve tried, I’ve always managed to say the wrong thing or react the wrong way to someone somewhere. I don’t usually mean to wound with my words (though admittedly there have been a few times I did), but all too often, my intent is misunderstood, perhaps intentionally at times.

It took me many decades of my life to learn two very important lessons:

  1. It is not my job to please everyone.
  2. How people react to my words or actions is not my responsibility.

Unfortunately, I had to step away from the world to a large extent in order to truly begin to accept the truth of these two statements.

In a corporate environment, there’s a constant battle  to ensure your words are not misinterpreted, and for me, that was a veritable minefield. I found that no matter what I said or how I said it, someone would find a way to take offense, especially if it furthered their own aspirations. No matter how small a company is, there will always be someone who seeks to get ahead by stepping on others. Needless to say, I do not thrive in that environment. Instead, I get burned a couple of times, then, like a turtle, I retreat into my shell, doing what I need to in order to survive, and savoring the connections I might make with one or two people.

Embracing My Rawness

When I first started this blog, I sought to tame the words which appeared on the screen. I didn’t want to write anything which might make someone uncomfortable. But a few years ago, my sister and some of her friends started writing horrible comments which somehow got past the controls I’d set up which required all comments to be moderated. I learned that even in my own space, my own blog, people would find a way to be offended.

I finally realized that by creating my own space, either here or on social media meant I could tell those people “If you don’t like what you see, don’t look!” Granted, I’m limited a bit by rules put in place by the various social media platforms, though I’ve yet to overstep in that arena. In certain things, I’m simply tamer than, say, the average Millennial.

I Don’t Write for Sissies…or for Haters

The longer I write for public consumption, the less willing I become to sugar coat what I say, or dumb down my word choices. I may still appear tame to younger readers, or to the more adventurous among you, but just as I wear my curls proudly, I wear my authenticity the same way.

Back in the BBS days before the Internet took over, we used to say “attack the post, not the poster”. I think this holds true even more today as the pages of Social Media are deluged with hate-filled diatribes. I’m a strong supporter of freedom of speech, but that does NOT mean freedom to be abusive, hateful, or evil. A few people have met Mr. Block and Delete on Facebook because they saw fit to attack me and my beliefs instead of just expressing their disagreement with something I posted or shared.

You could call this discrimination on my part, and maybe it is. I’m all for a spirited discussion provided it doesn’t get personal. One of my favorite people in the world has very strong opinions on some things I don’t agree with. We’re still good friends because we respect each other and in fact, value our differences. We also NEVER make disparaging remarks about each other. Our points of disagreement may not always be entirely polite, but we do our best to stick to the topic without impugning each other’s character. It’s more about respect than seeking agreement. If you ask me, having friends who always agree on everything would be dreadfully boring. I like people who, through their words and actions, teach me something new.

Creating a Haven for the Wild and Untamed

The moral of this story is, if you’re looking for tame, fluffy, sugar-coated blather, you’ve come to the wrong place. I embrace my inner rawness and allow it free rein to appear on the pages which bear my name. I may not always be pretty, but I’ll always be authentic. Are you brave enough to expose yourself to the almost certain criticism of those who disagree? It’s often a rough path, but for me, it’s proving infinitely rewarding.

Sharing the Gratitude Which Inspires and Guides Me

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I’ve begun to reveal my authentic self.
  2. I’m grateful I’ve begun to learn to be compassionate.
  3. I’m grateful for the pain which tells me a lesson is really important.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who are strong enough to disagree with me without feeling threatened or threatening.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, aggravation, pain, lessons, challenges, instability, health, peace, hope, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Community Pool Link

This is my second day of posts inspired by writing prompts in WordPress’s Community Pool. Today is brought to you by #tame. Here’s A Ray of Sunshine’s take on today’s theme.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Tame

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