Self-reflection is essential to personal growth. This is a powerful article when you’re looking for answers, or reminders, on why it’s important to look within. It also reference’s Gretchen Rubin’s new Book, Better Than Before, which I have on order 🙂 Looks pretty good!
Everything you’re afraid of – you’ve already experienced. Afraid of commitment? (You’ve been dumped.) Afraid of failure? (You’ve failed.) Afraid of rejection? (You’ve been rejected.) Afraid of being broke? (You’ve been without money.) Fill in the blanks for me.. Afraid of being _________? (You’ve been _________.) And then vow to erase that fear in your […]
Dr reminds you…Don’t be afraid 🙂
Here is my best explanation for my unintended blogging hiatus: I’m afraid.
Afraid that the A to Z Challenge was such a success (as assessed by me), that nothing I write hence forth will measure up. Afraid that I used up all my good ideas in the challenge and I have nothing more useful to say. Afraid that if I keep writing, I will only repeat the same tired ideas, and become noise.
I am also afraid of disapproval. I feel called to write about sensitive topics (I know, this is the third time I’ve brought it up—it’s coming, I promise, I’m setting the stage here), and I fear backlash from readers. I’m afraid of being attacked—for both my position on a given issue, as well as for my effort to consider all sides. “How can you hold this view, you must be ignorant and stupid!” Or, “How can you…
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Hate is a quick and easy, cheap shot. We see it in the news with incidents like Sandy Hook or the nightclub in Orlando. Do you think those shooters were happy? Do you think they felt whole and lived a balanced life? These events are symptoms of a deeper disease in our culture. How do we stop these kinds of atrocities from strangling the love and life out of our communities? Is it with gun control? Is it immigration?
We see hate on a personal level when we lose a friend and never speak to them again. Maybe it’s our choice, maybe it’s theirs. We see hate when a partner cheats on us with no remorse. We see hate with murder, rape and lack of forgiveness. It comes in many forms. And it’s not just in America, it’s alive and well in plenty westernized countries.
If you go to the doctor with a painfully swollen lymph node…
Would it be better for the doctor to give you pain meds and tell you to not eat anything that may increase inflammation OR would it better if they run a bunch of tests to diagnose before they treat? After all, it may be cancer. One treats the symptom and one looks for a cure to the underlying problem.
Hate is our societies’ swollen lymph node while mental illness, disconnection, discontent, sorrow and resentment are our cancer. Fear is our cancer. Fear of what we don’t understand, fear of difference. As a society we are more disconnected, more intolerant, more competitive, more judgemental, more resentful, more angry, more divided and more medicated. Why? Maybe because there are more people, because greed has become accepted as “success” and everything is more expensive while wages haven’t changed. Maybe it’s healthcare. Maybe it’s gun control. There are a million reasons that we have become as we are. The truth is we have forgotten what LOVE is. Not romantic love but true love. The truest love is acceptance and forgiveness. It’s saying “hi” to your neighbor with a genuine smile on your face when they always seem annoyed. It’s understanding that the waiter who gave you bad service may be going through a really shitty day divorce. It may be offering to help someone when you have nothing to give but a hug and a listening ear.
When we accept someone for who they are, we fully see them. When we accept someone, rather than judge them, we are no longer victims of our own emotions. We are simply allowing ourselves to see what we see. It’s up to each of us to decide what we want and don’t want in our lives. Just because we accept who they are doesn’t mean we need to practice the same lifestyle. It simply means we aren’t judging theirs. When we practice acceptance, without judgement, we begin to accept more of ourselves. As we practice acceptance we become more tolerant of things we may disagree with, more authentic and honest about who we are and less hateful. It’s the foundation for forgiveness.
You can only forgive when you have accepted something as it is. Forgiveness is acceptance and ownership of a judgement you’ve made. It’s acceptance of your own feelings about a specific event and choosing to let it go. It has nothing to do with telling someone else what they did was right or good. You can forgive without thinking something was right. It has to do with acknowledging your pain or hatred and setting it free. When you’re free from anger, resentment and hate you can be more open to LOVE.
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. ~Buddha
If you look at whole-hearted families, communities, organizations and countries you will find genuine happiness and tolerance with different lifestyles and religions. They foster an environment of acceptance, authenticity, ownership, respect, connection with others and embrace love over hate. The cure for hate is love.
Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther Kind Jr, Mother Theresa are classic examples of change makers that chose love over hate. That faced criticism, violence, pain and suffering with an attitude of acceptance and forgiveness. These are some of the most notable examples of strength and bravery. Why? Because no matter what happened, they chose love over hate. Conquered fear is the birthplace of courage.
Today you can find this type of courage in researchers, authors, musicians and politicians. But hate is more popular, more prevalent, more accepted and easier. These people openly speak about fear and shame versus love and connection. Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, India Arie, Marianne Williamson, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Shonda Rhimes and Amanda Palmer. Are a few that speak up for love, they make connection, truth and authenticity a priority. They don’t say what people want to hear, that say what they feel is right, with love, gratitude, acceptance and forgiveness.
Our culture and society doesn’t shift because politicians change laws. Shift happens when we accept that the 15yr old girl feels more like a boy than a girl, so we call her Sam rather than Samantha and allow him to use whichever damn bathroom he wants. It happens when we say hello and smile to the woman wearing a hijab without assuming she’s a terrorist. Or we tell someone we love, that while we aren’t ok with something they did, we don’t think they are a bad person. Change happens when parents ask their teenage daughters about a breakup and listen, even though they worked all day and may think it pales in comparison to their day. It happens when a father tells his son that he’s sorry he yelled at him but he was worried he might get hurt. It happens when a mother explains to her child why being a bully creates shame rather than punishing her without teaching her what is right.
It starts in our small circles. It’s saying “thank you for being clear” to someone who respectfully asked you to do or NOT to do something. It’s asking “what do you mean by that?” when someone is being passive aggressive. It’s sending your mother flowers on mothers day even though you’re pissed at her. You can love people AND dislike their behavior. You can love people AND have boundaries. You can wholeheartedly and courageously LOVE with hopeless abandon rather than ignorantly and fearfully embrace hatred. Hatred is our disease. Courageous love is our cure.
We must BE the change we wish to see in the world. ~Ghandi
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will think of it as fate. ~Carl Jung
That doesn’t mean become Dexter. It means you cannot fully appreciate the boundless energy of the light until you have explored the depths of your soul.
The famous psychotherapist Carl Jung explained it as the shadow self or shadow side, the parts of ourselves that we deny. These are the dark corners in our minds, much like the scary closets when we were kids and the lights were out. If there was a nightlight it just wasn’t as scary, unless you had one of those damn Teddy Ruxpin’s with low batteries, then we were sure we were going to die. But eventually you muster the guts to tell mom and she doesn’t think you’re crazy, she just chuckles and tells you the batteries are low. Whew. Close call.
The spots we judge are usually the source of our limiting beliefs. The places that, when triggered, drive many to go for a drink, a cigarette or harder drugs. The thoughts that make us want to numb are the thoughts that stop us from embracing our light. If we want to reach our potential, and our goals, fear and judgement must be faced.
This has been a year of cleansing for me. I had allowed a circle of toxicity to creep up on me and swallow me up, because deep down I had some rotting grief leftover from a divorce 3 years ago. I thought I was past it, but I was simply in the eye of the storm. I was vulnerable and allowed a victim, deal-with-it-because-this-is-how-it-is mindset take over my snowglobe vision that anything was possible. Anything IS possible, ALWAYS. Change is scary… it’s also inevitable, exciting and invigorating. It’s all in how you choose to look at it. The glass is not half empty or half full, it’s both. People are the same way. We have good behaviors and bad behaviors. Yin and yang. We are always trying to find our balance.
This is my process for swimming through the ocean of emotion in order to get to the Island of Utopia:
- Self Awareness- Recognize your inner critic. It likes to disguise itself as the “voice of reality” when really it’s purpose is to create shame, to keep you safe from failure.
- Write it down- Record the guttural words of pain, sorrow or despair in all its glory. No more than 30min of writing.
- Name it! Create a name for your inner critic. Personally I just call mine shame for clarity.
- Read the words you wrote outloud.
- Cry it out if necessary.”I hear you shame, you’re welcome to your opinions and you can ride in the car but you do NOT get to drive”.
