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

Posts tagged ‘worthy’

Obsessions Born in Childhood

Where Are Our Obsessions Born?

created with CanvaMany of us have something in our lives we can’t seem to get enough of, but did you ever stop to wonder why?

One of the things I find myself stockpiling is comforters. When I was young, my mom believed in bedspreads, but never comforters. I love snuggling into them on cold nights, or sleeping on top of their fluffy softness when it’s warmer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I even had a bedspread on my bed! I seem to have passed this and a few other obsessions on to my daughter. Often, we’ll exchange comforters on Christmas (when she isn’t adding to my custom blanket collection!).

Years ago I had a friend who said his mother only let him own a couple of pairs of underwear and socks, while she spent thousands on beauty products for herself. As an adult, he had one of the largest underwear and sock collections I’ve ever seen in a man, and was always buying more.

Feelings of Deprivation

My mother also believed the only thing a girl needed was white bras. She herself might have created with Canvahad a couple in beige and black, but my sister and I only got white ones. Like my friend the underwear fanatic, I have a drawer full of bras in a rainbow of colors, but maybe one in white and another in beige for those rare times I buy a shirt that isn’t a bright color itself.

Whether or not my friend or I were actually deprived as kids, or just believed we were is immaterial. The fact that we believed we did without to the point of overcompensating as adults is what matters to us now. I may have slowed down acquisitions in recent years since you can only use so many comforters at once, or wear so many bras in a week. But it doesn’t mean I don’t browse the Kohl’s ads when those things go on sale.

Recognizing the Resentment Behind Our Obsessions

Underlying our obsessions is more than a fair amount of resentment towards, in both examples, our mothers. In my case, it was probably a large part of why I took so long to allow myself to grieve her death. As long as I held onto the resentment, I didn’t acknowledge or accept my need or even my right to grieve. The resentment justified my initial relief that she’d no longer be nagging or making me crazy with her suggestions to improve my life.

Those nagging, hurtful, helpful comments still give me pause. Looking at myself in the mirror at the gym the other day, I noticed my face was looking dull and mucky. It brought to mind a visit to mom’s house. She looked at me and said:

“Your skin looks muddy. Go in the bathroom and wash your face.”

Although I followed her instructions, I spent the rest of the visit like so many others; resenting her interference and her unkind observation. I know now she meant to be helpful, but she didn’t seem to know how to communicate kindness to me, nor did I know how to hear it from her.

Healing To Release Both Physical and Emotional Baggage

created with CanvaAs with everything else, letting go of old hurts is a process, especially when those hurts began before you were even old enough to remember. With each chink in my armor, each bit of mortar I remove from my walls, each brick I finally break loose, I find more pieces of resentment, hurt feelings, deep-seated emotional pain, and trauma. With each new discovery, I have to restart the process of accepting, acknowledging, releasing, and forgiving which I’ve learned is  the only way to truly expunge the old baggage holding us back from achieving the dreams we imagine.

Those resentments and hurts are like sandbags on a hot air balloon. In order to lift from the ground, you either need more hot air or less sandbags. Sometimes it’s a toss-up as to which is easier to accomplish. Some of those sandbags have been part of our lives for so long, they’ve practically fossilized. In some cases, we even mistakenly believe we have to remove them intact.

Gently or Roughly; Only We Know How to Make Changes to Ourselves

Breaking our fossilized baggage into more manageable chunks is often the more practical solution. But emotions and feelings are rarely something we approach with practicality as the motivator or key guideline.

In some cases, we want to rip off the bandage or cut off the offending part as quickly as possible with no concern for the pain and upheaval removal by force will cause. In others, we prefer to remove past events with surgical precision, making sure we keep the damaged piece intact as if we plan on displaying it in our personal museum.

Neither method is right or wrong. You won’t make peace with yourself more quickly with one than the other. Most of all, it isn’t for anyone else to tell you how to get the job done, or even when it’s time to release another piece.

