the reflection

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? And no, I don’t just mean physical appearance. I don’t know about you, but glancing in the mirror at myself, I don’t just see my physical reflection. For some reason it sparks a quick ‘check in’ with my mind and soul too.

Looking in the mirror can be a tough one for many of us – and it may surprise some to know that the ‘us’ who struggle with it are not just women!

When you’re in a good place in your life, the mirror’s reflection will make you smile, as you will see everything good. For some, this is most of their lives.
But for many it isn’t so.
Especially when there has been a history of abuse.

I want you to know, if you struggle, that I hear you. And I feel you.
Many times I stared in that mirror with harshness. I was truly my own worst enemy, critical of everything about me. I seemed to remember every mistake I had made, and berated myself for all of them. I noticed every line, every wrinkle, every scar – and I felt ugly.
I could feel the anger growing – at myself, at those who had hurt me, at the world as a whole.
And I would walk away from that mirror feeling frustrated and sad, angry and rejected.

It takes time.

I intensely disliked that statement. ”It takes time”. I have always been a fairly patient person, but hearing that always sparked a response in my mind, ”Good grief! How much longer? What a farce!”

But it happened. Slowly, at first.
And it doesn’t just take time. It happened when my attitude began to change. And that in itself was extremely difficult!
I don’t even remember the beginning of the change.
All I remember is that I made a choice.

I had seen, and experienced first hand, the damage that bitterness does – not just to the individual, but to every person they ‘touch’. I also noticed how that bitterness spilled over into almost everything, and because it was not dealt with, it grew at an alarming rate. And it negatively affected all other emotions. I watched that individual for many years (it wasn’t me) and saw how the only emotions that seemed to ‘increase’ along with that bitterness that never stopped growing were dissatisfaction, anger, sadness, misery.

And some of those things ‘latched’ onto me. But I think I was in denial. Or perhaps I was so busy trying to survive my circumstances, that I didn’t give them the attention they deserved.

All I know is that about four years ago, I began my journey with personal growth. It was sparked by the thought, ”There has to be more to life than this”. And as I began to delve into parts of my mind that ‘just were’, I was horrified to discover that even though it wasn’t a permanent state of mind, I was definitely nurturing my own little garden of bitterness, and all the other things that came with it!

And I made a choice. Because I had seen first hand how destructive these things were, and I knew I didn’t want to ‘end up’ like that individual!

The journey has not been pleasant. I still have to find that path sometimes. And I share all this because I want you to know that THERE IS HOPE and it IS possible to break the cycle.

Most days now, I can look in the mirror and be gentle. But it took time for me to get here. And hard work. And a willingness to change my attitude.
I still see the scars and lines and wrinkles, but I also see the strength and courage… and the places that have creased my face from laughter 😉
I see the beauty of compassion.
I see love and kindness.
I see a woman worthy of both.
I see a woman who still makes mistakes, but now views them differently. Who now looks for the lesson.

I am growing. I hope I keep growing. Because it gets better and better.

Life has a lot to offer! If we let it. ❤

useless failure

I was reminded again, in the last couple of days, what a ‘useless failure’ I am. For far too many years, hearing this being spewed at me regularly, I not only believed it to be true, but I also found it extremely devastating every time it was said.

I know better now.

We all know about ‘unrealistic expectations’ that we not only set for ourselves, but sometimes hold others to. And we know how negative an impact they can have. Sometimes they are disguised as ‘my dream/wish/hope for you’… because sometimes those are just ‘pretty’ substitutes for ‘this is what I actually expect’.

Please don’t get me wrong : it is wonderful to have hopes and dreams for our children, our siblings, our friends. It can be quite empowering to share these with them – it can encourage and inspire things within them that they may have never even considered.

The danger comes in when we share that dream/hope/wish… and then turn it into an expectation in our minds.

I was supposed to get an Honours Degree.
I was supposed to marry a ‘professional’ (doctor, lawyer, accountant).
I was supposed to have two ‘perfect’ children.
I was supposed to be ‘successful’ by now. (Ah yes, but we may not measure success the same, right? 😉 )

All of the above started out as ‘hopes and wishes’ for me – for my future. But somewhere in the passing years, there has been a noticeable shift to : this was what was expected of you and you have failed dismally.

