What do you say to yourself?

My car has gone in this morning to my local mechanic for some rather major repairs that simply had to be done. I am told that when I get it back, it will be like driving a new car. I sure hope so! I also really hope I will get it back today as I am on Mom’s Taxi duty this evening, having made arrangements for all the taxi duties for the day.
The lady who runs his office for him is in her early fifties, and is one of those really attractive ladies who always looks ‘well put together’. I find it quite daunting being in her presence ๐Ÿ˜› But she’s a really great gal, and whenever I find myself there we always end up having lengthy conversations.

Last week I learned that she got divorced two years ago. So of course our lengthy conversation this time was pretty much based on ‘being single in our town’, and how important it is to have girl friends to hang out with, especially ones you can trust to ‘have your back’ if you do decide to venture out. She told me that she has a great lady to do stuff with, and that they’re always looking to add to their ‘girl’s group’. That they usually get together one night on the weekend just to alleviate any loneliness they may be experiencing, and have some good fun. She promised to let me know the next time they did anything, so that I could join them. And she messaged me the next day with an invite to a local craft brewery pub called Table 58, where they would be dining the following evening. Unfortunately, I had to decline as I had already committed to plans with my daughter.

This morning Leigh (the lady who works for the mechanic) was quite insistent that I need to join them tomorrow evening. They are having a braai at her friend’s house, with two other couples. She claimed that it would be rude of me to let her down two invites in a row ๐Ÿ˜›

Now if you don’t know what a braai is… it’s very similar to an American barbeque. Itโ€™s the same sort of concept where we grill/cook meat over an open fire. Most of these fires are wood-burning, and so if you visit here and someone asks you to come over and โ€˜burn woodโ€™ it may have two meanings: it could mean to either just sit and watch the flames and drink beer or brandy; but most times it means theyโ€™re inviting you to a braai, and you need to bring the meat you want to eat to be cooked on the fire for you. In 2016 I wrote a post mentioning some amusing and ‘odd’ things in my country, with the above braai explanation, and if you’re interested then you can read it here.

My response to her invite was, ”Maybe. I’ll see.” Which opened me up to some prodding from her side, and me inevitably blurting out, ”But I don’t know anyone else, and I will just be so awkward”. And she stared at me in amazement. The rest of the conversation pretty much centered around the following :

I am not a person who has an issue with doing things alone – going to the movies, going out to eat, going for coffee etc. I can stand up on stage and perform in front of an audience; I can address a large group of people without anxiety. Many of my friends say to me, ”I wish I could be as confident as you are.”
But when it comes to more intimate settings? That dreaded self doubt looms its ugly head and I struggle – as in, just thinking about it, makes my palms sweaty and anxiety creeps in.

And I laugh at myself. Every time.

We truly are our own worst enemies, and I know I am not alone when it comes to being critical of myself. I have learned over the last year (because I became curious about my silly reactions to the ‘more personal’ settings) that it has to do with self-compassion. Yes, that really is a thing. And the more I have learned about it, the more I realise that it certainly is a ‘failure’ of mine.
I have a more than generous portion of compassion, acceptance and patience…. with other people! Too often, I forget to apply these things TO MYSELF!
And I know I am not alone.

The strangest of all (or perhaps it’s a part of the application process) is that I still feel like a worthy soul, and I do not doubt that I am loved. Even with the self doubt saying things like, ”You won’t fit in; you don’t dress as well as they do; your make-up is shoddily applied in comparison; their figures are even better than yours and they’re older than you!”
At the same time as all those horribly negative thoughts were bouncing around my head, it didn’t make me feel like I had no value. So perhaps it’s not such a failure, right?

My neighbour came to fetch me, and we spoke about the invitation on the way home, and in the driveway when we got here. He listened, with a smile on his face, and in his 63-year-old wisdom said this to me, ”If you go to the braai, dressed like them and made up like them, would you be comfortable?”
Nope. I would not.
He then said this : ”You would feel just as awkward, and like you didn’t fit, because that isn’t you. Who you are, and the way you are, is what makes you beautiful. And you are a stunning woman! So you’re not ‘supermodel material’? If I was younger, I would still date you. Because you are not like them!”