Learning to Look Without Reacting

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dainec/3687658810/in/photolist-bEPm7E-934mpF-6fYkU-e4uZVD-e4AAXW-e4AAV3-6BSduj-3gGWHE-qeDbXE-qeGvKg-Embmi-pXhj22-4azrtU-pwagx-7HXhbQ-z5BPMY-z5BJvW-s12vnBIt’s kind of like looking at the Kohl’s ad, then looking at the pile of comforters in my closet, reminding myself I no longer need to add to the collection. Or opening my overflowing drawer of rainbow-hued bras and realizing I don’t even wear the ones I have often enough to wear them out since I spend my working hours 10 steps from where I sleep, making them superfluous unless I’m going out.

It’s looking at a drawer full of matched and mis-matched socks, knowing it’s time to weed out some of the accumulation and make room for better things I’ll actually use, or at least allow me to see what I have that’s still useful. Sorting through our old baggage is much the same. One day, we look at the closet and realize there’s clutter. We’re finding it difficult to find what we’re looking for because we have to dig through a lot of stuff we haven’t used in ages, and no longer need.

Clear the Physical Along With the Emotional

At that point, we begin cleaning out our emotional cupboard, sorting through things which Created with Canvahave outlived their usefulness and are holding us back from the greatness we deserve. We decide which ones we’ll rip out like a loose tooth, and which we’ll untangle carefully, making sure we don’t damage any of the pieces as we work out the knots.

Sometimes, we need to clear emotions which have become entangled in those knots or woven into the fabric of our life as we go. Those are the ones which require delicacy because they’ve wrapped tendrils around things we want to keep; feelings which make us smile or feel all warm inside.

Asking for Help

Our main concern is knowing when it’s time to let things go, and doing whatever we need to. It may be talking to a friend or a coach. It might be giving yourself a retreat of some kind where you spend time alone in self-reflection. For some, it’s physical activity like hiking, dancing, cycling, or lifting weights. For others, a quiet stroll through the forest or burrowing into a pile of blankets with a good book and their pets.

Wherever you find yourself on this continuum, please, let yourself release some of the crap you’re carrying. Allow time to dig in and see what you’ve finished with and need to let go. Reach out for help if you need it, and even if you think you don’t. You don’t realize sometimes how much you’re holding yourself back until you take an honest look at why you’re standing still.

Above All, Know You Are Worth the Effort

I, myself battle with huge insecurities regarding my writing. I admitted to my coach I’ve probably written over a million words in the last 9 or 10 years, but still struggle with believing in myself as a writer. From where she sits, it’s hard to believe, but here, behind all my own demons, both exorcised and not, a few remain who don’t have to work too hard to convince me I’m unworthy. At least I’ve reached the point where I know they have to go, and can start taking the necessary steps to identify and eradicate those who are still getting in the way of me and my dreams.

How can I help you start identifying and releasing your own demons? I’ve learned a few things in the years I’ve been working on mine, and would be happy to share some of the things that worked—and a few that didn’t. Don’t hide. Leave me a comment and start getting out of your own way.

Gratitude: The Strongest Tool in Our Arsenal

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I discovered I could combine my love of writing with the road to achieving my dreams.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who’ve opened their hearts, shared their experiences, and helped me heal.
  3. I’m grateful for my coach, my daughter, and numerous friends who are continually making me see I am worthy, I am talented, and I do have expertise in an area or two.
  4. I’m grateful for the inspiration which keeps me writing 3 posts a week for myself, and helping others express their true, vulnerable, beautiful selves as well. This truly is living my dream.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; inspiration, motivation, love, friendship, dancing, community, demanding furballs, persistence, 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

Breaking Blocks Impeding Our Success

Our Mental Blocks Can Be Broken

While writing my morning pages today, I thought about an exercise I did yesterday afternoon to try to release my money blocks. Immediately, I got a vision of a huge cinder block, one of many, really, which had been chained to me for as long as I could remember. In the vision, I saw the chains being removed and the blocks falling away.