BUT I HAVEN’T! 🙂


For far too many years I have allowed my worth to be based on my inability to achieve the things that I was always told were what would make me successful.
It had me carrying around a burden of unworthiness that was not mine to carry.
It had other implications too.

Thank goodness for personal growth, and the willingness to learn and grow 😉

I may not have married well, I may not have obtained the ever important degree, and I definitely don’t have perfect children 😛

But it doesn’t make me less. And it doesn’t make YOU less if you’re in the same position. So here is my message to you all :

It doesn’t matter if you have not achieved all that others wanted for you. YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!
It also doesn’t matter if you have not achieved all that YOU wanted for you. YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!
There is still time. Circumstances may mean you need to ‘alter’ your dream… but you CAN still have a dream 😉
Every day is a new day, to keep growing, and keep going…

Because you ARE worth it! ❤

Can you change it?

I have never viewed myself as a control freak. In actual fact, my history with narcissism has meant that I have always been the one who has been controlled. And sadly that took me into adulthood, and created a form of ‘inability to make decisions on my own’. Which in itself was terribly destructive – some people will help you make choices that are beneficial to only them, and not you.

There were so many issues that were borne of my childhood, and resulting adulthood, that I certainly kept my therapist busy. 😛  But eventually, because I was willing, small steps became giant leaps and I grew into a ‘newer, better’ version of ME. I also worked really hard on accepting the responsibility of being in control OF ME, and ended up even having to take a course in decision making – something that comes so naturally in others, and yet something that I simply couldn’t grasp on my own. And I haven’t stopped growing, because life keeps teaching me and I am very willing to learn, even though it sometimes hurts.

I do know that there are many things that I cannot control – and I think that the past 80+ days have caused far more frustration than what they should have. As mentioned in a previous post, have continuously reminded myself that I can only control MY reactions and emotions to what is going on around me. But for some reason, I remain frustrated.

I was called on recently to ‘assist’ a couple who had decided to part ways. Except that I am friendly with them both, and so while I am always honest and will offer my opinions when asked, I don’t like to get involved at times like these. But they both asked. Under our current restrictions, I am still not able to ‘work’, or help others, as I would like to – I prefer personal interaction, one on one. But (once again, thanks to the beauty of world wide web inventions) I was able to do the next best thing. I did a video call with each of them, individually. The end result, sadly, is that they will not be getting back together. Because, they both agree, that the love is gone. Add to that a multitude of other things (including that they both want completely different things for their lives) and we all realised that it was never going to work.

But I was reminded of something of great importance to me personally.

THIS MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE TO YOU – this is all my personal experiences and journey, and perhaps food for thought for you.

I hopped on here, to write this blog post, and decided to pop in and check on a blogging friend. I was surprised to find the same sort of theme. And it made me want to share this even more.

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The words in this picture used to be me.

Up until about five years ago, I complained, a lot! Kid whining, instead of adult wining 😛 😉 

There were times where my complaints were valid though – like the time my entire town was without water for five whole days. By the third day, I was having to buy expensive bottled water, and use it to flush the toilet – and our municipalities and water workers were giving us no indication of how much longer things would be that way. Yes, my household adjusted – we took bucket showers, and used the basin spillage for the loos, wherever possible. I put buckets outside, just in case it rained. I didn’t let it devastate us completely – but I complained about the expense, and the lack of response from those who were in control. Something in me says though that I really shouldn’t have complained at all because it was out of my control and so complaining was futile.
But there ARE times where just being able to voice our complaint about certain circumstances bring a form of release.
And, sorry guys, I AM human, after all 😛

The problem came in where I complained about a lot of things that I ACTUALLY could have changed. Things I did have a semblance of control over. Now let me tell you, THAT is futile! 

I spent an entire year, at one stage, complaining about someone I had viewed as a close friend, and yet had not bothered to reach out to me – I complained about her neglect, and her lack of caring about how I was. I pretty much complained every time someone mentioned her name, or I saw something that reminded me of her. I was hurt and angry. And I made sure to voice it. But I never voiced it to her. I never told her how I felt. I DIDN’T REACH OUT! I just complained, and gleaned sympathy from others, which sort of became a driving force for more complaining.
Two years later, I actually sent her a message and organised a coffee date, and spent the first twenty minutes of that coffee date, apologising.

