positive stress

Wait, what?!?

The word ‘stress’ has always held such a negative connotation for me. And 95% of the articles and conversations in my life, that have been read, heard or participated in, have all been regarding the negative side of stress – distress, as some refer to it. It has never crossed my mind that there could be a ‘positive’ type of stress… until today.

I happened to be glancing through a backlog of emails, and the subject of one was ‘positive stress’. So that is the first one I read, of course! πŸ˜‰
The official term for it is ‘Eustress’. It is defined as being ‘a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being‘.

The good stress is the kind that is nerve and hormone driven – it has to do with excitement, even if we are stepping into the unknown. The list of triggers for this kind of stress is very long, and as I read through them, I understood another statement I had read just moments earlier.

The statement was this : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”

One of the triggers for ‘good stress’ was ‘taking on a project that will help you showcase your strengths, which will not only bring you professional satisfaction, but many positive reactions in your emotional well-being too’.

My first reaction to reading that as being an example for eustress was a firm shake of my head. Because it didn’t happen that way for me at all! And as I pondered my reaction, I reread this statement : ”Many times good stress itself turns bad… because instead of continuing to challenge ourselves in a healthy way, we often tend to overwhelm ourselves by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves, even though we know our resources are limited.”
And I realised that THAT was in fact what had happened to me in my situation!

In my late twenties, I had been offered an amazing opportunity to use my talents and head up a new project that my current boss was considering taking on. It would mean a lot of research, but I was going to be able to not only draft the presentation, but actually present it myself, to a group of influential people in that line of work. I hardly slept that night because I was just so excited, and the ideas swimming around in my head were ‘Olympic quality swimmers’ πŸ˜‰
By lunchtime the next day, I was sick to my stomach, and convinced my heart was gearing up to fail me.
In our meeting of opportunity, my boss had actually been the one to fail me. He’d handed me the Dessert, before showing me the full menu!

The presentation meeting had already been scheduled – I had three days, start to finish!
None of the presentation work could be done during working hours, as I was already busy all day, handling all the administration for his other three businesses – this included payroll and bookkeeping etc. I was newly divorced with an eighteen-month-old baby girl, and an eight-year-old son, with no child care options available to me.
Eustress escalated quickly into distress. And by the time the meeting arrived, I was physically ill as a result of lack of sleep, and, well, ‘bad’ stress.

And at the end of it all, I was not only physically ill, but unhappy emotionally too – I knew it wasn’t my best work, I was disappointed in myself and felt inadequate…. and my confidence definitely took a knock.
I suppose the lesson in my personal experience with work stress was simply this : to know myself, to be realistic about the resources I have, and to learn to speak up before I get overwhelmed (or overwhelm myself, I suppose).
And, in all honesty, it would serve me to remember to apply that to all areas in my life πŸ˜‰

I’ll close with this little list, which was provided as ways to include/introduce more positive stress in your life :

β€’ Make an effort to learn something new every day – even if it is something small
β€’ Get out of your comfort zone – try taking on a new challenge in the ‘great unknown’.
β€’ Boost your positive endorphins by getting some exercise!
β€’ Start delving into ways to set realistic, yet challenging, goals and try a new way each week, growing these over time.

And that’s all from me for today ❀
I’m off to spend some time on the new course I signed up for πŸ˜‰

Scrambling For Words

Today is SCRABBLE DAY!

A day I simply had to post about because of the fond memories I have associated with this board game!

Today was chosen as the day to celebrate the game, because it is also the day that the game creator was born! His name was Alfred Mosher Butts and he invented this board game during The Great Depression in the 1930’s.

At the time that he created the game, many were out of work, starving for food, depressed. Including Alfred himself. He was an Architect – an out of work Architect.

I’d like to think that it wasn’t just boredom that caused him to create it. But that’s me and my positive spin on life, I guess πŸ˜› I’d like to think that as he looked around him, and saw people struggling, that he wanted to provide them with something that would not only stimulate their brains, but possibly also distract them from the misery of their circumstances.

The game was originally called LEXICO, later changed to Criss Cross Words, and of course it is now Scrabble, as we know it.

Alfred teaches us a lesson in tenacity – in the reward that comes with never giving up. Because initially his game was rejected by most board game manufacturers. He eventually encountered a man by the name of James Brunot, who purchased the rights to the game, made a few minor adjustments and renamed it…. making Scrabble (and Alfred) a household name.