It occurred to me that our blocks, money or otherwise, are equivalent to those cinder blocks because, in their own way, they weigh us down and prevent us from moving, not just forward, but in any direction. We are, in essence, held in place by the weight of the blocks we carry.

Getting in Touch With What Stands in Our Way

It was suggested I sit outside yesterday and just make a list of the blocks and beliefs which keep me from asking for compensation equivalent to the value I provide, to not just see the “bad” or “negative” aspects of those thoughts, but also how they’re doing me good as well. Three or four pages later, I had a list, but I had also started writing about why I can ask for fees which are on the same level as men I’ve come into contact with over the years who had similar skill levels and experience, but in some cases, a lot less talent than me. I realized when I thought about it that what they were charging 5 years ago for their services was as much as 5 times more than what I charge today! And do you know what? I couldn’t think of a single reasonable excuse for harboring such low expectations.

In fact, I didn’t even feel the usual “but you don’t have your CPA license” dogma come into the equation. Why? Because I’m not looking for clients who need audit or tax advice. I am providing business services either acquired through my years of experience working for various companies, or knowledge acquired through reading or talking to other people who have some knowledge I needed. Either way, I have as much or more justification for charging at least equivalent rates to the men who were contracted by previous employers to perform a task which, at the time, was outside my scope, or simply above and beyond my part in a project and not achievable even with the number of hours I had available.

The only differentiation here is that they were men, and were hired by men who had no qualms paying other men so much more than they would pay a woman. But it’s my fault as well, because I didn’t insist on being paid what I was truly worth. Over time, it was reflected in my work because I was less and less willing to go above and beyond with my efforts when my employers were unwilling to go above and beyond with my compensation the way they did with the men in the company’s employ, both as salaried employees and contractors. Yet the end result was displeasure with myself for lowering both my expectations and my deliverables.

Leaving Our Doormat Mentality Behind

Yes, in some ways, we woman are part of our own solution, but there are a lot of paradigms we have to shift in order to make that happen. In many ways, I believe that starts with ourselves. Once we convince ourselves and our female employers of our true value, and start achieving it, the flow can be broadened to encompass the more resistant males. They’ve grown accustomed to getting away with paying women less. Women have accepted less just so they could get a job. We’ve allowed men to “jew” us down, believing their lies that they can get the job done by anyone with our skills at half the price, or that this job is the best one we can get. Our shortsightedness makes us focus on the immediacy of making enough to feed, house, and clothe our families, instead of on the long-term implications of a job that allows us only to get by.

Years ago, I left a job because I was given the option of a demotion and cut in pay, or a lay off. I knew there had been a lot of collusion between management and my less-than-competent male co-worker for such a ridiculous offer to be made, so I chose the obvious response and took the layoff. Surprised at my decision, the manager said to me “But you need this job.”. I looked him square in the eye and said “I need a job. I don’t need this job.”

Taking Responsibility for Our Own Undervaluation

I laugh when I think about it because I took some skills they needed with me when I left, and for a couple of weeks, various members of their staff called me at home asking where things were. I finally had to threaten legal action if they didn’t stop calling and harassing me, as the calls had degenerated into accusations of misconduct and even theft. It was the first time I took the long view instead of the short one, and in fact, it was my former employer who failed to see they were being played by a man with the ethics of a junkyard dog. (In fact, he cooked the books for a law firm with somewhat shady business practices until the authorities clipped their wings, leaving him jobless.)

What I’ve always known, but clearly shoved to the back of my brain was that, as a woman, I have historically allowed men and frankly, other people as a whole to determine my value. I laid down and accepted their meager pittance of an assessment because the work I do doesn’t provide an obvious return on their investment. Of course, part of the problem is my lack of a certain body part too. For some reason, value to a company has a connection to something which typically has no true impact on the work being done!