Because in my learning, and in my growing, it hit me that I hadn’t bothered to try and change things. I hadn’t bothered to reach out to her either. Complaints may have carried a small amount of weight and validity IF I had reached out more than once, and she had just blatantly ignored me. But I was so caught up in me, myself and I, that I had not once considered sending the first message.

I am no longer that way. I learned from the experience. I worked on ME and effected CHANGES IN ME, and so now I am different. 

It’s very easy to place blame on other peoples shoulders. It’s very easy to knit pick their actions. It’s very easy to see the weaknesses in others. It’s VERY DIFFICULT to do the same with ourselves. But oh so necessary if we want to grow into the next, and better, version of ourselves.

There will always be hope, so long as you are willing to try. And willing to see that perhaps there is something within you that needs work.

I was asked the other day, ”What’s with this being ‘the next best version of yourself?’ Aren’t you happy with who you are?”

I smiled.

I am happy with me. Sometimes, I may still do or say things that cause me to be a little bit disappointed in me, but I have the tools to effect change, and I work through those moments, and do better.
What I have discovered for me PERSONALLY, on MY journey that I am on?
Every little bit of growth and new realisation in an area of personal development? It unlocks something new in me. Each one seems to unlock a new gift/reward. It not only benefits me as a person, but takes me to a new level, and opens up a new window for me. I used to just stare at the closed door – I personally wasted far too much time doing that. The open windows are bringing freshness and newness and light.
So yes, I am happy with me.
But there is so much more potential to unlock. And who doesn’t like a gift/reward? 

Touching on Success

success

As with many things in life, success has different meanings in different situations.
By it’s definition, it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

And although I know that I know this, sometimes I still forget some of the aspects related to the word ‘success’.

I was reading Ed Mylett’s book, and he was talking about when he first started out – the early days of his entrepreneurship. When he wasn’t a successful entrepreneur.

He speaks of how they had nothing. Bills hadn’t been paid, utilities had been shut off. He and his wife had to sneak down to the apartment complex’s swimming pool before others woke up to use the showers there, and then he’d don his business suit and ‘pretend’ to be a successful entrepreneur. He mentions that the showers were open ones, and so he would hold a towel for his wife to try and ‘protect her privacy’.

What struck me, as I read those words, was this :

Yes, he wasn’t yet a successful entrepreneur, BUT in my eyes (based on the story he told) he was pretty successful as a husband.

I don’t read Success magazine, but I liked what I found in Wikipedia…

~~According to the company, the magazine “focuses on people who take full responsibility for their own development and income,” and provides personal and professional development.~~ 

Because here’s the thing : we are fully responsible for our own personal and professional development, and the success thereof. While circumstances may play a part in delaying our ‘success’, I think that a lot of the time the fact that we just continue to persevere is successful in itself!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a friend who was being poached by another company – according to her she was really happy in her current placement, but the other company was offering her a much better salary package. She asked me what she should do. I told her to speak to her boss, and see if he could perhaps counteroffer. Naturally, she was worried that the other company would still be offering her more – and what then? My reply was ‘to determine what it was she was chasing – if she’s happy where she is, and that is what she wants from life, then she should stay. If her aim was to make more money, then she should change jobs’.
I don’t know that this was the best advice (since then, her current company came in with a better offer and she is staying where she is) but I do know this :

Success is largely about perspective, and it’s personal. What it means to me may not necessarily be what it means to you. 
I found this article about 9 famous people who spoke of what success is – to them. There were some interesting things in there, so I thought I’d share it in case you wanted to do some further reading 😉

aim

Photo credit : quotefancy.com

I love the quote above. It’s something I often refer to, and is a reminder for me to ‘think big’.

But I find that I have to regularly argue with myself. (An article for reference because I am not crazy 😛 )

And I know I am not alone when I say that I am ‘my own worst enemy’ and that the main thing ‘standing in my way is ME’!

I have to argue with myself because I have not yet conquered all those limiting beliefs, and one of the biggest ones that I struggle with is the one that tells me I will never be successful.

do think it is all about perspective though – and it’s personal. Because what I want to be successful at? I think I am slowly but surely achieving. I doubt it’s going to make me famous though 😛

My definition of success is just that – it’s mine. It’s looking at my aims and purposes (goals) and celebrating when I achieve them.