The fond memories I mentioned? I can still see my Granny and Grampie now, huddled over their Scrabble board, trying to outdo each other and achieve maximum points so as to ultimately be declared the winner. It makes me smile. They played every night – early evening, straight after supper. And I looked forward to sleepovers at their house, so that I could be a part of the action!

As soon as I was able to begin spelling, there was always a ‘pre-game’ game – Grampie would take me on, and Granny was allowed to help me, but only a little bit. For a few years, I found myself scrambling for words! And then I started to get better at it, and Granny no longer needed to assist. I never did beat Grampie though – he remains ‘our champion’, in more ways than one ❀

I found this image on Pinterest, and it made me smile even more, as it is a picture of the original game, and the box looks identical to my grandparents box – well used πŸ˜‰

It was amusing to see my brother (the middle child in our family – nine years my senior) proudly unpack his very own Scrabble game when he was eighteen, and right up until the moment he moved out (when he was about 24, I think it was) I would regularly find him playing against himself, either on his bed, or next to the swimming pool while he was ‘tanning’.

No one in my family has ever participated in any formal Scrabble championships (that I know of) – playing against each other was apparently challenging enough! πŸ˜› The only time I have ever won a game, was when I played against myself πŸ˜› But that has never caused me to turn down the opportunity to play – I have definitely always played for the enjoyment of it πŸ˜‰

Interestingly enough, even worldwide Scrabble championships have scandals attached to them! What next?!?! Ha ha ha!

Happy Scrabble Day, everyone! Please go and have some fun with words today πŸ˜‰

A Positive Attitude

I really love the above statement… and to add to it : I am 100% certain that something positive WILL happen today.

The important word to note in my little follow up statement is ‘something’.
Because my day could suck in general. I just never know. My attitude doesn’t have to.
And so, into my day, I bring a positive attitude that tells me : even when stuff goes wrong, even when you feel overwhelmed or sad or angry, even when a multitude of little things just don’t turn out right…. even then, I have the reassurance that if I take the time to stop and look, SOMETHING will have gone right and be a positive plus in my day.

And some days I truly DO have to stop and look. And REALLY think about the little things.
But when I choose to reflect, and do so in a way that is trying to find something GOOD, and just ignore all the bad for a few moments while I do so…. well, I never come up empty.

My ‘life attitude’ IS generally positive. It wasn’t always like this. And it definitely isn’t something easily maintained.
But I have found that leaning towards the positive is definitely far more beneficial for me than ‘reflecting on the negative’ and inviting bitterness and anger and sadness to rule my head and my heart.

Please don’t get me wrong…

My past has been very far from sunshine and roses – there have definitely been far too many dark clouds and thorns. And I wasted a lot of time dwelling on those – allowing thoughts in my mind and feelings in my heart that slowly began to eat away at me.
Not all those ‘situations’ have been resolved – but it’s amazing what a change of attitude can do!

Somebody mentioned that being ‘endlessly positive can be toxic’. But I think they have missed the point!

Life is FULL of negatives! Bad things happen to good people! I cry, I get angry – I still FEEL those negative emotions. But when we can take control of our attitudes? When we can still find SOMETHING good, despite the chaos and turmoil? We find ourselves unleashing a new power within, and a new strength! Because even when things are out of control around us, we will have control within us… and that brings a peace and inner joy that defies explanation!

My hope for you is that this weekend you will be reminded of all that is good in YOU, instead of all that is wrong in your world! ❀

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. πŸ˜›

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight πŸ˜› )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it πŸ˜›

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! ❀

Because some days…

These last couple of weeks, I have had many challenges thrown my way. Life is not handing me lemons, its not even throwing them at me. I am sure it has switched to brightly coloured yellow cricket balls instead! πŸ˜› The challenges have come by way of every aspect of my life – family, health, friends, financial. The truly difficult part for me is that although I keep having them thrown at me, every single one is at the point of a ‘stale mate’.

There are decisions to be made (some that are VERY important) and I can’t make them.
Because I am waiting.
I am waiting on other people to provide me with concrete answers so that the decisions in some of the situations can be informed ones. In other situations, I am waiting for other people to make choices that will affect the decisions that I then need to make – my heart is with them, no matter what they decide, always… but I can only ‘be of service’ if they are willing and open to it.