He reminded me, yet again, that I am uniquely me – and I may not be to everyone’s taste in many ways, AND THAT IS OKAY!
People! Women and men! Be originally and unapologetically yourself! The only person you need to be better than is the person YOU were yesterday! An original is worth far more than a copy!
And each and every one of you has worth!

I will go to this braai tomorrow, in my jeans and sneakers. I will wear my smile (because it looks great on me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and my ‘slapped on make-up’ and just be myself. Because no one is better at being me than me. And I AM a beautiful me ๐Ÿ˜‰

What’s your superpower?

I’m sure we all have many ๐Ÿ˜‰ except they wouldn’t get us into any comic books ๐Ÿ˜›

I read this little story again this morning, and wanted to share it with you :

”A well-respected speaker began a seminar by showing an audience of 150 people a crisp $20 bill. He asked, โ€œWho wants this $20 bill?โ€

All 150 people nodded.

He said, โ€œI am going to give this money to someone, but firstโ€ฆ.โ€ Then he proceeded to crumple the bill up.

He asked the crowd again if anyone wanted it.

All 150 hands went up in the air.

The speaker then dropped the money on the floor and stomped all over it.

He then raised it in the air to show the crowd. The money was filthy.

โ€œDoes anyone want it now?โ€

Every hand went up.

The speaker proceeded to tell the crowd that no matter what he did to ruin the money, people still wanted it because its value remained the same. It was still worth $20.

The moral of the story?

Life often beats us up to the point where we feel inadequate. We deal with bad circumstances and make bad choices that we have to deal with later. However, no matter what you go through,ย your value will remain the same. You have something special to offer that no one can take away from you.

Here’s hoping that you all remember, no matter what, you STILL HAVE VALUE! You are still worthy! You are incredible! And….

So keep trying to be the best version of you that you can be ๐Ÿ˜‰

my 4 ways to manage my stress

The stress management list is endless. And I find it to be yet another one of those lists with copious access to tools and ways, but they don’t all work – well, not for me, anyway.
The ones that help me may not necessarily help you. Why? Once again, it’s that necessity to acknowledge that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

The 4 ways I am going to list here are things that work FOR ME. You’ve probably heard them before, but here’s a refresher anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰
And if you’ve never tried them, then it might be worth doing so ๐Ÿ˜‰
It works the same as it does with my kids ๐Ÿ˜› I always say : ”Don’t tell me you can’t do it, or don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

You know the saying, ”Dance like no one is watching”? Well, I take it one step further, and I also laugh like everyone is watching me dance ๐Ÿ˜›
I’m not a great dancer. The last time I did ‘official dancing’ was when I went into high school, and I was still taking ballet lessons. I am still sort of able to co-ordinate though, and so if you teach me a dance, I can usually manage it. But there are just some moves my body can’t do. I’ve had to accept that… which is frustrating for my dancing daughter who finds it all ‘so easy’. I think she sometimes forgets I am not 16 anymore ๐Ÿ˜›
But even as I am getting older, I have found that in moments of severe stress, if a lively dance number (yes, ‘the kids of today’ have awful taste in lyrics, but there’s normally a great beat ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) busting a move (without busting my back ๐Ÿ˜› ) usually reduces that stress almost instantly ๐Ÿ˜‰
The problem doesn’t go away, but after a couple of songs, I am definitely in a happier place and better able to tackle it.

Fresh air and sunshine can be tough when you don’t see the sun all that much. And I guess that with all the pollution in the air these days, ‘fresh’ air is a little less likely. But I think you know what I mean.
Here’s what I have found : when I am feeling severely stressed, sometimes ‘stepping away’, even just for a few minutes, can be very beneficial. Except that for me, I need to be aware of ‘where’ I am stepping to. Closing myself in my bedroom with the curtains drawn just brings on more negative emotions, and pretty much only serves to increase my stress levels.
So while some of us may like the idea of a good old door slam (I have a teenage daughter – just a tip real quick : she hasn’t slammed the door since the time I told her ‘next time you do that I am taking it off its hinges and you won’t have a bedroom door’- and showed her the screwdriver I have to prove that I could ๐Ÿ˜› ) closing ourselves off completely, without sufficient air and light, can cause more problems than our initial intention of reducing our stress.

