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

Posts tagged ‘self-love’

A Sad Anniversary Brings Perspective

Another Anniversary of Dad’s Death

When one of my posting days falls on September 11th, I’m sorely tempted to skip it, or at least move it to another day. But my innate sense of consistency won’t allow either, so at least it’s easier from a distance of 3 weeks or so which is when I’m pre-scheduling these days.

I don’t need to reiterate the significance of September 11th to anyone who is even remotely aware. Not only was it a horrific day in U.S. history, but reminders start showing up a few days before the anniversary.

There’s a small handful of us who are reminded of another anniversary which occurred 2 years after the WTC bombing, but which is much closer to home. In fact, my daughter and I typically disconnect from the internet on this day to do our remembering in private. As I’ve become more efficient about pre-scheduling posts, it’s become a lot easier to do so.

Moving On vs. Getting Over

Anyone who has lost a family member to suicide knows you don’t get over the loss. Like any other death, the impact eases somewhat as years go by, but it’s always there. Little things remind me how fragile life is, and how important it is to stay connected with the ones we love. It might not prevent the inevitable, especially when a loved one is faced with a terminal illness which will be long and painful if death is allowed to come naturally.

My dad made his choice, and for the most part I respect it. Still, I look back at how I distanced myself in his final couple of years when he became difficult to be around. He never shared the worst of his health issues with me or my sister. That was typical. He didn’t want anyone worrying about him or smothering him with attention. In a lot of ways, he was a very private manfar more private than I ever realized.

Even so, I could have made more of an effort to spend more time with him, despite the turmoil my own life was in. I could have brought his granddaughters to see him more often, or made a point of seeing him every week. There are a lot of things I could have done, but being patient with his grumpiness instead of distancing myself is at the top of the list. My only excuse is I didn’t know how bad things were. It serves as a harsh reminder of how little my dad trusted me with what really mattered.

Reflection Evolves Over Time

In past years, the anniversary of dad’s death was a time for reflection and remembering good times, most of which occurred years before he died. Too many things broke what I now understand was a tenuous relationship, often held together by other people rather than our own efforts.

At one time it was my mother. Even when she and I were estranged, it was her influence which kept my dad and me in touch. Sometimes it was the dysfunctional influence of my alcoholic husband who worked for my dad for a couple of years. Whether he felt a desire to stay connected for his own sake is something I’ll never really know. I have to believe he saw someone worth knowing in his eldest child.

An Unfortunate Accident of Birth

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-V4V7jqRevelations in the last year make me feel I was more of a disappointment, and mostly due to an accident of birth. The cards were stacked against me having a real connection with the man who helped give me life because I had the misfortune of being a girl.

I doubt he ever actually said the words out loud. Growing up, I didn’t notice his lack of interest in the things I enjoyed. Then again, I saw him through rose-colored glasses. He was the parent who loved me best, or so I thought. In truth, he was the one who minimized my accomplishments because most of the time, he didn’t understand them.

It wasn’t that I was overly feminine. I just wasn’t athletic or even coordinated except when I was dancing. In short, there was nothing he could relate to or share with me. Meanwhile, my mom fretted over all my injuries, allergies, and inherited health challenges. But I was so busy trying to please my dad, I didn’t notice how hard she tried to connect with me. At some point, we both gave it up as a lost cause.

Putting Things in Perspective

This is starting to sound like a long, self-pitying whine, but that’s not really where I want to go. I can’t honestly say I miss my dad, 16 years after he opted out of a long, painful death. I’ve simply come to terms with his choice, and don’t begrudge him for it.

But the years since have given me a chance to really look at our relationship, or if I’m honest, lack thereof. He was the first in a long line of people I tried to please by forcing myself into behaviors which weren’t me. I followed my mother’s example and tried to win his love. I’ve finally learned to accept there was nothing I could have done to change the fact he loved me as best he could, or that approval and love are two entirely different things.

I can, however look back and be grateful for what he taught me, even if the greatest lesson didn’t come through until long after he was gone. It was never my purpose to fit into someone else’s mold or vision. People will love me or not, regardless of any effort I might make to gain their approval. More importantly, I’ve learned to let my own daughters spread their wings and fly in the direction they choose.