- Immediately watch something or engage in something that makes you laugh. Alternatively, you could dance it out. The point is to do something completely different and get out of your head. Comedy works well. ☺️
- Let someone know. Have someone you can call when you open something up that you need to verbally process. For some people this may be a Therapist or Psychiatrist.
These are just tips for getting in touch with your judgements and darker parts that you like to pretend don’t exist. We all have those spots and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. ☺️ Let me know what you think of these! 💜
Or maybe they do, but it certainly, one hundred percent, undeniably, does not define a real woman.
Real women have Badassery.
I recently read Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, which is mainly – in a very oversimplified kind of way – about being open to change and finding where you are happiest. As a highly successful entrepreneur and writer, she reminds the reader of something exceedingly important that many of us women in western culture forget…it’s incredibly powerful to be vulnerable. Similar to Shonda, I live in Califonia, where the weather is beautiful and so are the people. Everyone seems to regularly attend yoga, do crossfit and be training for marathons or tough mudders. I wear a size 16, and while I can do many of those activities and consider myself pretty, the fact is, I’m not as noticed as the active size 2 woman. I’m just not. We have an obsession in California with beauty and the rise of stars like Melissa Mcarthy and Adele seem to bring back statements like “big and beautiful” or “real women have curves”. The truth is, thick or thin, our shapes or looks shouldn’t be defining who we are. Our character should define who we are.
The Badass Lady
(You will find links to badass ladies in this paragraph)
She may have curves or she may be curveless. She may be the overweight woman in yoga class or the perfectly fit woman in line at the grocery store. She may be neither. She may be this mother, or this one. She may run a company. She may be a doctor. She may be a lesbian. She may be happily single and childless. She may be married. She may be divorced. She may be full of hearty advice. She may be Furiously Happy, yet, depressed. She may be you. A real woman is not defined by what she looks like, ever. She is defined by her level of integrity. Above all else, she is authentic and vulnerable, as often as possible, because she’s still human.
A real woman will tell you when you’re wrong, but with compassion. She will admit when she has made a mistake. A real woman will have boundaries, she knows herself well enough to be clear on what she’s okay with and what she’s not. A real woman will stand up for what’s important to her with confidence, grace and tact. She will not shrink or puff up, but stand tall and strong in the face of adversity. A real woman loves with her whole heart. She gives only what she is comfortable giving and not an ounce more, yet she is more generous than most and never resentful. Well, maybe sometimes… sometimes, she’s resentful. But she knows she is in charge of feeling that way, or not. She takes ownership of her feelings and her behavior. A real woman isn’t perfect, she’s human.
A real woman is vulnerable
A real woman is clear about who she is. Her healthy boundaries help her to decide if you belong in her life, or not. Her loyalty runs deep, but she is not a doormat. She won’t give you guilt trips. Well, maybe sometimes… sometimes, she gives guilt trips. After all, she’s human and perfectly imperfect. She asks for what she wants, understanding that you are just as capable of saying no as she has learned to be. A real woman won’t keep you in her life because she’s afraid of being alone. She will nurture a friendship or relationship because she cares, deeply, and values the connection she has with you.
I once saw a girlfriend build a trailer to attach to her Honda Civic so she could move her bed and dresser 300 miles away. All because her mother asked her if she was going to ask her ex boyfriend. Badassery.
Another girlfriend doesn’t own a car but wanted to see one of her closest friends graduate 600 miles away. She took a bus, spent the night and then took the bus back the next day. Badassery.
I recently had a friend ask for help during an emotional breakdown. I’ve known her 9 years and she has never been that vulnerable. I was with her in two hours and have checked in almost every day this week. That’s the friend I am and that’s MY badassery.
I have had an incredible amount of badassery in my life. Women that have stood by my side, told me when I was wrong, applauded my accomplishments and listened to my hardships. They have been there when others have judged me, they have called me to the mat when everyone else was intimidated. They have come in every package. Old, young, black, white, heavy, thin, gorgeous, average, straight and lesbian. Some were curvy, some weren’t. Some were gear heads and some were girly girls. It didn’t matter.
They are badasses and that supersedes any superficial quality that our society values and objectifies.
When were you a badass recently?
(Men have badassery too, that is a different post 🙂 )