Tag Archive | self acceptance

An Imperfect Masterpiece 

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot.  It was an amazing opportunity,  as I won a contest and the hair, make up and sitting fee was all free. I said “yes” to the opportunity immediately, and was so excited! I have grown a lot in the past few years and I was excited for the chance to honor my growing sense of who I am through this.

However, as the weeks went on, the self doubt started to creep in. I had done a previous photo shoot with this studio (decoroportraits) and they had done a wonderful job. The couple who own the studio are friends and are both talented, gifted people who do amazing work. They are trustworthy and good business people as well.  But, the last time, it was a photo shoot with my daughter, and I had been really focused on her and my hope that it would be good for her and her self esteem as a teenager. Even though I had individual portraits done as well, my focus was on her.

This time, it was going to be about me and me alone. Aack! That made me nervous.  The negative voices in my head were saying,

“Oh come on. You’re 48 years old with adult children. Who do you think you are?”

“People will think you are vain and full of yourself ”

“You need to lose weight and work out for months before you should do that”

And on and on…

I almost cancelled so many times.  I would look in the mirror or step on the scale, and the negative self talk would start. It was a battle for weeks.

Then, my friend suggested we watch a documentary called “Embrace” (which can be downloaded through itunes) . It is about a woman’s journey with her own relationship with her body and learning to love herself just as she is. It was timely, and caused me to realize how hard I was being on myself and how much I had allowed society to dictate the definition of “beautiful “. I thought I had come to a pretty good place in terms of my self esteem and self worth. And, compared to several years ago, I had.  But, this opportunity highlighted for me how unhealthy my own view of my body was. I came to the jarring realization that I had been at war with my own body and didn’t even realize it.  I needed to see that!

So, I went. As the photo shoot progressed, Kevan and Leah made me feel so comfortable. …not just with the shoot itself….but with ME. Their philosophy of honoring each woman’s unique beauty came through in their approach.  With each wardrobe change (some of which required me to be very brave and vulnerable), I began to feel more and more beautiful.  Just as I am. ..right here, right now.

By the time it was done, I was tired… but I was also at peace with myself. And thankful. I haven’t even seen the proofs yet. I know the quality will be amazing.  But, to be honest….that is secondary. The growth that came from pushing myself out of my comfort zone is priceless.

Just as I am 

I seem to be finding such a peace in accepting and loving myself just as I am.  What a journey it has been!  I cringe when I think of how I used to talk to myself. I now have a better understanding of my nature and my gifts. The challenges that I experience in who I am are so much easier to work with now. I think that’s the key. I am now working WITH rather than AGAINST myself.  When I was so hard on myself in the past, I was in a state of resistance,  fighting my very nature and wishing I could be someone different.  Now….I choose to love all of me and see that who I am brings needed gifts to this world. The times when my nature creates challenges for me and my relationships can be approached with self compassion.  I can take responsibility for mistakes and make amends and move forward.  I am still working on this….but I’ve definitely made progress! I am feeling very grateful for this!

Building Bridges

I recently had a realization that was so sudden and so clear that I was shocked it hadn’t occurred to me before.  For some time, I have been struggling with feeling in the middle. I feel in the middle of people I love who have opposing viewpoints and beliefs. In addition, I had been feeling pressure to choose a side. I had heard messages that the only way to support people is by taking a stand and being vocal about that.

Then….a sudden epiphany happened for me. Is taking a stand and being vocal really the only way to be an ally for marginalized people?  Really? Says who?

What if….just what if….we are each called to be an ally and a support according to our true nature and our gifts?

What if there are a myriad of ways to be an ally? 

There are definitely people who are very gifted at taking a bold, sure stand.  There are definitely people gifted with the boldness to step out and speak out with words that cut to the heart of the matter and shake up people’s comfort zones. 

God bless those people!  We need them desperately! 

But, I am not one of them. And I have been making myself sick with stress and worry about it.

I am a builder of bridges between the people who stand with bold determination on one bank….and the people who stand with equally bold determination on the opposite bank.

I mediate, I connect, I build bridges with love. This is my true nature. In order to do this, I choose not to alienate either. I choose not to speak out, but to hear and understand. 

When I give myself permission to be who I am,  I find peace. There is nothing wrong with my gifts. My gifts are needed too. It is people like me who help the people on either side hear each other and create a safe space for them to meet and find common ground.

Is that not being an ally as well? I believe it is.

And I can breathe again. 

Quiet Rebel

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I have been on an interesting journey of getting to really, truly know myself.  I’ve tried to do that all my life, but in the past, my journey of self discovery was always accompanied by self judgement.  Now, I am doing my best to learn who I am from a place of acceptance,  curiosity, and self compassion.  What a difference that makes!

When I came across this quote, I smiled and recognized myself immediately.  I am often quiet. I am in the background. …listening, observing, thinking, processing.  Many times, people interpret this as compliance or agreement.  Sometimes that may be accurate. But, many times, I am finding the words I need or drawing on that strength within me to take a stand.

And when I do…I am solid in it. I do not like to be told what to do or what to think or what to feel.  But, I also need time to check in with myself to know for sure what I do want to do, what I do think and what I do feel. I have noticed that my strongest relationships are with people in my life who have understood this about me and have the patience and wisdom to respect what I need.

With people who don’t get it…I will be polite, and then go my own way. I surprise people with my resolve when I do this. I do it in my quiet, respectful way. But, I do it with certainty.

I am embracing who I am and understanding myself is giving me much peace.

Free to Be Me

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I  have been on an interesting journey of self acceptance and self compassion.  It has been, at the same time, the most freeing and empowering journey,  while also being terrifying and challenging.

I am learning a lot about my true nature and who I am at my core. Instead of the constant judgements and recriminations I used to berate myself with, I am working on embracing who I am and learning to work with that.

I am learning that I function best when I take things slowly and take the time to plan and think through what I need to do. I used to judge myself so harshly for that. It seems to me that we live in a society that values the ambitious, decisive go-getters.  I value having people like that in my life too. We need them.

But, we also need the thinkers and planners. We need the ones who are behind the scenes considering every angle and taking action at a pace that works for them. People like me. We need to value those people too. I  need to value those people too. I need to value me.

My ex-husband often criticized this about me. He told me often that he needed me to be more decisive and action oriented. I  accepted his perspective that I was flawed in this way. I tried very hard for over twenty years to change my nature. I kept trying. I would get so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t make myself be different.  I struggled with anxiety and a constant sense of dislike towards myself.  I  developed patterns of self talk that were mean and even cruel towards myself.

In reality, when I work with my true nature…when I give myself time to think, consider, plan…. I  make good decisions and I accomplish a lot. Decisions that need to be made are made and I feel at peace with them. Actions that need to be taken are taken, within time frames that feel comfortable to me. There is no anxiety and no mean self talk. There is peace.

I have this week off from work. I had such ambitious plans for what I wanted to get done. But, instead I have been doing a lot of relaxing, thinking, journaling, reading, and planning. I found myself starting some mean self talk again. I am so glad I caught myself doing that. I don’t need to answer to anyone about how I spend my time. I am not going to be disapproved of any more. I am not going to be criticized any more. Unless I do it to myself! I  deserve better. I  deserve to love myself for who I am and value my true nature.

It has slowly dawned on me that what I need more than anything right now is exactly what I have been doing. It is not lazy to give my body,  mind, and spirit time to rest, reflect, and just be. It is healthy.

If I am true to that, the things I want to accomplish will get done ….at a time and pace that feels good to me. That will be much healthier and much more fulfilling for me.

Ahhhh….that  feels so much better. I am going to make some tea and go back to my book now. 🙂