Loving and Accepting My Daughters as They Are

They don’t need my approval, though one, at least seemed to want it a great deal more than was probably healthy. The difference between my relationship with her and the one I had with my dad is she always had my approval not matter what. I might not have liked some of the choices she made, but there was never any doubt in my mind that I love and approve of her and whatever paths she chooses.

The other rejected me as I did my mom, but I didn’t have her father around to help mend fences. In her case, I had to learn to let go and withhold judgement. Her choices are her choices, even if some of them shut me out of her life. In many ways, the distance works best for me too.

Looking Back So I Can Move Forward

Today is a day of reflection, but it’s no longer a day I mourn my dad. He’s gone, Created in Canvaand everything is as it’s supposed to be. I’m more aware of changes in mood in the people who are close to me now, and more likely to reach out. I don’t look at my dad’s death and my lack of knowledge with regret. It was put into my life to teach me a very important lessonone I would take with me into the next chapter in my life.

I’ve gone through a lot of withheld anger towards my dad in the last year, but I’ve purged a lot of misconceptions which negatively impacted my own sense of self-worth. In the end, no one else’s opinion affects my destiny unless I allow it. I’ve finally learned to stop allowing it.

Finding Many Opportunities for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve faced and the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I’m grateful for parents who forced me to learn to love myself without reservation or qualification because they truly didn’t know how.
  3. I’m grateful for friendships which have formed since I learned to love myself because of my imperfections instead of in spite of them.
  4. I’m grateful for a self-love that keeps me moving forward even when the tunnel ahead looks awfully dark and forbidding.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, dancing, kitties, compassion, kindness, inspiration, motivation, health, 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

Giving Relationships a Fighting Chance

How Does a Successful Relationship Begin?

Created with CanvaWhen I was in my 20’s there was a belief many of us shared that said living together before marriage was the best way to determine whether you could survive the perils and pitfalls of life with someone else sharing your space. Like any other belief, it worked for some people and not for others. I’ve seen as many relationships fail after a period of living together (including my own) as I have when there wasn’t. The long and short of it is, there aren’t any guarantees, no matter how you approach merging your life with someone else’s.

Today, I have friends who’ve been married more than 30 years, as well as some who’ve been married multiple times. Some of us pretty much gave up after 1 failure, and others have opted for a committed relationship without the piece of paper. Looking around, I’ve noticed a few things.

  • Commitment is a mindset
  • Making a relationship work takes effort from both parties
  • Desperation does not yield the best of choices
  • Sometimes, alone is better
  • “Want” and “need” are two very different animals
  • Compromise doesn’t mean giving in all the time
  • Without self-love, you can’t have a healthy, long-lasting relationship

People Pleasing Doesn’t Build Self-Esteem

Contrary to popular belief, people who allow themselves to be doormats are Created with Canvaseldom happy. I have several friends who turned themselves inside out to please someone and keep a relationship going, only to see it fall apart anyway. Today, they’re stronger for it, and unwilling to repeat past mistakes. They realize how unhappy and unfulfilled they were while trying to be what they thought someone else wanted them to be. In her song “Miss Me More”, Kelsea Ballerini sings “I thought I’d miss you, but I miss me more”. I think this epitomizes the concept of being true to yourself as well as anything I’ve seen or heard.

Living together could help uncover some potential problems a couple might encounter, but unless the masks come off, all aspects of the living situation are shared, and decisions are made jointly, I’m not convinced it will guarantee success. In some ways, you’d remain in “honeymoon status” because one or both of you are trying to keep the other happy. In truth, neither of you will be happy in the long run because, quite frankly, maintaining that blissful, carefree state is exhausting.

Life gets in the way. Trying to be perpetually cheerful, happy, and willing to please your partner eventually becomes a chore. You want and need “me” time, or to be the one who’s pampered and catered to. Even in a relationship where there’s a lot of give and take, there will be times when one or the other is used up emotionally by job, finances, family, and a host of other issues, and has nothing left to give. Those moments and how you manage them together will only show up if you’re honest and open.