In all of this, every moment of the day, I have just felt drained. (The endless hours of back and forth phone calls where no one can give me a straight answer is possibly a big part of that!)

I cannot control any of it. And I can’t help but smile. Because the small challenges along the way in the past year have actually prepared me for THIS time now… where things are coming at me from all angles.
The past year, as I slowly accepted the learning and growing process, I came to a point where I was finally able to say : I will not allow the things I can’t control to afford me unnecessary stress. I need to truly accept that I can’t control them, and find a way to ‘let it go’. I need to focus on what I CAN control, and take it from there.

And no… it’s not as easy, or as simple, as we often make it sound. It’s hard work. And I am willing to do it and keep striving for the ‘unexplainable peace and ability to still have joy’ that exists within me despite all these circumstances surrounding me.

But (such is life) I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times where negative emotions DO make their appearance.

The other day, after an extremely emotionally driven phone call where MY calmness was very much required, I eventually got to hang up the phone… and I just burst into tears.
This would have been fine if I was at home… it was rather embarrassing that it happened while I was sitting in my car, outside of the studio my daughter dances at. Even worse, another mom pulled up and hopped out of her car to come and say ‘hi’.
We chatted very briefly, and she completely understood what I meant when I said, ”If I could tell you, I would. But I just can’t seem to find my words right now to even begin to explain.”
She squeezed my hand encouragingly, and we both chuckled as I whipped out my sanitiser and sprayed both our hands. And then her phone rang, and she needed to rush off again…. but she said to me, ”There is a message you sent me a few months ago. I still have it. I am going to find it and send it to you. Hang in there, girl, you’ve got this!”
And off she went.

I spent the next forty five minutes fighting off tears and sobs, trying to distract myself from my earlier phone call. I felt like I was losing a battle I hadn’t had time to prepare for. And then her message appeared on my phone. A screenshot of my message to her :

”I know you’re feeling sad, so I won’t tell you to try and be happy. I am not going to tell you to ‘go and do things that make you happy’. I am not going to ask you to be a warrior woman of strength and faith (even though I know you are). What I AM going to tell you to do… ask you to do… for now, in this moment of sadness : please eat something, please take a hot shower or bath, please put on some nice comfy clothes. Do the physical stuff that will keep you alive. I don’t know how or when it will get better… but I do know that it will. In the meantime, please just keep trying to stay alive. The rest will follow eventually. I am here, if you need me.”

Dear readers, bloggers, friends… what we put out in this world DEFINITELY comes back to us, and most times the good things come when we need them the most. So keep putting the good stuff out there, and my hope for you is that you will ALWAYS experience the returns on that when YOU need them the most! ❀

Meg’s Monday Musings, I guess

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how we are all different. I don’t just mean in physical appearance, or in our hearts… I have also extended my thinking to cover things like how we respond to things, what works FOR US, our opinions and the way we approach the situations life gives us, etc.
Something else I have become increasingly aware of in my own heart is the need to not only respect these differences, but celebrate them because, quite frankly, the world needs all of us. We just have different things to contribute.

Sadly, in some cases, there will be times where celebration falls short, because that particular thing is disheartening, saddening, confusing. Perhaps that person has been shaped by a particular experience in a negative way, and that is the reason for them responding in a way that elicits hurt, anger and bitterness though.
There is a saying that goes something like this : I still care. I still want to see you eat. Just not at my table.

I understand that. A part of me can agree with that saying. And yet….

I will always want people to eat at my table. Eventually. If at all possible. And of course saying that elicits responses like, ”You’re a sucker for punishment”, ”you’re weak and a doormat”, ”you clearly lack boundaries and deserve to have your peace thrown in turmoil, because you aren’t protecting it”.

What is really funny to me is that I CAN see the small bits of truth in those things. Thanks to technology we have an overload of information to teach us all of the above, especially when it comes to boundaries and protecting our peace. We have advice pouring in via social media in the way of articles and memes and short videos to make us strong and prevent us from becoming ‘doormats’.

I remember reading once : The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.