A few years ago, I watched an incredible short video, to motivate students in order to be able to ‘have the best for their future’. It was really fantastic, and there were plenty things in there that I found beneficial. But there was one part that had me shaking my head. He advocated for pulling all-nighters, claiming that ‘if you want it bad enough, you will sacrifice sleep for it’. My reply, in my head, was this : what’s the point of getting it if you won’t be able to enjoy it, or it ends up making you physically ill? Because THAT’S ME!
Extensive medical research shows that as adults, we should be getting 7 – 9 hours sleep a night. I wish this was possible, every night. Realistically, it isn’t. However….
Something I AM VERY disciplined on is my bedtime (much to most people’s horror ๐Ÿ˜› ) … and ensuring that I get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
I know myself, and I do not respond well to ‘lack of sleep’. Not. At. All.
But I also know many people, personally, who manage to function quite successfully on just 4 hours a night.
We need to make sure that we get enough sleep – the amount that is right for US – and make a conscious effort to make it happen! Because being well-rested definitely helps when stress comes along.
As does having moments when we unplug! Achieving the ‘unplugging for a day’ thing is really difficult in today’s world. But it also depends on your definition of ‘unplugging’. For me? It means this :
Not ignoring messages, but responding with something like, ”Can we talk tomorrow, please? I just really need today to focus on some other things. I’m fine, promise! I’ll message you in the morning.”
Staying off social media – and if there is something I really need to look up, then that is all I will go and do. Even though there is a lot of inspirational and motivational encouragement that awaits me there, it is too easy to get caught up in all the ‘other stuff’, and so I choose to just try and avoid it completely.
Choosing what I do with my time on that day – there are some commitments and responsibilities that cannot be adjusted, and so I have to fulfill those obligations. But for the rest of the time? Do my soul and mind need extra attention? Then I’ll read something to feed them good things, and help them grow. Am I feeling like I am on a soul/mind overload? Well then, mindless whatever on Netflix will do.
Getting enough sleep and unplugging are both doable – you just need to find what works for you, and the ways to make it happen.

What makes you amazing? When stress rears its ugly head, I find that one of the first things I feel is ‘out of control’. This could be because it usually happens when I actually am – when something has happened, and I have no control over it. When I am in a situation where I want to be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem, but in order for that to happen, the other person (or the situation) needs to take part and be involved in some way (or change).
And one of my stress responses is to ‘feel failure‘, and pretty much ‘run myself down’- begin to feel inadequate and unworthy and incapable.
It really helps me to ‘take a moment’. (And if there is a mirror nearby, I use it. And my kids will be heard saying, ”Mom’s talking to herself again”! ๐Ÿ˜› )
Many times, I am NOT feeling it. But I do it, and say it, anyway. Three things. Just three things about me that are ‘good’. Not necessarily applicable to the situation – but three positive qualities, nevertheless.
To be honest, some days it’s so difficult that by the time I have named them, the stressful situation has actually been forgotten ๐Ÿ˜›
Again, this little thing that I do doesn’t change the situation – whatever is ‘stressing me out’ doesn’t magically disappear. But it does serve to remind me that I still have worth – I still have strength and positive attributes – yes, this will slow me down, but I’m still okay. I have to say that this one is my absolute favourite – it has benefitted me the last few years in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.
I’ll say it again – I don’t always FEEL it when I say it. And it is VERY far from easy, especially when I am stressed. But the more I have been doing it, and saying it, the more I am reaping the benefits of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are other techniques I have discovered over the years that also help me. But these are by far my top four. So, in short :

And just for fun, I’ll share a little statement I saw on Facebook recently, which made me laugh out loud.

”Don’t forget to drink water and get sun. You’re basically a house plant, with complicated emotions.” ๐Ÿ˜›

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 stressโ€ฆ 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰
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 badโ€ฆ 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 badโ€ฆ 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’ ๐Ÿ˜‰
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 inadequateโ€ฆ. 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

โ€ข Make an effort to learn something new every day – even if it is something small
โ€ข Get out of your comfort zone – try taking on a new challenge in the ‘great unknown’.
โ€ข Boost your positive endorphins by getting some exercise!
โ€ข 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 โค
I’m off to spend some time on the new course I signed up for ๐Ÿ˜‰

Worth… again

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I just can’t stress this enough!