Easy In = Easy Out

Sometimes they are the show-stoppers in a living together arrangement. Since you’ve made no real commitment, it’s easier to decide you’re unwilling to make the effort and walk away. Or to use another old saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” though in this case, it isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure, marriages end too, but I’d like to think most people who’ve made a commitment to each other give breaking the commitment a lot more thought than those who, to use the vernacular, are just “shacking up”.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against living together, or even being in a relationship and maintaining separate homes. I’ve seen that work well too. My point is you have to avoid falling into “honeymoon mode” if you make such a choice. Successful long-term relationships can begin in a multitude of ways, but only last when they’re based on honesty, mutual respect, and a healthy balance of give and take. One person can’t put all their time and energy into trying to make the other happy.

Face it. The only person you can make happy is yourself. If someone isn’t committed to their own happiness, no amount of love and attention from outside is going to bring them happiness. It’s truly an inside job.

Throwing Trust Into the Mix

In my own life, the single factor which has caused every single unsuccessful https://www.flickr.com/photos/philleara/7246573430/in/photolist-c3mzPd-djJiUe-oajKtQ-djJjmv-djJjLR-oapGkZ-djJjb9-djJj5F-cntb2u-7Y2xWm-cntayf-c3mLB3-n329S-7XYhYD-cntbhs-TCrSUz-gg7DZE-gg7XMV-6Ak5ks-9a2C7g-djJjz6-cntb85-rCKS6-cntag1-azBhou-3oXQYc-cnta8q-cntaL7-ocbPjv-oa7hn8-fJm576-baRPgp-7Y2xp7-8ommnm-bA1QHR-cnt9j1-dmywKj-7Y2x7b-4vwAew-aAPJwq-oa7iJB-cnt9xu-2FtNgi-gunWiW-hLgWLK-e4kv6P-2FtPvB-9GPQLh-4vsuDF-baRMyvrelationship to fail, be it employer-employee, co-workers, friends, or lovers has been lack of trust. It took me a long time to recognize the red flags, but after many painful situations and outright failures, I’ve learned to run when I see the signs:

  • Requiring me to prove myself in order to “earn” their trust
  • A tendency to talk more and listen less
  • Disrespect in any form
  • Mention of prior relationships in which their trust was abused
  • Failure to answer direct questions honestly. This may include diversion, humor, or flat out refusal.
  • Narcissism
  • Inattention such as taking a call in the middle of an interview, flirting with the waitress during a date, or any other behavior which implies I’m an afterthought

https://www.flickr.com/photos/svensson/4829867389/in/photolist-6XCAQH-WgXmBb-byu3Nn-6XCCec-F2ovRt-Gn7Ut6-7xLAFR-6XCBk8-8mNkiF-6XGAK9-p3qjVr-24BFZCb-24BG1Vb-poheFW-p8PQeo-F2orHZ-66bJw1-667u2F-F2okjr-GxKsrU-5kBreE-4tZPNF-66bL5y-667tVr-pqhycN-F2owK2-8mRw1h-24E9hKg-23jj36V-f7TE62-24BFXBY-5NnPFa-24BG3po-22t2Y6M-F2ojVR-4pHCNQ-F2osaR-23jj3vH-66bL2U-66bHY9-23AG54S-5dGrPJ-64i5Dg-4zorW-24BFZ1u-4MCNfE-6i2AXJ-5kBpHY-3rLwcC-3rFJXKNeedless to say, I’ve been burned by every one of these, and quite a few more as well. I suspect I’m not alone either. Everyone has a horror story or two to tell about a job, a friendship gone wrong, or a relationship that tanked. Each of us also has perfect hindsight. You know why it went wrong…now. But you allowed it to unfold for longer than it should have even with all your alarm bells clanging and red flags waving.

Knowing How to Lay a Firm Foundation

Photo: David Derong/Iowa State DailyWhen all is said and done, I don’t think how you begin a relationship, be it personal, work, or anything else determines success or failure. It’s about whether the parties to the arrangement are willing to put the effort into making it work. It’s about mindset and owning responsibility for your own happiness. Most of all, you have to decide from the onset whether it’s a passing fling or something you want to last a lifetime.