I like to dance… so I think I am going to go with an optimistic view on this :

optimist-someone-who-figures-that-taking-a-step-backward-after-29160354

Photo credit : me.me

For now I will just keep doing my best, work on believing in myself, continue learning and growing so that I can be a better version of me, and keep checking my list of what I want to achieve.

And I will celebrate each small success (my perception of it) along the way!

Feel free to reward yourself now, since you have successfully completed reading this blog post 😉

 

Using My Time

All-we-have-to-decide-is-what-to-do-with-the-time-that-is-given-us

 

Last week, I was invited to meet with someone regarding a project they were considering. They wanted me in on it, which made me feel really honoured, and a little afraid, at the same time. It wouldn’t provide any income for me – but there was a possibility of a small percentage after a year, if the project was a success and actually generated income. In the meeting, their enthusiasm and excitement was contagious. Despite me feeling all fired up though, I knew that I needed ‘time to think about it’. We’re meeting again next week.
But I’m going to have to decline.

I’ve always been quite hard on myself with regards to maintaining a ‘work life balance’. I’ve read the articles and jotted down tips regarding this, and even tried to force myself to comply with ‘rules’ set to ‘ensure work life balance’. And I still seem to fail. 
At one stage, about four years ago, I even kept a ‘time journal’ for a month.
I still failed. 
Most days, I was leaning either one way or the other. Most days, I either seemed to favour ‘doing life’, or ‘working’. And I don’t just mean a 60/40 split. I’m talking 80/20 and 90/10. And it made me feel like such a failure. I’d not only beat myself up for having ‘poor time management skills’, but I’d carry the burden of ‘not being able to achieve something that is so simple’. I had all the printouts, and worksheets, and calendars – the ‘tools for time management’, and I still sucked.

So when the new project came along last week, the first thing that jumped to my mind was, ‘You already don’t have enough hours in a day. Say no.’
But instead, my mouth said, ‘Can I have a couple of weeks to just mull it over, please?’

And it’s been a brain battle ever since. I’ve run through every scenario regarding my current commitments in my head for if I take it on – what I would need to restructure, organise, sacrifice. Up until this morning, I didn’t know that I was indeed going to say no.

This morning, we had no power again for three hours. I did the chores and things that I could do without needing electricity, and then settled in my chair with my new Rachel Hollis book. I picked up where I left off two days ago, and began reading. I turned the page, and actually said out loud, ‘You’re kidding me’!

The ‘excuse’ section that I was graduating to? It was entitled, “I don’t have time.”

Then I just chuckled to myself for a few minutes, before I continued reading.
And she posed some interesting concepts. And an example, that was a bit extreme, but drove home the point. (Her example named a famous man.) But basically, if a famous actor/actress who you really admire and have been dreaming of meeting invites you for coffee, you’re going to write it in pen in your diary. And you’ll adjust your schedule accordingly. And if someone calls who ‘needs’ you at that particular time, you’re going to say no to them. It’s that important.

She mentions that the question is never, ‘do you have enough time’? The question is actually, ‘how are you using the time that you have’? 

A little later on, she addresses the thing I always hold over my own head : work life balance. (Although it’s under a different heading in the book, for me it still qualifies as part of my time concerns.)

Here’s where it’s going to ‘get a bit dicey’ – not everyone is going to agree. I’m not even sure if I agree with her fully. But to alter my perspective a little bit (and the limiting belief I have that there should be a perfect work life balance or you are failing) and try and hear what she is saying actually benefited me somewhat. 

She puts it out there that Work Life Balance is a myth. Yes! She said that! She substantiates why she thinks it too – her own personal experiences.
And I like when people share honest accounts of their own battles.

And she pretty much mentioned me! And I don’t even know her personally 😛

How we tend to look around and think that everyone else is achieving this work life balance thing and we’re the only ones who aren’t, and so we assume that it’s yet another thing that we’re failing at.

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Photo credit : vecteezy.com

And then off I went back to the ‘I don’t have time’ section, and started reading again from there. And I stopped again at the end of the work life balance mention.
Then I pulled out both my notebook, and my diary, and got to work in my head and on paper.