And so, as my heart is changing radically (in what I deem as all the best ways) a lot of the advice and sayings out there are becoming things that I just can’t fully agree with. A sucker for punishment, indeed! Because this DOES make me MORE vulnerable, and more open to experiencing hurt and heartache. BUT it has also brought me a strange sense of peace, which I simply can’t afford to fight against to satisfy the countless items of advice to ‘protect my peace’ when I have found it in a way that is not in alignment with all these things.

I am able to agree to disagree. I don’t need to always be right. I also don’t need to force my opinions and advice on people in a way that I get frustrated and angry when they don’t do what I have told them to. I am ACCEPTING of the concept that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! One of the hardest things I have done, and have to do every now and then, is forgive people who are not sorry, will not say they are sorry, and live in a space where they truly believe that they have done nothing wrong.

And I have, in all of this, realised something that I think is important – TO ME : I actually don’t need apologies, or changed behaviour to prove that you’re sorry. It isn’t why I am still here roaming this earth – it’s not my purpose, if you will.
Other people’s choices, behaviour and the condition of their hearts is not my responsibility. But I AM responsible for my choices, behaviour and the condition of my heart.

There are people in my life who have hurt me deeply. Someone very close to me, my very own blood, has made a lifetime of ‘trying to destroy me’, when she was supposed to love me and nurture me. People in positions of power have abused me. But all of that? Whatever choices they made and whatever they tried to do to me? Well… that is on them. Not me. I have learnt that forgiving them, even though they will never say they are sorry… TRULY forgiving them in MY heart, brings ME peace. And pretty much introduces a freedom within me that I have struggled to grasp for so many years.

Jumping back to eating at my table : any wounds, dissatisfaction, or pain that they be suffering now might possibly be self-inflicted. It is not for me to judge them for that. Or to even rejoice in the fact that they are now possibly ‘getting what they deserve’. NOT MY PLACE. NOT MY BUSINESS.
And if those people reach a point in their lives where they show up at my table, WITHOUT apology, needing a little bit of kindness, compassion, or food for their souls to help them face the day because a particular choice they made or circumstance they are facing has caused them a deep hurt, despite warnings I may have issued or advice I had given? Well, who am I to tell them : Oh, I care… but off you go. Go and find another table. Love isn’t served here.

The last few weeks have not only shown me all the things I DON’T want to be…. it has taught me the greatest lesson of all time. The ONE thing I ABSOLUTELY NEED to be. LOVE.

And because I lack perfection, this is harder than just learning the lesson. Along the way, I am finding myself in situations where this is being put to the test. In most cases, I am getting it right. There are still the odd ones though where I need to iron MYSELF out, and be more determined about living out love, no matter what it costs me.

Unfortunately, feeling and thinking all of the above means that there will be tables that I will be no longer invited to. There will not be an attitude of ‘agree to disagree’ and I will be viewed in an undesirable light, and criticised in many ways. And the feeling and knowledge of that? Well, it feels a bit like trying to swallow a pineapple whole.
But here’s the thing. It’s THEIR table. If I am not welcome there, then I need to respect that. I need to truly forgive so that I can find peace.
And if there ever comes a day where they approach MY table in an hour of need (even if only to just get them through that need and have them walk away again) I will set them a place, comfort them and show them kindness, and love them for as long as they let me.

NONE of these changed hearts attitudes have come without a price to me. NONE of the musings above have come easy. NONE of it is necessarily part of YOUR journey. But it is a part of mine. As are each and every one of you.

Here’s hoping you all have an incredibly special and wonderfully enlightening week ❀

Where are you, Meg?

I am not sure who it was exactly who said it originally, but there is a very well known saying (slightly abbreviated from the original version) :

”Time waits for no man.”

And in case there is any confusion : sorry ladies, it doesn’t wait for us either πŸ˜›

The last couple of weeks saw me reaching a whole new level of being busy, because as I have mentioned before, life happens even when we are busy making other plans. πŸ˜› Circumstances out of my control meant that a lot of things happened at once, and I had no choice BUT to give them my immediate attention – trying my best to juggle a multitude of balls, and yes… I definitely dropped one or two. But I made it through the chaos, and that matters.