There are no guarantees. Things happen. People change. Lives end. The world interferes. But you can’t weather the storms if you’re not willing to get soaked now and then.

Gratitude: The Strongest Brick in Your Structure

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned by failing.
  2. I’m grateful for the people who’ve taught me what I deserve, and the ones who’ve taught me what I don’t.
  3. I’m grateful for peaceful afternoons spent creating. I truly am living the life of my dreams in a lot of ways.
  4. I’m grateful for flexibility; schedules, tasks, friendships. Life throws us curveballs and being able to step out of the way rather than face them all head on means a more peaceful, stress-free life.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; joy, laughter, love, friendship, creativity, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, health, harmony, peace, 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

 

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

The Invisibility of Emotional Abandonment

Healing Abandonment Issues

Created with CanvaThe last few months have brought a series of epiphanies which, when I finally connected the dots made me realize I had abandonment issues. Yet, a thorough review of my last 60-odd years revealed no particular incident when someone abandoned me—or so I thought.

Further review of my personal time line told another story. Sure, I haven’t been physically abandoned in the literal sense. The abandonment issues in my personal history are something I hadn’t even considered. They all occurred on an emotional level. It could explain why I found them so easy to stuff down inside—to deny their existence.

My mother, who had a history of being emotionally abandoned herself, always told me I was the more difficult child. In retrospect, of course I was. I was the first child who lived (her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage), and I’m not sure she was emotionally prepared to be a mother in the first place. At 21, she’d never lived alone. She went from her mother’s house to her husband’s apartment, but only after the ring was on her finger.

History Repeats Itself if You Let It

Sure, it was a different time, but I know from experience there’s a lot to learn 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-8w9Yqrabout living on your own, and having kids right away doesn’t make it easier. In my mom’s case, she didn’t even know how to cook, and learned on her own rather than asking for her mother’s help. Barely 2 years and one miscarriage later, she had me to deal with as well; a helpless baby who demanded more of her time than she knew how to give.

By the time my sister came along 2 1/2 years later, she’d made her share of mistakes, but learned a lot too. Of course my sister was an easier child! She was born to an experienced mother!

It didn’t help when I contracted Scarlatina which led to a penicillin allergy before I was 5. Add to that, a blindness scare at 10 before they realized I was susceptible to ocular migraines, a legacy from my dad and his mom. So if my mother shut down emotionally to protect her own shaky sanity, I can see now she did it for good reason, if not in my best interests.

Searching for the Love I Needed

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-V4V7jqLacking my mother’s love, I spent years trying to earn the love and affection from a man who, quite frankly, hadn’t been trained to give it. Until my grandmother died when I was 12, she and my grandfather were deeply immersed in each other. Their kids, my dad and his sister, got whatever was left. Affection was typically communicated with sarcasm and ridicule.

As I look back, no matter how hard I tried to measure up to my dad’s expectations so I could earn a love which should have been given simply because I was his child, he’d always set the bar a little higher than I could reach. In the end, he loved me as best he could, but for a shy, introverted, little girl with zero self-confidence, it wasn’t enough.

I grew up imitating my dad. But I wasn’t nearly as good at it as he, and made a lot of poor choices in my desperation to be loved and accepted. I vacillated between hardening my outer shell and playing chameleon for decades until the shell started breaking down and I began making drastic changes.