The last 24 hours have made me even more aware of this – not in my own personal life, but as I have interacted with others.

You may say, ”But you don’t understand.”

Hear me when I say this : I DO! If I shared some of the words that had been spoken over me, you would be horrified – and in total agreement if I told you that I felt unworthy.
Thereย is validation in your feeling that way if it comes from an abusive past….

There isย not validation in staying in that place though.

It’s not an easy road. Going back, identifying and dealing with that false belief system, and breaking through into a changed perspective on the essence of you is HARD!ย 

But it is worth it. Because no matter your circumstances, or what you have been told, YOU are worth it!

I shared a post back in February, which I feel strongly in my heart needs to be revisited by us all, especially in these troubling times, where we’re all feeling rather lost in one way or another. There is a lot right now that we cannot control, and unfortunately there are a lot of circumstances that are making us question our value as individuals (like the man who has lost his job because of Covid, and now cannot provide for his family – does this make him unworthy? NO! But it can make him feel that way!).

I also want to throw something in here real quick as well….

Your worth is not based on the opinions of others. But it’s also not based on the actions of others. Before we work on relationships ‘out there’, we need to work on the most important relationship that we have – the one we have with ourselves.

I spoke with someone yesterday who told me, ”It’s just another failed relationship. I guess I am not worthy of love.”
When I told them they were still loved, they referred back to the ‘romantic relationship’.
So then I asked, ”How do you see yourself from the perspective of being a friend? Are you a good friend?”
The answer was, ”I think so. My friends know they can rely on me, and that I have their backs – and they have mine.”
So I asked, ”Is that not love?”
”Yeah, I guess. But if you can’t have a partner to share your life with, then you’re pretty worthless when it comes to loving, aren’t you?”

The conversation continued, but I want to leave you with this :

Your worth is not based on what other people say and do.
Your worth is not based on whether or not you’re single, or a good partner in a romantic relationship.
Your worth is not based on how much, or how little you have.
Your worth is not based on the circumstances you are facing – not now, not in the future, and certainly not from your past.

YOU ARE WORTHY – so worthy, in fact, that you deserve to embrace every opportunity that you have to learn and grow and accept it! (And we have many opportunities, especially with the internet and the resources out there – we just sometimes avoid it because it seems easierย not to address the issues.)

And I’ll say it again : it’s hard! It’s painful. You may still have moments where you find yourself questioning your worth – I know I do – but for me personally I have found it to be a good thing, because it makes me stop, and really think… and I remember… I HAVE got worth, despite ‘whatever’.

As per the post I referred to above : Jump that fence! You’re worth it! โค

Because We Are Wrong โ€” The Chatter Blog โ€” Peter’s pondering

I logged onto WordPress this morning, feeling a bit out of sorts.

Our strict lock down seems to be getting to me. It’s a little strange that it would affect me like it is, because I am quite the homebody on any given day.
Who knew that the trips in the car for school and extra curricular activities for my daughter, and the odd popping in at the shops I frequent for our needs, were actually so meaningful to my everyday life.

(In case you missed it previously, our lock down is a lot stricter than any other country. Not only have our purchases been limited – so you can’t even buy puzzles, or wool, or DIY things to keep you busy etc. but you’re also not allowed to go for a walk. This includes not being able to take your dog for a walk. I’m not even allowed to walk ten metres out of my house within our gated community. Even if you promise to keep the required social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading. Of course, not all are obeying these rules – some get caught, and are issued with hefty fines. Others? They just seem to get away with it, and the virus is still spreading despite the strict rules, and those of us who are adhering and pretty much finding ourselves under house arrest.)

And so me feeling out of sorts is understandable, I suppose. And I stumbled upon the post I have shared.

My life has been a continuous battle of undoing – undoing the words of the past. The journey has often been difficult, and my self worth has always been the most difficult part to conquer for more than a few hours at a time.
I think the frustration of the way things currently are has led to a little too much self reflection of the negative kind – doubt, fear, inadequacy.