There were some friends who I remained in contact with during this period, although not as much as I would have liked to. I was honest with them about the demands on my time, and shared a bit of the ‘busy’ side of things. But I only shared what I guess would be considered the ‘physically’ busy side of things. ”Driving from here to there for ‘x’, meetings and endless phone calls to sort out ‘y’, etc.”

I have one particular friend with whom I am in very close contact – as in ‘every day conversation’ via messaging. I started to share the emotional side, I guess you could call it, that was absorbing my ‘other time/free time’ that I get given every day, and unfortunately it opened a door that caused me a lot of hurt and pain.

But it reminded me yet again that I have been shaped and molded the way I am for a reason.
That we are all DIFFERENT and that it is okay. And that my acceptance of that is not a weakness, despite who may think it is, but ultimately a strength.
That the ability to still see immense value in others just because they approach things differently and do what works for them is also a strength.
That still being able to love them with all my heart and treat them with kindness when they are adamant I am completely wrong and need to change my views, is strength.
That choosing to still treat those who have hurt me so very deeply, and tried to pretty much destroy the good in me, with compassion and respect is also A STRENGTH. And trust me, the fact that there is still a small spark of a love that I cannot explain for them absolutely astounds me.

Regarding that last statement in the paragraph above – a lot of people criticise me for it, and provide a host of reasons for it that link back to abuse. And while I can see the validity in what they are saying, and appreciate that abuse does shape certain things in us and spark reactions that are not natural, my ultimate reason for MY conclusion and my feelings is one that defies comprehension for many (including me sometimes) and is also one that is a PERSONAL thing and not something I can tell you how to do or even begin to properly explain.
My ultimate reason is this : part of this very painful emotional journey from the last couple of weeks has been the realisation :

I have needed mercy SO MANY times in my life, especially in times where I have hurt others in so many ways – even if my lashing out was deserved by them. What right do I have to not show it to others, even those who have done nothing other than to try and destroy me?
If I am willing, and live my life, being kind and loving to strangers who will not always return the same to me, then how can I not be willing to also extend mercy?

There IS a pill that I am struggling to swallow though – something I really struggle to understand. But there is a Voice that whispers to me that I don’t NEED to understand EVERYTHING. I try very hard not to argue. But man, oh man, it’s tough! I don’t fully understand why, when we all want respect and want people to accept that we have our OWN views and opinions, we fight so hard to force others to think exactly how we do… to a level that we disrespect their own views and opinions and choices.
I KNOW it’s a human condition, and something I have been guilty of in my younger years… but it still frustrates me trying to understand the why. , because I can’t even tell you why I used to do it πŸ˜› I really HAVE to just ‘let it go’.

I am hoping that somehow, some way, something in the above has been of help to someone. I don’t expect anyone to take anything ‘away’ from it though, simply because it is MY views and opinions, the choice I have made when it comes to living my life, and you may not agree. And guess what, I am okay with that. You still have value in this world. It’s not up to me to try and change you… it’s up to me to change ME, and just keep loving YOU for who you are.

I DO want a to share an image with you in closing though. Something I have had to remind MYSELF of EVERY DAY for the last two weeks, more than once a day….

Sending love to each and every one of you ❀ Here’s hoping you all get to experience LOTS of wonderful things this week.

Horton heard what?

It’s that day again! πŸ˜‰

seuss

Photo credit : skiptomylou.org

Today is Dr Seuss Day

”Theodor Seuss Geisel, commonly known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, was a writer, poet and cartoonist. Though best known as a children’s author (he released a whopping forty-six books for tykes), his career also saw him work as an illustrator for advertising campaigns and a political cartoonist during the Second World War. He was also a true perfectionist, known to discard 95% of his material before settling on a theme for a new book, sometimes spending up to a year writing a single story, and preferring payment upon completion, rather than in advance.

March 2nd is a celebration of his life and works, as it was on this day in 1904 that he entered the world. Having lived eighty-seven years and made an incredible impact on numerous generations, he died in 1991 at his home in La Jolla, California. His many bizarre, colourful and zany tales are still cherished by young and old alike, and, having been translated into more than twenty languages, are read all across the world every single day.”Β Extract taken from the link provided above.