Learning the Difference Between Seeking and Allowing

The first was to divorce my alcoholic and emotionally abusive husband. Yes, I’m https://www.flickr.com/photos/134921587@N06/23686767022/in/photolist-C67SAS-ctvgV1-oTB61e-G23PMn-21xTKc-qJZokP-BitVnD-ctvjEb-ctv2Wo-C86UJi-5yyHup-dGchk9-ctvkoG-8smaT9-Hb9D9-bCMY61-ctvDdJ-fjCHU-DjAHuB-a7ZNLt-qGVeSr-sp457s-RLx6vm-62Xk7K-qfydfc-FFnBTk-ewnTH9-ctvqbf-pYhS7Z-agphz5-2eWFpQN-dGcfxE-bRGHjR-piX8Sk-piJE7f-ctvJCN-oh53V-bRGHxt-bRGJ5r-qfGLzR-qfEkx7-piHFu7-qyFAYh-oh4KB-oh5Y5-ctuKBf-fjDom-fjDY6-CRBBws-9aV9yxanother statistic; a woman who marries a man similar to her most damaged parent; in this case, my mom, in hopes of fixing what’s broken and earning the love she was denied. Trust me, it’s a battle that can’t be won.

What followed was a series of fits and starts. I hid inside my self-made cave, pretending I needed no one for several years. I had a couple of emotionally bankrupt relationships before giving up dating for what would ultimately last more than 20 years. Still, I knew I wasn’t meant to live without love. But experience hadn’t taught me what it really looked like, much less, how to go about finding it.

Connecting With My Spirituality and Self-Love

When I was introduced to “The Secret” I felt an almost physical shift. At first, it affected my own self-image and drove me to read more and more about fixing myself. I now have a shelf full of books ranging from “Laws of Attraction” to Kabbalah. Some have helped me more than others, but I’m not done learning.

The walls came down, the shell shattered. I’ve opened up to people and changed my social circle a time or seven. The most significant change I’ve seen is people opening up to me. Therein lies the biggest hole in my earlier years.

Breaking the Legacy and Removing My Masks

My parents, and everyone around me were a series of constantly smiling masks. No one shared their true self, and everyone was damaged in some way; some far more than others. It was a world where you either pretended your world was perfect, or faced ridicule and disgust from those around you. Broken was considered ugly. Vulnerable was weak.

By the time I figured it out, I’d seen first-hand what it cost to keep those masks in place. I’d had a few melt-downs myself, in the privacy of my own home. My mother had had the ultimate meltdown, swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills and laid her masks down for good. A few years later, my dad made a similar choice, using a gun instead of pills. He, too put down the masks and lowered the walls after a lifetime of holding them in place, sometimes out of sheer stubbornness. I have to wonder if there were times when the hold was tenuous, and his mood bordered on desperation.

Building on a Strong, Supportive Foundation At Last

Lest you think this is an excuse for a pity party, let me assure you, it’s quite the opposite. Lacking a strong emotional foundation, I had to figure out how to erect one of my own. I learned in the process it’s not something you do in a vacuum.

I’ve learned to gather around me strong, supportive friends who are able to share their own times of need, and reach out to me. The foundation I’ve built is not just my own strengths shoring up internal weaknesses. It’s built on what I’ve been able to offer my friends, but more important; what they’ve been able to offer me.

We are stronger for the people we’re able to give to and accept from. None of us have everything we need to build our foundation, any more than we have every skill, or all the knowledge we need to live a successful, fulfilled life. My parents never figured that out, nor did theirs. I was given the opportunity to change the pattern. I was also given a daughter who, like me, wanted to see it change.

We’ve each made changes in our own ways, but have also built our own communities, both together and separate. It may have begun with unrecognized emotional abandonment, but if you ask me, what it’s grown into was (almost) worth the tough lessons I had to learn alone.

Making Gratitude a Daily Practice

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the life I was given; all the hills and valleys, smooth roads, and potholes. I’ve learned and I’ve grown from the challenges.
  2. I’m grateful for the friends who even now are patient with me when I knee-jerk and crawl back into my hole. They know when to push and when to let me be to figure it out.
  3. I’m grateful for dancing which, in it’s own way, forces me to get out of my shell and out from behind the walls.
  4. I’m grateful for the writing which has allowed me to safely express things until I was ready to share more openly. And for the people it’s brought to me for the sharing.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, sharing, vulnerability, joy, dancing, motivation, inspiration, support, community, health, 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
 

Showing Yourself Gratitude: Who Knew?