I’ve started taking things personally. Like maybe I talk too much? Maybe I just AM too much. And yet some might argue that I don’t talk enough.
I’m feeling guilty for not being the type of person others may need or want me to be, instead of relishing in my uniqueness and the beauty of my soul – as damaged and vulnerable as it may be. I’m feeling inadequate and unworthy.

My teen daughter and adult son are growing increasingly annoyed with each other, and frustrated with the constraints put on them too. I’ve tried to be the voice of reason, and I’ve tried to be fair, with them both. I’m doing my best to ‘mother’ – being sensitive to their plights, and loving towards them, but still maintaining a disciplinary tone when it comes to situations that need it. I’m used to them pushing boundaries – who doesn’t? But this time, things just feel different.

Lock down is making me feel locked out.ย 

All very depressing, I know. But it’s the truth of the time and place I find myself in right now.

And then I read the blog post below. I don’t think it was a coincidence that it happened to appear first on my reader.
I have become a lot better over the past few years at accepting good things about myself – at acknowledging that I have worth, and that I am good enough. Being prone to thinking otherwise has lessened. It’s been a terrible struggle to reach the point of acceptance and to be able to acknowledge my self worth in a good way.

The last couple of days have been ‘bad days’.

And as I read the blog post below I was reminded of this :

It’s okay for me to have off days. It’s okay for me to have doubts and fears. The circumstances are seriously tough and if it wasn’t affecting me at all, then I may have started wondering about myself even more!
I’m not complaining about having time – time is something that I have had little of, and I am relishing the abundance of it that I now have.

But it’s okay to be feeling overwhelmed and a little sad.
While gratitude plays a big part in a happier attitude, and I have been careful to continuously remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for (as well as throwing in reminders for my children) … under these circumstances I am allowed to see the sadness and frustration too. Because if I lie, or choose not to acknowledge it’s existence, then how on earth will I go about dealing with it, and changing it.

BUT… I need to remind myself that dwelling on those negatives and allowing them to have such control over my peace of mind and well being is wrong. That I can stop this argument in my head, and the culmination of negative emotions that are threatening to steal my joy.

That I can still allow myself to accept myself.

And that I need to hold on to my belief that ‘this too shall pass’.

Taking it one hour at a time, one day at a time. Still smiling… and feeling determined about the better things that are yet to come. Reminding myself that just because Iย feel bad, doesn’t mean it IS bad. That there is always hope – and yes, I am still a prisoner of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m searching for ways to see me through this. I haven’t found them yet.. but I am searching… and slowly but surely, something will drag me from this funk ๐Ÿ˜‰ . But I DO know that I have been through some really tough stuff in my life… and I WILL get through this!

 

Some wise words from Colleen. Pop over to her blog to find many more! ยฉ via Because We Are Wrong โ€” The Chatterย Blog

via Because We Are Wrong โ€” The Chatter Blog โ€” Peter’s pondering

Touching on Success

success

As with many things in life, success has different meanings in different situations.
By it’s definition, it isย 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 hadย 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.~~ย 

Because here’s the thing :ย 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.ย 
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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜› )

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.

Iย 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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Simple isn’t always simple

At least once a week I either cut my finger, or burn myself while cooking – I never burn badly, but definitely enough to get a blister. I’ve decided it goes with my ‘unprofessional chef’ territory, so there is a box of Band Aids that lives in the kitchen and there’s always ice in the freezer. On Sunday I had myself questioning why I even cook! ๐Ÿ˜›

I burnt my right index fingerย and cut a slice into my left thumb. I dished up dinner with a Band Aid on one finger, and ice held against the other.

On Monday morning, the Band Aid came off in the shower, as they sometimes do. I chose not to replace it because it seemed okay. I didn’t inspect it closely enough though and it wasn’t actually ‘healed over’. I caught it on something at around lunchtime, and it opened up again to being as bad as it was, and bled profusely. I grabbed another Band Aid, and I’ve been wearing one ever since – which is ridiculous because this morning I could see it had closed over…. I’m just not taking any chances. ๐Ÿ˜›

If I had given it enough time to heal though, it wouldn’t have been a problem.

The thing is, the healing process is dependent on other things – how deep the cut actually is, and how well your body does with healing itself. So I don’t always know how much time to give it.

And I think we’re kind of the same way emotionally. Our healing is sometimes dependent on how deep the hurt has gone and what the circumstances that followed were; and how well we do with dealing with things.

