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 πŸ˜› 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 πŸ˜›

Now if you don’t know what a braai is… it’s very similar to an American barbeque. It’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 β€˜burn wood’ 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 they’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 πŸ˜‰ ) 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 πŸ˜‰

What’s your superpower?

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

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, β€œWho wants this $20 bill?”

All 150 people nodded.

He said, β€œI am going to give this money to someone, but first….” 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.

β€œDoes anyone want it now?”

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,Β 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰
And if you’ve never tried them, then it might be worth doing so πŸ˜‰
It works the same as it does with my kids πŸ˜› I always say : ”Don’t tell me you can’t do it, or don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it.” πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜›
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 πŸ˜›
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 πŸ˜‰ ) busting a move (without busting my back πŸ˜› ) usually reduces that stress almost instantly πŸ˜‰
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 πŸ˜› ) 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 πŸ˜› ) … 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”! πŸ˜› )
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 πŸ˜›
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 πŸ˜‰

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.” πŸ˜›

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! ❀

Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads πŸ˜›

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet πŸ˜›

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them πŸ˜› )

Keeping on.. again and again..

This pandemic has sparked huge changes in the world – and they haven’t generally been very positive ones either.

There has been a lot of ‘stuff’ happening… things that have extended beyond the scope of even MY imagination. Bad things. Horrible things. Disheartening things. Things that stir up anger in the hearts of even the mildest of people.
Stuff has happened that is directly affecting me and my little household. Despondency is setting in for even the strongest people I know, who have never uttered a negative word in the past, despite their circumstances.

My heart is feeling heavy. There is only so much I can do. But I know this : I need to keep doing it. People who know me, and even here in the blogging world, know that I often make the statement, ”Just keep on keeping on”.

That little statement is something I live by, not just something I say. Yes, I may pause to cry, or feel angry. Yes, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows every minute of every day.

Because we HAVE to allow ourselves to FEEL… even the bad stuff. We just need not stay there… which reminds me of the little story that goes something like this :

Life is a journey, and sometimes you’re faced with a steep mountain and rocky terrain, which makes the journey difficult to continue with. Sometimes you will need to stop and rest, sit on a rock, cry or be angry. But then you need to stand up, and keep going… for the journey is not over yet. Stop for a moment and rest, but don’t pitch your tent and stay. There is so much more ahead.

Life in the pandemic is feeling like continuous rocky terrain and endless mountains. It’s brought more tears and anger in the time it has been around than what some have faced in their entire lives.
There are no guarantees… and I have no promise that things will get better.

But, dear hearts who are reading this…
Please keep on keeping on.

You are loved. You are needed. Your contribution to this world counts – even if it’s just sharing the warmth of your smile.
YOU make a difference!

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? πŸ˜‰ )

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! πŸ™‚


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 πŸ˜‰

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

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 πŸ˜‰
Every day is a new day, to keep growing, and keep going…

Because you ARE worth it! ❀

Mean Girl Moment

Yesterday, I had to put my inner mean girl on time out.

I have a teenage daughter, and so a couple of years ago we watched the movie ‘Mean Girls’ together – no judgement, please πŸ˜›
There was much discussion before, during, and after the movie – and now sometimes we’ll refer to a particular behaviour or situation by saying, ‘Nope, don’t be a mean girl’!

Now, I’d like to say that I do not have a mean bone in my body – that I am ALWAYS kind and never cruel. I’d like to say it… but it wouldn’t be true.

But I really am not an unkind and cruel person.

Except to myself, sometimes.

And I know I am not alone. And that it’s not just a girl thing.
Each and every one of us are hard on ourselves at some stage or another, for a variety of reasons. It may be due to the past and limiting beliefs or words spoken over you; it may be due to your present situation and someone who perhaps said something; it may be due to ‘thoughts of the future’ that have overwhelmed you and suddenly make you feel ‘useless’. (I have also had to learn to correctly identify the moments where I should be hard on myself – because there are times when that is applicable too!)

But whatever the reason, we’ll turn that ‘mean girl’ behaviour on ourselves.

As we grow in grace (being merciful and charitable and kind), and focus on learning a ‘better way’ to deal with certain things, and start to be able to apply all these things more often, the ‘mean girl/boy’ moments become less frequent.

Because we need to learn how to show ourselves a little grace,Β even in a world where we are told that we are not good enough for whatever reasonΒ – the same way we would towards someone we love dearly and don’t want to see them tormenting themselves.
And it isn’t easy.

Yesterday, I overwhelmed myself – by myself. I was digging a hole with my thoughts, pondering all the wrong things – and instead of using the sand I was digging to create a new pile to get me out of the hole, I was sidestepping and spreading that sand everywhere…. and so my hole just kept getting deeper.

My response to it all was natural – I got even more frustrated, angry, and despondent. With myself. Sigh!Β 

The good news is this : there is always hope. Even when me is being mean to me πŸ˜›

Some days, reigning in our thought processes and changing them requires us to take action – and not just in our minds.
I looked in the mirror, and said out loud, ‘Mean girl, you need to go find something else to do.’
And then I sat down at my desk and grabbed a pen and paper.

I started to make a list of the little things – the GOOD things, the small achievements, the small victories. And then I started to dig a little deeper, and I looked back at my past – but only to see how far I have come. Here I was able to list ‘bigger things’. And you know where I ended up? Stuck in gratitude. And making a new list of those little, and big things (to me, the way I perceive them) of all that there is to be saying thank you for.

It sounds like such a silly thing – but you know what? It made me feel heaps better! And I climbed out of my hole πŸ˜‰

These ‘silly things’ make great (and healthy) coping mechanisms in life.

So if your mean girl/boy is telling you something today, and it’s making you feel downright rotten, then please take a moment and start making a little list of your own! Every little bit counts ❀

Worth… again

CYsiZpoWkAADLj9

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.
ThereΒ is validation in your feeling that way if it comes from an abusive past….

There isΒ 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!Β 

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 easierΒ 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! ❀

Because We Are Wrong β€” The Chatter Blog β€” 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.Β 

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 IΒ feel bad, doesn’t mean it IS bad. That there is always hope – and yes, I am still a prisoner of it πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ . 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! Β© via Because We Are Wrong β€” The ChatterΒ Blog

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