Start Your Gratitude List With You

There’s a lot of hoopla and hype about gratitude these days, and for good reason. You’re grateful for things that make you happy, so focusing on gratitude means you’re putting your attention on things that make you happy. The more you focus on things that make you happy, the less you notice the ones that don’t.

It follows that as you’re busy focusing on things that make you happy, you begin to see only the ones that make you happy, and pretty soon, you see more of them. You can call it Laws of Attraction, or simply a shift in perspective. Either way, you start hard-wiring yourself for happiness and positivity.

But with all the time and effort you put into gratitude, what do you show appreciation for most of the time? If you’re like me, it’s probably things outside yourself; a beautiful day, a great parking spot, a safe drive to work, beautiful flowers in your garden. How often do you look in the mirror and say “I’m grateful for me?”

Your Are the Most Important Person in Your Life

Yet, who or what is more important and deserving of your gratitude? Why don’t https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrishuggins/4675505957/in/photolist-88ac2F-8LnEVQ-r3ZSnA-rkryn2-dEHqQa-buZGL5-9NXU2Q-uQd4Gi-8HtvkK-brtvSa-mc16EB-zKaXu-mayYKi-LpBQx-24Q2uC3-5fjkkg-eJzqz-di4zr7-di4Cts-9d5Zj3-9SKTfn-FCdjdz-f5wwhN-XjXzMf-9P5vA2-kVMXd9-47aeuC-zNAvV-dZ5cLv-5P5kRq-5z3cp5-7fRw8n-Ad6nP2-fjj4VF-nPSwLg-GUXa92-ERVZat-YW3tj5-sgc13A-xYkggi-SwjMJA-K74gKR-qod9ho-evhnbP-5mpBv5-v38BL4-26QXWnW-nCnBUo-JSkWR-88acaPyou take a deep breath and say “thank you for my lungs”? What stops you from pausing to listen to the steady beat in your chest and say “thank you for the heart keeping a steady rhythm inside me”?

If focusing on things that make you grateful attracts more happiness-inducing stuff, wouldn’t showing appreciation for our health attract more health? How about things like losing weight, or increasing your strength? Wouldn’t those things benefit from a little gratitude and positive energy too?

So many of my friends complain they can’t lose weight. They talk about how they lose a couple of pounds but it always comes back. How about if instead, on the days when the numbers on the scale decrease, you say “thank you for the pound I’ve released”. On the days when it goes the other way, either say nothing, or find some aspect to be grateful for anyway. I, for one am going to give it a try, and will share my progress over the next month or so. What do I have to lose, except those pounds which are slowing me down anyway?

Rerouting the Complain Train

https://www.flickr.com/photos/35661951@N05/3301911347/in/photolist-62MacZ-8Xg8JJ-99EED2-6ukkey-99cpQj-K3PSrh-hFEZv-eevrK7-4ET5Ga-eirkqh-4QxafM-5thv2Z-7D9KW6-77wGJ5-eeonnH-aDN8j3-kbDBEA-8B6bHZ-2GsUh2-5gqAf-cyMRGU-5tUx72-oVs2Rk-9RuAeo-eevDx5-GywZT9-cyMwjW-pmZbM-h3P17c-3cBFP2-eevzuC-q8iZiZ-5TsVGN-aDN3D9-WrrMWj-7x9jR6-j1kqp-gEroQ-cQ6Pt5-4sNRtz-nkKGAk-GywYMb-GywZYj-JCRyYq-9utXaK-7YriHP-6WDWPK-bjM3J7-FFmjJG-2NLBMLet’s not stop there. What else do you typically complain about? Not enough money? Too little work? Too much work? Increasing costs? Unfair treatment? How can you flip those so you’re showing appreciation instead of complaining?

How about:

I’m grateful I have enough money to pay my rent/mortgage.

I’m grateful I have some free time to do things for myself.

I’m grateful I have plenty of work as it makes the day go quickly. I have enough money for a vacation or maybe a massage.

I’m grateful I have options when my cost of living goes up.

I’m grateful for people who show me how I don’t deserve to be treated, and I’m grateful I can walk away from them and towards my friends who treat me right.

How Can You Flip Your Own Life?

