The following are some of my favourite photos, all of which I’ve taken in the past 3 months. I love vibrant colours but I also love soft tones. Five of the six photos were taken either in my garden or in the reserve behind our house. All photos were taken in Wellington, New Zealand and all taken on my iPhone 4S. These are a few of my current favourite things:
I appreciate the uniqueness of seashells. I enjoy their variety: their different colours, shapes, sizes, patterns, diversity. And like us, they each have their own story to tell. And while we could guess at a seashell’s story – they will all be different in small, particular ways that we probably know little about. This is a good reminder – not just that we as people are all different, but that our stories, our histories, our life experiences all differ too – so it’s fair to expect that someone else (who is not me) may see life in an entirely different way to how I do.
I spent a number of months living in Uganda on several occasions. I had expected that the people I interacted with in rural Uganda would be different to me, their experiences and expectations etc, but what I wasn’t prepared for (the first time at least) was that it appeared that their thought processes were also totally different to mine. Looking back I’m not sure why I found this so surprising – but I did. What seemed logical and rational to me was often not to a rural Ugandan.
Similarly when I met my husband, after many years of living alone, I was surprised to find that this man that I shared so much in common with and whom I adored, and who seemed to adore me, had thought processes so foreign to mine in many ways. In hindsight I figure that’s men and women for you – Venus and Mars, from two different worlds and with different perspectives. What surprised me (again) was that I expected our thought processes to be similar when it became apparent that they weren’t. So here we are five years on and we are still learning about each other, still learning what works and doesn’t work for the other – still learning about our similarities and our differences. And that’s ok. I know him better, but I’m still learning. And I still adore him!
The reminder here is that while I expect others to have a different experience, knowledge and perspective from myself – I might also choose to limit my expectations about others – so that I can relax and enjoy their companionship and their diversity, our similarities and our differences, and they can enjoy the freedom to be fully themselves without having to explain, rationalize, or justify their perspective or behaviours.
Do I provide others with an environment where they feel free to totally be their own remarkable, distinct and unique selves?
I’ve decided that this saying sums up how I’m feeling about life at present. I am extremely grateful that I can say that, given how I found most of December particularly difficult in terms of self esteem, confidence and self care. The counselling sessions I had have helped open my eyes to some of those negative beliefs about myself and how I can change them. That I was able to say no to the negative voices on Christmas morning and I chose to focus on the positive and the now – was greatly encouraging. And that was a good step to take.
I’m more aware of my feelings – how they come and go – and I’m trying to not give them too much airtime in the present – but to assess them later when their intensity has waned and I’m capable of being a little more objective.
I’m also aware that I’m me – and not everyone will like the me that I portray – and that’s ok. If I were a piece of fruit I’d be a nectarine (which I love). And not everyone likes nectarines – and that’s ok because we are all allowed to like or dislike whatever we choose – it’s what makes us human, individuals, unique – and I’m really comfortable with that.
I guess the past few months (year maybe) has taught me about: a) being myself – and the freedom and authenticity that comes with that; b) allowing others to be whoever they are – their lives, their choices; c) learning to like, love, and care for myself; d) choosing to care less about what others think; e) learning to enjoy & appreciate my true self.
I’m a work in progress, but I’m excited about the progress I’ve made in the past few months. So for the time being, I want to re-iterate. This is my motto:
“Be yourself. People don’t have to like you, and you don’t have to care.”
And that really works for me right now 🙂
I like this quote because I think it’s both true and it’s important. But I love the photo because I took it yesterday and it is so ‘real’ (so authentic) in terms of wandering about the reserve behind our house after the rain. It was my impression of ‘how life is right now’.
What works as ‘real’ for me may be totally different to what you see as ‘real’ and that’s ok because we are different and we have different perceptions of appreciating what works for us at any given point in time. I love colour and tone and form and depth of saturation and clarity and all those things one associates with photographic challenges (and I appreciate them in painted form also), but most important, I know what works for me – and this photo works for me – because of the lushness of the green grass, as opposed to the grayness of the leaf. Then there’s the clarity of the rain drops on the leaf. And the depth of the colours. So it’s a combination of things that work for me about this photo. And I took it, and I’m proud of it.
I’m one of those people who appreciates the little things… I would go so far as to say that sometimes I overlook the big things because I’m still caught up in the beauty of the little things. And I’m ok with that. Someone needs to appreciate and stand in awe of the little things – and I do. Even though sometimes it’s not cool – I know that the One who created the miniature things appreciates them just as I do. And sometimes it’s something we share that perhaps few others do. The tiniest of plant life. A tiny fern. Any form of biology in miniature is incredibly special. And I feel grateful that I see the beauty when others might not. While that might make me odd – odd is ok if it means that I share some special appreciation with my Creator. And if we share only this intimacy, that’s pretty special in itself. But I believe we share more than just this. And that’s even more special. And for whatever this connection is (that I don’t understand but I am so thankful for) – I am incredibly grateful.
It’s all about gratitude…
So it’s only been a few days since I’ve really confronted this self-love stuff.
Both 23rd and 24th December were rough days and left me feeling stressed and pretty fragile. On Christmas morning the negative voices started up at full force and I finally said “ENOUGH!!! I’m gonna ignore you now, so go away!” And then I realised I needed to forgive myself for all the stuff I’ve done in the past that has been foolish or unwise – all the stuff I continue to psychologically beat myself up over that’s in the past. I keep remembering and rehashing this stuff and it’s a great way of buying back into the guilt and shame and general bad feelings associated with these events. So I made a decision to stop. I forgave myself for past transgressions and misdemeanors and foolishness and decided to move on. No more rehashing of negative past experiences. Time to accept that today is a new day and to look forward, not back. Can’t change the past but I can do something with today, in terms of my attitudes and behaviours.
That was Christmas morning – spending the day with my husband’s family went very well – better than expected, and it was casual and relaxed. And since then I have decided:
“This is me – what you see is what you get. If you don’t like it I no longer care because this is who I am. It’s about time I was true to myself and began to value myself; to truly love and honour who I am.”
So the past few days have been focussed on self love and self care. I feel a sense of freedom and acceptance. So far, so good. The past few days have been positive steps in the right direction. Here’s to more of that!! I put a few photos on facebook yesterday (which I seldom go into, let alone contribute to) and decided if other people liked them that was great – if no one responded to my photos I didn’t care. This is me and this is who I am.
I read this on WordPress yesterday and it was so encouraging I just had to make it mine.
Then I found another on a similar theme:
I know it’s early days in this self love business and there will be ups and downs. But this is a great way to finish this year, and to start thinking about what I might want to achieve in 2017.