I am currently working on a project of my own – and it’s quite a large one. It has required huge effort on my part, and a lot of schedule adjustments, to carve out the time I need to put into it in order to achieve the goal I have for it.
And to be honest, it is my ‘coffee with my favourite actor’ – because none of them have asked yet 😛  I am only prepared to negotiate the time I spend on it if my children have ‘an emergency type need’.

The only other time I could give to this proposed new shared project, without neglecting essential life things, would be my own personal development time. (I know, I know – it’s funny. You can laugh. I actually do allocate myself a certain amount of that type of time. But I have to – or I’d never get to read great books like Rachel Hollis’. 😉 )

If I was to sacrifice some of that personal development time (which already sometimes has to be adjusted because life really does happen while we’re making other plans 😛 )…. IF I took some of that time away to focus on the new project, then unfortunately it would be detrimental to me personally.

Because what is keeping me grounded and at peace, and helping me find stability despite turmoil around me? What is helping me grow and become better and giving me the inspiration to DO better? It’s that personal development time. 

It works for me 😉

And in case you’re wondering… the new Rachel Hollis book that I got is : Girl, Stop Apologizing

Thanks for taking ‘the time’ to read 😉

Know yourself – the never ending journey

Just to recap :
You’re worthy of love – especially your own.

blog

Photo credit : ronaibrummet.com

It’s their opinion. Possibly based on their own limiting beliefs. Possibly based on something you did – but they don’t know your why. 

At the end of the day, try not to make it your own opinion of yourself. Please try and allow yourself some grace – we all make mistakes. It’s what we do after we have made them that counts. Be kind TO YOU!

You can still love you.

And :
Slow progress is still progress!

Please try to not feel discouraged if your pace is slower than those around you.

its-slow-progress-but-quitting-wont-make-it-any-faster-inspirational-quote

And as Tony Robbins has been heard to say :

You’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying!

And today I am going to throw a third thing in the mix :

Get to know YOU!

I went to buy dog food and was chatting with the lady who runs the shop. I asked after her daughter and she was catching me up with regards to her, when she said to me, 
“You know, I am still struggling with that whole irrational fears thing. I even went and bought a book that someone recommended and said would definitely help me. But it hasn’t made any difference.”
I asked her if she likes reading. Her response was that she doesn’t like it at all, never reads – not even magazines. Can’t seem to focus for long enough and gets irritated.
Then I asked her if she likes movies and series and well, pretty much, watching stuff?
The reply was a huge yes! So I suggested to her that she search on YouTube for that author (because I know she has a channel, and have actually watched some of her videos) and find videos that relate to the book and watch those instead.
I have no idea if my suggestion was of any help. But I think you understand why I shared her story.

Aristotle said that to know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. 

For me personally, this means that I need to pay attention to me – develop my skills of understanding ME! And what works for me NOW!

And it means acknowledging something that is just as important as loving myself and accepting that I may take more time than others : what works for other people just might not work for me. 

We need to be careful with that statement though – and that’s why knowing ourselves is so important. I am not the same person I was last year, last month, even last week. I am growing and changing – and with this comes an adjustment in my thinking, so to speak. What I mean is that there’s been a shift in what works for me as well. 

I’ll leave you with one last story, which is a little silly, but I am hoping it will help make my point :

When my children were younger, and pushing every button they could find on their ‘mommy machine’, I used to count to about 30…. and then give up. Because it didn’t work for me. I got irritated easily, didn’t manage stress as well as I should have, and had such low self-worth that it marred most aspects of my life. ”Count to Ten” was an attainable ‘dream way’ of coping.

I’ve worked hard on myself and over the years have developed really good stress management skills, am actually surprisingly patient, and have built up a mostly healthy self esteem. I’ve managed to supersede what I thought was unattainable. My kids are a lot older, but somehow they test me, (and boundaries) and push buttons, a lot more now! 
These days though, in probably 95% of the situations, I only need to count to 5! Suddenly it works for me!

Because I’m different now!

So if you haven’t tried something in a while, but you know you’ve grown, maybe try it again?

But please be kind to you. Other people’s stories and what works for them are just examples to perhaps give you some guidance. You are NOT them. Keep searching for what works for you, and don’t give up!

And remember,

As we grow, there are always new things to discover about ourselves. 😉