Self-confidence Sunday #7

Sometimes, I catch myself falling into the faulty thinking that when we find the things we are “meant” to do (who knows what that really means, anyway?), they come easily. When we find the person we’re “supposed” to be with, the dream job, our “purpose,” etc…we should just “know,” according to all the popular wisdom out there. That’s an easy mistake to make, given that we as a culture prize finishing things fastest and with seemingly no internal struggle.

Though many things for which we have an affinity will come more easily than for the general population, certainly the belief that it will always feel natural–or even possible–can be a recipe for quitting, disappointment, poor self-esteem, and many missed opportunities. With that thought in mind, I use the above quote to urge you (along with myself) this week: whatever you find difficult, do it more often. Give it one more good go…and then always be willing to give it another. If nothing else, if and when you feel defeated at the end of the day, go to bed that night and promise yourself, “I will try again tomorrow.” I choose to believe that that persistence will be rewarded, both in my own life and in yours.

Self-confidence Sunday #6

It can be really empowering for other people to believe in you, but it’s even more important to believe in yourself. As wonderful as it is to have people reassure me of my capabilities when I doubt myself–which I did a lot of in 2015–I also am aware that all the reassurance in the world will not restore my tenacity and fire unless I truly believe what is being said.

When those times do happen and I feel down on myself for whatever reason, I resolve to repeat, “You are more powerful than you can even imagine,” and believe it! This week, I want to step out of my comfort zone and begin to change my life in ways of which I’ve previously only dreamed. If the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…it looks like it’s time to take that first step rather than fretting about possible forks in the road. After all…What What Beyonce Do?

The Space In-between

Relationships are funny. You learn more about yourself than you think possible–and not always about your best qualities–and just when you think you’ve really understood a lot about someone else, they go off and do something baffling…leading you to respond in an even more baffling manner. Then, you’re left with the conclusion that maybe you have a lot to learn about the both of you and you don’t know anything about anyone after all. Perhaps that is how personal growth occurs, but I suspect it might also explain spikes in wine sales. -_-

Dating S. has been an interesting experience in many ways. Our different cultural backgrounds meant that we approach relationships in quite different ways, and neither of us knew how different we were until we were in the thick of it! Some of the things that are so hard for us have never been hard for me with anyone else before…though on the flip side, some things that have been issues in the past haven’t been a problem with us.

He’s worked hard to give me a heads up when he needs space, and I’ve done a better job of telling him when I need his support and then giving him space when he needs it (and then to not be upset, though that’s still a work in progress). I just find that my thoughts and emotions vary widely while we’re not having much–if any–contact.

I work hard to stay focused on work so I don’t miss him too much (or worry that the silence means he doesn’t want to date me anymore), but eventually, I’ll get melancholy and feel the need to retreat myself. I start thinking seriously about what I want and need, whether I “care too much” and should try not to want him so much, if I’m being naive and this is so “different” because it simply isn’t right…and then I end up pretty down on myself.

Since finishing grad school, I’ve really struggled with my self-concept during the time I’ve been home and not working full-time, even though I have been doing worthwhile things that have been very good for my family. But when I retreat away from him and the goofy, effortless happiness that being with him brings, I return again to that perfectionistic prison I know so well, where there are no excuses for weakness, wrong choices, imperfection, or uncertainty.

Within those walls, it makes sense for him to retreat, to not want me the way I want him, because I don’t have as much to offer as I should. That part of me asks, “Who am I without my accomplishments, anyway? What about me would draw you near when I am displeased with my own reflection?” No matter how much I would like to deny the truth of it, internally I feel that I have to have my whole life together before I deserve someone to be as deeply, madly, irrevocably in love with me as I want them to be. His slower pace during the dating stage plays into that fear, that belief, more than I would be willing to admit. Especially to him: my happiness is so important to him that knowing that fact would probably be really hurtful to him.

Munchkins, You Are My “Why”

In response to the Daily Post’s  Reason to Believe : “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

When I think back on some of the hardest times I’ve ever experienced, sometimes I’m not even sure I quite remember how I made it through. What I do know is that I have clung to two statements my mother used to repeat when I was a child: “This too shall pass,” and “Sometimes you have to either laugh or cry, and I’d just rather laugh.” This combination of hope, perseverance, and humor in the face of struggle has gotten me through many tough breaks.

In addition to these two principles, it is my life passions–the pursuits that make me feel at peace and as though I am making a difference–that bring me through a plethora of life’s trials. Even on the hard days, returning to coaching was my best choice of 2015, hands down. Those kids bring me a sense of joy and purpose that is unmatched by anything else in the world. Music, writing, lifting, and cheer have always been helpful too, but nothing compares to working with children.

A quite empowering aspect of daily living is the fact that we have the power to make of our life just about anything that we want. Despite difficult circumstances, I always have the power to say, “Today is a good day. I am strong, I am worthy, I am confident, and I am determined. I alone decide who I am and what I can accomplish.” And, if all else fails and the day brings one crisis after another, I can always go to bed resolved to try again tomorrow.

Bump in the Road & Blessing in Disguise

I wanted my first post of 2016 to be about looking forward, about the major points my significant other earned on Christmas and New Year’s, about excitement and plans and self-improvement (and probably about cheeseburgers to be honest, if I included my top priorities in life). Instead, I was thrown a bit of a wrench health-wise at the turn of the year.

However, an awesome, unexpected thing happened as I worked through the shock and confusion of the diagnosis: I realized that I could simply choose not to let it upset me. Indeed, even though it may (or may not) be something I have to deal with in the future, I felt at my very core that I just do not have enough energy left to be sad and downtrodden this year. I will no longer dwell on things I cannot change, on events over which I have no control. I will not rob myself of happiness in 2016.

The whole experience was very liberating. It was as if in some small way, I had finally given myself permission to just be happy again…even if my life isn’t where I feel it should be. If I wake up in a bad mood or begin to feel overwhelmed about the many things I feel I must do in order to be “good enough,” I have learned to breathe, repeat my mantra “Today is a good day,” and then live in such a way as to make that statement come true. I may still have a long way to go, and there are plenty of unmet goals towards which I am striving, but I now have peace of mind as I remember that I am worthy of happiness anyway.