These are a few examples, but with a little effort, you can find your own, as long as you focus on your own assets and qualities. When push comes to shove, who is your strongest advocate? Your greatest asset? The one person you can count on no matter what? Yet who is also the last person you think to thank?

Your heart allows you to live, pumping blood through your system to feed all your cells. Your lungs bring air into your lungs, oxygenating your blood and keeping you from suffocating. Your legs lift you from a chair, get you out of bed, help you run, skip, or dance. Your arms let you give and receive hugs.

But if you’re like me, it never occurs to you to thank your body, your mind, or yourself for the qualities and abilities that allow you to enjoy all the outside things making you happy.

Years ago I had a mantra I’d use in the morning to get my day started on the right foot. I’d look in the mirror and say: You’re beautiful, sexy, sassy, and delicious. It always brought a smile to my face which meant, no matter what happened during the day, I at least began with a smile.

Instead of a goofy mantra, let’s start the day with a deeply personal gratitude. I can use things like:

I’m grateful for my brain which never lacks for ideas when I sit down to write.

I’m grateful for my legs which carry me across a dance floor as often as I like.

I’m grateful for my heart. In fact, I LOVE my heart for pumping blood through my body, but also for being the source and repository for love.. 

I’m grateful for my hands with which I type the words my brain sends, but with which I also pet my cats, or touch a friend.

Gratitude Equals Love

To me, gratitude is another way of saying “I love you” I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use more love, and though what we get from others is marvelous, what you give to yourself is both limitless and powerful. You can change your mood with gratitude, uplifting when you were despondent. Imagine how much higher you’d fly if the gratitude you expressed was for yourself, your body, your mind, your actions, your—Presence!

So next time you feel compelled to express gratitude, start your list with things you’re grateful for that come from within. And when you’ve done so for a week, a month, maybe more, come back and share how it impacted your life. After all, success stories always inspire others.

Where Do You Need Help?

None of us has to walk our path alone. Where are you struggling to keep it all together? Maybe all you need is a sounding board? Perhaps, just a listening ear? Or would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Is it 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, ask for help instead of trying to do it all, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Showing a Little Gratitude for Me!

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the woman I’ve become from the challenges I’ve overcome and the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I’m grateful for my motivation which compels me to keep trying even when all indications say I should quit.
  3. I’m grateful for my heart; for the life blood it pumps, and for it’s capacity for love and compassion, not only for others, but for myself.
  4. I’m grateful for positvity. It took awhile to learn, but I’ve come to appreciate how much easier it’s become the more I practice.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, energy, compassion, inspiration, opportunities, health, strength, peace, harmony, connections, support, community, philanthropy, and prosperity for all.

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

We All Matter

You Always Matter

I see a lot of posts lately about how we all matter, but I think the real question is, why would we ever think we don’t?

Somehow, we’ve come to believe life has to be a power struggle where there are winners and losers, those who matter and those who don’t. Is there a lack of mattering? Not enough to go around? Or do we just believe it’s so because someone else told us?

Everything is Energy So Tap Into Yours

I recently read a post about money, and how you have to recognize it’s nothing more than Created with Canvaenergy. Once you realize that’s all it is, you’ll understand it’s limitless and there will always be enough to go around if we know where and how to look for it, or, to be more accurate, attract it.

The same is true of finding where and how we matter. In the first place, it’s not about matter to someone or because of some special characteristic we possess. We matter simply because we are. In short, we don’t need a reason to matter any more than we need a reason to exist. The very fact that we came into this human form at this particular time is reason enough.

Sure, you can say that each of us matters to someone. But the first person we matter to isn’t someone else. It’s us! We matter, first and foremost to ourselves. Yet so many people feel they need to find something outside themselves to validate them, and until they do, don’t believe they matter to anyone.

Look For Validation Within Yourself

How often do you see women who, until they’re part of a couple seem to be drifting along in a bubble of meaninglessness? Or who, until someone notices a particular quality, feel like they’re invisible. (If you ask me, there are times when being invisible is actually a good thing. As an introvert I strive for invisibility quite often with minimal success.) They’d be surprised to know people notice them all the time, and more often than not, in a positive way. But until someone comes out and says something to them, they feel invisible and worse, unimportant.