I owned four of his books as a child (all the others I read came from the library), and I still have them!Β  I read them to my children when they were younger, and they’ve now been packed away for my grandchildren one day (although I think I will be waiting a very long time for that πŸ˜› Not that I’m complaining πŸ˜‰ )

seuss 1

Photo credit : northernnatalcourier.co.za

And as I am reminiscing, and looking through all the quote images, I see a lot of the things that I have a tendency to say in them – perhaps he had a greater influence on me than I thought πŸ˜‰

seuss2

Photo credit : earlymoments.com

seuss3

So here’s my ‘Dr Seuss inspired’ wish for you :

May you find the strength and wisdom for the mountains that you climb.

May you remember that no one can be a better ‘you’ than you.

May your heart not only be open to caring for others, but may you also find opportunities to be kind.

May you be filled with courage to stand out in the crowd – stick to your values and goals and pursue your dreams… no matter who says what!

AND ….

β€œAnd the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

May you experience the goodness and greatness of love EVERY DAY that can’t be bought.

fear journey

Here’s a ‘raw truth secret about me’…

And I am sharing it because I know I am not alone.

There is something big I have been wanting to do. And it is so heavy in my spirit – that desire to do it – that it is almost a physical weight too.
And I know it would be something great! Even the opinions of the few I have shared it with have confirmed this!

Yet… I still have not done it. There are days where I spend hours working on it. But cannot bring myself to the ‘big reveal’.

Why? I suppose that it’s ME that is holding ME back! Well…. it is, but it also isn’t.

I have finally reached the place in my life where I KNOW my truth! And I speak it – to my friends, to myself, to my dogs πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰
I am able to see the error and lie that has been spoken over me and to me far too often in my life, and I am able to contradict it.

The negative emotions – self doubt, lack of self worth, low self esteem – I still have those, but they are fleeting and I am better at handling them when they rear their ugly heads. I believe that for me personally they still come because I always need to learn more, and grow more.

I look at how far I have come in the last few years… and in particular the amazing growth I have experienced this past year. And I’ll admit that when I truly reflect, I cry. (Yes, I am too soft!) But I cry because it’s been a hell of a journey…. and so many years (probably about twenty, if I am honest) of chipping away at a giant boulder, sometimes not even managing to acknowledge or see the very small shoots of growth because they have been just below the surface.
This past year? It’s like I started with a sapling, and all of a sudden there’s a sturdy trunk with branches… and there may even be some green πŸ˜‰ (And no… I am not referring to lockdown, pandemic physical weight πŸ˜› πŸ˜› )

But in all of this wonderful, and definitely worthy of celebration growth, something is still broken in my sub-conscious.

If I look at what I want to do… and address the thing within me that is preventing me from doing it? The questions that come to mind – the ones that make me ‘put down my pen’? They are all related to a sub-conscious fear – limiting beliefs and memories from the past – things I KNOW are not true… and yet they are STILL holding a part of me back!

Earlier, I said that I know I am not alone. Because somewhere out there, there are more than one of you who is in exactly the same place as I am at the moment – it’s just that the thing you are wanting to do may be a different thing to mine.

And I wish I had a clear answer of exactly what we should do, so that we can change the road we are on… conquer that fear… and ‘release ourselves to the world’. If I find that perfect answer, I will be sure to share it. But I have a feeling that ‘the answer’ will be unique to us as an individual – what will eventually work for me may not work for you.

So what is the point of this post? If I can’t help you, and you can’t help me, to get past the fear?

Well….

The point is to know that you are not alone. Neither am I. The point is to help you realise that we ALL have battles that we fight, no matter how great other things in our lives may be. The point is to encourage you – please don’t give up now! It’s hard work, and it’s frustrating…. but I truly believe it will be worth it! I have enough hope for all of us πŸ˜‰

We will all eventually experience the moments in our lives where we will see a light at the end of the particular tunnel we are trying to ‘conquer’, and it won’t be another train coming πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

When you are tired, rest. When you are frustrated and angry, pick up that pillow and scream into it. When you feel sad and ‘seemingly hopeless’, have a good cry.
But do NOT give up. Your day is coming! Take courage, my friends! It’s not too late to build a better you!
(What a wonderful thought that even when we think we are at our best, there is always potential for us to be even better! That life can actually BE better!!! I just LOVE that! ❀ )

I promise not to give up on my journey of conquering this major fear. And of course, when I finally DO my thing, my big reveal will be here first πŸ˜‰

So please don’t give up on your journey either! We’ve got this! ❀

random acts of kindness

”Actions speak louder than words.”

