*Image via Pinterest
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 know I have a gentle heart. It hasn’t always been this way. Once I was a hard nosed salesperson who fought for what she wanted, and was driven and determined. Not so now – after life experiences have led me to follow my heart rather than career, money and position. And I like myself more this way. I feel like I am more authentically me. I am soft, and easily hurt; my barriers are weak these days because I let myself be loved by another and so I don’t have to defend myself like I did when I was alone. I’m no longer a castle, an impregnable fortress – in contrast I feel more like a defenseless sea sponge or a wet bus ticket!
But I believe this is how I was meant to be: soft, gentle, vulnerable…. which means I know pain and hurt and we talk sometimes; but in addition to them I have made new friends: I welcome my ally compassion and have made empathy my confidante; kindness is the companion I often look out for and gentleness an intimate colleague. I am well acquainted with hope, and we know how to find each other in dark times.
It’s not always comfortable to be the way I am; not always convenient to acknowledge my feelings; not always pleasant to have such a low threshold or to be seen to be such an obvious target. But my softness is part of my strength (though sometimes I forget this) so I take consolation in the knowledge that I am being true to myself, to my creator, to the path I’ve chosen. And the quote above is a reminder that it’s ok to be this way, that my sensitivity has value, and might even be perceived by some to be a gift in today’s world. Whatever the case, for now I choose to stay soft.
Words to live by
The first day of a new year and at this point 2017’s secrets are unknown to me: hidden, obscured, masked, unseen and unidentified. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing – it just is. Just as this time last year I had little idea what 2016 had in store, so today while I can’t see what’s ahead, I can attempt to ready myself for what is to come. I’ve been thinking about my focus, my goals – not so much the physical, financial or career achievements I may aim for but the heartfelt things, the character development: the hopes and desires, and the attitudes or attributes which might surround or enhance those things. [I’m not even sure if this makes sense to someone who’s not inside my head!]
I’m a visual person so I’ve created a picture of sorts, (perhaps more impression than picture) words and colour and forms which express my current thoughts, hopes and focus for 2017. That’s not to say my focus won’t change, simply that as it stands, this is how things are today. Nothing hard and fast, not rules to live by or a resolution, just thoughts and hopes.
In keeping with my current theme of self love and self care, I love the way this quote gives me permission to see myself as a masterpiece (or possibly A Masterpiece) – a wonderfully unique, brilliant, astonishing, breath-takingly beautiful ME… and at the same time be free to take chances, make mistakes, choose an alternative colour or tone or attitude or feeling…
In the past few days I have been wearing some of my husband’s Hawaiian/Polynesian shirts. They are a number of sizes too big but I love the patterns and colours so I’ve been wearing them… proudly! It’s about letting me be me… And if no-one else understands, then it really is me being me – and I’m good with that! So far, so good. We are coming up to a new year – always an introspective time for me. I try to think through what I’ve achieved (rather than failed at), and what I’d like to achieve in the new year…. maybe… Let’s see where this goes…
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.
I am currently on a quest. The quest involves learning to love myself. This follows on from yesterday’s post about ceasing endless striving for what we want and learning to love what we have to do. (Or learning to enjoy the ‘daily grind’ instead of always wishing for something else.) As with many of us, there are events and experiences in my youth that have left some unwelcome and unhelpful side effects – like not liking myself much, not really loving myself (my core self) and this has lead to some of the issues I currently battle – a lack of confidence, low self esteem and a lack of belief in myself. The issues from my childhood caused me the develop thoughts and beliefs about myself which are (at the very least) unhelpful but also there are probably lies I have chosen to believe about myself from a young age which have eaten away at my self belief and self respect and caused a sense of disconnect with God, my family, friends and certainly with myself. There are issues around love that I just don’t get, and that has impacted my behaviours and led to some self sabotage… I would possibly go so far as to say self hate. And certainly contributed to my issues with depression.
I have been through some counselling in the past and found it really helpful. It has helped me work through some issues and experiences, but I’m currently aware that there’s more stuff that needs to be addressed.
It’s never an easy process (in my experience) and seldom enjoyable but I am convinced that the progress and awareness I gain about myself is really valuable. And if it results in more healthy self acceptance and self care then that’s successful & worth the process & pain involved in getting to that point.
Consequently you may have noticed a bunch of quotes about self love & self acceptance – and they are my reminder to me that I need to give myself positive messages and make sure I’m getting my daily dose of positive influence or reinforcement and positive self talk.
So the easy stuff to identify is the low self esteem and lack of confidence and belief in myself and my abilities. It’s the reasons underlying this that I am struggling to understand. I’ve always had a sense of not being good enough (regardless of what I did) and lately noticed a sense of ‘not fitting in, not feeling accepted’ and through the counselling process I’m trying to uncover what beliefs I’m holding on to, which I learnt at a young age, which need an adjustment. Like instead of reinforcing the idea that I’m not good enough, maybe I could be saying ‘I AM good enough’ – and perhaps I need to reinforce this message in meaningful way for me – “I am good enough and I am worthy of love. I was made with this personality and I love myself the way I am” – that sort of message.
OK, so that’s where I am right now – wanting to put it out there and share my ‘stuff’ in the hopes that by sharing: a) I will receive a little more clarity about my self beliefs, and maybe b) I can encourage someone else to take a positive step in beginning or continuing to address their own stuff. (I hope for ‘a’ but ‘b’ would be an added bonus!)
I’ll share more as I learn more, but I find it helpful to be honest and up front about my issues in the hopes that as time goes by, I will receive more insight and therefore be able to work through some of this stuff so that it doesn’t limit me anymore than it already has. I feel optimistic about the process I’m going through and look forward to sharing my progress. I believe I’m on the right path for me at this point in time and I’m trying to honour the little girl I carry inside -and I’d like to see her be cherished, to see her become truly free, and to see her flourish.
Cease striving. That’s what I’m attempting to do at present. I haven’t been writing so much lately but I have been taking photos most days and am enjoying playing with my photos, altering the colours & exposure and adding effects and filters etc. I’m loving this creative medium. I’ve also been avidly hunting for appropriate inspirational sayings and quotes and have spent some time creating my own versions of said quotes such as the one above and the ones that I’ve used in the past month or two. I’ve really enjoyed the photography and creating my own take on these quotes by adding my own photos as the background. Consequently, I haven’t been walking so much or writing so much and life’s been busy and it’s the week before Christmas – and I’m ok with that. I feel like I’m being creative and attempting to maintain my blog’s inspirational theme without spending much time writing. Why am I justifying this to you? Good question. The answer is a matter of time – that is, not having enough but trying to make good use of what I do have.
I’m also working through a few issues which I feel like I’m making progress on but not wanting to specify yet. I’m keen to write about what I’m learning but I’d rather wait until I’m a little further down the track and have a better handle on what it is I’m learning rather than just the issues at hand. Does that make sense?
However I still want to feel like I’m moving forward with my blog (which has been so much more of an encouragement to me than I ever dreamed), plus being creative and exploring my own ‘stuff’ while still allowing myself time to chill and relax a little over the Christmas break. Suffice to say, I hope you’ll enjoy my creative efforts – even if they are somewhat minimal for the time being.
And hopefully I’m also learning about not striving simply to do my own thing but learning to enjoy the things that need to be done. And taking time just to be.