I know a girl who had an eerily similar childhood to mine – eerily so because she even made some of the same mistakes/choices that I did in my teens, and for the very same reasons I had. Her circumstances changed when she was 18 though –ย  she met the most amazing man who was the complete opposite to the limiting beliefs she had had imposed on her. And she embraced him. He encouraged her, inspired her, and loved her unconditionally. And it had a very positive result. The greatest achievement was inside her – she was confident, and loved herself, and no longer let the lies from her past define any part of her.
By the time she reached 40, she was the boss of her own company and was raising three beautiful children, still happily married, still confident and loving herself. She’s gained weight, and her face has aged quite a lot – and she honestly isn’t even worried.

Things weren’t the same way for me. I met, and stuck with, what I knew. And years of abuse followed. It’s no surprise that that led to even lower self esteem and I lacked self love to a terrifyingly staggering degree. (Which of course, in itself, paved the way for bad decisions and more mistakes.)

It’s only in the last few weeks that I can honestly say to you… Guess what? I love me! I AM worthy! I don’t just have the words to encourage others to believe it for themselves because I can believe it for me! I have the words FOR ME!ย 

About a year ago, someone who knows both the girl I mentioned above, and me, was overheard saying,
”Well, her childhood was pretty similar, but compared to Meg she’s a walking version of success. Guess Meg can’t be bothered to conquer her demons.”
I was devastated. It stopped me dead in my emotional tracks. I pretty much stopped trying. I let myself be defeated.ย 

So the point of me painting the picture above is this :

First of all – please don’t believe any comparisons. You can’t compare people because we’re all different – and we come out of different circumstances and come from different places. And try not to compare yourself either. Just because Peter or Mary got over it quickly doesn’t mean you’re supposed to. They are not you. They don’t feel like you do. They don’t experience things like you do. They can’t compare to you because they are not you!

Secondly, please stop putting pressure on yourself to achieve someone else’s timeline.
Yes, we need to have goals and dreams and aspirations. We have to have something to work towards. But again, we are all different. We work at different paces. Just because you stuck with the plan that someone else laid out, and they succeeded and you didn’t, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Maybe you just need a little more time than what they did?
It works the same with our emotions. Some of us ‘get over’ things more quickly – and there are those of us who have to deal with the root before we can successfully pull the weed… and that takes time. ‘Simple’ problems are not always simple.
Please try and love yourself enough to give yourself grace – you’re not a failure, you just need some more time.

And remember that it takes time to recover and rebuild… so if it doesn’t happen in a specific time frame that you have in mind or have as an example from someone else, please don’t give up. Keep at it!

Slow progress isย stillย progress.

And you’re still way ahead of people who aren’t even trying ๐Ÿ˜‰

Can you name yourself?

self love

I shared the above picture on my Facebook wall yesterday. And my heart broke.

People I truly care about and love responded with a sad ‘like’ emoji. Four of them actually commented… and basically? Their reply was, ‘never’.

For those who responded, I did what I do best, and popped off messages of encouragement to remind them that they have worth.

But guys and girls, isn’t this such a tragic epidemic? Because so many of us can identify with it. If you had asked me six months ago, I am pretty sure my response would have been ‘never’ too.

You know something? I love my kids. I really do. It helps that I have kinda great ones ๐Ÿ˜› Thing is, that sometimes they don’t act or treat me in a way that they should – they ‘act out’ or make silly choices – and I get a little mad at them. But in every disciplinary action that I take, every word that I speak, I am alwaysย really clear :

”I love you no matter what. But what you just did/said, is not very like-able. So although I love you despite it, I really don’t like it.”

Why do we struggle so much to apply that to our lives?

I didn’t get that kind of unconditional love from my own mother. No! Please don’t feel sorry for me. And please understand that I don’t mean it as a disrespectful thing for her – because when I started accepting that she loved me the wayย she knew how, based on her belief systems and from her place of pain and bitterness, it made me see things a little differently. And it’s partly because of my experiences with her that I have been able to grow, and be a different kind of mother for my children. Moving on from that though, I want to say this :

(There’s a much better, and probably well-researched, way to get this message across. And there are more blog posts to grow from it. But sadly, I am pressed for time. So you’re just gonna have to get what’s in my heart for now.)