I understand that this age old proverb is wise and valuable. But we need to be careful when and where and how we choose to apply it. To be honest, it is actually a proverb that I don’t like. Not at all. Partially because it has been ‘thrown at me’ way too many times, and in situations that actually made it meaningless. I’ll give you an example – but not from my own life. I saw someone share this proverb as an image on Facebook this morning, and while it brought back so many bad memories for me, it also made me think of an old friend of mine – probably because she shared my sentiment about the proverb itself! So here is a piece of her story, we’ll call her Jess.

Jess was bright and talented. She was a girl who was going places. She was outgoing and lively, and one of those types of people who had a very clear path mapped out for what her life was going to look like.
Towards the end of her final year at high school, at 18 years of age, Jess fell pregnant. She was not married, and not in a relationship either. She completed her high school education, and gave birth a few months later. Her baby boy was put up for adoption.
And the people who ‘knew her’… knew her personality and her plan for her life? Well, they judged accordingly.
“Being that outgoing and lively, and I guess flirtatious? Well, I am not surprised she ended up pregnant! And as for giving the baby away? Well, he didn’t exactly fall into her mapped out plan for her life, did he?”
And in some ways, their words and judgements seemed to fit.
I met Jess three years later. I heard the background from the mutual friend who first introduced us. He added, ”I don’t know how much of it is true as such, but she’s never disputed any of it, so I guess it must be.”
A few years later Jess told me ‘the story’ – her story. And it made me cry for her.
Jess had been very involved in rowing when she was in her final years of high school. There was a huge regatta, with teams from all over the country. Afterwards, there was a social function. Jess had said her goodbyes, and made her way to her car. It was dark, and the light she thought she had parked under happened to have a blown bulb. One of the guys from a visiting team, who had had too much to drink, had followed her. He raped her. And she fell pregnant.
Her parents were sickly, and poor. They left the decision up to her, but told her that they could not help with the baby. She soul searched and got counselling for months, and decided that it was best to give him up. She never had anymore children, and to be honest, I don’t think she ever quite got over giving her little one away.
After she told me her story, I asked her why she had never defended herself when the rumours began.
Her words were, ”People will believe what they want to – even when you tell them the truth. It’s their choice. And let’s face it, my actions – who I was – seemed to match up pretty well with their version. I also didn’t want everyone to know that I had been raped. Or how poor we really were. I was ashamed. So I just left it alone. But Meggy, the lesson in there for me was this : never judge another because you really don’t know the things they had to choose from. There is ALWAYS a story. There is always a reason. And unless you know it in it’s entirety, don’t listen to others, don’t judge, don’t assume.
And I can say with absolute certainty that she truly lived that lesson in her life!

Today is ”Random Acts of Kindness Day”

The story above may seem extreme, and I am sure you are wondering how it ties in to ‘the day’ we are supposed to be celebrating….

Well….

When it comes to ‘random acts of kindness’, there is often reference to ‘paying for a stranger’s coffee’, or ‘smiling at and complimenting someone you don’t know’, or ‘baking cookies for an old age home’ etc.
And these are all very valid and very beautiful things to do.

But what if, inwardly, instead of judging or being irritated by the tramp, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the prostitute, we stop for a moment and actually see them? What if we do ourselves a kindness by opening that box in our hearts that contains compassion and understanding? What if, instead of only seeing the action, we choose to see that perhaps something truly terrible may have happened to them in their youth, or at whatever stage in their lives, that has actually caused the action we are seeing now?

Some people may never actually tell their story. But most times, there will be something in their actions/behaviour that will confirm that there is definitely a story to be told, and that it isn’t pretty.

Not judging others, even in small ways, is difficult to do. It is something I have wrestled with many times. Especially when their actions are hurtful to me personally. As I have got older though, I have carried the words Jess said to me in my heart, and find myself more easily able to refer to them and practice them. Especially now that so many parts of my own story tie in with it.

On this day (and every day, really) I will not only find ways to be kind to others….
I will also be kind to myself…
By acknowledging how unfair and hurtful it is when others judge my actions or behaviour and shun me, without knowing my story, or even caring to ask my why…
And not doing the same to the people I encounter in my life.