I’ve been very good at making excuses for undervaluing my work. Whether it’s lack of a particular license or education, or failure to be visible to a market which would see the value in what I can offer, I have, for decades, stood in my own way. The worst part of it is, I know I’m not alone. Over the years, I’ve worked with many women who worked 10 times harder than men in equal or even higher level positions, yet were paid on average about 75% of what the men made to do the same job. We’ve accepted smaller raises and excuses which, had we known it, were not passed off to the men in the company. The truth is, we got the minuscule examples of recognition so the men, and all-too-often, the company owners could justify walking away with more.

Sure, it used to be that a woman’s income supplemented that brought in by the man of the house. But those days are long past. Women make up a huge percentage of primary wage-earners these days, and as such, struggle to give their families the same level of comfort as their male counterparts.

Destroying the Blocks Built On Our Lies

Before this turns into a full-on rant about wage equality, I’m going to try to return to my original train of thought, and that is the blocks we set for ourselves. Whether it’s money, visibility, or anything else we want to achieve, we get in our own ways too often by telling ourselves fat, ugly lies.

Lies like “I don’t deserve it”, or “other people are better at it than me”, or “I don’t have enough experience”, or the granddaddy of them all “I’m not worthy”. As you read those words, try to imagine them as giant cinder blocks. Now that you have the image, what’s stopping you from putting the damn things down? Where is it written that we’re supposed to carry cinder blocks around? They were meant for building, not dragging. They were also meant for knocking down when the structure they support no longer serves its original purpose, or has become weakened by age and environmental factors.

Now, picture a stack of those blocks with a giant wrecking ball crashing through them. As the ball connects with the blocks and bits of gray stone go flying in all directions, imagine the feeling of freedom you get when those blocks are neither standing in your way or needing to be dragged. They’re simply gone just as the energetic, emotional, mental ones can be if you give them a physical presence, but just long enough to feel the satisfaction of smashing them down, or better still, blowing them up like they do outdated hotels in Las Vegas. Plant the dynamite, and BOOM! A decades-old structure is reduced to a pile of rubble in a matter of moments.

The stories and lies you’ve been telling yourself deserve the same fate. Sure, it’s a simplistic approach, but maybe one or two can be leveled so you can get to the ones which are more pernicious.

When the Waiting is Over, Get Moving

Over and over, I’m reminded of a book I read last year by Sue Monk Kidd called “When the Heart Waits”. She refers, throughout the book to the idea of a caterpillar going into a cocoon where it waits for its body to reform, then emerges as a butterfly. The body of a caterpillar is limiting, but it’s a good place to grow and learn. Eventually, we all have to shed the confines of our learning self to come into our magnificence. There is no particular time limit on it. We all emerge from our cocoon in our own time.

In my case, it took me over 6 decades. I know it is exactly the right amount of time for me. I cannot measure my life by anyone else’s, nor do I any more. (Aside from the afore-mentioned monetary value for services. But even there, it’s not so much a measurement as a realization that I’d been measuring myself in inches rather than yards.)

There comes a time when each and every one of us have to take stock and make changes. Sadly, far too many wait until they’re on their death bed to do so. Fear will hold many back from emerging from the cocoon. Fear will drive others to leave because they don’t want to be stuck there for the rest of their lives. I am the latter. How abut you?

Reflections and Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people who are coming into my life to help me remove old, tired, out-dated blocks to emergence from my own cocoon.
  2. I am grateful for the ability to craft a blog post even when I start without a single viable idea.
  3. I am grateful for friends who are honest with me rather than trying to tell me what I want to hear. What I need to hear is far more valuable.
  4. I am grateful for the busyness which is characterizing 2018, even in the first month of the year. It bodes well for my many plans and adventures.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; words to write, ideas to flow, people to meet, opportunities becoming successes, acquaintances becoming friendships, hardships becoming lessons, encouragement, love, joy, challenges, health, harmony, peace, prosperity, generosity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri 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. Her specialties are 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. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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