It doesn’t matter what mistakes you have made in your life. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter if you made bad choices.ย 

It doesn’t matter who DIDN’T love you. It doesn’t matter what people have said about you.ย 

And I know it’s hard to break cycles of abuse, and switch off those repetitive voices that tell you that you’re a failure, worthless, unattractive.

The toughest is when you ‘make another mistake’, or just made your third bad choice this week and it’s only Tuesday! But guess what? That actually doesn’t matter either.

Here’s the thing : when our friends come to us, broken by the things listed above, we usually say something like, ‘My friend, don’t be so hard on yourself, cut yourself some slack, all is not lost, tomorrow is a new day’….

But we keep forgetting to apply it to ourselves.

So to everyone who is taking the time to read this :

PLEASE cut yourself some slack. Yes, maybe you need to make positive changes. Yes, maybe you’re making the same mistakes. Yes, maybe your choices need some guidance.

BUT…. those are just things that we need to ‘not like’, and work on.

They do not define you. YOU CAN STILL LOVE YOU!

Because you ARE worth it!

 

 

What are the odds that you’re awesome?

I don’t listen to podcasts – well not really, anyway. And it’s not just a personal thing.

My children love apples – but only the Granny Smith kind, and so there’s always a few on the kitchen counter. When they complain that there’s ‘nothing to eat in this house’ (usually in reference to nothing that they consider worth eating – no sugary substances or other such junk food – and Iย know you have this problem too), I am able to point at the apple supply with satisfaction and a murmur of, ‘see? you won’t starve’!

But those are the only ‘apples’ in our house.

I don’t know the exact year, but after asking a few friends, and based on my own knowledge, I think Apple only really became popular in South Africa about 6 years ago. And over here, if you have an iPhone, you’re pretty much top-notch.

As I mentioned above, I am only top-notch with my endless supply of Granny Smith Apples. ๐Ÿ˜›

I discovered midway through last year, due to a friend sharing a link to a ‘must hear’ podcast with me, that my computer can actually access these, despite it not being Apple related. Since then, I have listened to a few. The thing is that they don’t really ‘work for me’. I can’t get on with my day while I am listening – I need to give it my attention and a lot of times I want to be able to make notes to remember things that are important to me. When I half listen and wash the dishes, I can’t make notes… and I miss a lot.

I need to connect. I need toย see you talking to me. Somehow words work in written format for me – I am able to connect. But if you’re telling me something important so that I can grow and be a better me, then just hearing your voice isn’t going to cut it. I need to see you. So the better option for me is always video – thus YouTube is my ‘go to’. So now the point of this blog post (gosh, yes! I took a long time to get here!) :

I watched a YouTube video the other day and something that was said has been on my mind ever since. (Thanks, Mel Robbins!) I did check what I heard and saw, and there were tons of other equally astounding odds in relation to this.

“Scientists estimate the probability of your being born at about one in 400 trillion.”

 

Wait, what???!!!!???

^^^Read it again^^^That’s a BIG number, and those odds are mind blowing!

Now I totally get it when someone has gone through experiences in life that has robbed them of their self-worth. I totally get it that sometimes life is hard, circumstances are devastating, peace feels like it’s only ever going to be a sign from the 60’s.

I totally get it because I have experienced it first hand. I sometimes still do. Life ain’t perfect, and neither am I.ย We can’t control everything.

BUT …. 1:400 TRILLION ???

COME ON!ย 

Your existence is extraordinary! It surpasses all known human or natural powers. You’re a miracle that breathes!ย 

You ARE awesome!

And the next time you begin to question why you ever born… or someone else questions it and tells you that you shouldn’t have been – that you are unwanted and unworthy? PLEASE remember the above! Because with odds like that, there is DEFINITELY a reason for your birth – your life definitely serves a purpose!

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, or where you’re at right now. It doesn’t matter what other people tell you, or what you have been led to believe.ย 

It matters that you let the above sink in, and take a chance to make a change, if need be. Put in that little bit extra… because YOU’RE WORTH IT! With odds like that, stop underestimating yourself!

Go and be the awesome ‘you’ that you are!