Tag Archive | self worth

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.

Cheers!

This brought me joy today.

I choose to celebrate me, to honor myself, and to recognize all I have overcome and accomplished.

It is good to celebrate ourselves and honor ourselves.  It is an act of self compassion and self love. And, if there is one thing I have learned,  it is that the most loving thing I can do for my loved ones is to love myself first. I can’t give from an empty vessel. 

I really have come through some tough times. The tough times haven’t ended. There are new challenges and old ones resurfacing.  But, I am strong and I overcome. 

So….cheers to me! I encourage you to raise a glass or a mug to yourself today as well. Cheers to you!

A New Story

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It’s interesting how we get bombarded with certain life lessons. …and the same ones just keep coming and coming….until we finally learn what we need to learn. Sigh. I know that’s for my good, but I sure am weary right now.

One of the effects of my marriage was that I became conditioned to believe that I  just couldn’t do much of anything right.  I remember fighting against that early in the marriage, but then being criticized for being too defensive. Over time, I slowly adapted to the mind set that I was really screwed up in some fundamental ways, and that I needed to depend on others (especially my ex-husband ) to guide me through my inevitable screw ups.

After I left him, the fog started to lift. With the help of friends, family, and my counselor, I started to see my strengths and value. I felt such freedom in finding a balance of taking healthy responsibility with not taking responsibility when it wasn’t mine.  It was quite a process, but I really felt I had mainly tackled this issue.

Apparently, there is more work to do! I have been presented with situation after situation after situation in which my mistakes and faults are brought to my attention. …sometimes lovingly and gently….but mostly with painful clarity.

Ouch. It hasn’t stopped yet. Just when I thought two days ago that I was finally coming up for air….one of my kids said some very painful things to me last night that broke me. I crumbled.  I felt like such a failure. 

We talked it through and got to a healthy place. He apologized and we hugged and came to a better understanding of what each of us has experienced.  In the end, that is very good. But the journey to get there sure hurt.  And many other events leading up to that over the last few months have hurt.

I am so aware that I stand on the edge of the cliff that I have fallen down so many times before….the cliff that tumbles me down, battered, bruised, and broken to the valley of I Am A Failure. I have lived in that valley often. It was a long, hard, victorious climb out! I don’t want to go there again. Yet, event after event has been pushing me closer to the edge. Please, no more nudges. I need the strength to turn around and find my way back to the land of Self Worth and Joy. It was so great when I was living there. I need to find my way back. I do know the way. I just need a break so I can find the strength.

I have a new story to write. I want to start writing it. I want to author a new chapter in my life. I want to get past the current triggers that keep happening.  I know I will never again sink as low in my self worth as it was when I was married. But, I need to get to a healthier place now. I am praying every day for loved ones in my life who are suffering, and it weighs on me. I can’t fix things for them and I can’t change the past. I am human, I am fallible, I make mistakes and that is okay.

It is time to move forward to the next part of my story. And it will look nothing like my past.

I am Worth It ALL

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When my marriage was falling apart, I met some friends through an online support group who became a lifeline for me during that time.  One of these friends gave me an assignment.  He told me to start every day by looking in the mirror, looking into my own eyes, and saying “You are worth it!”

My friend knew that I was feeling replaced, abandoned,  and tossed aside.

At first, I  couldn’t even look into my own eyes, let alone say those words. But, I knew my friend was right, in that I needed to overcome this feeling of unworthiness in order to get through the end of my marriage.

I stuck with it. Every day, I  spoke those words. The timid and quiet words eventually became stronger and louder. As time went on, I could look in my eyes and hold my gaze while I said it.

One day, I believed it! I said it with conviction!  I knew that it was true. I  began to say it with passion and purpose.

I began to live this truth in my life. I made very difficult decisions to take my kids and leave my home, settling us in another city and eventually filing for divorce and starting over again. I am still rebuilding my life 5 years later, but I now know I am worth it.

I no longer need to tell myself that I am worth it every day. It is something I now believe at my core.

But, I am aware that I still have a tendency to allow my sense of self worth be affected by perceived rejection.  When this happens, I need to remind myself of this truth that I already know.

The great thing that I realized lately is that my sense of worth has expanded. I am worth it ALL. I am worth being loved, accepted, and committed to. But, I am also worth other good things coming my way….abundance of health, prosperity,  and well being in all things.

I am worth it ALL.

Never Too Late

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Of all the challenges that come with the end of relationships,  the silver lining always is that I am once again able to evaluate what I want my life to look like.  I am in charge of my life and the direction it is going.

The truth is…I always am. But, when in a relationship,  there is always some accommodating and compromising. It has to be that way to blend two lives together.

For now….I don’t need to do that. I can make sure I am once again grounded in who I am and what I want for my life. Then I will be able to do that accommodating and compromising once again without losing myself.

That is my goal.

It’s Gonna Be Alright

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I always have a soundtrack playing in the background of my mind and my life.

Yesterday, the music shifted. The soundtrack changed stations. A sadness shifted to relief, then optimism.  It was the realization. …once again. …of knowing I deserve more. It was that awakening. …once again….of my true worth.

I  wonder how many times I will cycle through the questioning of that, the sadness, the struggle with self worth….back around to that awakening?

I  wonder why it seems to often take a negative experience with someone….that could be interpreted as a form of rejection. …for that awakening to happen?

I  wonder if I will be able to get to that awakening without those painful experiences? Or sustain that sense of remembering that I AM ENOUGH without that?

I wonder.

But, for now….I am glad I got back there again. I feel a renewed sense of expectation for good things in my future. I  feel a renewed sense of certainty that I deserve good things.

I am grateful for the painful lessons that brought me back to this place.

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. 🙂