We can certainly go around telling everyone they matter and they’re important. But too many have spent a lifetime waiting to be noticed and believing until they are, they have no value. In the meantime, those whose notice they seek recognition are likely laboring under the same misconceptions!

Looking for Self-love in All the Wrong Places

Maybe that’s why people fight so hard over the little things, and are so easily drawn into 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-ZAWXwipetty battles over things like race, religion, and politics. They join with others to fight for a cause they probably don’t even understand because it means they belong somewhere; but somewhere outside their perfectly wonderful selves.

Most are losing propositions meant to distract and divide so they’ll constantly be looking for another horse to jump on, another manufactured injustice to oppose. If you ask me, it’s a wonder we don’t see more people collapsing in the streets from exhaustion. I can’t imagine trying to keep up with all the rules and expectations required to continue belonging to something as structurally sound as a wind gust.

When we find our belonging within ourselves, we don’t have to worry about the ground being pulled from beneath us. We don’t need to keep up with the latest set of rules and expectations. The only thing we need to follow is our own heart and beliefs. Those will never change at someone else’s whim.

Why Fit In? We Were Born to Stand Out.

We learn from an early age we need to fit in. As children in school, we’re subjected to bullying and teasing if we are too different from the rest. As teenagers, we’re encouraged to do things even though we know they’re wrong to avoid being ostracized. Those who walk their own path are deemed “weird”, “oddballs”, or “outsiders”. Often, they’re mistreated quite cruelly for minding their own business and refusing to join the mainstream.

Sadly, most of us are guilty at one time or another of expecting others to be like us. Yet we resent being treated the same way, even if we’re too scared to admit it, much less, speak up. I’ve judged people unkindly and unfairly more often than I’d like, though in most cases I’ve come to regret it in some way. Once I remind myself they matter because they’re as unique and special as I am, I recognize I’m neither qualified nor justified in judging them in any way.

Withhold Judgement—Always

Each time we judge someone else and find fault, we’re reinforcing a false expectation which prevents them from feeling they matter. Some are able to rise above the opinions and expectations of others. Some of us learn to face our detractors and say: If you don’t like the way I look, don’t look!

But too many turn themselves inside out trying to get even a single positive word. I did it for too many years. Worse still, I watched my mother do it with her own family, never realizing the rules changed when she showed any possibility of getting close. She died believing she wasn’t good enough, and that’s a tragedy I don’t wish to see visited on a single other human being.

I Wish Everyone to Know They Matter

My wish is that every human being who walks this earth now or in the future knows their https://www.flickr.com/photos/ky_olsen/4860839266/in/photolist-n8CFnR-o5uD96-22RQjNp-eCZ3Kq-WYUGZj-DLmHDZ-KKjkM7-8px5ayperfectly imperfect self is important and needs no improvements or changes. They don’t need to follow someone else’s rules or twist themselves into uncomfortable shapes in order to belong.

It starts with me though. I have to catch myself when I start judging or comparing. I have to recognize the wonderful qualities each person brings to the table. I need to look past qualities that don’t fit my own myopic vision and see the amazing and inspiring person waiting to be noticed and accepted as they are.

I can’t control what other people see or do. Those who still believe they need outside validation can learn by the example the rest of us set to accept and validate themselves as they are. They don’t need to be restructured or remodeled unless they want to make changes to suit themselves. In other words, there is nothing wrong with them, and everything about them is right. But if all they feel is judgement, they’ll continue to reach for the impossible. I believe we’re all better than that, and it’s time we treated ourselves and all humanity with more kindness, compassion, and unconditional acceptance.

Setting a Standard for Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had which taught me to see I matter.
  2. I am grateful for reminders I need to treat others like they, too matter without conditions or expectations.
  3. I am grateful for friends I’ve attracted now that I accept myself as I am, making only the improvements I believe I need to make.
  4. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others learn they are important because they are unique.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, compassion, friendship, uniqueness, belonging, sharing, 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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